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  Johnnie celebrates his 80th
  By Cornbread

Johnnie &  Frances JohnsonThe Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden on July 7, 2004 was fantastic. The evening was Johnnie Johnson’s 80th birthday bash.

Johnnie and band were in perfect form for both sets. Thousands of family, friends and fans joined in for “happy birthday to you” to the Father of Rock and Roll. Marsha Evans joined in for a couple of songs, as did J.R. Reed. The house came down, or should I say the field jumped to their feet for Billy Peeks version of Johnnie B. Goode (Billy even did the duck walk).

Tony T. was outstanding as lead and rhythm guitarist. Gus Thornton was grooving on bass and could not have been any smoother. Johnnie walked to his piano a little stiff sat down and his fingers were like melted butter over the keys. Even Mother Nature cooperated with the best night I can remember in a long time - zero humidity, not too hot, I did not even get bothered by gnats or mosquito's. Whether you like rock, jazz or blues the evening provided plenty.

Happy Birthday Johnnie!

Ciao’ for now, peace.

Editors Note - Johnnie received another in his long list of awards, an official Proclamation from the Mayor of St. Louis honoring Johnnie for his achievements and the musical legacy he's created. Presenting this award on behalf of the City of St. Louis was Dr. Irv Mestman, husband of Street Teamer Lady Di.

Dr. Mestman presenting Johnnie a proclamation Johnnie's proclamation Johnnie Johnson

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