Mus­cle Shoals Sound Stu­dios founder Jimmy John­son dies

The Standard Journal - - NATIONAL -

Jimmy John­son, a founder of the Mus­cle Shoals Sound Stu­dios and gui­tarist with the famed studio mu­si­cians “The Swampers,” has died.

He was 76. His fam­ily an­nounced in a Face­book post that he died Thurs­day.

As a studio mu­si­cian, record­ing en­gi­neer and record pro­ducer, John­son played a role in iconic hits by Percy Sledge, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd and oth­ers.

Mu­si­cian Ja­son Is­bell posted on Twit­ter, writ­ing “The mighty Jimmy John­son has passed. A lot of my fa­vorite mu­sic wouldn’t ex­ist with­out him.”

Bassist and busi­ness part­ner David Hood said John­son was a “friend who be­came a brother” and an in­spi­ra­tion to him and count­less oth­ers in the mu­sic busi­ness.

“Jimmy was just an al­laround phe­nom­e­nal mu­sic guy,” Hood said.

John­son be­gan work as a pro­fes­sional gui­tar player at an early age and be­came a studio mu­si­cian with Fame Studio. He later helped found the Mus­cle Shoals Sound Stu­dios, which be­came a record­ing des­ti­na­tion for well­known artists.

Ac­cord­ing to the Alabama Mu­sic Hall of Fame, John­son’s “dis­tinc­tive gui­tar fills” can be heard on the record­ings of Aretha Franklin, Wil­son Pick­ett, The Sta­ple Singers and oth­ers. John­son also was renowned as a record­ing en­gi­neer work­ing the con­trols of Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Wo­man” and the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses” and other hits.

Hood said in the studio that John­son could hear things that oth­ers didn’t.

“When he first signed Lynyrd Skynyrd, no­body thought any­body would want to hear that,” Hood said of the long-haired group. “But he be­lieved in them, fought for them and never gave up on them.” The group im­mor­tal­ized the Swampers with a ref­er­ence on “Sweet Home Alabama.”

John­son al­ways re­mained hum­ble, Hood said, re­call­ing how John­son’s mother would host home-cooked din­ners for “all these rock and roll peo­ple” in their small home in Sh­effield.

John­son’s son, Jay John­son, wrote on Face­book: “He is gone. Play­ing mu­sic with the an­gels now.”

Jimmy John­son, sound en­gi­neer for the Percy Sledge’s hit “When a Man Loves a Wo­man,” out­side his Ten­nessee River home in Sh­effield, Ala. John­son, a founder of the Mus­cle Shoals Sound Stu­dios and a gui­tarist with the famed studio mu­si­cians nick­named “The Swampers” has died. He was 76. His fam­ily an­nounced his death in a Face­book post.

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