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 The Johnnie Johnson Memorial Concert

The Johnnie Johnson Memorial ConcertOne of the most beloved musical talents St. Louis has ever known - Mr. Johnnie Johnson - was paid homage by a sold out house of fans and a endless procession of artists awaiting their turn on stage at the Johnnie Johnson Memorial Concert held at the Pageant on April 29th, 2005.

Johnnie was born in Fairmont, West Virginia, and began playing piano at 4. He moved to Chicago after World War II, where he played jazz and blues in clubs. He moved to St. Louis in the early 1950s, forming his own R&B band, the Johnnie Johnson Trio.

When a band member became ill on New Year's Eve 1952, Johnson hired Berry to fill in. Fast forward over 50 years, and it's Chuck Berry headlining the show that honored his friend.

A 'who's who' of St. Louis Blues talent - over 16 acts - displayed once again that St. Louis is a world class music town. Kudos to John May and the St. Louis Blues Society for pulling this show off in under 10 days - "they told me I couldn't do it". But do it he did, and it will go down in STLBlues history as one of the best Blues concerts ever held in this town.

Jeff Alexander of Cousin Moe Music was on hand, along with his newly released CD 'Johnnie Be Eighty. And Still Bad'. This is the last recording that has Johnnie on it, a 'must have' for the serious Johnnie Johnson collector! Here's Cornbreads review of Johnnie Be Eighty. And Still Bad!

The evening was emceed by Bernie Hayes and Papa Ray, the Soul Selector at KDHX 88.1 FM. Art Holliday (co-anchor and executive producer of "Today in St. Louis" morning show and "NewsChannel5 at Noon" at KSDK-TV) was on hand, capturing the evening for the Johnnie Johnson documentary he's been working on for over 2 years - we'll let you know when it's released!

Frances Johnson seemed really pleased to enjoy the tribute, which showed the love this town will always have for Johnnie. Seated with Frances was none other than Mr. Henry Townsend, at 94 years young the patriarch of St. Louis Blues!

The music was a dynamic showcase of St. Louis talent, here's the list of of bands and artists who donated their time for this momentous event.......

Silvercloud • Ron Edwards • Oliver Johnson • Larry Thurston and the Soulard Blues Band • The Johnnie Johnson Band Butch Wax and the Hollywoods • Jimmy Lee Kennett Band • Rich McDonough Band • Uvee Hayes • JR Reed • Billy Peek • Erma Whiteside • Kelley Hunt • Kim Massie • Marsha Evans • Bennie Smith • Stacey Johnson • Chuck Berry

The bands were inspired by the occasion, undoubtedly sharing the feeling that Johnnie was watching from above, smiling down with pride and satisfaction in the love he inspired, and the legacy he left behind. Visit our tribute page to the legend of Mr. Johnnie Johnson! Here's a look back on a very special moment in St. Louis Blues music, the Johnnie Johnson Memorial.

Papa Ray and Bernie Hayes
Uvee and Berniew Hayes
Ron Edwards
Silvercloud and Ron Edwards
Oliver Johnson
Oliver Johnson
Larry Thurston
The Soulard Blues Band
he Soulard Blues Band
he Soulard Blues Band
Henry Townsend and Frances Johnson
he Soulard Blues Band
he Soulard Blues Band
Butch Wax and the Hollywoods
Butch Wax and the Hollywoods
Papa Ray and Silvercloud
Jimmie Lee Kennett Band
Jimmie Lee Kennett Band
J.R. Reed and Jimmie Lee
J.R. Reed
Rich McDonough
Les Moore

Uvee hayes
Cjhuck Berry and Bennie Smith
More photos - including Chuck Berry - are here!
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