Information via Greg Tormo ( www.geocities.com/solidhit ) and Dave Brown of Philly Archives.
Herb Johnson passed away Monday January 19th in Philadelphia, PA of cancer, aged 68.
Born December 26th, 1935 in North Carolina, Herb moved to Philadelphia with his family when he was nine years old. As a teenager attending Overbrook High School, Herb auditioned at the Royal Theatre on South Street for a radio spot on WPEN, singing "You Belong To Me" by one of his favorite groups, The Orioles.
In 1953 Herb joined the U.S. Air Force, singing with a group called The Lyrics who performed on USO tours singing R&B hits of the day. By the mid fifties, he began singing with a West Philly vocal group The Ambassadors who participated in a talent show at the Leader Theatre at 41st and Lancaster Avenue.
By 1960 Herb made his first single for Len Records called "Guilty", a local hit, selling over 50,000 copies in the Philadelphia area alone. Shortly after, he recorded two singles for V-Tone Records and by the mid 60s recorded some soul 45s for Swan, Arctic and Tyler Records which are still popular with soul fans in England. Herb, along with Kenny Gamble sang the male backing vocals on Barbara Masons hit, "Yes Im Ready". With his instrumental group The Impacts, Herb performed all over the Philadelphia club circuit throughout the 60s and early 70s.
The bass player for The Impacts, Wally Osborne, formed the Toxan label in 1968, releasing Herbs uptempo soul classic, "Im So Glad". This record did well enough to get released nationally on Brunswick and became a hit in England when it reached their shores five years later. By the early 70s, Herb released the funky "Damph Faint" for Toxan which was recorded in one take in a basement studio inside a shoe store in Northeast Philly called Impact Sound . This song has been on many funk collections over the years and was recently reissued properly on Herbs CD called "Remember Me".
Herb continued singing with acappella groups The Zip Codes and A Moments Pleasure and he recently performed some live shows with a new band featuring guitarist Bobby Eli who played with Herb in the original Impacts group. This past summer, Herb recorded a single for the Timmion label in Finland called "Make You Wanna Holler".
Relatives, friends and fans are invited to attend a viewing Monday morning 9-11 AM KENT FUNERAL HOME 6506-20 Haverford Ave. Phila. (215-748-1900). Funeral Services at 11 AM