Johns began his producing career as a tape operator at London’s Olympic Studios after quickly ditching a career as a musician. His first job was assisting fellow producer Eddie Kramer on Jimi Hendrix’s Axis: Bold as Love.
“I am deeply shocked to hear of the passing of a dear friend and fellow producer/engineer who had fantastic ears and was a member of a special club of guys who were raised and taught the ‘right way’ by the best British engineers,” Kramer told Billboard. “The records he made were some of the greatest in rock and roll.”
Johns produced early albums by Humble Pie and Free, but where Johns really left his mark was as an engineer. Some of his most notable engineer credits include four Rolling Stones albums–Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main St., Goat’s Head Soup, It’s Only Rock & Roll–and five Led Zeppelin records from 1969’s II through 1975’s Physical Graffiti.
Johns’ signature as a producer/engineer was the live feel of his works, aiming to transport listeners to the very room where the albums were recorded.
— Matt Dolloff, 100.7 WZLX