Singer Denise Johnson, whose rich voice provided backing depth to the likes of Primal Scream and New Order, has died unexpectedly on Monday (27 July). She was 56.
The Manchester native, who came to prominence on Primal Scream’s 1991 landmark Screamadelica album, also featured on the records of many of her home city’s “Madchester” bands.
She had been due to release her debut solo acoustic album in September.
A statement issued by her family said she had “died suddenly” after an illness.
Johnson rose to fame with her performance on Primal Scream‘s Don’t Fight It Feel It in in 1991 and appeared on tracks by New Order, Electronic, A Certain Ratio, Ian Brown, Bernard Butler, Paul Weller and many more.
Her friend and colleague Rowetta from Happy Mondays confirmed the news on Twitter, saying: “I have so many great memories of Denise from when we were young. We just used to sing & laugh like naughty schoolgirls all the time. A great loss to Manchester and music.”
Tributes have been paid to her on social media by some of the artists she worked with, including electronica act 808 State, who said her voice “sews so many memories together in many contexts”.