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The mysterious number 1 in Spain

The almost secret career as a singer of the producer Glyn Johns

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The mysterious number 1 in Spain

Glyn Johns was one of great producers of rock. And I speak in past since his latest production — solo premiere of keyboardist Benmont Tench — dates back to 2014. It is not forgotten, true: its technique for recording batteries is universally used. His overwhelms curriculum: it was essential for first discs of Small faces, Steve Miller, Led Zeppelin, Boz Scaggs, Eagles. In addition, it can presume to have collaborated with triumvirate of Beatles, Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.

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In his recent biography Sound Man (Penguin) uncovers an unusual occurrence. In 1969, passing through New York, Dylan tells him that he wants to work with Beatles and Stones; He's charged Johns with pertinent arrangements. Glyn tries it: George Harrison and Keith Richards are for work while Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney refuse; John Lennon shows indifference. The plan doesn't prosper.

Professionally, Glyn Johns worked as a sound engineer, producer or mixer (or three things at once). Although flexible in labor, it had dogmatic ramalazos: it rejected Allman Brors Band by antipathy towards concept of two batteries; He left a recording of Jimi Hendrix at Royal Albert Hall to disagree with guitarist's volume in his directs.

Stubborn, he always refused to listen to punk rock. Until CBS begged him to straighten out The Clash: his fifth album, provisionally dubbed Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg, was a very scattered double. To his astonishment, Johns sympathized with Joe Strummer. Toger, y thinned that chaos to stay with Combat Rock, group's commercial pinnacle.

Cover book of Glyn Johns.

Says Johns that, in his fifty years in rock business, he never tried drugs. It must be true, if we stick to retentive that proves in his memoirs.

Thanks to this sobriety, he clarifies a curious arcane: his breakthrough as a singer in Spanish market, back in 1967. Johns had published in UK half a dozen singles that did not hit. But he made a record that only came out in Spain: his version of Lady Jane, peppercorn me of Jagger-Richards, where very Brian Jones played sitar.

It happens that, along with Bill Wyman, had formed a production company, Freeway Music. His first signing was End, a mod group in evolution towards Psychodelia. The dancer Sandra LeBrocq, London established in Madrid, put m in contact with Jose Luis and Santiago Moro, bosses of advertising and cinematographic business, who believed saleable that y were produced by bassist of Stones.

On first visit, apart from End, Johns put ir (unpublished) Lady Jane, who loved Moro brors. For ir release y joined ir label (Sonoplay) with ir weekly (Tele Guía); They also had a hand on TVE.

John has marveled that when he returned to Madrid with Wyman, he was waiting in Barajas for a troop of cameras and pens, along with forced squeaky fans. They explained that ir Lady Jane was number one (probably on Tele-guide list, as manipulated as all those of time). For a few days, Johns lived experience of being treated like pop star: performances, interviews, dinner with Cordoba. Now he remembers it as a mirage, a very years 60 fantasy.


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