Sunday, October 17, 2010
This week saw the passing of a Soul icon and one of Virginia's most important recording artists. Norfolk, VA native General Norman Johnson made his first recordings for Atlantic Records at the age of 12 with Doo Wop group The Humdingers. Those songs were never released, but soon manager Noah Biggs got the group signed to Minit Records in New Orleans, and the name was changed to The Showmen. Their first single in 1961, "It Will Stand", was a hit and became a Rock 'N Roll anthem. In 1968, after a string of chart success with The Showmen, Johnson headed to Detroit to work for the Invictus label, forming The Chairmen Of The Board and joining forces with the legendary writing/production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland. The Chairmen's debut single in 1970 was an international smash reaching #3 on the Billboard Charts. "Give Me Just A Little More Time" continues to be a radio staple to this day, and The General will always be remembered as its instantly recognizable voice. What few realize is that Mr. Johnson was a prolific song writer whose credits include Freda Payne's "Bring The Boys Home" and Honey Cone's "Want Ads" and "Stick Up", as well as a Grammy Award for writing Clarence Carter's "Patches". He continued to work tirelessly writing, recording, producing and performing for the many decades to follow.
For information on memorial services and how to pay respects, as well as General Johnson in his own words, please visit the official Chairmen Of The Board website. A man whose talent touched millions. General Johnson will be truly missed.