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Jesse Johnson

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Jesse Johnson (b. Jesse Woods Johnson) is a musician and producer, best known as the guitarist in the original lineup of The Time. Johnson was born in Rock Island, Illinois on May 29, 1960. Johnson moved to St. Louis at the age of 9 and was raised by foster parents after his parents split up. At age 16 he moved back to Rock Island to live with his father. Johnson began playing guitar when he was 15, honing his chops in local rock bands such as Treacherous Funk, Pilot, and Dealer, throughout his teens and early twenties. On a friend’s recommendation, he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1981, where he met Morris Day and played briefly in Day’s band which was called Enterprise. He then became the lead guitarist for the city’s extraordinairy funk-rock group, The Time.

Although Prince basically recorded the first 2 Time albums on his own with Morris Day, Johnson did contribute to the Vanity 6 project by contributing a song called “Bite The Beat” co-written with Prince. On The Time’s third album, Ice Cream Castle, Johnson contributed to the smash singles “The Bird” and “Jungle Love” (the group’s most memorable and highest-charting single), which were helped by the popularity of the Purple Rain film.

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