Obituaries: Johnny Hedges

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday July 6, 2022
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Johnny Hedges
Johnny Hedges

June 26, 2022

Johnny Hedges passed away on the afternoon of June 26, 2022, at his home in Palm Springs, California. He spent his final day hanging out with his husband of 52 years, Gerry McBride, and their longtime Sunday-fun-day friends.

In 1972, Johnny and Gerry moved from Cleveland, Ohio, to San Francisco, where they lived a super social life for decades that exceeded all their Midwest dreams.

Johnny consulted with Marty Blecman for Fantasy Records on the production and re-mix for gender-bending pioneer and disco icon Sylvester, producing hits including "You Make me Feel (Mighty Real)" and "Dance Disco Heat."

When Sylvester moved to Megatone Records, Johnny contributed to multiple hits on the "All I Need" album including "Don't Stop," "Do You Wanna Funk," and "Hard Up."

In 2019, "You Make Me Feel" was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry in the category of songs that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Billboard magazine named "Johnny Disco," as Mr. Hedges was known, among the nation's top Disco DJs in 1976, when he was blowing up the dance floors at all the biggest clubs in San Francisco.

Later, Johnny was a resident DJ at Daddy's bar (now 440 Castro) for many years before retiring.

Having spent virtually zero days apart in their half-century together, the couple made the move to Palm Springs in 2009. So many of their friends made the same southern migration that the social group of their youth has been almost entirely reconstituted, trading fog and bay for sunshine and pool parties. It was another great fit for them.

A celebration of life will be held Sunday, July 24, at 2 p.m. at Wiefels Mortuary, 690 S. Vella Road, Palm Springs, CA, 92264. Join us to share love, laughter, music, and toast to the passion that John shared so prolifically; casual attire.

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