Wesley Johnson aka Wess, who represented Italy at the ESC in 1975 together with Dori Ghezzi, died in New York in the night between September 21st and 22nd. His daughter Deborah Johnson announced the sad news to the Italian media.
Wess came from North Carolina, but he had moved to Italy in the early Sixties to try a music career. After some experiences as a bass player, hehad his major breakin 1968 with "I miei giorni felici" ("Chapel of dreams"). Later, he formed a successful duo with fair-haired singer Dori Ghezzi, achieving some big hits in Italy, such as "Voglio stare con te", "Come stai? Con chi sei?" and "Un corpo e un'anima". Towards the end of the Seventies the duo split up and Wess went on to follow a solo career, as did Dori Ghezzi.
Wess was on a U.S.A. tour when a breathing crisis led to tragedy. Dori Ghezzi was shocked and moved by Wess' suddend death, as she declared to the media, and her mind went back to the wonderful memories they had together: above all their third place at the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm in 1975 with the song "Era". According to Dori, it was also their being one fair-haired white woman and one coloured man which made such an impression. Dori also stated that Wess was a great person, an artist, and that maybe he was not even aware of his real talent himself.
Our thoughts and condolences go to Wess' family and friends.
An article by Cristina Giuntini, president of OGAE Italy