Dave Johnson

Dave is a singer/songwriter, author, and public speaker, as well as a heart transplant survivor. His 18-year descent into critical heart failure and subsequent 6-year wait for a transplant led his family all over the country in search of medial care for his rare congenital heart condition. He was implanted with a total artificial heart in 2015 and finally transplanted with a new heart in May of 2017. He now devotes his time to his family, writing, playing music, and speaking about his experiences. He is currently recording “Conversations from Room 1170,” a concept album about his transplant journey, to be released in the Spring of 2018, along with a companion book of the same title.

Speaking Topics


Author Appearances, Readings, and Signings


Cover  Song Samples & Repertoire

Sick of hearing the same old songs over and over, every Happy Hour, every Friday Night? Us too. Dave is available to perform original material (samples available HERE), and also has a diverse and extensive repertoire of songs by popular artists from the 50’s to today. Here’s a sample: (comprehensive list at bottom)

Real World -Matchbox 20

King of the Road – Roger Miller

Sunday Morning – Maroon 5

I Can See Clearly Now – Otis Redding

Hip to Be Square – Huey Lewis & the News

Time After Time – Cindi Lauper

Beyond the Sea – Bobby Derrin

Everyday is a Winding Road – Sheryl Crow

And Your Bird Can Sing – The Beatles

Drops of Jupiter – Train

Tulsa Time – Don Williams

Living on a Prayer – Bon Jovi

No Diggity – Blackstreet

Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police

Full List at bottom of page



Speaking Topics

The Greatest Need

Did you know that 22 people die every single say, waiting for a life saving organ? Dave partners with the Gift of Life foundation based in Philadelphia, PA to educate and encourage organ donation by telling the story of his six-year wait for a heart transplant. By sharing the hardships and sacrifices his family endured, and his medical struggles with an artificial heart implantation, he illustrates the importance and urgency of organ donation, and the need for national awareness of the organ shortage. 


Any Day On This Side of the Grass

It’s the worst news possible – you have six months to live. This was Dave’s prognosis when he went into heart failure at the age of 28. Nineteen years later, he’s learned important lessons about priorities, overcoming obstacles, endurance, failure, and leadership. First a social caregiver, then a recipient, he talks about finding our passions, using our talents, and reaching our potential in our family’s, relationships, and careers. This isn’t motivational speaking – this is hard truth about dealing with the realities and consequences of things beyond our control, and how to affect change by our day-to-day priorities and decisions.


Finding Your Muse

During his long illness, Dave was forced to put his passion of playing music on hold many times. Though this experience, he discovered writing, cooking, painting, public speaking, and other outlets to express himself and share his creativity with others. Most people are content to punch the clock, watch prime-time, go to bed, rinse and repeat. Shouldn’t we expect more from life? From ourselves?  Dave offers practical and thoughtful insights about his own search for creative expression, and explains how he overcame his fear and handicap to continue doing the things that add purpose and meaning to life.


Beds & Boards

Dave is an active volunteer and creative contributor with The Bodhana Group, based in York, PA. They provide adjunct gaming therapy to children on the autism spectrum, at-risk teens, retirement communities, and children with behavioral and social struggles, as well as bereavement programs. Dave communicates the integral role of board and role-play gaming in his prolonged illness and hospital stay, and the therapeutic and clinical value of gaming in long-term care scenarios.



Author Appearances, Readings, and Signings

Dave is available to read excerpts and talk about his books, The Ghost of Maddingbrew, Lorenzo the Magnificent, and the upcoming Conversations from Room 1170, or to provide a vendor booth for conferences and workshops.

The Ghost of Maddingbrew


Lorenzo the Magnifcent 


Nearly complete list of cover songs:

