Today in Music History (March 21): The World discovers The Brothers Johnson

March 21, 1976: The Brothers Johnson release debut album

To the public, the Brothers Johnson appeared to come out of nowhere in 1976, topping the charts with the infectious dance hit "I'll Be Good To You" and landing monster hit after monster hit for the next half decade.  But brothers George and Louis Johnson paid their dues before hitting the top and continue to influence musicians more than two decades after their peak.

The Johnson brothers - George on guitar and Louis on bass - got their first break backing popular R&B acts in their hometown of Los Angeles.  Their reputations increased, and they landed jobs in Billy Preston's touring band when Preston was at his commercial peak, also writing songs for the keyboardist. 

March 21, 1976: The Brothers Johnson release debut album

To the public, the Brothers Johnson appeared to come out of nowhere in 1976, topping the charts with the infectious dance hit "I'll Be Good To You" and landing monster hit after monster hit for the next half decade.  But brothers George and Louis Johnson paid their dues before hitting the top and continue to influence musicians more than two decades after their peak.

The Johnson brothers - George on guitar and Louis on bass - got their first break backing popular R&B acts in their hometown of Los Angeles.  Their reputations increased, and they landed jobs in Billy Preston's touring band when Preston was at his commercial peak, also writing songs for the keyboardist. 

Quincy Jones then hired the brothers to tour Asia with him, and the bond grew to something more special. Jones agreed to manage the duo and assisted them in obtaining a deal with A&M Records and agreeing to produce their debut album. That album, Look Out for #1, was a monster, beginning with the funky chart-topper, “Get the Funk Out of My Face,” featuring Louis’s iconic bass, and the earworm "I'll Be Good To You," which became an across-the-board smash.

Look Out began a five year string of platinum albums and top ten hits that highlighted the brothers' funk chops but with the danceable, lush production that epitomized Quincy Jones' work of that era. 

While in many ways we take for granted all that the Brothers accomplished in the 70s and 80s, they were a revelation when their music first hit radio. And we remember that revelation as the world discovered this fun and funky duo, on this day in 1976.

By Chris Rizik

 

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