|Eric Johnson (b.1954)|
An Austin, Texas, native, Johnson was making waves on the city’s scene by his teens. By age 21, he was a member of Electromagnets, a jazz-rock band with an intense cult following. He recorded his first album, Seven Worlds, in the late ’70s (although it wasn’t released until 1998), and his burgeoning reputation then and in the early ’80s led to session work with Cat Stevens, Carole King and Christopher Cross (Johnson played on Cross’s Grammy-sweeping 1980 debut album).
An important break came in 1984 with an appearance on the PBS television show Austin City Limits; Prince reportedly saw Johnson’s performance and recommended the guitarist to his label, Warner Brothers Records. Tones was released in 1986, by which time Johnson was getting considerable guitar magazine coverage.
Johnson’s mainstream breakthrough came with 1990’s Ah Via Musicom, a guitar tour de force with an instrumental, ”Cliffs of Dover,“ that enjoyed tremendous crossover appeal and radio success. The album went platinum, ”Cliffs of Dover“ won a Grammy, and Johnson earned the distinction of being the first artist to have three instrumentals from one album reach the top 10 in any format.
Venus Isle was released in 1996; Johnson promoted it with the massively successful G3 tour, which also featured his friends and fellow guitar virtuosos Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. 1997’s G3 Live in Concert video and DVD have been certified platinum. The 2000 Live and Beyond album by his blues-trio side project, Alien Love Child, resulted in yet another Grammy nomination, for the song ”Rain.“ He released his fourth studio album, Souvenir, through his own website in 2002.
Johnson’s 2004 solo tour showcased his acoustic guitar and piano skills, and he was invited by Eric Clapton to play at Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival that summer. In 2005, Johnson released fifth studio album Bloom and first live album Live From Austin Texas, and Fender introduced its Eric Johnson Signature Stratocaster guitar; Johnson played at Fender’s 60th Anniversary concert in Tempe, Ariz., in 2006. He released his sixth studio album, Up Close, in December 2010.
Eric Johnson - Artist's Bio | Fender
In short - Eric JohsnonBorn on August 17, 1954 and has got three sisters and one brother.
At the age of 4 he heard one of his family friends playing electric guitar;
Began taking piano lessons at the age of 5 and wrote his first song at the age of 8;
Learned piano for seven years;
Received his first guitar, a white Fender Musicmaster, in 1965 at the age of 11;
First influence to play guitar was his brother's friend and guitarist Jimmy Schade;
He learned to play the guitar for the first time from Jimmy;
The first song Eric learned to play was “Your Cheatin’ Heart” by Hank Williams.
Eric's first gig was with a band called 'Sounds of Life' at a club in Austin called the Eleventh Door. He was 13 years old.
Joined first professional band Mariani at age of fifteen;
Graduated from Holy Cross High School, Austin;
Formed own band, the Electromagnets in the early 1970s;
Worked in a music store while playing with Electromagnets;
Signed management contract with Lone Wolf Productions in 1977;
Recorded debut album Seven Worlds in the late 1970s;
Began performing on Austin City Limits (a popular venue for musical performers) in 1984;
Signed recording contract with Warner Brothers and released Tones in 1986;
Signed recording contract with Cinema Records that was later picked up by Capitol Records and released Ah Via Musicom in 1990;
Toured with B.B. King, 1993;
Released Venus Isle in 1996;
Released Souvenir in 2002;
Released Bloom in 2005;
Released Live From Austin, TX in 2005;
Released Live From Austin, TX '84 in 2010;
Released Up Close in 2010;
Released Up Close: Another Look in 2013
HonorsBest Overall Guitarist, Guitar Player Readers Poll, 1990-1994;
Grammy Award, Best Instrumental (Cliffs of Dover), 1992;
Named one of 100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century, Musician magazine.