General Norman Johnson, Lead Singer of the Soul Group the Chairmen of the Board, Passes

General Norman Johnson, who as lead singer of the soul group the Chairmen of the Board had a Top 10 hit with “Give Me Just a Little More Time,” has died. He was 67.

Johnson died Wednesday at his home in Atlanta, said band member Ken Knox. No cause was given.

Also a songwriter and producer, Johnson wrote “Patches,” which was a Top 10 hit for Clarence Carter. Johnson also wrote songs that became hits for such artists as Honey Cone and Freda Payne.

“Give Me Just a Little More Time” was the Chairmen of the Board’s first single in 1970 and featured Johnson’s expressive delivery that Knox described as “unmistakably unique.”

Born in Norfolk, Va., in 1943, Johnson started singing in church and by age 12 formed his first group. With the Showmen, he recorded “It Will Stand” in 1961, a salute to rock ‘n’ roll that reached the charts. But the group broke up in the late 1960s and Johnson briefly tried a solo career before moving to Detroit, where the Chairmen of the Board was formed.

Johnson was named General after his father but didn’t start using the name professionally until a record executive told him it was more marketable, according to Knox and an account on Johnson’s website.

The group settled in the South and became known for playing beach music, which Knox said “was nothing but rhythm and blues.” Johnson also began writing songs “that dealt with the landscape of the Carolinas,” such as “Carolina Girls.”

Knox said he last played with Johnson in February in Charlotte, N.C.

Johnson’s survivors include his wife, Julia; two sons; and a daughter, Knox said.

Published in: on October 15, 2010 at 1:09 PM  Leave a Comment  

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