Chairmen of the Board's Norman Johnson dies at 69 ..
General Norman Johnson dies at 69; lead singer of 1970s soul group
The Chairmen of the Board had a Top 10 hit with 'Give Me Just a Little More Time.' A songwriter and producer, he wrote the Grammy-winning 'Patches,' which was a hit for Clarence Carter.
Los Angeles Times staff reports
Johnson died Wednesday at his home in suburban Atlanta of complications from lung cancer, said his son, Antonio.
Also a songwriter and producer, Johnson wrote "Patches," which won him a Grammy and was a Top 10 hit for Clarence Carter. Johnson also wrote songs that became hits for such artists as Honey Cone ("Want Ads") and Freda Payne ("Bring the Boys Home").
"Give Me Just a Little More Time" was the Chairmen of the Board's first single in 1970 and featured Johnson's expressive delivery, which band member Ken Knox described as "unmistakably unique."
Born in Norfolk, Va., in 1941, Johnson started singing in church and by age 12 had 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.
In addition to his son, Johnson is survived by his wife, Julia; son Norman; daughter Sonya Johnson Payne; sister Barbara Leathers; and five grandchildren.