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Davey Johnstone

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Davey Johnstone

Davey Johnstone
Johnstone in 2008 at an Elton John concert, with his Les Paul guitar model.
Background information
Birth name David William Logan Johnstone[1]
Born (1951-05-06) 6 May 1951
Edinburgh, Scotland
Genres Rock, folk
Occupation(s) Musician
Musical director
Instruments Guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, sitar, banjo, Vocals
Years active 1968–present
Labels Vertigo, Rocket, Artful Balance Records
Associated acts Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart, Bob Seger, The Pointer Sisters, Leo Sayer
Notable instruments
Gibson Les Paul
Gibson Flying V

David William Logan "Davey" Johnstone (born 6 May 1951, Edinburgh, Scotland), is a Scottish rock guitarist and vocalist, best known for his work with Elton John.[2]


  • Career 1
  • Personal life 2
  • Solo discography 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Johnstone's first work was with Noel Murphy in 1968, where he received his first album credit on the album Another Round. By 1969, Johnstone had secured regular work as a session musician, where he began to branch out and explore differing genres of music, and experiment with a variety of instruments. In 1970, when Lyell Tranter, one of the two guitarists in the acoustic British folk group Magna Carta, left the band, Johnstone took his place as a member. He recorded several albums with them beginning in 1970 on Seasons, (1970) and continued to contribute to Songs from Wasties Orchard (1971), (named after the street where he lived in Long Hanborough, Oxfordshire), and a live album entitled In Concert.

During his stint with Magna Carta, Johnstone played a wide variety of instruments including guitar, mandolin, sitar, and dulcimer. It was during his work with Magna Carta that he caught the attention of producer Gus Dudgeon who asked Johnstone to play on Bernie Taupin's eponymous 1970 solo album, which resulted in a meeting with Elton John and Johnstone playing on his 1971 album Madman Across the Water. After playing on Madman Across the Water, he was invited to join Elton John's band as a full member.[3] Previously, the Elton John Band consisted of John himself, bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson.

Johnstone's debut album with Elton John as a full-time member of his band was Honky Chateau, to which he contributed electric & acoustic guitars, slide guitar, banjo and mandolin and also provided backing vocals alongside Murray and Olsson.

In 1972 he worked with Joan Armatrading and Pam Nestor on their Gus Dudgeon produced debut album Whatever's for Us, playing acoustic and electric guitar on several tracks, and sitar on the song "Visionary Mountains".

Johnstone released a solo album, Smiling Face, in 1973 through The Rocket Record Company and created a short-lived band called China that released an eponymous album in the late 1970s.

Even while playing alongside other artists such as Meat Loaf and Alice Cooper during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Johnstone was never very far from Elton's projects and, following his reunion with original band mates Nigel Olsson and Dee Murray full-time for 1982's "Jump Up" tour, has since rarely been absent from an Elton John album track or tour.[4]

In 1990, Johnstone collaborated for the first time with lyricist Steve Trudell. With music and lyric in place, the two formed Warpipes, which included past and present Elton John band members Nigel Olsson on drums, Bob Birch on bass, Guy Babylon on keyboards, along with Billy Trudel as vocalist. In 1991, Warpipes released their only album, Holes in the Heavens, on self-owned label Artful Balance Records. When Artful Balance Records folded, this album was re-released on Bridge Recordings. The album title was changed to simply "Warpipes" and the song line-up was altered slightly.

In 1991, Johnstone produced Addison Steel's Stormy Blue in which he played guitar, mandolin, sitar, banjo and vocals. Co-producer Guy Babylon joined with keyboard arrangements alongside drummer Nigel Olsson and Billy Trudell adding percussion and vocals.

In 1996, Johnstone released an instructional guitar video titled Davey Johnstone: Star Licks Master Sessions for Star Licks Productions, in which he plays a wide variety of John classics, joined by Billy Trudel on vocals and Bob Birch on bass.

In 1997, while on tour with John, Johnstone and then Elton John bandmate and former John Jorgenson spent much of their off time creating Crop Circles, an album of acoustic instrumentation released in 1998.

On 10 June 2009, Johnstone played a landmark 2,000th show as a member of the Elton John Band at the SECC in Glasgow, Scotland. He is currently serving as John's musical director, in addition to his guitar work, playing along with Nigel Olsson and John Mahon; he also performed with Bob Birch before Birch's death in August 2012.

In 2014, he played on "Belle Fleur" and "If You Were My Love" from Stevie Nicks' album 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault. He knew Nicks from when he played guitar on several songs from her 1981 album Bella Donna.[5]

Personal life

Johnstone lives in Los Angeles. He has played gigs with his four sons and his daughter.[6]

Solo discography

  • Smiling Face (1973)


  1. ^ "About". Davey Johnstone's official website. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Prato, Greg. "Biography: Davey Johnstone".  
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links

  • Magna Carta official website
  • Davey Johnstone's 2,000th Show
  • "Ask Davey Johnstone a Question" on
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