Over the weekend I heard the stunning news that Louis Johnson from the great classic group the “Brothers Johnson” had passed away. During their heyday they were under the wing of Quincy Jones and had R&B toppers like “Stomp, Strawberry Letter 23, and Get the Funk out my Face.” George Johnson usually sang lead and played guitar, while his brother Louis was usually featured in just about every song of theirs with some kind of funky bass rift or solo that other bass players (including me) loved to emulate. Louis had patterned himself after the style of Larry Graham (from Graham Central Station) and would slap and thump the bass. He was an amazing player. For those of you who are not familiar with his work, one thing that you might recognize was that he was the one who played (and created) the famous bass rift at the beginning of Michael Jackson’s all time classic “Billie Jean.” While he also played on “many other” famous projects he kind of faded from view after a while. His style of playing seemed to no longer be fashionable but yet he had already made his mark in musical history. When watching a recent interview of his online the one thing he said was that no one should ever expect to make a living off of music. He said that it is great to improve your craft, but he had to do other things because the music business was not a very profitable one. He did police work, odd jobs and even was a property manager at one point (I was also one at one point). I had heard that the brothers were not getting along and maybe that was the reason why they were no longer touring. I would have loved to have seen them in concert again (I saw them years ago at the Spectrum in Philly and they were awesome). I invite you to Google Louis Johnson and see for yourself some of the famous tracks he actually played bass on and check out his fantastic style of playing. He was one of my inspirations in music and his life will always be celebrated by me. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Sheldon Reynolds (formally of Earth, wind and fire) James Ingram, Brett Jolly, and Johnny Croom (formally of Boyz Ii Men)