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Biography

  • Years Active

    1967 – 2013 (46 years)

  • Founded In

    Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, United States

  • Members

Chairmen of the Board is an American-Canadian, Detroit, Michigan-based soul music group, who saw their greatest commercial success in the 1970s.

General Norman Johnson (23 May 1943, Norfolk, VA – 13 Oct 2010, Atlanta, GA), had a hit as the lead singer of The Showmen, in the early '60s, with the New Orleans anthem It Will Stand.

When Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown, in 1967, to establish their own Invictus/Hot Wax group of labels, they teamed-up Johnson with Eddie Custis, Danny Woods &, Canadian born, Harrison Kennedy - as the new company's flagship act - under the appropriate name 'Chairmen of the Board'. Dozier explained, according to Songfacts: "We called them that because of their extraordinary talents. They each played several instruments, sang and wrote songs as well." Custis left the group after their second album.

Though they all had a turn at lead vocals, it was General Johnson's quirky hiccup-laden style and his songwriting which became increasingly showcased, wit hthe group selling a million plus copies of "Give Me Just A Little More Time". Chairmen of the Board also scored with "You've Got Me Dangling On A String", "Pay To the Piper", "Everything's Tuesday", "Working On A Building Of Love", "Elmo James", "Finders Keepers", and the original version of "Patches", a memorable ballad later covered with great success by Clarence Carter.

Kennedy, Woods and Johnson all went on to cut solo albums of varying quality, whilst Johnson wrote and produced (with Greg Perry) for other Invictus/Hot Wax acts, notably Honey Cone. Harrison having left, Johnson and Woods toured the UK in 1976 with six musicians as "Chairmen of the Board", but were not as successful as before. The act was broken up immediately afterwards, Johnson having signed for Arista Records as a solo artist.

In 1978, Johnson reformed the Chairmen of the Board. In 1980, the new Chairmen founded Surfside Records, for which the group records for to this day.

The Chairmen of the Board (General Johnson, Danny Woods and Ken Knox) were inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 1999.

General Johnson continued to perform with Woods and Knox as the "Chairmen of the Board" until his death from lung cancer in 2010.

In 2012, Chairmen of the Board released a single, "You", which was written and produced by Knox.

In 2013, former member Harrison Kennedy was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the "Acoustic Artist" category.

Danny Woods died in January 2018.

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