RIP: Bob Johnston (1932–2015)
The legendary producer of seminal Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Simon and Garfunkel records has died.
Bob Johnston, one of the most acclaimed and influential record producers of all time, passed away last Friday at the age of eighty-three.
A Texas native, Johnston made his legacy while working at Columbia Records in the 1960s and early 1970s, where he produced some of the greatest albums of the era. Most prominently, Johnston produced every world-changing Bob Dylan record from Highway 61 Revisited through Self Portrait (that’s Johnston asking the famous question, “Is it rolling, Bob?” at the beginning of “To Be Alone with You”), but he was also responsible for other classics like Leonard Cohen’s Songs of Love and Hate and Songs from a Room, Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, and Johnny Cash’s live albums at Folsom and San Quentin prisons.
Following his time at Columbia, Johnston went on to produce albums from Jimmy Cliff, Willie Nelson, and Carl Perkins, and remained a superstar right up until the end, with Rolling Stone reporting via The Austin Chronicle that, “The grand master waved his magical wand for the last time, then disappeared off into the night.”