Few artists have been as influential in their respective genres for as long as General Norman Johnson, the CEO of the long-standing beach music faves Chairmen of the Board. This Norfolk, Va., native first scored a shag music hit with The Showmen back in the mid-’60s with “39-21-46” in which the General gently coos a your-body-is-a-wonderland ode to his lady love and her impressive figure.
It wasn’t until he hooked up with Harrison Kennedy and Danny Woods, a pal from The Showmen, to form the Chairmen of the Board that Johnson found a nationwide audience with “Give Me Just a Little More Time.”
In hindsight, it was the song’s retro Motown feel that likely endeared it to beach music aficionados in the shagging South, who love nothing more than to dance to the time-tested sounds of 1950s R&B. Even though the song topped the charts across the country — reaching million-seller status — the Chairmen’s reign as big time R&B hit makers was brief, while Johnson himself went on to establish a successful solo career, writing such classics as “Patches” and “Want Ads.”
That said, as early as the mid-’60s, Johnson had already come to the realization that his most devoted fans would be beach music lovers, like those found in the Carolinas. And it was for these folks that he penned the regional anthem, “Carolina Girls,” a song the reformed Chairmen would turn into one of shag music’s all-time classics. —Chris Haire
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