Jimmy Johnson, studio musician who backed the Stones, Aretha Franklin and others, dies at 76

Jimmy Johnson outside his home on the Tennessee River in Sheffield, Ala., in 2015.
(Jay Reeves / Associated Press)
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Musician Jimmy Johnson, a founding member of the hard-working, hit-generating group of studio players in Muscle Shoals, Ala., nicknamed the “Swampers,” who made indelible contributions to hits by Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon and dozens of other acts in the 1960s and ’70s, has died. He was 76.

His death Sept. 5 was confirmed by his son, Jay Johnson, on Facebook.

Like his studio-pro peers at Motown Records known as the Funk Brothers and the collection of Los Angeles musicians known as the Wrecking Crew, rhythm guitarist Johnson and his colleagues in the Swampers — bassist David Hood, keyboardist Barry Beckett and drummer Roger Hawkins — often toiled in anonymity during an era when all attention was focused on singers, not the supporting musicians.

But those star performers became well aware of the Swampers’ skills, often seeking them out from afar to infuse their records with their rich, funky Southern grooves.

They can be heard on Franklin’s signature hit “Respect,” which features Johnson’s flavorful accents and fills, as well as Pickett’s “Land of a Thousand Dances,” Clarence Carter’s “Patches,” Etta James’ “Tell Mama” and dozens of others recorded at Rick Hall’s FAME Recording Studios.
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READ THE REST OF THIS OBITUARY  HERE  AT THE L. A. TIMES WEBSITE
Published on September 15, 2019 at 8:26 am by Radio Man

Comments

September 22, 2019 - 1:04 pm

BMCQ

RIP

An absolutely Legendary Group of Musicians .

I would give almost anything to have had the opportunity to just sit, listen and watch any of those sessions back then .

The story and History of the Fame Studio, Owner Manager Rick Hall, Muscle Shoals Studio, and the Swampers will live forever .


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