British guitar hero Wilko Johnson will celebrate his upcoming 70th birthday with a concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 26 September. A survivor in the truest sense, after his survival from a diagnosis of supposedly terminal pancreatic cancer in 2012, Johnson will turn 70 on 12 July.
2017 also marks the 40th anniversary of the Wilko Johnson Band, which he formed after leaving the redoubtable British rhythm and blues outfit in which he made his name, Dr. Feelgood. Johnson had a spell as a member of Ian Dury’s Blockheads, but reformed his own band, which then as now, features celebrated bassist and longtime Blockhead, Norman Watt-Roy.
The Albert Hall show will feature Johnson and Watt-Roy along with drummer Dylan Howe — the son of Yes guitarist Steve Howe — as well as family, friends and special guests. Here’s a taste of the Wilko Johnson Band in live action, performing ‘The More I Give’ at the Teatro Apolo de Barcelona:
Johnson has won renewed acclaim not just via the remarkable way in which he’s cheated death, but via such projects as Going Back Home, his collaborative album with The Who’s frontman Roger Daltrey. The record reached No. 3 in the UK chart and achieved gold certification.
In 2016, Johnson’s memoir Don’t You Leave Me Here: My Life was published, alongside a collection of his favourite Chess Records tracks, Wilko Johnson Presents The First Time I Met The Blues. Last month saw the release of the two-CD retrospective I Keep It To Myself.