General Johnson passed away last week at the age of 69. This fact may not send ripples through the music scene throughout America, but in the southeast he was an icon.
He was born in Norfolk, Virginia May 23, 1941. By the age of twenty he was fronting the vocal group, The Showmen, whose best known song “I Will Stand” was a minor chart hit during 1961 and 1964.
During 1969 he would form his most famous vocal group, The Chairmen Of The Board, with Danny Woods, Harrison Kennedy, and Eddie Curtis. They would place six singles on the American charts during the next four years but the most famous would be their first release. “Give Me Just A Little More Time,” with his lead vocal, would become a soul classic and cross over onto the pop charts reaching the number three position. I live in North Carolina and the song remains a fixture receiving constant radio airplay decades after its original release.
He would go on to a successful solo career for 35 years. His “Carolina Girls” may have been a take-off from the Beach Boys “California Girls” but it would remain the quintessential beach music song in The Carolina’s. It was and is the perfect shagging dance song. The University Of North Carolina girl’s sports teams use it as their spirit song and The University of South Carolina dance squad is named after it. The song deserved national exposure.
General Johnson would spend decades performing mainly in the southeast and became a fixture at clubs and dances. His passing left a hole in the local music scene of the area.
One last tip of the hat and tonight a respectful listen to the music of a North Carolina legend.