George Johnson

George Johnson is not only a guitarist but a songwriter, arranger, and producer. He mentored under Quincy Jones following a childhood in which his ear was staple-gunned to the radio, following not only rhythm and blues, James Brown and Motown, but the British Invasion sounds of groups such as the Rolling Stones. When he and his brother, Louis Johnson, started doing their own music -- calling the band the Brothers Johnson, naturally -- he, in turn, not only influenced but provided a superior creative situation for a generation of popular performers including Ashford & Simpson, Toto, and Michael Jackson. The latter artist provides a typical example of a hit collaboration with the Brothers Johnson; he helped to compose "This Had to Be" on the Light Up the Night album, then sang backup at the recording session. Instrumentalists such as jazz pianists Herbie Hancock and George Duke, and composer and arranger Dave Grusin, were also part of the crowd hanging out with the Brothers Johnson who, from the mid-'70s into the '80s, seemed to be overwhelming almost all others in turns of funk influence.

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