Manchester-born singer Denise Johnson, best known for her music with Primal Scream, died suddenly at the age of 53. The news was confirmed by Primal Scream bassist Simone Marie via Twitter on Monday. A cause of death was not immediately known, The Independent and The Guardian reported. Johnson was best known for her vocals on Primal Scream’s album Screamadelica, released in 1991.
“Very sad news,” Marie tweeted. “love and prayers to Denise’s family and loved ones. Rest in Power Denise Johnson x”
Johnson’s death was also mourned by Rowetta. “Sad sad news today,” she tweeted. “I have so many great memories of Denise from when we were young. We just used to sing & laugh like naughty schoolgirls all the time. A great loss to Manchester and music. My condolences to her family & loved ones.”
Johnson Performed With Various Bands Throughout Her Career
As noted by The Guardian, Johnson performed with Primal Scream 1990 to 1995. She sang on two of their most popular songs, “Loaded” and “Don’t Fight It, Feel It.” She performed with other bands, including lending her voice for tracks with bands like The Pet Shop Boys, Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr, and A Certain Ratio, as noted by The Independent.
Johnson was slated to release her debut acoustic album, titled Where Does It Go, in September. She promoted the album on Twitter, where she interacted with fans who pre-ordered the record. As noted by NME, in addition to premiering some original songs, the album also contained covers of “Well I Wonder” by The Smiths and “True Faith” by New Orders.
During an interview with Louder Than War in 2018, Johnson said performing with Primal Scream was like nothing she had experienced before.
“It was more like going for a night out and you might do a bit of singing in between! And definitely a top night out when performing with them, because of the band’s influences there was a really good eclectic mix of sounds and grooves,” she said, adding that being with Primal Scream for five years was “so truly magical, hair-tearing out [and] raucous.”
Johnson was active on Twitter in the days leading up to her untimely death. Two days before she passed away, the singer had been tweeting about racism. “I’ve said this before, don’t anyone fucking dare think I don’t hate racism with a passion,” she tweeted. “And I don’t have to say ALL, because racism no matter what is just that.”
Social Media Users Mourn Johnson’s Death
Upon learning of Johnson’s death, social media users took to Twitter to mourn the singer.
Stephen Morris of New Order said he was “shocked and devastated” over the news. He called her “an absolutely beautiful lady.”
The band also issued a statement of their own. “New Order are devastated to hear the sad news that Denise Johnson has passed away. She was a beautiful person with a huge talent. Her voice graced many of our albums and live shows and that of our friends,” the group wrote. “We will miss her dearly.”
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