Keith Harwood

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Keith Harwood (1940 – 3 September 1977), was an English recording engineer, notable for his work with the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and David Bowie throughout the 1970s.


Harwood was based at Olympic Studios, in Barnes, London, employed often in collaboration with both Andy Johns and Glyn Johns. He is best remembered for the Rolling Stones albums It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (1974), Black and Blue (1976), plus the live album Love You Live (1977). Prior to the Stones, Harwood worked with rock bands the Pretty Things, Tucky Buzzard, Humble Pie, Wishbone Ash, and Mott the Hoople. He also recorded and mixed Bowie's Diamond Dogs album in 1974. With Led Zeppelin, Harwood engineered Houses of the Holy (1973), Physical Graffiti (1975), and Presence (1976). Harwood was a workaholic often spending many late hours mixing in the studio. Jimmy Page recalled working with him on the Presence sessions:

After the band [Led Zeppelin] finished recording all its parts, me and the engineer, Keith Harwood, just started mixing until we would fall asleep. Then, whoever would wake up first, would call the other and we'd go back in and continue to work until we passed out again.[1]

Harwood had completed the final mixdown for the Rolling Stones' Love You Live release and was supervising recording a comeback solo album for John Phillips (with the working title Phillips '77), formerly of the Mamas and the Papas, in the autumn of 1977,[2] with Keith Richards. Harwood was on his way back home from a mixing session at Olympic Studio when he fell asleep at the steering wheel, due to a combination of exhaustion and heroin, causing his car to run off the South London road (Queen's Ride, Barnes) he was driving on and fatally colliding into a traffic barrier in front of a sycamore tree.[3] Singer-songwriter Marc Bolan died at the same traffic barrier two weeks later.[4]

The Rolling Stones honoured Harwood on the cover of Love You Live, which was released only days after his death, with the tribute 'Those whom the gods love grow young,'[5] a quote from Oscar Wilde. Richards, still in shock from Harwood's death, did not attend the release party at the Marquee in London.[6]


  1. Tolinski, Brad and Di Benedetto, Greg (January 1998). "Light and Shade: A Historic Look at the Entire Led Zeppelin Catalogue Through the Eyes of Guitarist/Producer/Mastermind Jimmy Page". Guitar World 18 (1): 106. ISSN 1045-6295. Retrieved on 5 June 2009.
  2. Campion, Chris. King of the Wild Frontier, The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 15 March 2009. Retrieved on 20 April 2009.
  3. Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Old Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. New York: Broadway Books, 413. ISBN 0-7679-0313-7. OCLC 46918084. 
  4. Simmonds, Jeremy (2008). The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns, and Ham Sandwiches. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 97. ISBN 1-55652-754-8. OCLC 182735382. 
  5. Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Old Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. New York: Broadway Books, 423. ISBN 0-7679-0313-7. OCLC 46918084. 
  6. Bockris, Victor (2003). Keith Richards: The Biography, Second. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 266. ISBN 978-0-786-74090-1. OCLC 52546402.