Online Session Drummer | Mark Feldman


5 Crazy Glyn Johns Stories from his Book, Sound Man (Legendary Music Producers 1)

7-crazy-stories-glyn-johns-legendary-music-producers-1Glyn Johns has had a stunningly successful career as a music producer. For one thing, imagine that you have a technique for placing microphones named after you–that alone is somewhat impressive. Just Google “Glyn Johns drum mic technique,” and you’ll see what I mean.

Interestingly, as Johns describes in his book, the discovery of this mic placement method was stumbled upon–as the result of a significant mistake. And that mistake happened during the recording of Led Zeppelin’s very first album for Atlantic.

It’s just one of the fascinating tidbits from his autobiography.

But beyond just this influential microphone placement method for drums, there is his body of work and the many huge artists that he worked with. It’s kind of hard to argue the assertion that…

Glyn Johns is One of The Most Successful Rock Music Producers of All Time

Simply consider who he’s worked with and what records he’s produced and it’s shockingly impressive. Here are a few of the artists: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Eagles, The Steve Miller Band, The Who, Led Zeppelin and many others.

It’s a mind-blowing list.

The stories I’m describing here can be found in Johns’ autobiography, Sound Man.

It’s not a particularly “deep” book. You won’t learn much about Johns’ personal life and you won’t hear his deep philosophical thoughts on life. But what you will read are many tales from his side of the mixing console. And for music fans, musicians, aspiring producers or audio engineers, that lack of depth or introspection won’t diminish the pleasure of hearing these tales from a life spent making music with rock’s royalty.

Here are 5 Crazy Stories About Legendary Music Producer Glyn Johns

They are in no particular order. And don’t worry, I’m not giving everything away here; there’s plenty more in the book, but these 5 anecdotes will whet your appetite.

#1) Would You Turn Down the Chance to Produce The Allman Brothers?

Glyn Johns did. In fact, he was being offered the chance to produce their very first album. He flew down to Georgia to meet with them. He was invited to come to their studio to hear them rehearse. As Johns put it:

…they were not ready to make an album yet. It was very early days for them. They clearly had potential, but were still a little rough round the edges. For some reason they had decided to use two drummers in the band. This is not an easy thing to pull off, and they were still figuring out how to play with each other. This made the rhythm section quite stiff and unsettled, which was the reason I passed.

#2) Q:The Moral of This Particular Story? A: Clive Davis is a Dick

CBS Records had a policy of only allowing their staff engineers to work on the albums made by their artists. In addition, they paid less then any other record label at the time. These two things were enough for Glyn Johns to decide not to make any records for the company. Clive Davis, who ran CBS at the time (1970), asked Johns to meet with him in NY to try and persuade him to change his mind. Johns’ aversion to Davis is described eloquently in the following quote from the book:

This [editor’s note: Johns’ decision not to work for CBS] eventually resulted in me being invited to New York by Clive Davis in order for him to convince me that I was making a huge mistake by refusing to work for CBS. He was running the company and was well on the way to his “guru” status in the industry and more especially in his own eyes. I have never met anyone with quite such a high opinion of himself. He told me that even though CBS paid a third less than anyone else in the industry at that time I would make more money with them, as they sold more records than anyone else. Summoning teams of sycophantic administrators to unravel piles of royalty statements from Janis Joplin’s latest release on the desk in front of me in his palatial office to prove the point. I could not wait to leave, returning to my hotel feeling like I needed a long hot shower. All he managed to do was confirm that my original decision was correct.

#3) What Could Have Been The Greatest Super Group of All Time

This tale finds Jann Wenner and Glyn Johns returning from a trip in 1969 and arriving at NYC’s LaGuardia airport. Wenner was editing an interview he did with Bob Dylan while they were on their flight, so it was an interesting coincidence to run into Dylan himself as they went to get their luggage. Wenner introduced Johns and Dylan, and next–I honestly find this hard to believe–Bob supposedly pitches Johns on the idea of making an album with himself, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Dylan, knowing that Johns has worked with both the Stones and Beatles, asked Johns if he can find out if there is any interest. According to Johns, some of the the members of each band were interested, but Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger both were clear in their lack of any interest in doing it.

Just imagine what that album might have been like.

