Chairman of the Board singer 'General' Norman Johnson dies at 67
General Norman Johnson, lead singer of the soul vocal trio Chairmen of the Board, died Wednesday 13 October at age 67.
His group was best known for the song “Give Me Just a Little More Time,” a favorite of Carolina beach music and shag dancing aficionados. It’s a defining song of the Southern soul sub-genre. The track climbed to No. 3 on the Billboard singles chart in 1970. The group would release three more Top 40 hits in 1970, but that was the end of the Chairmen’s chart run.
Johnson was born in Virginia but started his career in Raleigh, N.C., with another beach music phenomenon, the Showmen (“It Will Stand”), before relocating to Detroit in the late 1960s. The Chairmen of the Board came together there, but the group later flew south, where there was always demand for the singers who created beach music’s classics.
According to the Charolotte Observer, Johnson’s bandmate Ken Knox says that the band moved south in the early ’80s. Johnson settled in Atlanta, but Knox came to Charlotte, which is the headquarters of the group’s record label.
Though he’s probably best known for “Give Me Just a Little More Time,” Johnson won a Grammy for best R&B song in 1970 for writing Clarence Carter’s Top 5 hit “Patches,” a hard-luck tearjerker about growing up poor.