Louis Johnson, of the Brother’s Johnson discovered by Quincy Jones, passed away on May 21st. Truly one I was blessed to have met, and got to interview about his life and music, he was unquestionably one of the FUNKIEST to ever hold a bass guitar.
How many of you folks remember the “Kool ‘Jazz’ Festivals” and the “Budweiser Superfests”? LONG before Coachella, Powerhouse, Voodoo, Summer Jam & Banaroo, these were the annual music events that peeps would attend around the country. I can still see Johnson’s hand beating his bass, producing FUNKING music, that rang int the rafters of the stadium. Nicknamed “Thunder Thumbs,” Louis appeared on Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” in addition to the duo’s numerous hits. In 1976, the Brother’s Johnson dropped their hit “I’ll Be Good to You.” In 1977, they covered the under-appreciated Shuggie Otis’ “Strawberry Letter 23,” and in 1980 “Stomp!” was the jam. Their version of “Strawberry Letter 23” was featured in Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown.” Their album “Light Up the Night,” that included “This Had To Be” co-written by Jackson, also featured the “King of Pop” on background vocals. Johnson died at the age of 60. Funeral arrangements and services have yet to be announced.
I woke up to the news of the Legendary BB King being gone on May 15th. Unquestionably a career highlight to meet and interview him, he even autographed my BB King baseball jacket, when I spoke to him about his duets CD “Deuces Wild.” I saw him perform that night at New York’s Blue Note in the village. It was amazing to watch him perform, moving his mouth in accordance with the sound, he made with “Lucille.” Born in Mississippi on September 16, 1925, he died on Thursday, May 14th at his home in Las Vegas at the age of 89. Viewings for the Blues legend took and take place on May 22nd and 29th, a funeral procession will be held this Wednesday, May 27th on Beale Street in Memphis, followed by services in Indianola, Mississippi on Saturday, May 30th. On the BB King website it states: “In lieu of flowers a gift can be made to the BB King Museum” at www.bbkingmuseum.org/donate.
Love & Respect