Bob Johnston, Record Producer, Dies at 83

  Dead Famous

Dead, Donald William ‘Bob’ Johnston, born May 14, 1932 and died August 14, 2015, he was an American record producer, best known for his work with Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, and Simon and Garfunkel.

Donald Johnston was born into a professional musical family.

His grandmother Mamie Jo Adams was a songwriter, as was his mother Diane Johnston.

Diane had written songs for Gene Autry in the ’50s and scored a hit in 1976 when Asleep at the Wheel covered her 1950 demo “Miles and Miles of Texas”.

After a stint in the Navy, Bob returned to Fort Worth, then he and Diane Johnston collaborated on songwriting for rockabilly artist Mac Curtis, and others.

From 1956 to 1961 Bob recorded a few rockabilly singles under the name Don Johnston.

By 1964 he had moved into production work at Kapp Records in New York, freelance arranging for Dot Records and signed as a songwriter to music publisher Hill and Range.

He also married songwriter Joy Byers with whom he began to collaborate.

In recent years Bob Johnston has claimed that songs still credited to his wife Joy Byers were actually co-written, or solely written by himself.

He has cited old “contractual reasons” for this situation. The songs in question include Timi Yuro’s 1962 hit “What’s A Matter Baby”, plus at least 16 songs for Elvis Presley’s films between 1964 and 1968, including “It Hurts Me”, “Let Yourself Go” and “Stop, Look and Listen”.

Two songs credited to Byers, the aforementioned “Stop, Look and Listen” and “Yeah, She’s Evil!” were recorded by Bill Haley & His Comets (the latter song was titled “The Meanest Girl in Town” when Presley recorded it). Presley recorded “The Meanest Girl in Town” on June 10, 1964, while Bill Haley recorded his version a week later, on June 16, 1964