#4) 1970 Started with a Party at Ringo’s House on New Year’s Day

If you wanted to grab my attention, the above sentence would be just the way to do it. And the story is all about drummers. Here’s what Johns writes:

My overriding memory of that evening is hearing the sound of drums being played in another room in the house. I went to investigate and found Keith Moon giving Ringo’s four-year-old son, Zak, a lesson. Zak idolized Keith, who was his godfather. Amazingly, twenty-five years later he took Keith’s place in The Who, being one of the few drummers in the world who could come close to filling his shoes.

#5) Glyn Johns and The Beatles: How Phil Ramone “puked all over” Let It Be

The story that Johns tells of his time with The Beatles revolves around Let It Be (originally planned to be titled Get Back). He got a call in 1969 to come to Twickenham Studios, a film production workplace where The Beatles had filmed A Hard Days Night and Help!

The Beatles were to rehearse there and get ready for an album and a performance that was to be filmed for a television special. The idea for the “Get Back Project,” as it was conceived by Paul McCartney, was that The Beatles were to “get back” to their rock roots. For perspective, the album that had most recently been released as they got together to rehearse was the White Album.

The rehearsals and everything else were to be filmed and Glyn Johns was called in to handle the audio. On receiving that call–from none other than Paul McCartney himself–Johns writes:

In December of 1968, while sitting at home on a night off, I answered the telephone to a man with a Liverpudlian accent claiming to be Paul McCartney. I thought it was Mick Jagger trying to be amusing, so I told him to stop messing about and asked him what he wanted. The man persisted, and much to my shock and embarrassment, it really was Paul McCartney. He told me that he had an idea for the band to write all new material and then record it live in front of an audience for a TV show and for release as an album. The venue was to be discussed, but it would be somewhere exotic. He then asked if I would be interested in making the record with them. I felt like I’d won the lottery. He told me that they were all to meet at a soundstage at Twickenham Film Studios on January 2nd, 1969, when they were to start rehearsals, and asked if I could be there.

I turned up on the appointed day with enormous anticipation. After all, they were the biggest band in the world and were at the height of their career. I had worked with many successful artists but I have to say, this was quite different. I have always loved vocal harmony and had constantly been blown away by the extraordinary sound that the blend of John, Paul, and George achieved. Add to that their songwriting and their reinvention of recorded sound, and you can imagine how I felt as I walked through the enormous doors of the soundstage at Twickenham that morning.

Johns continued to be involved in the project as it moved venues during its creation, and as the famous rooftop concert took place. He was asked at one point to make sense of all the recordings and create an album from everything. Here’s what happened after that:

Having delivered the mixed master of my version of Let It Be, I approached each member of the band separately, asking if I could have a production credit on the album when it was released. I made it quite clear that I was only asking for that and not a royalty. Paul, George, and Ringo had no objection to my request but John was suspicious and could not understand why I was not asking for a royalty. I explained that I felt, because of their stature, the sales of the album would not be affected by my involvement one way or another, so a credit would be a fair settlement for what I had done, as by association it could only be positive for my career in the future. I never got an answer from John.

As it turned out, none of this mattered, as in the end, after the group broke up, John gave the tapes to Phil Spector, who puked all over them, turning the album into the most syrupy load of bullshit I have ever heard. My master tape, perhaps quite rightly, ended up on a shelf in the tape store at EMI. At least my version of the single of “Get Back”/“Don’t Let Me Down” had been released in April 1969.

Johns’ stories about The Beatles are some of my favorite parts of the book. There are many more fascinating stories as well; some involve The Who, The Clash, The Rolling Stones and many others. I don’t want to give anymore of these tales away. I recommend that you buy the book and read it.

If you’re a producer or aspire to be one, this is required reading.

The Most Powerful Music Producers 2021

the most powerful music producers 2021

I thought it would be really interesting to have a look at who the most powerful producers are. The obvious question you’ll be asking is “what does ‘power’ mean when it comes to music producers?”

Right.  I believe that if you look at the world the way it really is–not by thinking about any of the older paradigms–what creates the most power in music is reach.

These days reach is measured in terms of streams.  It’s not measured by Grammys or inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or even (gasp) positions on the Billboard chart. So…

Since Spotify has the largest market share of the music streaming services, it makes sense to look at total streams on the service. I see Spotify like the music equivalent of Google. No one comes close, so why not use them as a bench-marker? By the way, as of this writing, Spotify has a 36% market share of music streams.

What are the most streamed songs?

On Wikipedia, there is a “dynamic list” called “List of Most-Streamed Songs on Spotify.” That list is frequently updated (hence the title “dynamic list”), but for this article, I used the list that was published and visible online on February 25th 2021. The list is limited to 100 entries.

