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  Chairmen of the Board

 

Musical trends come and go, but for more than fifty years, Beach Music has been as steady as the Atlantic Ocean 's flow to its southeastern beachfronts - General Johnson My career has been a long exciting journey with all roads leading to the musical oasis called Beach Music. In the spring of 1966 in Raleigh , North Carolina , as lead singer of the Showmen, I performed before my first Beach Music audience. Thinking Beach Music was music by artist like The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean, we nervously performed a variety of rhythm and blues classics. Surprisingly, each song was met with the audience's approval. As we ended the show with our regional hit "39-21-46" and our nationally charted hit song, "It Will Stand," the audience responded by applauding us back for an encore. Because we didn't know any other songs to perform, we sang two more verses of

"It Will Stand" and spontaneously, began to adlib the chorus of Bruce Channel's song "Hey Baby." As we sang "Hey Baby," we waved our hands in the air and to our surprise, everyone in the audience responded by doing the same. When we concluded the show with a bow, the audience showed their appreciation by rewarding us with another thunderous round of applause. That spring night, I understood, appreciated and became a part of the Beach Music phenomenon.

In 1968, 1 moved to Detroit , Michigan to further my career with Invictus Records. As a member of The Chairmen of the Board, I experienced and enjoyed international success as a songwriter and an artist. My success in such a short period of time magnified the business dealings with my recording and management companies. Soon, business disagreements deteriorated our musical relationship and eventually terminated our successful venture. In 1974, 1 left Invictus.

In 1978, 1 returned to the Carolina 's with The Chairmen of the Board. For the first time in eight years, I enjoyed performing music without the depression of the music business. I found an independent music industry that was still free of monopoly, politics and categorization. I felt the energy of an industry propelled by its loyal supporters. In 1979, 1, along with the late Mike Branch, formed Surfside Records. Our objective was to record new music to revitalize the identity of a thriving music market that was slowly being recognized as and too dependent on old recordings.

In 1981, two years after forming Surfside Records, I was contacted by Motown Records, leading to discussions with then CEO Mr. Berry Gordy Jr. The meetings at his home in California were personable and candid. His offer could have proven to be financially lucrative for me but would have meant moving to California and abandoning Surfside Records and the musical utopia that I had found to be a safe haven. I respectfully declined Motown offer and for years, I wondered if I had made the right decision.

Nineteen years later, I have absolutely no regrets. Those years have been filled with excitement and personal fulfillment that exceeds any monetary gains that I could have attained. I'd like to sincerely thank all Beach Music lovers and supporters for affording me the opportunity to create and perform, without compromise, the music that we treasure. I am humbly appreciative and honored to be a part of the Carolina Beach Music phenomenon.