Denise Johnson Statement

Photo by Pete Smith

Denise Johnson

31 July 1963 – July 2020 

Our beautiful and dear Denise has died suddenly at her home in Manchester. 

She had been ill in the week prior to her death but told friends she was “much better” on Friday. She was found on Monday morning and the cause of death is not yet known.

Although best known, and famous around the globe for her work with Primal Scream on their albums Screamadelica and Give Out But Don’t Give Up, she first came to ACR’s attention when we heard her beautiful voice on ‘Just a Little More’ by Fifth of Heaven in 1988.

Shortly after, she worked with Martin Moscrop and Donald Johnson on an early Acid House track called ‘Acid to Ecstasy’ by ED209, released on Dave Rofe’s DFM label.

Denise also worked on Ashley & Jackson’s The Sermon and Solid Gold which Martin produced, before joining ACR in the studio to appear on the album ACR:MCR where her vocal skills come to the fore on ‘Be What You Wanna Be’.  

The rest is history and historic for ACR, Denise then appeared on ACR:MCR (1990), Up in Downsville (1992), Change The Station (1997), Mind Made Up (2008), She had also been in the studio with us recently and her beautiful voice is on our forthcoming album ACR Loco.

She has been an integral part of ACR’s live line-up since 1990 and has appeared over 200 times with the band in those 30 years, adding her uniqueness to the ACR catalogue pre and post 1990.

She provided guest vocals for New Order, Electronic. Gay Dad and Bernard Butler, to name but a few. She was also a staunch Manchester City supporter, loved them with all the passion you could hear in her singing voice.

More recently, she’d been performing acoustic sets with guitarist Thomas Twemlow, featuring covers of great Mancunian songs by artists such as Cherry Ghost, 10CC and New Order. They opened their Bluedot 2019 set with The Carpenters ‘Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft’ – an appropriate choice for a gig in the shadows of Jodrell Bank’s Lovell Telescope. Her debut album, titled Where Does It Go, is due out in September.  

She’s irreplaceable as a person and an artist, ACR are devastated at this loss, we’ll miss her infectious sense of humour and the soaring beauty and passion she brought to our music and our lives. 

ACR – Jez Kerr, Martin Moscrop and Donald Johnson


  1. Lovely tribute. Absolutely heartbreaking. I’ve been listening to her for well over half my life; I can’t even begin to understand how you gents feel. My thoughts are with you.

  2. My sincere condolences Jez, Martin and Donald. I’ve had the chance to meet her backstage once and she was just as lovely as you have written. We, the fans, have lost a beautiful voice, but you have lost so much more. My heart is with you.

  3. A beautiful soul.
    She’s already missed by us all.
    We’ve made a special place in our heart that will be forever Denise Johnson.
    She lives forever here.

  4. So very very sad to hear about the passing of the lovely, talented, warm, funny, inspirational, Denise Johnson. I know she really appreciated her fans and didn’t seem to forget a face. End of an era.

    Thinking of you all.

    Ruth 💐

  5. A wonderful tribute to a wonderful person. Thank you. Thinking of you & all who will miss the beautiful, kind & generous Denise at this dreadful time. “Love is the answer to all your pain”. x

  6. A wonderful shining star who has left us too early
    Bless you Denise
    You will be deeply missed ♥️🐝♥️

  7. Greatly sorry for your loss, guys. Denise was fiercely proud of you all + is already sorely missed by many of her friends online. ‘Treasure isn’t a rich enough word to describe her worth. X

  8. Omg shocked behind belief, reading this made me cry it’s so upsetting gone way too soon may you rest in peace our beautiful angel and may u sing to the angels.. rest in peace Denise .

  9. Sad news, she will be a huge miss. I Met Denise once, saw her perform with ACR many times – very special.

  10. Absolutely beautiful tribute. Shocked. Was only chatting to her on twitter last week and retweeted about her album. And this weekend would have been WOMAD if things had been normal. Thoughts with you, her family and friends. Her voice will live on amongst us all.

  11. Absolute tragedy and untimely , premature death. I remember seeing Denise and her soulful and powerful vocals when at ACT and primal scream gigs and she had a visible presence on stage like her friend Rowetta. Rip legend. You will be sorely missed

  12. The first time I met Denise was at an AnR showcase in a rehearsal room near Stockport, must have been 89 or 90, she provided extra vocals for a band whose name I have shamefully forgotten. I was the monitor engineer. Denise’s warmth and charm filled the room upon arrival, and like a lot who met her I instantly fell in love and then she sang! and I was smitten. We met a few times after that the last time being at the New Order show at WHP Manchester in 2015 when Denise and Dawn Zee rocked the house along with the band on the track Plastic. An unforgettable force from a postage stamp sized stage.
    So sorry for all her colleagues in ACR, close friends and family. Denise will never be forgotten and will be sorely missed.
    Be What You Wanna Be.

  13. God Bless you Our Denise. You smiled , you laughed, you shined. We will all miss your beautiful soulful voice, tambourine bashing and dancing.

    You are with the angels now , we won’t stop loving you sweetheart, especially on match days with you full City kit on . Thank you for the memories xxx

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