Johns, who was the younger brother of producer Glyn Johns and uncle to producer and multi-instrumentalist Ethan Johns, engineered the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street, Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy, along with work by Blind Faith, Ten Years After, Free, Jethro Tull, Humble Pie, Television and Van Halen.
Johns started as a tape operator at London’s Olympic Studios and contributed to sessions for Axis: Bold as Love by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. While in England, Johns worked with the Stones, Zepplin and others before moving to Los Angeles. While there, he collaborated with artists from Joni Mitchell to Ozzy Osbourne. More recently, Johns had worked on recordings by L.A. Guns, Godsmack and Chickenfoot.
After getting word of John’s death, Slash tweeted that he was “one of the great engineer/producers of our time.” Brian May of Queen wrote on his website that he was a “lovely guy—patient, skilled, funny, encouraging, sharp … all of the qualities you want in someone who is getting your music on to tape.”
No cause of death has been identified yet, but Johns had been admitted to the hospital last week for an unspecified liver ailment. Johns died in the hospital. He was 61.