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The life of a porn addicted housewife.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Strawberry Letter 23 

Once in a while a song comes along that sticks in your head for life. You find yourself singing the song in your head all of the time even if you haven’t actually heard the song in a long time.

For me “Strawberry Letter 23” by The Brothers Johnson is just such a song. With it’s happy yet quirky lyrics, the song is by far one of the better “romantic funk” songs I have heard.

“Pretty music I hear - so happy
And loud - blue flower echo
From a cherry cloud”

How can you not love a song with lyrics like that?

The Brothers Johnson (no working official website) released “Strawberry Letter 23” on their album Right On Time in 1977. The song reached both #1 on the R&B charts and #5 on the pop charts that summer. The album was remastered and re-released in 1996.

George and Louis Johnson along with their brother Tommy and cousin Alex formed the group Johnson Three Plus One while still in high school. The group backed artists such as Bobby Womack and the Supremes. George and Louis left the group and joined Billy Preston’s band for a while both performing with him and writing songs for him. The two left Preston in 1973 when they were hired by Quincy Jones to perform on his Mellow Madness album which contains 4 songs written by the brothers. Jones then took the brothers with him on his tour of Japan.

After the tour The Brothers Johnson signed with A&M Records and Quincy Jones produced their debut album Look Out For #1 and promptly scored a #1 R&B and #3 Pop hit with the song “I’ll Be Good To You.” “Get The Funk Out Ma Face also proved to be a hit.

Their second album Right On Time, also produced by Quincy Jones, provided to be as big a success as the first. It contained the songs “Strawberry Letter 23” which was one of the only songs the brothers released that was not written by them.

“Strawberry Letter 23” was originally written and released by the Funk great Shuggie Otis. Otis wrote the song when he was 17 and refers to the fact his girlfriend at the time wrote him love letters on strawberry scented note paper. Letter 23 reveals his feelings about her previous letter, Letter 22. I think it’s a sweet story and I really do hope it’s true.

“Look Out For #1” and “Right On Time” both reached platinum status. They followed up with a few more albums before they decided it was time to do more independent projects.
Louis Johnson went on to play bass on Michael Jackson’s album Thriller and released a gospel album. His brother George worked with Steve Arrington for a time.

The brothers reunited in the mid 80’s and they released a few more albums, but even though they did have a few minor hits, none of the albums equaled the success of their first two.

I am not exactly sure what The Brothers Johnson is up to today. Their “official” website is under construction, and all of the information I can find seems to end at about 1990.

I DID just find THIS!
In 2004 The Brothers Johnson performed live for the first time in years. Luckily it was recorded and released on a DVD. I must find a copy!
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