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Andy Johns Engineer Glyn Johns’ younger brother, who was a tape operator at Olympic Studios in London, Andy Johns first worked on a Stones project while they were recording THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIES REQUEST. By spring 1970, he had advanced to sound engineer, performing that chore on STICKY FINGERS (for which he mixed some of the tracks with Jimmy Miller). He also engineered EXILE ON MAIN ST., mixed and engineered GOATS HEAD SOUP, and engineered IT’S ONLY ROCK N’ROLL. Johns also co-produced with Ronnie and engineered his solo album 1 2 3 4 from 1981 (except on “Wind Howlin’ Through”)
When discussing the iconic sound of the Rolling Stones, names like Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Brian Jones often dominate the conversation. However, there is another unsung hero who played a pivotal role in shaping the band’s signature sound: Andy Johns.
Born in 1950, Andy Johns was a renowned audio engineer and producer who worked closely with the Rolling Stones during their most influential years. His contributions to their music are often overshadowed by the fame of the band members themselves, but his impact cannot be understated. Johns first crossed paths with the Rolling Stones in 1967 when he was hired as an assistant engineer on their album Their Satanic Majesties Request. This initial collaboration marked the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership between Johns and the band.
Throughout his career, Andy Johns worked on several landmark Rolling Stones albums, including Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main St., Goats Head Soup and It’s Only Rock’N Roll. He played a crucial role in capturing the raw energy and distinctive sound that characterized the band’s music during this era. Johns’ expertise went beyond technical skills. His understanding of the Rolling Stones’ creative vision allowed him to translate their ideas into sonic reality. His attention to detail and ability to capture the essence of the band’s live performances in the studio was unparalleled.
Despite his significant contributions, Andy Johns often remained in the shadows, overshadowed by the larger-than-life personas of the band members he worked with. However, his impact on the Rolling Stones’ music is undeniable, and his work continues to inspire generations of musicians. Sadly, Andy Johns passed away in 2013, leaving behind a remarkable legacy in the world of rock and roll. His work with the Rolling Stones and numerous other legendary artists solidifies his status as one of the unsung heroes whose craftsmanship helped shape the sound of an era.