Wilko Johnson

A huge frantic presence with a deathly stare and a jerky, powerful guitar style, Wilko Johnson was a ball of energy bashing out DIY R&B with furious intent and helped pave the way for the punk rock movement. Born John Wilkinson on July 12, 1947, in Canvey Island, Essex, England, he worked briefly as an English teacher before his rhythm and blues / rock band Dr. Feelgood became the main protagonists of the 1970s punk rock scene which saw groups of oddball art students playing high energy R&B in small venues with a fevered, anarchic spirit. Dr. Feelgood went on to release the Number 1 live album Stupidity (1976) which was sandwiched in between the acclaimed studio albums Down by the Jetty (1975), Malpractice (1975), and Sneakin' Suspicion (1977). Disagreements led to Wilko Johnson leaving the band and he went on to form Solid Senders, joined Ian Dury and The Blockheads, played with Johnny Thunders, and enjoyed a long career fronting The Wilko Johnson Band. He appeared in both the first and second seasons of the enormously successful TV series Game of Thrones and, despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2013, continued to gig frequently and collaborate with Roger Daltrey on the album Going Back Home (2014). After discovering that his terminal diagnosis was inaccurate, he underwent surgery and came through the other side cancer-free. With a new lease on life, he returned to the studio to work on new material with The Wilko Johnson Band resulting in the 2018 album Blow Your Mind. After enjoying several more years of activity, Wilko Johnson died on November 21, 2022, at the age of 75.

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