April 14, 2005

Piano Legend Johnnie Johnson Dies At 80

Rock ‘n’ Roll piano legend, Johnnie Johnson, died of natural causes at his home outside of St. Louis, MO Wednesday morning. He was 80 years old.

Johnson began his career in 1952, when he hired the then-unknown guitarist, Chuck Berry, to join his St. Louis-based band. Berry eventually became the frontman of the group and the two collaborated on some of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s most seminal recordings, including “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” and “Sweet Little Sixteen.”

Johnson stepped into the spotlight later in life, releasing his first solo album in 1989. His star continued to rise, especially among his fellow musicians, who lined up to work with the icon. In the last decade, Johnson performed and recorded with an amazingly diverse array of artists, including Eric Clapton, Aerosmith, Keith Richards, The Kentucky Headhunters, Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead, Susan Tedeschi, NRBQ, Buddy Guy and Styx.

In honor of his contributions to the genre, Johnson was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 by his friend and supporter, Keith Richards. He continued to perform and headline at concerts and clubs around the world until earlier this year. His last performance was with fellow Rock ‘n’ Roll originator, Bo Diddley on February 9, 2005. “It was so much fun to play with Johnnie,” Diddley said upon hearing the news. “The world has lost a great man and a great musician. He will be missed but his music will live on.”

Johnson is survived by his wife, Frances, 10 children and many grandkids. A memorial service will be held at a time and place to be announced.

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Pixies Announce Summer Plans

the Pixies will return to the road this summer, begining May 26-27 with two doubleheaders in Portland, Ore. North American dates are set through June 14 in Wantagh, N.Y., with more to be added.

The Pixies will also drop in on several festivals, including May 28 at the Sasquatch! Festival in George, Wash., and the inaugural CMJ Rock Hall Music Fest on June 8 in Cleveland. A European run is also in the works for late August.

Also in the discussion stage is a fall Frank Black tour in support of his upcoming solo album, “Honeycomb.” That set is due July 19 via Back Porch/EMI.

Here are the Pixies’ tour dates:

May 26-27: Portland, Ore. (Roseland Theatre; two shows both nights)
May 28: George, Wash. (Sasquatch! Festival)
May 30: San Francisco (Warfield Theatre; two shows)
June 2: Los Angeles (Wiltern Theatre; two shows)
June 5: Morrison, Col. (Red Rocks)
June 8: Cleveland (CMJ Rock Hall Music Fest; early show)
June 8: Cleveland (Scene Pavilion; late show)
June 11: Atlanta (Music Midtown Festival)
June 13: Columbia, Md. (Merriweather Post Pavilion)
June 14: Wantagh, N.Y. (Jones Beach)

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White Stripes Album Due June 7th

The White Stripes will release their new album, the band’s fifth on Third Man Rcords/V2 Records on June 7th. Recorded in Detroit at Jack White’s Third Man Studios, mixed in Memphis at Ardent Studios and mastered in NYC at Masterdisk, the album will be titled Get Behind Me Satan

The album contains 13 original songs, all of them written on piano, acoustic guitar and marimba. The first single is “Blue Orchid.”

The White Stripes start a world tour on May 11th in Mexico, with U.S. dates to be announced.

1. Blue Orchid
2. The Nurse
3. My Doorbell
4. Forever For Her (Is Over For Me)
5. Little Ghost
6. The Denial Twist
7. White Moon
8. Instinct Blues
9. Passive Manipulation
10. Take, Take, Take
11. As Ugly As I Seem
12. Red Rain
13. I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet)

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