Obits — July 28, 2020 at 8:33 am

Denise Johnson, whose voice lifted Primal Scream, A Certain Ratio and New Order, dies

Photo via A Certain Ratio

Denise Johnson, the Manchester-born singer whose soulful voice lifted the music of Primal Scream — most memorably on Screamadelica — A Certain Ratio, New Order and more has died at the age of 56, according to U.K. press reports and musicians she’d worked with.

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beautiful dear friend Denise has passed away,” the band A Certain Ratio posted on Facebook on Tuesday. No cause of dearth has been announced.

Johnson — who was set to release her debut solo album in September — appears on nearly half of 1991’s Screamadelica, most notably taking lead vocals on “Don’t Fight It, Feel It,” but also singing on “Come Together,” “Movin’ On Up,” “Damaged” and “Loaded.”

She also had performed in A Certain Ratio’s live lineup since the early ’90s, and appeared on the veteran Manchester post-punk act’s recordings — including on the band’s first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco, which also is due out in September.

Throughout the ’90s, Johnson lent her vocals to music by Bernard Sumner’s and Johnny Marr’s project Electronic, The Charlatans, Suede’s Bernard Butler and Ian Brown of The Stone Roses, among others. More recently, she sang on New Order’s 2015 album Music Complete.

“Shocked and devastated to hear of the passing of Denise Johnson. An absolutely beautiful lady,” New Order’s Stephen Morris wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

Johnson was set to release her debut solo album, Where Does It Go, an acoustic collection of songs by Manchester bands, on Sept. 25. The album features her performances of New Order’s “True Faith,” The Smiths’ “Well I Wonder,” 10cc’s “I”m Not in Love” and more.

Below, some of Johnson’s performances — and tributes from fellow musicians.















  1. Andy Patterson

    Such sad, sad news. I immediately think of what she brought to “Screamadelica,” but her vocal on Electronic’s “Get the Message” was what I wanted to listen to first after learning of her passing. She took that great song to another level, much like she did with so many others’ songs. RIP, Denise. You will be missed.

  2. those are some impressive tribute contributors.

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