Bob Dylan + Johnny Cash Producer Bob Johnston Dies at 83
Johnston got his start by writing songs for Elvis Presley and Bill Haley & His Comets. He later became a producer at Columbia Records, at which time he embarked on his creative partnership with Dylan, first producing 1965’s Highway 61 Revisited. He went on to famously produce Blonde on Blonde, followed by 1967’s John Wesley Harding, 1969’s Nashville Skyline, 1970’s Self Portrait and New Morning. It was on Nashville Skyline that Dylan opened “To Be Alone With You” by asking Johnston, “Is it rolling, Bob?”
Johnston also served as producer on Johnny Cash’s prison albums, At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin; Simon & Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme; and Leonard Cohen’s Songs From a Room and Songs of Love and Hate. He also worked with the Byrds, Loudon Wainwright III, the Waterboys, Willie Nelson and many more.
A friend of Johnston’s confirmed his death to the Austin Chronicle:
For several days before, swinging, swaying, and waving around his hands, telling stories out loud, entertaining and consuming all those that saw and heard him. Once he was confined to [a] bed and connected to machines, hospice only gave him a few days to live. He was on morphine to help any pain he was experiencing. Bob's wife told me he pass[ed] away peacefully. The grand master waved his magical wand for the last time, then disappeared off into the night.