Marv Johnson

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Marv Johnson
Marv Johnson.jpg
Background information
Birth nameMarvin Earl Johnson
Born(1938-10-15)October 15, 1938
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedMay 16, 1993(1993-05-16) (aged 54)
Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, pianist
Instruments Vocals, piano
Years active19561993
Labels United Artists
Motown Records
Motorcity Records

Marv Earl Johnson (October 15, 1938 – May 16, 1993) was an American R&B and soul singer, notable for performing on the first record issued by Tamla Records, which later became Motown. [1] [2]

Americans citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

Rhythm and blues, commonly abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, one or more saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy, as well as triumphs and failures in terms of relationships, economics, and aspirations.

Soul music is a popular music genre that originated in the African American community in the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.

Contents

Biography

Johnson was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1938. [2] He began his career singing with a doo-wop group, the Serenaders, in the mid-1950s. With budding talents not only as a singer but also as a songwriter and pianist, he was discovered by Berry Gordy while Johnson performed at a carnival. [3] Gordy had already decided to form his first record label, Tamla, and Johnson's recording of their song "Come to Me" was the label's first single, released in May 1959. [4] The fledgling label did not have national distribution, so the song was released by United Artists. It reached number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. [4] Johnson went on to co-write another four songs with Gordy. After he issued the first release for the Tamla (Motown) label, Johnson was signed by United Artists. He released three albums and several singles for UA but continued to record in Motown’s homegrown studios at Hitsville USA.

Detroit Largest city in Michigan

Detroit is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan, the largest United States city on the United States–Canada border, and the seat of Wayne County. The municipality of Detroit had a 2017 estimated population of 673,104, making it the 23rd-most populous city in the United States. The metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 4.3 million people, making it the second-largest in the Midwest after the Chicago metropolitan area. Regarded as a major cultural center, Detroit is known for its contributions to music and as a repository for art, architecture and design.

Doo-wop style of rhythm & blues

Doo-wop is a genre of rhythm and blues music developed in the 1940s by African American youth, mainly in the large cities of the upper east coast including New York. It features vocal group harmony that carries an engaging melodic line to a simple beat with little or no instrumentation. Lyrics are simple, usually about love, ornamented with nonsense syllables, and often featuring, in the bridge, a melodramatically heartfelt recitative addressed to the beloved. Gaining popularity in the 1950s, doo-wop enjoyed its peak successes in the early 1960s, but continued to influence performers in other genres.

Pianist musician who plays the piano

A pianist is an individual musician who plays the piano. Since most forms of Western music can make use of the piano, pianists have a wide repertoire and a wide variety of styles to choose from, among them traditional classical music, jazz, blues, and all sorts of popular music, including rock and roll. Most pianists can, to an extent, easily play other keyboard-related instruments such as the synthesizer, harpsichord, celesta, and the organ.

Between 1959 and 1961, Johnson issued nine Billboard Hot 100 singles, including two Top 10s. The first of them was "You Got What It Takes", which reached number 10 in the US and number 7 in the UK Singles Chart. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc. [5] In the United Kingdom, "You Got What It Takes" reached number 7 in 1960, and both "I Love the Way You Love" and "Ain't Gonna Be That Way" made the UK chart. "I Love the Way You Love" reached number 9. Johnson had his final US Top 40 single in 1960 with "(You've Got To) Move Two Mountains". It also sold a million copies, giving him his second gold disc. [3]

In the music industry, the top 40 is the current, 40 most-popular songs in a particular genre. It is the best-selling or most frequently broadcast popular music. Record charts have traditionally consisted of a total of 40 songs. "Top 40" or "contemporary hit radio" is also a radio format. Frequent variants of the Top 40 are the Top 10, Top 20, Top 30, Top 50, Top 75, Top 100 and Top 200.

"You Got What It Takes" is a 1959 single by Marv Johnson. In the US it reached #2 on the Black Singles chart, and #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 early in 1960. In the UK Singles Chart it reached a high of #7. The original recording of "You Got What It Takes" was by Bobby Parker on Vee-Jay 279 in 1958. Parker claims to have written the song, and his name is on the 1958 recording, but later versions credit Berry Gordy, Gwen Gordy, Billy Davis, and sometimes Marv Johnson.

