The Story Behind Just A Heartbeat Away

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On the evening of April 13, 1999, my father Dr. Stanley Johnson, took his last breath while my mother was holding his hand in their home in Saratoga, California, where they had lived together for 36 years. The next day I sat down at the piano to write a song for my dad. What came through turned out to be a song for me — from him.

I originally started writing the song with a jazz influence since he was such a fan of jazz, as well as an excellent piano player. The song wasn’t flowing, however, so I decided to write it in more of a pop style which I was used to. Soon the first line came — “Tonight I lay my body down…to fly” — and within a few hours, the song was basically written.

The “Passages” CD that this song is on is dedicated to hospice, with the belief that we deserve the same love, comfort and care when we leave this world as when we enter it.

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The Song “Just A Heartbeat Away

Here’s to “Dr. Stan” as his colleagues and patients knew him; “Sir” as he was affectionately known by his granddaughters; “Sweetheart” as his wife of 49 years knew him; and “Dad” as he will always be lovingly remembered by my sisters and me. With this song, Dr. Stan continues to heal people even after he has passed on. May you find comfort and joy in the music and words of “Just A Heartbeat Away.”

Scott Johnson
Boulder, Colorado

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