Taken from CREEM Writers Yearbook, circa 1984.

Rick Johnson

Editor's Note: It is with great sadness that we learned of the sudden passing of the great Rick Johnson. Here at CREEM, we get more e-mails about Rick's work than any other writer save for St. Lester himself. Naturally, the outpouring of grief at his passing has been staggering. Rockcritics.com published an interview with Reek a few years ago that shows him just as funny and intelligent as ever. They've also posted a tribute that includes comments from alumni CREEM scribes like J. Kordosh and Cary Baker. There's also a heartfelt tribute by Stacey Creasy, a Johnson protege and the editor of The Journal newspaper in Rick's hometown of Macomb, Ill. Former CREEM editor-in-chief Dave DiMartino shared his memories of Rick thusly:

Completely unexpected and tragic news indeed was the passing of Rick Johnson--certainly one of the finest writers in CREEM Magazine’s history, and by far one of the most inventive.

Rick’s contribution to the CREEM legacy can’t be understated. He was enormously appreciated by the readership, who regularly voted him their favorite rock critic in the magazine’s annual readers’ poll. And he was perhaps appreciated even more so by the editorial department--who repeatedly asked him to make something out of nothing via his thematic "think pieces" that required no interviews and, sometimes, no research at all. All that was required was that he be creative--and to say that was no problem is an almost laughable understatement. He was enormously dependable on nearly every level imaginable.

Rick’s arrival in CREEM’s Birmingham office in the mid-’80s came at a turbulent time in the magazine’s evolution, one that has already been well documented. While he was there, he produced the piece that I still consider his finest--but then, I would, since I was there and I know how it happened. It was a cover piece featuring Michael Jackson and David Lee Roth titled "Duets From Hell," and its introduction details precisely how and why the piece came to be in the first place. It reads like fine Johnson parody, and the beauty of it is that is was, incredibly, straight fact. Who needed a punch line?

Rick was a warm, very sincere, very talented person whose writing influenced an entire generation of music and humor fans. No one has ever successfully imitated his writing style, and no one ever will. He deserved every accolade accorded him and more.

—David DiMartino
April, 2006

The Secret History Of QUEEN:
(Originally from August 1981 issue of CREEM) - Your Frederick's Of Hollywood catalog has arrived. Mensa Cycle Explained by Rick Johnson.

(Reprinted in December 1984 15th Anniversary Special) - CREEM's resident wacko takes a really off-the-wall look at the gayest, er, the happiest, uh...let's just say "the champions" of rock 'n' roll. Freddie Mercury never seemed the same.

One Times One Equals Some Pair!
is this what you want? by Rick Johnson

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