UK Singles Chart British singles sales chart

The UK Singles Chart is compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC), on behalf of the British record industry, listing the top-selling singles in the United Kingdom, based upon physical sales, paid-for downloads and streaming. The Official Chart, broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and MTV, is the UK music industry's recognised official measure of singles and albums popularity because it is the most comprehensive research panel of its kind, today surveying over 15,000 retailers and digital services daily, capturing 99.9% of all singles consumed in Britain across the week, and over 98% of albums. To be eligible for the chart, a single is currently defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as either a 'single bundle' having no more than four tracks and not lasting longer than 25 minutes or one digital audio track not longer than 15 minutes with a minimum sale price of 40 pence. The rules have changed many times as technology has developed, the most notable being the inclusion of digital downloads in 2005 and streaming in July 2014.

Johnson had many hits in Australia, with a total of eight Top 40 hits, including three chart-toppers. "Come to Me" was released in Australia on EMI's London Records (as were most of his Australian releases) and reached number 16 on the 2UE Top 40 in Sydney. "You Got What It Takes" was his biggest Australian hit, topping the national charts for over 16 weeks in 1960. After "I Love The Way You Love" became a national Top 10 hit in mid-1960, Johnson flew to Australia to meet the entrepreneur Lee Gordon, the creator of the radio program Big Show , and performed "Twist It Up" on the September Big Show. At the top of the bill were Bobby Rydell, Chubby Checker, and James Darren with Jackie Wilson, Johnson, and Barry Mann. They were supported by Johnny O'Keefe, the Delltones and Col Joye. Lonnie Lee also appeared on a Lee Gordon Australian tour in 1960 with Marv, Bobby Tyrell and The Everly Bros.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

A record chart, also called a music chart, is a ranking of recorded music according to certain criteria during a given period of time. Although in the UK, the official chart has only included physical sales and paid-for streaming, many different criteria are used in worldwide charts, including record sales, the amount of radio airplay, and since the popularity of online consumption of music, the number of downloads and the amount of streaming activity.

EMI British music recording and publishing company

EMI Group Limited was a British Transnational conglomerate founded in March 1931 in London. At the time of its break-up in 2012, it was the fourth largest business group and record label conglomerate in the music industry, and was one of the big four record companies ; its labels included EMI Records, Parlophone, Virgin Records, and Capitol Records, which are now owned by other companies.

Johnson's songs "Happy Days" and "Merry-Go-Round" (both written by Berry Gordy) were his last chart successes for the United Artists label. Although they did not reach the US Top 40, they performed well on the R&B charts, peaking at number 7 and number 26, respectively, in 1961. Further significant chart action proved elusive, and his contract with United Artists was eventually dropped. He then re-signed with Motown in 1964, writing and producing as well as recording. "Why Do You Want to Let Me Go" was his first Motown single after he rejoined the company, released by Motown's Gordy subsidiary in May 1965. Johnson's final US chart appearance was "I Miss You Baby (How I Miss You)", which was a minor hit, reaching number 39 on the R&B chart in April 1966. His next release, "I'll Pick a Rose for My Rose", issued in 1968, failed to chart; it was his last American single.

In the UK, however, "I'll Pick a Rose" became a hit after it reached the number 10 in early 1969, thanks to its popularity from the Northern soul scene. Motown dug into its vaults for tracks to create an album for the British market, I'll Pick a Rose for My Rose, released by Tamla Motown in 1969, which contained many of Johnson's songs recorded since he had signed there in the mid-1960s, including "Why Do You Want to Let Me Go", "I'm Not a Plaything" and "I Miss You Baby (How I Miss You)". The latter was also reissued as a single by Tamla Motown and was a hit in Britain, reaching number 25 on the UK charts in November 1969. [6] He also toured the UK with Martha Reeves & the Vandellas.

Northern soul is a music and dance movement that emerged in Northern England in the late 1960s from the British mod scene, based on a particular style of black American soul music, especially from the mid-1960s, with a heavy beat and fast tempo.

Johnson remained with Motown, working on sales and promotion, in the 1970s. He also wrote songs for Tyrone Davis and Johnnie Taylor. [4] He co-wrote the Dells’ R&B hit "Give Your Baby a Standing Ovation", which peaked at number 3 on the R&B chart and number 34 on the Hot 100 in 1973. Johnson continued to write songs at Motown way into the 1970s. He eventually separated from the label. [7]

Tyrone Davis American musician

Tyrone Davis was an American blues and soul singer with a long list of hit records over more than 20 years. Davis had three number 1 hits on the Billboard R&B chart: "Can I Change My Mind" (1968), "Turn Back The Hands Of Time" (1970), and "Turning Point" (1975).

Johnnie Taylor American soul-blues and pop singer

Johnnie Harrison Taylor was a three-time Grammy-nominated American recording artist and songwriter who performed a wide variety of genres, from blues, rhythm and blues, soul, and gospel to pop, doo-wop, and disco.

