Stomp! With The Brothers Johnson

Prime disco funk in this week's Forgotten Videos
  • George Johnson in "Stomp!"
July 27, 2011 -- 7:00 am PDT
GRAMMY.com

Welcome to Forgotten Videos. For some, these videos are forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Whichever category you fall into, each week we'll feature a video that's possibly been collecting dust when what it really deserves is a fresh look. Or vice-versa…. We're not here to judge, we just want to take you on a little trip down memory lane. Yep, you'll remember when hair was really that big, when drums were that up front in the mix, when video was young(er) and so were you.

The Brothers Johnson
"Stomp!"
1980

Whether or not the Brothers Johnson's name was an intended double entendre, Los Angeles-based brothers George and Louis Johnson were at the top of the disco-funk heap in the late '70s with tracks such as "I'll Be Good To You" and "Strawberry Letter 23." With a pre-Michael Jackson Quincy Jones on board as producer, Tha Bruthas (as they'd be known today) hit on a pop/soul sound with a sheen equal to the satin jackets on the dance floors in all the clubs.

"Stomp!" was the duo's third and last Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hit, and it capped their run with Jones, who had initially hired the Johnsons to play on his Mellow Madness LP in 1975. (They performed the album's lead track "Is It Love That We're Missing?" a smoldering bit of come-on lite funk that climbed to No. 70 on the Hot 100.)

The Bros J began in the oddly named Johnson Three Plus One, which also featured older brother Tommy and cousin Alex Weir. They backed touring artists coming through Los Angeles, such as Bobby Womack and the Supremes. George and Louis then joined Billy Preston's band in 1973, and when Jones hired them for Mellow Madness, he found an agile act that could combine truly funky rhythms with pop structures.

Their debut album Look Out For #1 went Top 10 on the Billboard 200 in 1976, followed by Right On Time, which cracked the Top 15 in 1977. Blam!!, also Top 10 in 1978, preceded Light Up The Night, which proved the Brothers' highest-charting album and spawned "Stomp!"

In typical fashion for a video shot prior to the formal launch of MTV, the clip is a no-frills affair, but since the tune is a party anthem, the live dance club setting seems appropriate, and all the sequined party extras seem to be having a good time. There are a few outside shots of the Brothers "…cruising around in the street/Listen[ing] up for the partying feet," a breakdown featuring Louis' maniacal slapping bass, and some early rapping from George as the song fades.

The Brothers staged a reunion tour in 2002, but since then, information on their activities seems scant. According to the group's Wikipedia entry, "In 2006 Louis gave a duo-show with a drummer, on the Poetry In Motion 1 Festival, Maryland. In late 2007, George performed with his own band at a Detroit-Festival, including a persona called Sir Nose. George also performs these days with a special band, including Adina Howard, Cherrelle, Ray Parker Jr., and a few more artists."

If you know what our favorite Brothers are up to, and can let us know in better English than Wikipedia, please comment below.

What is a Strawberry Letter 23? Got any Forgotten Video recommendations? Leave us a comment. 

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