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Love and respect at bluesman's wake

April 22, 2005 at 1:02 PM   |   Comments

ST.LOUIS, Mo., April 22 (UPI) -- There was a lot of love and respect shown at bluesman Johnnie Johnson's musicians' wake in St. Louis -- but no one should be surprised.

As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put it, to know the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was to love him.

Johnson died in his sleep April 13 at his north St. Louis County home after a stay in the hospital and a bout with pneumonia.

Well-wishers began streaming into the funeral home around noon Thursday and the flow never stopped.

The Grateful Dead-Ratdog's Bob Weir arrived with Ratdog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti to pay respects to Johnson, whom Weir called "the most elegant man I ever met." The Kentucky Headhunters drove all day from the Lexington area to attend.

Flowers came from singer Bonnie Raitt, Aerosmith, Robert Cray and Buddy Guy and from "E.C." -- probably Eric Clapton, who called Johnson the best blues pianist in the world.

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