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Special event to celebrate Manchester singing legend Denise Johnson

Remembering Denise will feature a special live set from A Certain Ratio, the Manchester band Denise sang with for over 30 years

This weekend, a very special celebration of the life and work of Manchester singer Denise Johnson will take place at Gorilla.

Denise, who died aged 56 in July, was born and raised in Hulme, and shot to fame for her work on Primal Scream’s hit 1991 album Screamadelica.

Remembering Denise falls on what would have been her 58th birthday, and has been organised by her close friend Sue Langford. 

Renowned for her angelic, soulful vocals, Denise was a Manchester singing legend who appeared on many classic tracks over the past four decades and released three independent singles.

Her posthumous album Where Does it Go was released in September 2020.

Remembering Denise will feature a special live set from A Certain Ratio, the Manchester band Denise sang with for over 30 years.

There will also be performances by Tom Chapman and Phil Cunningham (New Order / Sea Fever), Elliot Barlow (Sea Fever), Ellen Beth Abdi, Heavyload, Space Monkeys and more artists to be confirmed. Guest DJs include Tin Tin and John Locke. 

Denise was well-loved by everyone who met and knew her, and there will be plenty of love in the room with tributes, messages and audiovisual presentations. 

There won’t be a guest list, as proceeds from the day will be donated in Denise’s name to the Music Venue Trust, which is a cause that Denise championed for their vital work to highlight and support grassroots venues across the UK. 

“I wanted to put something together last year, as a celebration of Denise’s life, but due to COVID, we decided to postpone it until her 58th birthday this Saturday,” said Sue.

“I couldn’t have done it without Elliot Eastwick, who did so much last summer, and Jay Taylor, who has helped me put the event together. The musicians and DJs taking part have all been brilliant too.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate her life than live music and tributes from the people she chose to work with.

“We’re so pleased that we can help the Music Venues Trust with the proceeds.”

Denise Johnson
Credit: Danny Bird

Denise recorded and toured with Manchester’s A Certain Ratio for almost 30 years, and features on their latest album.

“Denise has been recording with ACR since 1990 and has been a massive part of our sound,” said the band.

“She was a true professional, a beautiful person who always had time for others.

“Her smile and hug were as infectious as her beautiful voice.

“We miss her so much, and we are really looking forward to celebrating Denise’s life and birthday on Saturday.

“We love you, Denise. xxx”.

Remembering Denise will take place on Saturday 31st July 2021 at Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth St, M1 5WW, 3pm – 10pm. Advance tickets are £12.50 each (plus a small booking fee). There will also be a little souvenir included in the ticket price. For anyone who cannot make it to Gorilla on the day, but would like to support the Music Venue Trust in Denise’s name, donations can be made via their website, quoting ‘Remembering Denise’, at After the event at Gorilla, there will be the option of moving on to Night and Day on Oldham Street for DJs until late (free entry). Find out more here.

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