Chairmen of the Board

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Chairmen of the Board
Origin Detroit, Michigan, United States
Genres Soul, Beach music
Years active 1967–present
Labels Invictus, Surfside Records
Website Official website
Members Ken Knox
Thomas Hunter
Past members General Johnson (deceased)
Eddie Custis
Harrison Kennedy
Danny Woods
Darryl Johnson
Richard (Riche' Rich) Figueroa

Chairmen of the Board is a Detroit, Michigan-based soul music group active mostly in the 1970s, that is still touring today.

Recording career[edit]

General Johnson (1943 - 2010)[1] had a hit as the lead singer of The Showmen in the early 1960s, with the New Orleans rock and roll anthem "It Will Stand" and Carolina Beach classic "39-21-40 Shape".

General Norman Johnson in 2007

When Holland/Dozier/Holland left Motown in 1967 to establish their own Invictus/Hot Wax group of record labels, they teamed Johnson up with Eddie Custis, Danny Woods and Canadian born Harrison Kennedy as the new company's flagship act, under the appropriate name "Chairmen of the Board". Custis left the group after their second album.

Though they all had a turn at lead vocals, it was Johnson's quirky hiccup-laden style and his songwriting that became increasingly showcased, with the group selling a million plus copies of their single, "Give Me Just a Little More Time". The disc was released in December 1969, reached number three on the US Billboard Hot 100, with one million sales confirmed in May 1970, when the group were presented with a gold record by the R.I.A.A.[2] Chairmen of the Board also charted with "(You've Got Me) Dangling on a String", "Everything's Tuesday", "Pay to the Piper", "Finders Keepers" and (in the UK) "Working on a Building of Love" and "Elmo James". They also recorded the original version of "Patches", a 1970 hit for Clarence Carter, whose recording received a Grammy Award in 1971.

Kennedy, Woods and Johnson all went on to record solo albums, whilst Johnson wrote and produced (with Greg Perry) for other Invictus/Hot Wax acts, notably Honey Cone. Kennedy having left, Johnson and Woods toured the UK in 1976 with six musicians as Chairmen of the Board. The final night of the tour was at Middleton Civic Hall on March 11, 1976. The act was broken up immediately afterwards, Johnson having signed for Arista Records as a solo artist.

In 1978, Johnson reformed the Chairmen of the Board along with Danny Woods and Ken Knox. In 1980, the new Chairmen founded Surfside Records, for which the group still records. Surfside Records is an independent record label based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The reformed group had a regional hit with "Carolina Girls", a popular beach music song in North and South Carolina.

The Chairmen of the Board were inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 1999.[3]

General Johnson continued to perform with Woods and Knox as the "Chairmen of the Board" until his death from lung cancer in 2010.[4]

After Johnson's death, Woods took the band members on tour as The Board Of Directors in 2011. Woods also created The Danny Woods Show with the band The Party Prophets and Cindy Floyd. Woods also continues to write and record new songs and developed the Music Tree Recording label. Knox continues to tour as Ken Knox and Company with Thomas Hunter and Richard (Riche' Rich) Figueroa. Both Woods and Knox were still performing in 2013. In 2014, former member Figueroa is performing with The Legacy Motown Revue nationally and has formed his own group, Champagne Life.

In 2013, former member Harrison Kennedy was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the 'Acoustic Artist' category.[5]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album US Top 200 US R&B UK Albums Chart
1970 The Chairmen of the Board 1 133 27 -
1970 In Session 117 16 -
1972 Bittersweet 178 - -
1973 Greatest Hits 2 - - -
1974 Skin I'm In - 52 -
2006 Beach Music Anthology - - -
Notes:
  1. Reissued as Give Me Just a Little More Time
  1. UK only release

Chart singles[edit]

Year A-side / B-side Album US Hot 100 US R&B UK Singles Chart[6]
1970 "Give Me Just a Little More Time"/
"Since the Days of Pigtails"
The Chairmen of the Board 3 8 3
1970 "(You've Got Me) Dangling on a String"/
"I'll Come Crawling"
The Chairmen of the Board 38 19 5
1970 "Everything's Tuesday"/
"Patches"
In Session 38 14 12
1971 "Pay to the Piper"/
"Bless You"
In Session 13 4 34
1971 "Chairman of the Board"/
"When Will She Tell Me She Needs Me"
In Session 42 10 48
1971 "Hanging On to a Memory"/
"Tricked and Trapped"
In Session - 28 -
1971 "Try On My Love for Size"/
"Working on a Building of Love"
- 48
-
20
1971 "Men Are Getting Scarce"/
"Bravo, Hooray"
Bittersweet - 33 -
1972 "Everybody's Got a Song to Sing"/
"Working on a Building of Love"
- 30
-
-
1972 "Elmo James"/
"Bittersweet"
Bittersweet - - 21
1972 "I'm On My Way to a Better Place"/
"So Glad You're Mine"
Fresh - - 30
1973 "Finders Keepers"/
"Finders Keepers" (Instrumental)
Skin I'm In 59 7 21
1974 "Everybody Party All Night"/
"Morning Glory" (Instrumental)
Skin I'm In - 80 -
1986 "Lover Boy"
(billed as General Johnson and the Chairmen of the Board)
n/a - - 56

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wilson, Deryck (2010). "Beach music icon General Johnson dies". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  2. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 255. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  3. ^ "1999 Inductees". North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  4. ^ Brown, Steven (14 October 2010). "Beach music icon General Johnson dies". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  5. ^ "Blues Music Awards Nominees - 2013 - 34th Blues Music Awards". Blues.org. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 99. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]