The music world lost one of its historic producers on Friday (August 14) when Bob Johnston passed away at the age of 83 in hospice care in Nashville.
Johnston worked with Bob Dylan on several albums -- including Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde On Blonde and John Wesley Harding and also produced Johnny Cash's At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin as well as working with Simon & Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen and Willie Nelson.
In his memoir Chronicles: Volume 1, Dylan wrote that, "Johnston had fire in his eyes. He had that thing that some people call 'Momentum.' You could see it in his face and he shared that fire, that spirit...he was born one hundred years too late. He should have been wearing a wide cape, a plumed hat, and riding with his sword held high."
In the documentary The Stranger Music of Leonard Cohen, Cohen said that the Texas-born Johnston "created an atmosphere in the studio that really invited you to do your best, stretch out, do another take, an atmosphere that was free from judgment, free from criticism, full of invitation, full of affirmation."
The Austin Chronicle reported that Johnston had been moved into hospice care a few days before his release after spending time in a Nashville memory care facility. No funeral or memorial plans have yet been announced.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.