Producer Johnny Sandlin, Dead at 72

By Clive Young. Producer/engineer John Everett “Johnny” Sandlin, died of cancer September 19 in Decatur, AL at the age of 72. Over the course of his career, Sandlin worked with numerous Southern Rock and Country acts, including the Allman Brothers Band, Ronnie Dunn, Dixie Dreggs, Kitty Wells, Elvin Bishop, Eddie Kendricks, Bonnie Bramlett, Delbert McClinton, Gatlin Brothers, Marie Osmond and others.
By Clive Young,

New York, NY (October 4, 2017)—Producer/engineer John Everett “Johnny” Sandlin died of cancer September 19 in Decatur, AL; he was 72. Over the course of his career, Sandlin worked with numerous Southern Rock and Country acts, including the Allman Brothers Band, Ronnie Dunn, Dixie Dreggs, Kitty Wells, Elvin Bishop, Eddie Kendricks, Bonnie Bramlett, Delbert McClinton, Gatlin Brothers, Marie Osmond and others.

Born April 16, 1945 in Decatur, Sandlin started out in music as the drummer for The Five Men-its; in 1967, that band teamed with Duane and Gregg Allman and renamed itself Hour Glass, recording two albums in Los Angeles for Liberty Records. After the group fizzled, Sandlin became a session musician at FAME Studio in Muscle Shoals, AL, able to pick up bass, drums or guitar duties as needed, but by the turn of the 1970s, he had discovered that production was his calling. Working as an in-house producer and mixer for Capricorn Records, he began working behind the console, starting with Johnny Jenkins’ 1970 album, Ton-Ton Macoute.

That in turn led to reteaming with former Hour Glass bandmates on their new venture, The Allman Brothers Band, as he mixed the classic live album, At Fillmore East, and Eat a Peach, going on to produce Brothers and Sisters (the group’s commercial highpoint, powered by the hit, “Ramblin’ Man”), Win, Lose or Draw and The Road Goes on Forever for the group.

In the decades that followed, Sandlin went independent, producing country acts like Jerry Reed and Mac Davis in the 1980s as well as various solo projects and spinoffs for Allman Brothers Band members. Returning to Decatur, he opened Duck Tape Studios. The 1990s saw a flurry of work for Sandlin as he collaborated with a slew of Southern Rock-tinged jambands; during that era, he oversaw multiple albums for Widespread Panic, which he often recorded at recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, as well as Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit and the likes of Derek Trucks.

He is survived by his wife, Ann, and three daughters.

Join the Conversation