- 28 Jul 20
"Thank you for the joy you brought to music and for being the best indie soul goddess ever," George reflects
She wasn't a household name, but in music circles Denise Johnson, who passed away unexpectedly yesterday, was royalty. Blessed with a voice full of soul, emotion and no little raunch, she was able to sing from a whisper to a Primal Scream. We still remember seeing her and the Scream Team play an absolute blinder on the Friday night at Féile '92 in Semple Stadium. It mattered not one jot that it poured from the sky; we got loaded and we had a good time!
You'll be able to hear those abundant talents on Where Does It Go, the Denise Johnson acoustic solo album that went on pre-order earlier this month and, in addition to a slew of originals, finds her covering fellow Mancs New Order and 10cc.
"I might not have mentioned it but I've got a new album coming out," she joked a few days ago on Twitter. "I say new, it's my first ever. What? I haven't said a word? Well..."
The Johnson family have released a statement, which reveals that, "Denise had been ill the week prior to her death but told friends she was 'much better' on Friday. The cause of death is not yet known, although she was discovered holding her inhaler on Monday morning. Best known for her work with Primal Scream on their '90s albums Screamadelica and Give Out But Don't Give Up, Denise had sung with Manchester band A Certain Ratio for over 25 years, and provided guest vocals for New Order, Gay Dad, Electronic and Bernard Butler, to name a few. She would also want it recorded that she was a Manchester City supporter."
Her former Primal Scream bandmates have acknowledged how pivotal Denise's role in the band was during the '90s.
"We were sad to hear about the passing of Denise Johnson," they say. "Our condolences to her family and friends. Denise's vital contributions to our Screamadelica and Give Out But Don't Give Up albums and tours are a testament to her talent. Precious memories."
Adding to the tributes, one half of Electronic, Johnny Marr, says: "Such sad news about our dear friend Denise Johnson. Playing alongside her was something else. It was a privilege to work with her."
"Spend sometime listening to her wonderful voice, remembering her loving nature and infectious sense of humour," urge A Certain Ratio.
Adds Boy George: "Very sad to hear about the passing of Denise Johnson. Thank you for the joy you brought to music and for being the best indie soul goddess ever. My thoughts are with your family and closest friends. Play the music loud!"
Having paid individual tribute to their fallen comrade yesterday, New Order say in a joint communique: "New Order are devastated to hear the sad news that Denise Johnson has passed away. She was a beautiful person with a huge talent. Her voice graced many of our albums and live shows and that of our friends. We will miss her dearly."
The word from Bernard Butler is: "I am saddened to hear of Denise Johnson's passing. I invited her to sing on my album because I heard her voice when I wrote the songs. I didn't ask for a backing singer; I asked for Denise Johnson. She was beautiful and alive and I am grateful my music was touched by her beauty."
"I knew Denise Johnson pretty well, she was a beautiful soul," Badly Drawn Boy reflects. "Following her tweets in recent weeks she was so excited about her new album. It couldn’t be sadder."
"Denise Johnson, the soul of Manchester," add Inspiral Carpets, while Jah Wobble says: "So sad to find out today that Denise Johnson has passed. Such a nice person. RIP xx."|
Along with a photo of them hanging out together in 2015, Mike Scott messages: "I'm sorry to hear the great singer Denise Johnston has died. She sang with Primal Scream, Electronic and many others. And with me. On 'Questions' her vocal outshines mine. Travel on well, Denise. I'm sorry we won't get to work together again in this life."
"So sad to hear about Denise Johnson," Guy Garvey rues. "She was so lovely to me from my being an excited young 'un. Kind, open, funny and sooooo cool. And the POWER of her voice threading all that music together."
"One of those amazing musical talents that had no ego... sad, sad day," mourns Happy Mondays co-founder Gaz Whelan. "The world just gets shitter every day..."
Her beloved Man City tweeted: "Sending our thoughts and condolences to the friends and family of much-loved Manchester singer and City fan Denise Johnson following the sad news of her passing."
— Mike Scott (@MickPuck) July 27, 2020
“When the last beat drops
and the music stops
though the body leaves,
my soul will remain”.
RIP #DeniseJohnson - a beautiful talent but more importantly, a kind human being. Always encouraging, I am just devastated you’re gone. Thank you SO much for your poem in my book 🖤😢 pic.twitter.com/IMCS8eVafI
— Stephen Watt (@StephenWattSpit) July 27, 2020
Sat looking at pictures/reading messages. I want a 4 hour epic call. I want to squeeze you so tight, you clip me for messing your barnet up. To see you side-eye a ‘twatclacker’ (that came up on predictive text, you’d be proud) We just want you back where you belong. 💔 pic.twitter.com/sPYyZafuok
— Natalie-Eve Williams (@natalieeveradio) July 28, 2020
RIP LOVELY DENISE JOHNSON X
— Ian Brown (@ianbrown) July 27, 2020
— Tim Burgess (@Tim_Burgess) July 27, 2020
— Fatboy Slim (@FatboySlim) July 28, 2020
- Film And TV
- 29 Feb 24