Aired on Treasure Island Oldies – October, 2010
On Oct 13, 2010, we lost one of America’s great singer/songwriters who passed away suddenly at the age of 69.
One of his first songs from the early 60’s made it onto the national Billboard charts on two different occasions – 1961 and 1964. Today, it remains a huge regional hit in the Carolinas and is considered to be one of the anthems for Rock & Roll.
This singer/songwriter was often referred to as simply “The General.” His early days success was with an R&B group out of Norfolk, Virginia that moved to New Orleans to record in 1961.
After a seven-year stint with this group, The General ended up in Detroit in 1968, working with the fledging Invictus recording label. Soon, with his new group, Chairmen of the Board, he released six records that made it onto the Billboard Hot 100, most notably “Give Me Just A Little More Time,” “Pay To The Piper,” and “Everything Is Tuesday.”
Several of the songs he has written became hits for other artists, including the Grammy Award winning “Patches” for Clarence Carter and “Want Ads,” “Stick Up,” and “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” for fellow Invictus recording artists, the Honey Cone.
In 1976, The General went solo but eventually ended up back in the Southeastern United States and the Beach Music sound.
In recognition of the contributions that The General has made to American popular music, the Virginia General Assembly in 2001 designated June 9th as General Johnson Day in Virginia.
General Norman Johnson had one of the great voices in rock and soul. He had a unique but instantly recognizable sound that was filled with emotion.
A classic example of this is that first national recording he made in New Orleans in 1961 with his then group, the Showmen. The record tells us what Rock & Roll is all about, while proclaiming:
Some folks don’t understand it
That’s why they don’t demand it
They’re out tryin’ to ruin
Forgive them for they know not what they’re doin’
Don’t nick-name it
You might as well claim it
It swept this whole wide land
Rock and roll forever will stand
A Rock & Roll anthem forever, “It Will Stand,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song:
This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.