November 27, 2022

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Wilko Johnson, influential guitarist for Dr. Feelgood, dies aged 75

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Wilko Johnson, the influential guitarist associated with Dr. Feelgood, who spearheaded the British pub rock scene, died on Monday (21 November) aged 75, reports BBC News. Although no cause of death was given, Johnson was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in 2013 before making an unlikely recovery, as documented in the 2015 film The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson.

dr Formed on Canvey Island in Essex in the early 1970s, Feelgood played no-frills R&B that featured Johnson’s playful riffs and jerky guitar stabs. He wrote several songs for their first two albums, 1974’s Down by the Jetty and 1975’s Malpractice, which greatly influenced the Sex Pistols, The Jam, Gang of Four and generations of British punk and post-punk musicians. In the United States, Johnson’s influence can be heard in Blondie, the Ramones and Richard Hell’s Voidoids, all of which are Dr. Citing Feelgood as inspiration.

By the end of the decade, Johnson had split from the group and eventually formed the Wilko Johnson Band, the project he directed until his death. The group’s production was sporadic, but Johnson’s legacy was celebrated more lastingly after starring in Julian Temple’s 2009 documentary about Dr. Feelgood, Oil City Confidential had performed. Subsequently, Johnson appeared in the first two seasons of Game of Thrones as the executioner Ser Ilyn Payne.

After his cancer diagnosis in 2013, Johnson turned down chemotherapy to embark on a farewell tour. However, the cancer was less aggressive than initially thought, and he declared himself cancer-free in 2014. The Wilko Johnson Band released one final album, Blow Your Mind, in 2018 and performed up until the months before his death. members of Led ZeppelinFranz Ferdinand and Sleaford mods were among those paying tribute to Johnson.


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