Johnnie C. Johnson
July 8, 1924 - April 13, 2005
We will miss you Johnnie...

May 13, 2001  

Maggie McCabe and Johnnie Johnson



I had the honor of meeting and talking with Johnnie Johnson,.the jump blues/boogie pianist who co-wrote such Chuck Berry staples as "Maybellene" and "Roll Over Beethoven". After all my wonderful experiences in music, meeting Johnnie is without a doubt the thrill of a lifetime. Not because he's a Rock & Roll hall of famer, not because of his talent or fame at all but because I had the chance to sit down, just he and I for about 10 minutes in a small club in Windsor and just talk. I really felt as if I was talking with a good friend. When I first was introduced to him he immediately pulled a chair out and told me to sit down and talk for a while. I asked if he would sign my CD and as he was writing I realized who I was sitting next to and without thinking I blurted out what a thrill it was to meet him.

Without missing a beat he said "It's a thrill that you want my autograph". The charm, humility and grace that this man holds is genuine. When I explained that I was a musician he showed real interest. He asked what I played. When I said guitar he said "Oh, I was hoping you played the piano. I would have asked you up".

I'll regret forever I didn't mention that I could have sung "Georgia on my Mind" which Johnnie does a wonderful version of. He did call up someone he had met during the break to sing but it wasn't me. I do take pride in the fact that when Johnnie first started to call this lady up to sing, the friends at my table (Larry & Mary Anne Everhart, Howard and Deb Glaser) all turned around and thought it might be me he was talking about over the mic. The look on their faces that I may have finagled my way on stage was priceless. Good thing I wasn't called up, I would have had heart failure.

Johnnie told me about the tour he was about to go on. He told the story of getting into the Hall of Fame. He talked about a tribute album that's going to be put together with people like Eric Clapton, John Sebastian, Keith Richards, Paul McCartney, and Bonnie Raitt. We started talking about harmonica players. I bragged about Larry Everhart hoping Johnnie may get the idea to call Larry up to play- didn't work (sorry Larry, I tried). Johnnie said "You know I haven't played with a harmonica player in a while. In fact, the last harmonica player I played with was John Sebastian". He said " You know he got into the hall of fame before I did. In fact, he took his award and taped my name on it over his and gave it to me and said you keep this until you get your own". Johnnie exclaimed "I can finally send that back to him".

I mentioned that I had a demo CD's of our blues trio Maggie's Farm with me and could I give him a copy to which he immediately replied, "I'd be disappointed if you didn't". He made me feel truly important and displayed an honest interest in hearing our music. Near the end of our conversation he said "You're good, I can just tell by talking with you. You're good."

After meeting this true legend I have to say, if I never play again, if I never sing another note, hearing a man like Johnnie say that to me will be words that I'll never forget.

Johnnie, you are gracious, delightful and in my eyes a genuine, shining star.

Johnnie Passed away today April 13, 2005. He will be dearly missed...most definitely by this fan.

Read more about Johnnie on his website.