The Dells American R&B vocal group

The Dells were an American R&B vocal group. Formed in high school in 1952 by founding members Marvin Junior, Verne Allison, Johnny Funches, Chuck Barksdale, and Mickey and Lucius McGill, under the name the El-Rays. They released their first recording in 1954 and two years later had their first R&B hit with "Oh What a Night". After disbanding due to a near-fatal car crash in 1958, the band reformed in 1960 with Funches being replaced by Johnny Carter. This lineup remained together until Carter's death in 2009. In 2004 The Dells were inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. The group performed until illness forced longtime lead singer Marvin Junior and bass vocalist Chuck Barksdale into retirement, ending the group's 60-year run.

Johnson continued singing into the 1990s, releasing a solo album on the London-based Motorcity Records label, owned by Northern Soul DJ and Motown lover Ian Levine. Johnson was one of the first and, according to Levine, one of "the most loyal and the most grateful" of all the former Motown artists he recorded. [8] Two singles were released, "By Hook or by Crook" in 1988 and "Run Like a Rabbit" in 1989.

Johnson died of a stroke on 16 May 1993, [2] in Columbia, South Carolina, at the age of 54. He was interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit. His headstone reads "Motown Pioneer".

In 2011, a compilation album featuring all songs recorded by Johnson during his second stay at Motown was released. I'll Pick a Rose for My Rose: The Complete Motown Recordings 1964–1971 was an authorised reissue of his Motown recordings, released under the Kent Soul label, an Ace Records subsidiary that releases Northern Soul music. The first eleven tracks are from his 1969 album, I'll Pick a Rose for My Rose, which includes the title track, its original B-side ("You Got the Love I Love") and "I Miss You Baby (How I Miss You)". It also contains several previously unissued songs, such as "Farewell Is a Lonely Sound" (originally recorded by Jimmy Ruffin), and mono mixes of his three Gordy singles.

In 2015, Marv Johnson was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame. [9]

Discography

Singles

YearSingle
(Songwriters)
Peak Chart PositionsLabel
US [10] US R&B [10] UK [1]
1959"Come To Me"
(Berry Gordy, Jr. / Marv Johnson)
306Tamla (Motown)
United Artists
"I'm Coming Home"
(Berry Gordy, Jr.)
8223
1960"You Got What It Takes"
(Berry Gordy, Jr. / Gwen Gordy / Tyran Carlo)
1027
"I Love the Way You Love"
(Berry Gordy, Jr. / Mikaljohn)
9235
"Ain't Gonna Be That Way" (A-Side)
(Berry Gordy, Jr. / Marv Johnson)
7450
"All the Love I've Got" (B-Side)
(Bradford / Berry Gordy, Jr. / Holland)
63
"(You've Got to) Move Two Mountains"
(Berry Gordy, Jr.)
2012
1961"Happy Days"
(Berry Gordy, Jr. / T. McKnight)
587
"Merry-Go-Round"
(Berry Gordy, Jr.)
6126
"How Can We Tell Him?"
"Oh, Mary"
"Johnny, One Stop"
1962"With All That's in Me"
"Let Yourself Go"
"Keep Tellin' Yourself"
1963"Another Tear Falls"
"Come On and Stop"
"Congratulations, You've Hurt Me Again"
"The Man Who Don't Believe in Love"
1965"Why Do You Want to Let Me Go?"Gordy (Motown)
1966"I Miss You Baby (How I Miss You)"39
1969"I'll Pick a Rose for My Rose"10
"I Miss You Baby (How I Miss You)" (UK reissue)25 Tamla Motown
1970"So Glad You Chose Me" (UK only)
1988"By Hook or by Crook" (UK only) Motorcity
1989"Run Like a Rabbit" (UK only)
Dash denotes a single that was not released in that territory or did not chart.

Albums

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References

  1. 1 2 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 287. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.
  2. 1 2 3 Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1992–1993". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  3. 1 2 Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins. p. 125. ISBN   0-214-20512-6.
  4. 1 2 3 Eder, Bruce. "Marv Johnson". Allmusic . Retrieved March 26, 2010.
  5. Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins. p. 115. ISBN   0-214-20512-6.
  6. http://www.officialcharts.com/search/singles/i%20miss%20you%20baby/
  7. "Marv Johnson". Classic Motown. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  8. Comments by Ian Levine on YouTube
  9. https://www.michiganrockandrolllegends.com/mrrl-hall-of-fame/249-marv-johnson
  10. 1 2 Bruce Eder. "Marv Johnson | Awards". AllMusic . Retrieved 2016-07-18.

Further reading