On this day in music history: May 13, 1977 – &…

On this day in music history: May 13, 1977 – “Right On Time”. the second album by The Brothers Johnson is released. Produced by Quincy Jones, it is recorded at A&M Recording Studio “B” in Hollywood, CA from February 1 – March 21, 1977. With their Platinum selling debut “Look Out For #1” having spent most of 1976 on the charts, brothers George and Louis Johnson turn their attention to working on the follow up release in early 1977. Collaborating again with Quincy Jones, they work with several of the same musicians that had played on the previous album including Harvey Mason (drums), Dave Grusin and Ian Underwood (keyboards). The Tower Of Power Horns (Mic Gillette, Emilio Castillo, Stephen “Doc” Kupka, Greg Adams and Lenny Pickett) are also featured on the album. Seven of the eight songs included on “Right On Time” are written by George and Louis (either together or with others), with one exception. The brothers decide to record a cover of multi-instrumentalist Shuggie Otis’ (the son of R&B music pioneer and band Johnny Otis) song “Strawberry Letter 23” (#1 R&B, #5 Pop). George hears it when he is dating Otis’ cousin after she turns him on to Shuggie’s 1971 album “Freedom Flight” that the song is featured on. Together with Jones, George and Louis come up with a new funky arrangement for the song, with guitarist Lee Ritenour playing the memorable solo at the instrumental break. It’s released as the first single from the album in early June of 1977 and quickly turns into an R&B and pop crossover smash, becoming The Brothers Johnson’s second million selling single. It is followed by the laid back groove “Runnin’ For Your Lovin” (#20 R&B, #107 Pop) in the Fall. The instrumental track “Q”, named for their producer and mentor wins them a Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance in 1978. Original vinyl copies of the album come packaged with a full color eight page booklet featuring song lyrics, credits and photos. First released on CD in 1986 (Japan only), it is remastered and reissued in 1996 in the US. “Right On Time” peaks at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirteen on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.