Jim Johnston 1930-2022

26th March 2022

Our condolences to the family of Jim Johnston, ex-head of Abbey Road Technical Services, who has passed away at the age of 92.

Jim first began work at the studios in early 1954, after transferring from the EMI research facility at Hayes where he was working as a trainee design and development engineer. He soon became an important fixture in the legendary “Amp Room”, which gave rise to some of our most revered technical staff including our current microphone custodian Lester Smith and the legendary Ken Townsend MBE.

Jim is back row, second from the right.

Jim is back row, second from the right.


“Initially he was involved in recording sessions both at home and abroad including Madame Butterfly in Rome.” - Ken Townsend


Along with Townsend, Keith Slaughter and David Frost, Johnston was at the core of the technical department from the ‘50s through to the ‘80s, transitioning Abbey Road from wax to tape and facilitating some of the most important music of the 20th century. Jim went on to manage the department and spent his entire career at Abbey Road until his retirement in 1989.


Ken Townsend remembers, “Upon retiring he moved from Rickmansworth to Budleigh Salterton in Devon with his wife near to his schoolteacher daughter where he lived the rest of his life. Our sympathy goes out to his wife and daughter on this sad loss.”


Thank you to Ken, Lester and Jim Jones for providing the above information and photographs.


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