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Johnny Bristol

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Morganton, North Carolina, USA (1959 – 1993)

Johnny Bristol (born John William Bristol on 3 February 1939 in Morganton, North Carolina, USA - 21 March 2004), was an African American musician, most famous as a songwriter and record producer for Motown Records in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Bristol and singing partner Jackey Beavers recorded two singles in 1959 for Anna Records, a label owned by Gwen Gordy (Berry Gordy’s sister) and Billy Davis and four 45s for Gwen Gordy and Harvey Fuqua’s Tri-Phi label, none of which was a success beyond the Midwestern United States.

Recorded in the early 1960s for Harvey Fuqua’s Tri-Phi label in Detroit, Michigan as “Johnny & Jackey”. When Tri-Phi was absorbed by Motown in the mid-1960s, Bristol became Fuqua’s songwriting and production partner, working on material for Motown artists such as Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell (“If I Could Build My Whole World Around You”), Edwin Starr (“Twenty-Five Miles”), David Ruffin (“My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me”), and others. On his own, Bristol produced hits such as “Someday We’ll Be Together” for Diana Ross and the Supremes and “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong” and “Daddy Could Swear, I Declare” for Gladys Knight And The Pips.

When Motown left Detroit for Los Angeles in 1972, Bristol moved over to MGM Records, where he resumed his career as a recording artist. He released several successful R&B hits, among them “You and I” (1974), and “Leave My World” (1975), as well as the top ten pop hit “Hang In There Baby” (1974).

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