Kevin Stephen Johnson (born 1943 Rockhampton Queensland) is an Australian singer-songwriter, most active in the 1970s, and is best known for his hit song "Rock and Roll I Gave You the Best Years of My Life".

  • "Hayman Island" (1967)
  • "Woman You Took My Life" (1968)
  • "It Was Good While It Lasted" (1969)
  • "Bonnie Please Don't Go" (1971) peaked at #12 in Melbourne, #2 in Sydney and #4 on the Ozburn national chart.
  • "All Our Favourite Songs" (1971) peaked at #22 on the Ozburn national chart.
  • "Rock And Roll I Gave You The best Years Of My Life" (1973) peaked at #10 in Melbourne and at #4 nationally on the Ozburn chart.
  • "Man Of The 20th Century" (1975) peaked at #17 on the Ozburn national chart.
  • "Over The Hills And Far Away" (1976) peaked at #30 on the Ozburn national chart.
  • "Reasons" (1981) peaked at #31 on the Ozburn national chart.

Early years...

Johnson is the only son of Richard Johnson (timber contractor) and Elinor Johnson (post office / telephone exchange operator) and began his singing career in Rockhampton with the Candymen. In the early 1960s he worked for the Queensland Department of Roads as a clerk; playing and singing at night and writing songs in any spare time. Some of his songs came to the notice of rock and roll star Col Joye who signed him to his publishing company. Johnson relocated to Sydney and recorded his first single, "Hayman Island" in 1967 on Joye's ATA label. He followed with "Woman You Took My Life" in 1968 but neither single had any chart success. In 1969, he signed with independent label, Sweet Peach. His first hit single "Bonnie Please Don't Go" from 1971, peaked at #12 in Melbourne, #2 in Sydney. Johnson moved to the United States and wrote songs for Tree International for two years while vainly attempting to record his own songs.

Johnson's best known song, which charted in several countries, was "Rock and Roll I Gave You the Best Years of My Life" in 1973. It peaked at #10 in Melbourne and at #4 on the Australian singles charts. The song was written by Kevin, who became frustrated with his US record label, Dial Records, in Tennessee and told them he was about to leave. Johnson was informed that other artists had already recorded his song, so he quickly recorded and released his own version on the Australian-based Good Thyme label through Festival.


Johnson formed JAM (Johnson Ashdown McClellan) with Doug Ashdown ("Winter in America" aka "Leave Love Enough Alone") and Mike McClellan ("Song and Dance Man"). They have toured around Australia through the 2000s.

NB. The above picture of his DVD case has an inscription for moi...this was sent in thanks for helping Kevin in 2007 with solving a mystery about some of his original recordings...we have corresponded regularly before and since.

Here for download is his original 1971 hit "All Our Favourite Songs". The version currently on CD is a remake.



  1. Hi, you think you could revive the link. Been looking all over for it. :))

  2. Hi. Been looking for a site to download two of Kevin Johnson's songs - "Bonnie please don't go" and "Over the hills and far away". Don't mind paying for these (only fair, after all). Do you know of any such site? Thanks.

  3. Hey there. I have also been looking for the "Bonnie please don't go" download. If you have it ( or know anyone who does) can you please contact me on itsad8@adam.com.au. Cheers.