Briefly known as the Gentlemen, this Detroit-based quartet comprised of:
General Norman Johnson (b. 1st September 1943, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A. d. 13th October 2010, East Point, Georgia, U.S.A.)
A former member of the Showmen, he left that group in 1968 intent on a solo path, but instead joined:
Danny Woods (b. 10th April 1944, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.)
Harrison Kennedy (b. Canada)
Eddie Curtis (b. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)
The Chairmen of the Board were a group formed in Detroit in 1968 by General Norman Johnson.
'The General' was born in Norfolk, Virginia, as Norman Johnson, and, as with many of his contemporaries, honed his vocal skills in the church choir.
At the age of 12 years, he had formed his first group, called The Humdingers, who featured: Norman Johnson (lead), Gene 'Cheater' Knight (first tenor), Dorsey 'Chops' Knight (second tenor), Leslie 'Fat Boy' Felton (baritone) and Milton 'Smokes' Wells (bass).
The group released 4 singles for the Atlantic imprint during 1956.
'it will stand' - 1964 / The Showmen - Norman Johnson, Gene Knight, Dorsey Knight, Leslie Felton and Milton Wells
He later formed the Showmen (using the name Norman Johnson), during his senior year, recording the songs 'It Will Stand', (which became a minor hit in 1961), and '39-21-46'.
The Showmen recorded for several labels, including Minit, Lawn, Imperial and Swan Records, and featured: Norman, Gene Knight (who died in 1992), Dorsey Knight, Leslie Felton and Milton Wells.
The Showmen (with Norman Johnson) continued to perform and record up until 1968, when the Chairmen Of The Board came into being.
The Chairmen were, briefly, known as The Gentlemen, for a short period around this time.
His original band line-up included Danny Woods (ex: Showmen), Eddie Curtis (ex: Lee Andrews and the Hearts & Huey Smith and the Clowns) and (the Canadian born) Harrison Kennedy (ex: Stone Soul Children) (who were later joined by Ken Knox and Jackie Myers).
The Chairmen were signed to the Holland/Dozier/Holland imprint, Invictus, and scored immediate success with several charting 45's.
give me just a little more time - 1970 / in session - 1970
These included 'Give Me Just A Little More Time' (released in December 1969, UK Top 5, 1970), 'You've Got Me Dangling On A String' (UK Top 5, 1970), 'Everything's Tuesday' (UK Top 20, 1971), 'Pay To The Piper' (UK Top 40, 1971), 'Chairman Of The Board' (UK Top 50, 1971), 'Working On A Building Of Love' (UK Top 20, 1972), 'Elmo James' (UK Top 25, 1972), 'I'm On My Way To A Better Place' (UK Top 30, 1973) and 'Finders Keepers' (UK Top 25, 1973).
Briefly, the band had stopped recording in 1971, which led to a parting of the group.
bittersweet - 1972 / skin i'm in - 1974
In 1972, they re-formed and toured throughout the South East Coast beach music circuit.
During the group's career, General Johnson penned songs for various artists including Clarence Carter ('Patches', which was originally recorded by the Chairmen), Freda Payne ('Bring the Boys Home'), and Honey Cone, ('Want Ads', 'Stick Up', 'One Monkey Don't Stop No Show').
The Chairmen Of The Board finally discontinued as a group, under that title, in 1976, with the General signing to the Arista label for a couple of solo albums.
After Harrison Kennedy left, General Johnson and Danny Woods toured the U.K. in 1976 with six musicians under the name of the Chairmen of the Board.
In 1978, General Johnson reformed the Chairmen of the Board along with Danny Woods and Ken Knox, becoming a major group on the upcoming Beach Music scene on the Stateside East Coast.
In 1980, the latest incarnation of the Chairmen Of The Board founded Surfside Records (based in Charlotte, North Carolina), for which the group still records to this day.
loverboy - 1984 / the music - 1987
'Loverboy' was released as a 45 by the group in 1984, and was subsequently issued in the U.K. on EMI.
In 1987 the Chairmen released 'The Music', which included remakes of 'Don't Walk Away' and 'Loverboy', for the enduring Surfside imprint.
what goes around comes around - 1993 / success - 1995
In 1993, the group released the album 'What Goes Around Comes Around', which received very positive reviews from the U.K. Soul fraternity, due in large part to the albums title track.
all in the family - 2005 / merry christmas - 2007
beach music anthology - 2009 / soul tapestry - 2010
General Johnson passed away in October 2010 in East Point, Georgia.
as the Chairmen Of The Board:
Give Me Just A Little More Time (Invictus Records 1969)
In Session (Invictus Records 1970)
Men Are Getting Scarce (Bittersweet) (Invictus Records 1972)
Skin I'm In (Invictus Records 1974)
as General Johnson And The Chairmen:
A Gift Of Beach Music (Surfside Records 1982)
The Music (Surfside Records 1987)
What Goes Around Comes Around (Surfside Records 1993)
Success (Surfside Records 1995)
Timeless Volume 1 (Surfside Records 2002)
Timeless Volume 2 (Surfside Records 2003)
Merry Christmas (Surfside Records 2007)
Beach Music Anthology (Surfside Records 2009)
Soul Tapestry (Surfside Records 2010)
Generally Speaking (Invictus Records 1972)
General Johnson (Arista Records 1976)
Hypnotic Music (Invictus Records 1972)
Aries (Invictus Records 1972)