Interestingly, that list does not include the producer credits. To give you a sense of the producers responsible for the most streamed songs, I simply added the producers’ names to the chart, which you can find below.

That should give you an idea of who the heaviest producers are–at least based on streams. Check it out.

(in Millions)
1Shape of YouEd SheeranEd Sheeran and
Steve Mac
2RockstarPost Malone feat
21 Savage
Tank God and Louis Bell2,124
3Dance MonkeyTones and IKonstantin Kersting2,105
4Blinding LightsThe WeekndMax Martin,
Oscar Holter,
The Weeknd
5One DanceDrake feat
WizKid and Kyla
NIneteen85, 40 and WizKid1,981
6CloserThe Chainsmokers
feat Halsey
The Chainsmokers1,952
7SunflowerPost Malone and SwaeleeCarter Lang and Louis Bell1,827
8Someone You LovedLewis CapaldiTMS1,783
9SenoritaShawn Mendes and Camila CabelloBenny Blanco, WATT, Cashmere Cat1,751
10Thinking Out LoudEd SheeranJake Gosling1,711
11God's PlanDrake40, Cardo,
Young Exclusive and
12Bad GuyBillie EilishFinneas O'Connell1,691
13Say You Won't Let GoJames ArthurAlex Beitzke, Bradley Spence 1,651
14PerfectEd SheeranEd Sheeran, Will Hicks1,645
15BelieverImagine DragonsMattman & Robin1,625
16HavanaCamila Cabello feat
Young Thug
Frank Dukes1,582
17Lucid DreamsJuice WrldNick Mira1,552
18 PhotographEd SheeranJeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie1,547
19StarboyThe Weeknd feat
Daft Punk
Daft Punk, Cirkut,
Doc McKinney,
The Weeknd
20Love YourselfJustin BieberBenny Blanco1,519
21Sad!XXXTentacionJohn Cunningham1,519
22Something Just Like ThisThe Chainsmokers and ColdplayThe Chainsmokers1,486
23New RulesDua LipaIan Kirkpatrick1,476
24ThunderImagine DragonsAlex Da Kid, Jayson DeZuzio1,448
25Lean OnMajor Lazer and DJ Snake feat MOMajor Lazer, DJ Snake1,446
26XO Tour Llif3Lil Uzi VertTM88, JW Lucas1,425
27Bohemian RhapsodyQueenRoy Thomas Baker, Queen1,424
28Despacito (Remix)Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee feat Justin BieberMauricio Rengifo, Andrés Torres1,424
29SorryJustin BieberSkrillex, BloodPop1,419
30ShallowLady Gaga and Bradley CooperLady Gaga, Benjamin Rice1,413
31All of MeJohn LegendDave Tozer, John Legend1,405
32HappierMarshmello and BastilleMarshmello1,394
33HumbleKendrick LamarMike Will Made It, Pluss1,389
34Don't Let Me DownThe Chainsmokers feat DayaThe Chainsmokers1,387
357 RingsAriana GrandeTommy Brown, Charles Anderson, Michael Foster1,385
36Better NowPost MaloneFrank Dukes, Louis Bell1,370
37Jocelyn FloresXXXTentacionPotsu1,386
38Sicko ModeTravis ScottChahayed, Hit-Boy, OZ, Cubeatz, Tay Keith, Dean1,358
39Stressed OutTwenty One PilotsMike Elizondo1,356
40I Took a Pill in Ibiza (Seeb Remix)Mike Posner and SeebMike Posner, Seeb, Martin Terefe1,352
41Faded Alan WalkerAlan Walker, Jesper Borgen, Mood Melodies1,350
42Let Me Love YouDJ Snake feat Justin BieberDJ Snake, Andrew Watt, Louis Bell1,350
43Take Me to ChurchHozierRob Kirwan1,348
44GoosebumpsTravis ScottCardo, Yung Exclusive, Cubeatz, Mike Dean1,344
45Don't Start NowDua LipaIan Kirkpatrick1,340
46CongratulationsPost Malone feat QuavoMetro Boomin, Frank Dukes, Louis Bell1,331
47LovelyBillie Eilish and KhalidFinneas O'Connell1,314
48Let Her GoPassengerMike Rosenberg, Chris Vallejo1,305
49Stay with MeSam SmithJimmy Napes, Steve Fitzmaurice, Rodney Jerkins1,303
