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Salute The General!
October 23, 2010 12:02 AM   Subscribe

One of music's greatest voices and songwriters passed away last week.

General Norman Johnson not only wrote and sang rock and roll's most declarative defense, he also wrote not just one but two of the greatest anti-war songs ever. His early work with The Showmen are Carolina "beach music" standards, as are many of his 70's hits with The Chairmen of The Board. Tossing off pop soul gems with ease, his true masterpiece is maudlin yet moving, classic American kitsch of the highest order. As a singer his voice was singular, unmistakable, a true original. .Joey loved him. Let's make it the General Johnson monument!

..and if anybody asks where he's at... RIP!
posted by bonefish (18 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by philip-random at 12:08 AM on October 23, 2010


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posted by louche mustachio at 1:02 AM on October 23, 2010


Patches is an enormously maudlin and absurd recording, but man did I love it when I was 11 years old.
posted by philip-random at 1:11 AM on October 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


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posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:20 AM on October 23, 2010


"Give me just a little more time" is quintessential beach music. I must have shagged to it a million times. For all you snickering Brits, shagging is a dance in the Carolinas.
posted by sicjoy at 1:24 AM on October 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Patches had a huge impact on me when I was a kid. Its story of a young boy who had to step up and be the man of the family when his papa died had a strange resonance for me, as my mom had died a few years prior to that song's release.

And, damn. 69 is just a little too young. He should've gotten, indeed, a little more time.

Also, before quietly paying my respects, I'd just like to say...

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRP!

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posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:29 AM on October 23, 2010


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posted by humanfont at 3:04 AM on October 23, 2010


BTW, his Want Ads was a really catchy little tune, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:41 AM on October 23, 2010


Oops, sorry bonefish, I see that was under your "gems" link already!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:45 AM on October 23, 2010


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posted by lapolla at 4:01 AM on October 23, 2010


Dangling On a String. A must see, all the way through.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:08 AM on October 23, 2010


wow, a huge loss

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posted by unSane at 6:00 AM on October 23, 2010


Patches is a great song; you should check out the George Jones/B.B. King duet version.

Big loss. We're losing a lot of this generation of R&B and country folks now. They made a huge contribution to music, and Johnson was a great writer.

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posted by fourcheesemac at 6:07 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


"It Will Stand" is one of my all time favorites. RIP, Mr. Johnson.
posted by jonmc at 6:39 AM on October 23, 2010


I discovered his self-titled 1976 debut Arista solo album not too long ago, a fantastic underrated gem. ("Patches" is on it.) One of my favorite soul songs bar none is "Pay to the Piper," which he wrote and was a top 5 R&B hit in 1970 -- just terrific vocals and harmony. I didn't know he had passed. Very sad news.
posted by blucevalo at 6:48 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by magstheaxe at 7:59 AM on October 23, 2010


self-titled 1976 debut Arista solo album...("Patches" is on it.) That's his remake, not the original recording. The solo album version has extra verses and is pathos squared!

One of my favorite deep cuts: on The Chairmen of The Board's The Skin I'm In (with its wonderful cover art), the Sly Stone-penned "Life and Death" is turned into a three-part psyche-funk suite by studio keyboardist Bernie Worrell (Funkadelic, Talking Heads), where General's intense commitment to the minimalist zen lyrics are couched in what seems like hours of mellotron, clavinet and fuzz bass. A must hear if you can find it!

Another great hit written by General: "Somebody's Been Sleeping In My Bed" by 100 Proof Aged in Soul
posted by bonefish at 9:42 AM on October 23, 2010


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posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:14 AM on October 24, 2010


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