Al's longtime friend, Jean Carn, posted the following today:
I received a message and text earlier from Jeff Majors saying that my Friend and favorite Voice, Al Johnson passed away this morning.
A Fan since"The Beginning of My End", I've been recalling the many, many times I've had the pleasure and privilege to share the mic and the stage and commiserate in the studio with Al.
Our first recording was "I'm Back For More" which has been sampled many times and was covered, beautifully by Bobby Womack and Lulu.
His orchestral arrangements for Artists like The Whispers, were beyond Genius.
Thanks Al, for composing the title tune for my Motown album, "Trust Me" and "We've Got Some Catching Up To Do".
Thank you Jeff Majors for bringing Al and me together for what has become our last onstage performance.
My Love and Prayers are with Al's beautiful Wife and Family.
Right now, I simply can't imagine Music existing without the Voice that lovingly brought us "The 23rd Psalm".
Al Johnson, your incomparable Spirit will live on in the gigantic space that you occupy in my heart.
Rest in Peace, Beloved Musical Warrior..
While never long in the spotlight, Al Johnson quietly created some very memorable Soul music for himself and others over a more than forty year career, and developed a small but loyal following over that period as a top notch songwriter, singer and musician.
Johnson first scored as the lead singer of the Unifics, a group formed at Howard University in Washington, D.C. which had a big hit with "The Court of Love." After another minor hit, "The Beginning of My End," the group split and Johnson began a long string as a session musician, songwriter, arranger and producer.
full article can be read at
Born in Newport News, Virginia in 1948, Johnson attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. and while there, co-founded the soul group, The Unifics.The group, with Johnson as lead singer, scored three hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968 and 1969 for the Kapp Records label. The first, "Court Of Love" climbed to #25, but reached #3 on the US Billboard R&B chart. The follow-up, "The Beginning Of The End" got to #36 on the Hot 100 and #9 R&B. Two further releases in 1969 reached the R&B chart.
Johnson returned to recording in 1978 with a solo album, Peaceful which he co-produced, as well as arranging and co-writing, for a small label, Marina, part-owned by former singer, Lloyd Price.
In 1980, Johnson collaborated with jazz/soul producer Norman Connors, for an album, Back for More, on Columbia Records. This came after he had sung on Norman Connors' album, Invitation for Arista Records in 1979, singing the lead track, "Your Love". Back For More peaked at #48 on the Billboard Black Albums chart. The lead single from the album, "I'm Back for More", a duet with Jean Carn, reached #26 on the R&B chart, whilst the follow-up, "I've Got My Second Wind", hit #58, both in 1980
Around this time, Johnson was writing, arranging and also playing keyboards on recording sessions, including for the Willie Lester-Rodney Brown production team that released several successful disco/soul albums on Prelude in the early 1980s, with acts such as Sharon Redd, Bobby Thurston and Gayle Adams.
In the 1990s, Johnson worked with The Whispers on several albums and, in 1999, released another solo album for an independent label, Clout. Johnson re-formed the Unifics with original group member Tom Fauntleroy, and also toured with a solo gospel show. The group issued a new album, Unifics Return in 2005.
Johnson, aged 65, died on October 26, 2013