50CirclesPost MalonePost Malone, Louis Bell, Frank Dukes1,301
51Treat You BetterShawn MendesTeddy Geiger, Dan Romer, DJ "Daylight" Kyriakides1,288
52Thank U, NextAriana GrandeTommy Brown Michael Foster, Charles Anderson, Ariana Grande, Victoria Monet1,271
53Uptown FunkMark Ronson feat Bruno MarsMark Ronson, Jeff Bhasker, Bruno Mars1,266
54I Don't CareEd Sheeran and Justin BieberKarl Sandberg, Karl Schuster, Fred1,264
55UnforgettableFrench Montana feat Swae LeeJaegen, 1Mind, C.P Dubb, Mike WiLL Made-It1,258
56Cheap ThrillsSiaGreg Kurstin1,256
57Girls Like YouMaroon 5 feat Cardi BCirkut, Jason Evigan1,248
58Too Good at GoodbyesSam SmithJimmy Napes, Steve Fitzmaurice, StarGate1,236
59Wake Me UpAvicii feat Aloe BlaccAvicii, Arash Pournouri1,229
60Without MeHalseyLouis Bell1,228
61DespacitoLuis Fonsi feat Daddy YankeeMauricio Rengifo, Andrés Torres1,212
627 YearsLukas GrahamFuture Animals, Pilo1,201
63Roses (Imanbek Remix)Saint John and ImanbekFallen1,191
64Can't Stop The FeelingJustin TimberlakeJustin Timberlake, Max Martin, Shellback1,188
65Counting StarsOneRepublicRyan Tedder, Noel Zancanella1.185
66I Like ItCardi B, Bad Bunny and J BalvinJ. White Did It, Tainy, Craig Kallman, Invincible1,182
67Can't Hold UsMacklemore and
Ryan Lewis feat
Ray Dalton
Ryan Lewis1,180
68StitchesShawn MendesDaylight, Teddy Geiger, Danny Parker1,179
69That's What I LikeBruno MarsShampoo Press & Curl, The Stereotypes (co.)1,171
71Cold WaterMajor Lazer feat
Justin Bieber and
Major Lazer, Benny Blanco, Jr Blender, King Henry1,168
72I Fall ApartPost MaloneIllangelo1,168
73What Do You Mean?Justin BieberMdL, Bieber1,167
74The BoxRoddy Ricch30 Roc, Datboisqueeze, Zentachi1.164
75The HillsThe WeekndIllangelo, Mano1,161
76See You AgainWiz Khalifa feat
Charlie Puth
DJ Frank E, Charlie Puth, Andrew Cedar1,157
77RiptideVance JoyJames Keogh, Edwin White, John Castle1,154
78PyschoPost Malone feat
Ty Dolla Sign
Post Malone, Louis Bell1,151
79HeathensTwenty One PilotsMike Elizondo, Tyler Joseph1,150
80One KissCalvin Harris and
Dua Lipa
Calvin Harris1,149
81I Like Me BetterLauvLauv1,143
82RadioactiveImagine DragonsAlex da Kid1,135
83EastsideBenny Blanco,
Halsey and Khalid
Andrew Watt, Benny Blanco, Cashmere Cat1,131
84AttentionCharlie PuthCharlie Puth1,130
85Old Town Road (remix)Lil Nas and
Billy Ray Cyrus
YoungKio. Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross1,130
86Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)Omi and Felix JaehnOMI, Clifton Dillon, Felix Jaehn
87DemonsImagine DragonsAlex da Kid1,125
88Youngblood5 Seconds of SummerAndrew Watt, Louis Bell1,117
89Taki TakiDJ Snake feat
Selena Gomez,
Ozuna, and
Cardi B
DJ Snake1,116
90SugarMaroon 5Ammo, Cirkut1,114
91Can't Feel My FaceThe WeekndMax Martin, Ali Payami1,112
92This is What You Came ForCalvin Harris feat
Calvin Harris, Kuk Harrell1,108
93In My FeelingsDrake40, TrapMoneyBenny, Blaqnmild1,105
94We Don't Talk AnymoreCharlie Puth feat
Selena Gomez
Charlie Puth1,104
95HelloAdeleGreg Kurstin1,102
96IDGAFDua LipaKoz1,099
97ChandelierSiaGreg Kurstin, Jesse Shatkin1,098
98I'm YoursJason MrazMartin Terefe1,095
99When The Party's OverBillie EilishFinneas O'Connell1,092
100Work From HomeFifth Harmony feat
Ty Dolla Sign
Ammo, DallasK1.092