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Davey Johnstone

Davey Johnstone performing at an Elton John concert, 2009.
Background information
Born 6 May 1951 (1951-05-06) (age 58)
Origin Edinburgh, Scotland
Genres Rock
Occupations Guitarist
Instruments Guitar, Vocals, mandolin, dulcimer, sitar, synthesizer
Years active 1960s - Present
Associated acts Elton John
Magna Carta
Alice Cooper
Meat Loaf

Davey Johnstone (born 6 May 1951 in Edinburgh, Scotland), is a rock guitarist and vocalist, best known for his work with Elton John, Alice Cooper, and Meat Loaf.


Johnstone's first work was with Noel Murphy in 1968, where he received his first album credit. In 1969 Johnstone worked as a session musician with the British folk group, Magna Carta, on their Seasons album. After Lyell Tranter, the second guitarist in Magna Carta, left the band, Johnstone took his place. He played as a full-time band member on two Magna Carta albums: Songs from Wastie's Orchard (named after the street where he lived in Long Hanborough, Oxfordshire), and a live album entitled In Concert. During his stint with Magna Carta, he played a wide variety of instruments including guitar, mandolin, sitar, and dulcimer. It was during his work with Magna Carta that he caught the attention of Magna producer Gus Dudgeon who asked Johnstone to play on Bernie Taupin's self-titled 1970 solo album, which resulted in a meeting with Elton John and Johnstone playing on his 1971 album Madman Across the Water.

Johnstone, widely respected for his multi-instrumental abilities and hard-edged guitar licks with tasteful accents, was welcomed into Elton John's band as a full member. Johnstone released a solo album, Smiling Face, in 1973 through Rocket Records and created a short-lived band called China that released a self-titled album in the late 1970s.

Even while playing alongside other artists such as Meat Loaf and Alice Cooper during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Johnstone was never very far from Elton's projects and, following his reunion with original band mates Nigel Olsson and Dee Murray full-time for 1982's "Jump Up" tour, has since rarely been absent from an Elton John album track or tour.

In 1990, Davey collaborated for the first time with lyricist Steve Trudell. With music and lyric in place, the two formed Warpipes, which included past and present Elton John band members Nigel Olsson on drums, Bob Birch on bass, Guy Babylon on keyboards, along with Billy Trudel as vocalist. In 1991, Warpipes released their only album, Holes in the Heavens, on self-owned label Artful Balance Records. When Artful Balance Records folded, this album was re-released on Bridge Recordings. The album title was changed to simply "Warpipes" and the song lineup was altered slightly.

In 1996, Johnstone released a video of instructional guitar called Davey Johnstone: Starlicks Master Sessions, on which he plays a wide variety of Elton John classics, joined by Billy Trudel on vocals and Bob Birch on bass.

In 1997, while on tour with Elton, Johnstone and then Elton John bandmate and former Hellecasters guitarist John Jorgenson spent much of their off time creating Crop Circles, an album of acoustic instrumentation released in 1998 to much critical praise.

On June 10, 2009, Johnstone played a landmark 2,000th show as a member of the Elton John Band at the SECC in Glasgow, Scotland.

He is currently serving as Elton's musical director, in addition to his guitar work, playing along with Nigel Olsson (drums, backing vocals), John Mahon (percussion, backing vocals) and Bob Birch (bass, backing vocals). Johnstone lives in Los Angeles.

Other acts

He has also appeared with other artists including Leo Sayer, Bob Seger, and Rod Stewart.

External links



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