Wilko Johnson diagnosed with cancer

Wilko has been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas but is vowing to heroically carry on touring…more on this story soon.

Johnson is perhaps best known for his role within Dr Feelgood, and whilst not quite a household name he is considered to be one of the most influential guitarists of his time for his signature choppy guitar playing style, considered to have been one of the major influences in development of punk rock.
Johnson quit Dr. Feelgood to join Ian Dury & The Blockheads and later formedhis own group, The Wilko Johnson Band who continue to tour to date.

His manager Robert Hoy broke the news today by writing on Wilko’s Facebook page that the 65-year-old had chosen not to receive any chemotherapy, but was “in good spirits“.

Despite the terminal diagnosis, Johnson plans to finish a new album and carry out a short tour of France…There are also plans for a series of farewell gigs in the UK.

Hoy said: “He is not yet suffering any physical effects and can expect to enjoy at least another few months of reasonable health and activity.”…”Wilko wishes to offer his sincere thanks for all the support he has had over his long career,” he added “From those who have worked with him to, above all, those devoted fans and admirers who have attended his live gigs, bought his recordings and generally made his life such an extraordinarily full and eventful experience.”

Johnson recently appeared in the Julien Temple acclaimed 2009 documentary film Oil City Confidential where he recalled his memories with Dr Feelgood.


The film roused a huge surge of interest in the guitarist, and a box set of all the Dr. Feelgood albums Johnson wrote and played on, was released last year, as well as an autobiography.

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


  1. Very well written article about a very sad situation for a man whose influence on future generations of guitarists is often overlooked. Fantasticaly brave way to deal with the diagnosis but those who have followed his career or even been fortunate to know him would expect nothing less. Just hope by some miracle he beats it – a definite hero in my eyes.

  2. We saw him in Buxton just over a year ago, I think it was.He was excellent. Played brilliantly. Everyone had a wonderful time. This is such sad news.


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