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover – Paul Simon
6th Avenue Heartache – The Wallflowers
A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles
A Place in the Line – Jude Cole
Addicted to Love – Robert Palmer
Ain’t Goin’ Down Till the Sun Comes Up – Garth Brooks
All I Have to do is Dream – The Everly Brothers
All I Want is You – U2
All This Time – Sting
All You Need is Love – The Beatles
Always on My Mind – Willie Nelso
And So It Goes – Billy Joel
Angel of Harlem – U2
Baby You’re a Rich Man – The Beatles
Bargain – The Who
Birmingham – Amanda Marshall
Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden
Bring on the Night – The Police
Broken Wings – Mr. Mister
Bye Bye Love – The Everly Brothers
Calling All Angels – Train
Can You Picture That? – Dr Teeth & the Electric Mayhem
Change the World – Eric Clapton
Chariot – Gavin DeGraw
City of New Orleans – Arlo Guthrie
Counting Blue Cars – Dishwalla
Crazy- Patsy Cline
Daniel – Elton John
Daydream Believer – The Monkees
Doing It All For My Baby – Huey Lewis & the News
Don’t Follow – Alice in Chains
Down Incognito – Kip Winger
Downtown Train – Rod Stewart
Drive – Incubus
Easy – The Commodores
Elanor Rigby – The Beatles
Elderly Woman – Pearl Jam
Elevation – U2
End of the Innocence – Don Henley
Even Better Than the Real Thing – U2
Every Little Kiss – Bruce Hornsby
Fell on Black Days – Soundgarden
Fields of Gold – Sting
Fire Away – Chris Stapleton
Fixing a Hole – The Beatles
Flowers on the Wall – The Statler Brothers
Fools Shine On – Brother Cane
Forever Young – Bob Dylan
Found Out About You – The Gin Blossoms
Fragile – Sting
Getting Better – The Beatles
Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
God Part II – U2
Hand in My Pocket – Alanis Morissette
Heart of the Matter – Don Henley
Heavy Cloud, No Rain – Sting
Help – The Beatles
Here You Come Again – Dolly Parton
Hey Jealousy – The Gin Blossoms
Hey Soul Sister – Train
Higher Ground – Stevie Wonder
Hooked on a Feelin’ – B.J. Thomas
How Sweet It Is – Marvin Gaye
Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran
I Am the Walrus – The Beatles
I Can’t Dance – Genesis
I Can’t Stop Loving You – Van Halen
I Get a Kick Out of You – Frank Sinatra
I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
I Love You – Michael Franti
I Saw Her Standing There – The Beatles
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2
I Want A New Drug – Huey Lewis & the News
I’ll Be – Edwin McCain
I’ll Follow the Sun – The Beatles
I’m A Believer – The Monkees
I’m Only Sleeping – The Beatles
I’ve Just Seen a Face – The Beatles
If I Ever Lose My Faith In You – Sting
If It’s Love – Train
If This Is It – Huey Lewis & the News
In My Life – The Beatles
In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley
Iris – The Goo Goo Dolls
Ironic – Alanis Morrissette
Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder
It’s All Been Done – The Barenaked Ladies
Jet – Paul McCartney
Just Another Night – Jude Cole
Karma Chameleon – Boy George & Culture Club
Keeping the Faith – Billy Joel
Kyerie – Mr. Mister
King of Pain – The Police
Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
Last Dance with Mary Jane – Tom Petty
Leaving on a Jet Plane – John Denver
Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot – Sting
Life Going By – King’s X
Lonesome Day – Bruce Springsteen
Look Out Any Window – Bruce Hornsby
Mack the Knife – Frank Sinatra
Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
Mandolin Rain – Bruce Hornsby
Manic Monday – The Bangles
Many the Miles – Sarah Barielles
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – The Beatles
Melissa – The Allman Brothers
Mercy, Mercy Me – Marvin Gaye
Message in a Bottle – The Police
Miles Away – Winger
Monday Morning – Fleetwood Mac
Mother Nature’s Son – The Beatles
Must Get Out – Maroon 5
Mysterious Ways – U2
No Rain – Blind Melon
No Sugar Tonight – The Guess Who
No Time – The Guess Who
Nobody to Blame – Chris Stapleton
Nothing Compares 2U – Prince
Nothing Else Matters – Metallica
Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da – The Beatles
One – U2
One Headlight – The Wallflowers
One Week – The Barenaked Ladies
Only the Good Die Young – Billy Joel
Open Road – Jude Cole
Overjoyed – Stevie Wonder
Penny Lane – The Beatles
Raspberry Beret – Prince
Rio – Duran Duran
Roll, Gypsy Roll – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Ruby – Kenny Rogers
She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5
She’s In Love With the Boy – Trisha Yearwood
She’s On Fire – Train
She’s So High Above Me – Tal Bachman
Signed, Sealed Delivered – Stevie Wonder
Slide – The Goo Goo Dolls
So Happy Together – The Turtles
Something – The Beatles
Staring at the Sun – U2
Strawberry Fields – The Beatles
Stuck in the Middle – Stealers Wheels
Sunny Came Home – Shawn Colvin
Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
The Fly – U2
The Fool on the Hill – The Beatles
The Nightshift – The Commodores
The Rainbow Connection – Kermit the Frog
The Show Goes On – Bruce Hornsby
The Silent Man – Dream Theater
The Valley Road – Bruce Hornsby
The Way it Is – Bruce Hornsby
There She Goes – The La’s
These Little Moments – Rob Thomas
Ticket to Ride – The Beatles
Until I Fall Away – The Gin Blossoms
Until the End of the World – U2
Unforgiven – Metallica
Walking in Memphis – Marc Cohen
Walk Like an Egyptian – The Bangles
Warning – Incubus
What It’s Like -Everclear
We Didn’t Start the Fire – Billy Joel
What’s Goin’ On? – Marvin Gaye
When I’m Sixty Four – The Beatles
When Love Comes to Town – U2 & B.B. King
Where the Streets Have No Name – U2
Why Can’t This Be Love – Van Halen
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
With A Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles
With or Without You – U2
Word Up – Cameo
World’s Apart – Jude Cole
Wrapped Around Your Finger – The Police
Yell Fire! – Michael Franti
Yesterday – The Beatles
You & Me – Lifehouse
You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon
You Got a Friend in Me – Randy Newman
You Learn – Alanis Morissette
You’ve Got to Hide You’re Love Away – The Beatles