SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Friends are celebrating a music legend’s life. Famed guitarist, engineer, and music producer Jimmy Johnson passed away on Thursday surrounded by family.

A white ribbon hangs from the door outside Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Sheffield. For ten years, some of the biggest names in music recorded in the building. Johnson was the driving force behind its success.

“Jimmy was the strength behind everything,” stated studio co-founder David Hood. “Everything in here I see Jimmy’s touches, and it would not have happened without him. My career would not have happened without Jimmy.”

Hood has been friends with Jimmy Johnson for 60-plus years. They met while Johnson was working as a student crossing guard in junior high.

“That was in seventh grade, Atlanta Avenue School,” Hood reflected. “That’s the first time I remember seeing Jimmy and we were fast friends at the start because I was the new kid at the school.”

With Barry Beckett and Roger Hawkins, the four grew to love music together. As the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, they left FAME Recording Studios to venture out on their own. Muscle Shoals Sound Studios and the “Swampers” were born.

“We made an agreement in this room amongst ourselves that nothing, wives, girlfriends, vacations, nothing was going to stand in the way of us and Muscle Shoals Sound. We stuck to that,” explained Hood.

Over the years Hood has said goodbye to Beckett and now Johnson. With Roger Hawkins aging, Hood is committed to keeping their dream alive.

“Looks like I’m the Swamper that’s telling the story now. I’ll try to do my best to tell it correctly and honorably.”

Countless careers started in this studio, with Jimmy Johnson on guitar or behind the desk.

Funeral arrangements were announced Friday afternoon by Morrison Funeral Home in Tuscumbia. A visitation will be held on Monday, September 9th at First Baptist Church of Sheffield from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The visitation will be immediately followed by Johnson’s funeral service.