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Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The…

Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led…

by Glyn Johns

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More of a collection of anecdotes than a real autobiography, with not a tremendous amount of depth. Johns reveals enough about himself, though, to seem as if he is or that he views himself as insufferable. I do not think I learned much new that I did not already know but it was a light read, fine for the beach or a cold winter day. ( )
  burningdervish | Nov 29, 2016 |
An enjoyable memoir by the recording engineer/producer who worked with some of the most important artists in the history of rock 'n' roll. Johns's behind-the-scenes observations are interesting but he never goes much beyond the "I was there" recollections. I would have liked to have known more about his actual involvement in creating so much great music over the decades. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
Legendary rock producer Glyn John's memoir, "Sound Man," is a good book, but it could have been much better. It's full of interesting stories about some of popular music's giants from the 60's, 70's and into the 80's (Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Who, Eagles, Steve Miller Band, Wings, and the Clash are just some of the artists whose recordings Johns engineered or produced). Most of the stories lack much depth, though, and the whole book needs the touch of a skilled editor. In other words, ironically enough, this book could have used a good producer. Still, for fans of Johns' work and the artists he collaborated with during a crucial era in popular music, "Sound Man" is worth reading. ( )
  RGazala | Mar 11, 2015 |
Reviewing memoirs is always a challenge for me. Obviously the "story" is personal, and I don't feel it's my place to judge the content the writer chooses to include or leave out. That being said, this book wasn't what I expected. While Johns worked with some of the best known early rock bands, we learn little about what those bands were like to work with or even Johns' opinion of them and their music.

Before I go further into that, I do want to say the writing itself flows well. Johns' style is conversational, and reading this book is much like sitting down listening to him talk. There is nothing pretentious here.

Of all the bands mentioned, Johns seems to favor The Rolling Stones. This is the only band that he shares details about beyond the mixing of their albums. We get some behind the scenes insight, as well as a few funny anecdotes. Though even here he stops short of anything too personal. He tells us that Mick Jagger rented a plane to bring Johns and many others to his wedding to Bianca in Nice, but tells us absolutely nothing about that experience.

Almost every other band and musician mentioned offers us nothing more than a look at the songs and albums worked on, the studio used, and the techniques. For instance, he mentions abruptly quitting his work on Paul McCartney's Red Rose Speedway album, though he does not give even a hint as to why. He worked on Led Zeppelin's first album, but says nothing about what the band was like in those early days. And despite the information on albums he worked on with the Eagles, all I learned about his experiences with them is that Glenn Frey was irritated because Johns didn't allow alcohol or drugs in the studio. During a time when alcohol and drugs were in prominent use, particularly within the music industry, I would have liked to know a little more about why Johns made such a stand against using himself and against allowing anyone around him to use.

I also never got a clear sense of Johns' own musical taste, nor did Johns share how or if certain music affected him. His career climbed alongside some of the best, most influential bands in history, but I closed the book without knowing what that was like for the man in the mixing booth. The couple of times he did make a personal observation had more to do with travel than the music. And, given his broad and derogatory remarks, readers in New York and a couple other areas might find his words offensive.

Throughout this book, I would have liked more substance. I would have liked more personal insight, something that would make this more a memoir and less a chronology of events. But, as I said at the start, this was not my story to tell. While it didn't quite work for me, I'm sure other readers will find the content fascinating.

** I received this book free from Blue Rider Press via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. ** ( )
  Darcia | Aug 7, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399163875, Hardcover)

A memoir of a remarkable rock-and-roll career from Glyn Johns, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame producer and sound engineer whose resumé includes work with the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Who, the Clash, and many more.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:39 -0400)

The producer and sound engineer behind such iconic artists as The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Eric Clapton traces his definitive collaborations and his firsthand glimpses into the early years of rock.

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