|Birth name||Alonzo Johnson|
|Born||February 8, 1899|
|Origin||New Orleans, Louisiana, USA|
|Died||June 16, 1970 (aged 71)|
|Genre(s)||St. Louis blues|
|Instrument(s)||Guitar, Vocals, violin|
Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson (February 8, 1899 – June 16, 1970) was an American blues and jazz singer/guitarist and songwriter who pioneered the role of jazz guitar and is recognized as the first to play single-string guitar solos. Events 421 - Constantius III becomes co- Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. Year 1899 ( MDCCCXCIX) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common Events 1487 - Battle of Stoke Field, the last dying breath of the Wars of the Roses. Year 1970 ( MCMLXX) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link shows full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The Blues is a vocal and instrumental form of Music based on the use of the Blue notes It emerged as an accessible form of self-expression Jazz is an American Musical art form which originated in the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States A guitarist is a Musician who plays the Guitar. Guitarists may perform solo pieces or play with ensembles and bands of a wide variety of genres The term jazz guitar may refer to either a type of guitar or to the variety of playing styles used in the various genres which are commonly termed " Jazz
Johnson was born in Orleans Parish, New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in a family of musicians. New Orleans (nʲuːˈɔrliənz nʲuːˈɔrlənz French: La Nouvelle-Orléans) is a major United States port city and the largest city in Louisiana The State of Louisiana ( or, État de Louisiane, pronounced) is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America He studied violin, piano and guitar as a child, and learned to play various other instruments including the mandolin, but concentrated on the guitar throughout his professional career. The violin is a bowed String instrument with four strings usually tuned in Perfect fifths It is the smallest and highest-pitched member The piano is a Musical instrument played by means of a keyboard that produces sound by striking steel strings with Felt covered hammers The guitar is a Musical instrument with ancient roots that is used in a wide variety of musical styles "There was music all around us," he recalled, "and in my family you'd better play something, even if you just banged on a tin can. "
By his late teens, he played guitar and violin in his father's family band at banquets and weddings, alongside his brother James "Steady Roll" Johnson. He also worked with jazz trumpeter Punch Miller in the city's Storyville district. Ernest Miller aka Punch Miller or Kid Punch Miller (born June 10, 1894 in Raceland Louisiana; died December 2, 1971) was a Dixieland This article is about the New Orleans district For other things named "Storyville" see Storyville (disambiguation.
In 1917, Johnson joined a revue that toured England, returning home in 1919 to find that all of his family, except his brother James, had died in the 1918 influenza epidemic. The 1918 flu pandemic (commonly referred to as the Spanish flu) was an Influenza Pandemic that spread to nearly every part of the world
He and his brother settled in St. Louis in 1921. The two brothers performed as a duo, and Lonnie also worked on riverboats, working in the orchestras of Charlie Creath and Fate Marable. A riverboat is Ship designed for Inland navigation. These vessels are usually less sturdy than ships built for the open seas with limited navigational and Charles Cyril "Charlie" Creath (December 30 1890 Ironton Missouri - October 23 1951 Chicago) was an American Jazz trumpeter saxophonist Fate Marable ( 2 December 1890 – 16 January 1947) was a Jazz Pianist and bandleader In 1925 Lonnie married Mary Smith (i. e. Mary Johnson, a blues singer on her own right, who recorded from 1929 until 1936 - curiously enough never with Lonnie Johnson), with whom he had six children before their divorce in 1932.
