John Peter Wilkinson, aka Wilko Johnson, is an English singer, guitarist, songwriter and actor, particularly associated with the pub rock/rhythm and blues band Dr. Feelgood in the 1970s. Johnson and Dr Feelgood have been credited as one of the founding influences of the English punk movement. Paul Weller aka "The Modfather" said this of Wilko Johnson:
"Wilko may not be as famous as some other guitarists, but he's right up there. And there are a lot of people who'll say the same. I can hear Wilko in lots of places. It's some legacy."
Wilko went on to create and join other bands, such as Solid Senders, The Wilko Johnson Band, and Ian Dury and the Blockheads.
Wilko appeared in the Julien Temple-directed documentary film Oil City Confidential (2009), where he related his memories of Canvey Island and Dr. Feelgood. The reviewer Philip French described Wilko as "a wild man, off stage and on, funny, eloquent and charismatic", while Temple described Wilko as "an extraordinary man – one of the great English eccentrics". Reviewing the film for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw called it "the best rockumentary yet" and said that "the most likeable thing about this very likeable film is the way it promotes Wilko Johnson as a 100–1 shot for the title of Greatest Living Englishman".
Wilko married his childhood sweetheart Irene Knight when they were teenagers, and the couple had two sons, Matthew and Simon. He was widowed in 2004 after his wife's death from cancer.
A little over a year later, one of his good friends paid him a visit. His friend had told him that most people with his type of cancer would be dead by now, and convinced him to see a specialist at another hospital. This time the doctor told him that he did feel confident performing surgery to successfully remove the tumor. Wilko agreed to the surgery, and the surgery was indeed successful. The tumor weighed 3kg (6.6 pounds). By October 2014, he was declared cancer-free.
In honor of this 'feelgood' story, let's celebrate with some Dr Feelgood!
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