Considered by Rolling Stone to be the greatest sideman in rock & roll, pianist Johnnie Johnson spent most of his career in the shadow of his musical partner, Chuck Berry. Johnson played on most of Berry's hit records and co-wrote the music for several of Berry's songs, but did not begin to achieve particular recognition until he pursued a solo career in his seventies.
After Johnson came out of retirement to appear in the Chuck Berry concert film Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll in 1986, interest in his music grew. The following year, he put out his first solo album, “Blue Hand Johnnie,” the first of several well-received recordings including “Johnnie B. Bad.” He also toured extensively, playing with such superstars as the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. When Johnson died in 2005 at age 80, he was at the height of his musical fame.