In 1925, Johnson entered and won a blues contest at the Booker T. Washington Theatre in St. Louis, the prize being a recording contract with Okeh Records. Okeh Records began as an Independent record label based in the United States of America in  To his regret, he was then tagged as a blues artist, and later found it difficult to be regarded as anything else. He later said, "I guess I would have done anything to get recorded - it just happened to be a blues contest, so I sang the blues. " Between 1925 and 1932 he made about 130 recordings for the Okeh label. He was called to New York to record with the leading blues singers of the day including Victoria Spivey and country blues singer Alger "Texas" Alexander. Victoria Spivey ( 15 October 1906 - 3 October 1976) was an American Blues Singer and Songwriter Alger "Texas" Alexander ( September 12 1900 - April 16 1954) was a Blues Singer from Jewett, He also toured with Bessie Smith's T.O.B.A. show. Bessie Smith (July 9 1892 or April 15 1894&ndash September 26 1937 was an American Blues singer Theater Owners Booking Association, or TOBA, was the Vaudeville circuit for African American performers in the 1920s and 1930s 
In 1927, Johnson recorded in Chicago as a guest artist with Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five, paired with banjoist Johnny St. Cyr. The Hot Five was Louis Armstrong 's first Jazz recording band led under his own name Johnny St Cyr (b April 17, 1890 in New Orleans Louisiana, d June 17, 1966 in Los Angeles California) was an American In 1928 he recorded with Duke Ellington, as well as with a group, The Chocolate Dandies. Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29 1899 &ndash May 24 1974 was an American Composer, Pianist, and Bandleader. He pioneered the guitar solo on the 1927 track "6/88 Glide" and many of his early recordings showed him playing 12-string guitar solos in a style that influenced such future jazz guitarists as Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt, and gave the instrument new meaning as a jazz voice. Charlie Christian (Charles Henry Christian ( 29 July 1916 &ndash 2 March 1942) was an American swing and Bebop Jean "Django" Reinhardt ( January 23, 1910 – May 16, 1953) was a Belgian Gypsy jazz Guitarist He excelled in purely instrumental pieces, some of which he recorded with the white jazz guitarist Eddie Lang, whom he teamed up with in 1929. Eddie Lang ( October 25, 1902 &ndash March 26, 1933) was an American Jazz Guitarist, considered by many to be the finest These recordings were among the first in history to feature black and white musicians performing together, but Lang was credited as Blind Willie Dunn to disguise the fact. 
Much of Johnson's music featured experimental improvisations that would now be categorised as jazz rather than blues. According to blues historian Gérard Herzhaft, Johnson was "undeniably the creator of the guitar solo played note by note with a pick, which has become the standard in jazz, blues, country, and rock". Johnson's style reached both the Delta bluesmen and urban players who would adapt and develop his one string solos into the modern electric blues style. The Delta blues is one of the earliest styles of Blues music.  However, writer Elijah Wald has noted that, in the 1920s and 1930s, Johnson was best known as a sophisticated and urbane singer rather than an instrumentalist - "Of the forty ads for his records that appeared in the 'Chicago Defender' between 1926 and 1931, not one even mentioned that he played guitar. "
Johnson's compositions often depicted the social conditions confronting urban African Americans ("Racketeers' Blues", "Hard Times Ain't Gone Nowhere", "Fine Booze and Heavy Dues"). In his lyrics he captured the nuances of male-female love relationships in a way that went beyond Tin Pan Alley sentimentalism. Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the collection of New York City -centered music publishers and Songwriters who dominated the popular His songs displayed an ability to understand the heartaches of others that Johnson saw as the essence of his blues. 
After touring with Bessie Smith in 1929, Johnson moved to Chicago, and recorded for Okeh with stride pianist James P. Johnson. Bessie Smith (July 9 1892 or April 15 1894&ndash September 26 1937 was an American Blues singer James Price Johnson ( February 1 1894 &ndash November 17 1955) was an African-American Pianist and Composer. However, with the temporary demise of the recording industry in the Great Depression, Johnson was compelled to make a living outside music, working at one point in a steel mill in Peoria, Illinois. Peoria Illinois (named after the Peoria tribe is the largest city on the Illinois River and the County seat of Peoria County, Illinois In 1932 he moved again to Cleveland, Ohio, where he lived for the rest of the decade. Cleveland is a City in the US state of Ohio and the County seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state There, he played intermittently with the band of vocalist and singer Putney Dandridge, and performed on radio programs. 
By the late 1930s, however, he was recording and performing in Chicago for Decca Records, working with Roosevelt Sykes and Blind John Davis among others. Decca Records is a British Record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Blind John Davis ( 7 December 1913 — 12 October 1985) was an African American, Blues, Jazz and In 1939, during a session for the Bluebird label with pianist Joshua Altheimer, Johnson used an electric guitar for the first time. Bluebird Records is a sub- label of RCA Victor Records originally created in 1932 to counter ARC Records in the "3 records for a dollar" He recorded 34 tracks for Bluebird over the next five years, including the hits "He's a Jelly Roll Baker" and "In Love Again". 
After World War II, Johnson made the transition to rhythm and blues, recording for King Records in Cincinnati, and having a major hit with "Tomorrow Night" in 1948. is a Japanese record company founded in 1931 as a division of Japanese publisher Kodansha. This topped the Billboard "Race Records" chart for 7 weeks, also made # 19 on the pop charts, and had reported sales of three million copies. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, is a chart released weekly by Billboard in the United States.  A ballad with piano accompaniment and background singers, this bore little resemblance to much of Johnson's earlier blues and jazz material. The follow-ups "Pleasing You" and "So Tired" were also major R&B hits.
