Glyn Johns: Sound Man

Jan 7, 2022

I just finished the Glyn Johns book Sound Man (a Christmas gift from Sally Jo), and quite honestly, it’s one of those books that I wished would never end. What a crazy career by a guy who seems super nice, super smart, great ears (of course), and full of British humor. Some of the pages seem unbelievable that one person could do all those things in such a short period of time. Between the mid-1960s and early-1970s, the guy bounced back and forth between recording the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, recorded Led Zeppelin’s first album, tons of stuff I really like (the Kinks, the Easybeats, the Who) and a ton of hit records that I really don’t care for (the Eagles, Eric Clapton). But what a heroic career, being the guy you could call up and depend on to deliver a hit record, engineered and produced properly, adapting to both changing music tastes and huge leaps in technological and electronic recording methods at the same time.

And unlike a lot of these kind of autobiographies, at the end of the book I really LIKED the guy, and wished I could hang out with him for an afternoon, picking his brain. You can tell he was a real music fan, not just a guy who learned how to turn knobs. I really liked the paragraph where he describes being in the remote truck while The Who recorded “Won’t Get Fooled Again” live, and the chills he got down his spine as he realized this was a recording that people would be listening to for the next hundred years. If you’re into recording studio history, or just were fascinated watching Glyn in the recent Beatles “Get Back” documentary, I highly recommend this book.