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Johnnie Johnson


1924

Johnnie Johnson is born.

1952

Needing a replacement for an ailing saxophonist for a New Year’s Eve show, pianist/bandleader Johnnie Johnson calls a guitar-playing acquaintance named Chuck Berry.

1955

Chuck Berry records “Maybellene” – an uptempo rewrite of the country-flavored “Ida Red” – with pianist Johnnie Johnson, bass player Willie Dixon and drummer Jasper Thomas. It is the first of Berry’s many hits for Chess Records.

1958

The rock and roll classic “Johnny B. Goode,” written by Chuck Berry about pianist/sidekick Johnnie Johnson, makes the Top Ten.

1973

After 20 years, Johnnie Johnson pianist leaves Chuck Berry’s band.

1986

Johnnie Johnson is part of the all-star band that backs Chuck Berry at a concert at St. Louis’s Fox Theater in celebration of Berry’s 60th birthday. The concert is the basis for the documentary film, ‘Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll!,’ released in 1988.

1987

Johnnie Johnson releases the first solo album of his lengthy career, ‘Blue Hand Johnnie.’

1992

Johnnie Johnson’s third solo album, ‘Johnnie B. Bad,’ finds the piano great backed by Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and NRBQ.

2001

Johnnie Johnson is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the sixteenth annual induction dinner. Keith Richard is his presenter.

2001

A multi-count lawsuit against Chuck Berry is filed on behalf of pianist Johnny Johnson. It seeks a share of royalties for Johnson, who allegedly co-composed numerous hit songs with Berry that have heretofore been credited to Berry alone.

2005

Johnnie Johnson passes away at the age of 80.

Johnnie Johnson