In 1952 Johnson toured England. Tony Donegan, a British musician who played on the same bill, paid tribute to Johnson by changing his name to Lonnie Donegan. Lonnie Donegan MBE ( 29 April 1931 &ndash 3 November 2002) was a Skiffle musician possibly the most famous of them all
After returning to the U. S. , Johnson moved to Philadelphia. His career had been a roller coaster ride that sometimes took him away from music. In between great musical accomplishments, he had found it necessary to take menial jobs that ranged from working in a steel foundry to mopping floors as a janitor. He gradually dropped out of music again in the 1950s, and took menial janitorial jobs; he was working at Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Hotel in 1959 when WHAT-FM disc jockey Chris Albertson happened upon him and produced a comeback album, for the Prestige Bluesville Records label, Blues by Lonnie Johnson. Philadelphia (ˌfɪləˈdɛlfiə Christiern Gunnar Albertson (born October 18, 1931) is a New York City -based Jazz Journalist, Writer and Record producer Bluesville Records is a subsidiary of Prestige This was followed by other Prestige albums, including one with former Ellington boss, Elmer Snowden, who had helped Albertson locate Johnson. Although Elmer Snowden, born in Baltimore October 9, 1900, was one of the most talented Banjo players of the jazz age he also played guitar and in the There followed a Chicago engagement for Johnson at the Playboy Club and this succession of events placed him back on the music scene at a fortuitous time: young audiences were embracing folk music and many veteran performers were stepping out of obscurity. Chicago (ʃɪˈkɑːgoʊ is the largest City by population in the state of Illinois and the American Midwest of the United States. In short order, Lonnie Johnson found himself reunited with Duke Ellington and his orchestra and appearing as special guest at an all-star folk concert, both at Town Hall, New York City. The City of New York
In 1961, Johnson was reunited with his old Okeh recording partner, Victoria Spivey, for another Prestige album, Idle Hours, and the two singers performed at Gerdes Folk City. Gerde's Folk City was a legendary venue in the West Village. Opened by owner Mike Porco as a coffeehouse in 1952 it was located at 11 West 4th Street (the building In 1963 he toured Europe as part of the American Folk Blues Festival show, with Muddy Waters and others, and recorded an album with Otis Spann in Denmark. The American Folk Blues Festival (also American Folk-Blues Festival, and AFBF) was a Music festival that toured Europe beginning in 1962 For the album by Redman, see Muddy Waters (album. For the college football coach see Muddy Waters (football coach. Otis Spann ( March 21 1930 – April 24 1970) was an American Blues Musician.
In 1965, he landed a series of dates in Toronto, Canada, and decided to stay there, opening his own club, Home of the Blues, in 1966. Toronto (təˈrɒntoʊ colloquially pronounced or) is the largest city in Canada and is the provincial capital of Ontario Throughout the decade he recorded and played local clubs in Canada as well as embarking on several regional tours. 
He died in Toronto on June 16, 1970, of complications resulting from a 1969 auto accident.
Johnson was posthumously inducted into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame in 1997. Year 1997 ( MCMXCVII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1997 Gregorian calendar
One of Elvis Presley's earliest recordings was Johnson's blues ballad, "Tomorrow Night", which was also recorded by LaVern Baker. The blues ballad creates the sound of the Blues using a Blues scale and blues style chord progressions with a bridge using a different bluesy chord progression in LaVern Baker ( November 11, 1929 – March 10, 1997) was an American Rhythm & Blues singer In 1957, it was also recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis. Jerry Lee Lewis (born September 29, 1935) is an American Rock and roll and Country music Singer, Songwriter
Bob Dylan wrote about the performing method he learned from Robert Johnson in Chronicles, Vol. 1. Bob Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman, May 24 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota) is an American singer-songwriter author poet and painter who has been a major Chronicles Volume One 0-7432-2815-4 is the first part of Bob Dylan 's planned 3-volume memoir Dylan thinks Robert Johnson had learned a lot from Lonnie. Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8 1911 – August 16 1938 is among the most famous of Delta blues musicians Also some of Robert's songs are seen as new versions of songs recorded by Lonnie.
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Johnson, Alonzo (birth name)|
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||American blues and jazz musician|
|DATE OF BIRTH||February 8, 1899|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||New Orleans, Louisiana, United States|
|DATE OF DEATH||June 16, 1970|
|PLACE OF DEATH||Ontario, Canada|