Wilko Johnson, guitarist with Dr. Feelgood, passed away at his home in southeast England.
Why it matters
Johnson was a one-of-a-kind guitarist and songwriter with Canvey Island rhythm’n’blues bruisers Dr. Feelgood, mainstays of the British pub rock scene of the Seventies, whose aggressive back-to-basics approach to rock’n’roll chimed with the budding punk scene of 1976. He was an influential player and geezer philosopher of the highest order.
What the papers say
Sources are consistent in reporting the news of Johnson's death and his role as a guitarist with Dr. Feelgood. Some sources provide additional details about his life, including his diagnosis with terminal pancreatic cancer in 2013 and his decision to tour instead of undergoing chemotherapy. Other sources mention his role as Ser Ilyn Payne, the mute executioner in Game of Thrones, and his influence on punk music.
How we got here
Born John Wilkinson in 1947, Johnson was raised on Canvey Island, a marshy, industrial oil town in England’s River Thames estuary. At a time of flamboyant glam and indulgent prog rock, Dr. Feelgood played a then-unfashionable brand of blues and R&B, dressed in cheap suits that made them look, Johnson said later, like “shoddy bank robbers.” Johnson was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer in early 2013 and said he was embarking on a farewell tour. However, a doctor fan, observing his vitality on stage, suggested he get a second opinion. It transpired his cancer was operable and, to his bewilderment, Johnson received his own stay of execution.
More on these topics
Wilko Johnson is an English guitarist, singer, songwriter and occasional actor. He was a member of the pub rock/rhythm and blues band Dr. Feelgood in the 1970s.
Dr. Feelgood are an English pub rock band formed in 1971. Hailing from Canvey Island, Essex, the group are best known for early singles such as "She Does It Right", "Roxette", "Back in the Night" and "Milk and Alcohol". The group's original distinctively.