On this day in music history: June 12, 1976 – “I’ll Be Good To You” by The Brothers Johnson hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 on July 10, 1976. Written by George Johnson, Louis Johnson and Senora Sam, it is the first chart topping single for the R&B/Funk duo from Los Angeles, CA. Prodigious musical talents from childhood, brothers George and Louis Johnson get their initial break in the music business when they are both hired as members of musician Billy Preston’s band when they are barely out of high school. In early 1975, after they leave Preston’s band, the brothers are spotted by producer Quincy Jones when they are auditioning for Stevie Wonder’s touring band at The Record Plant in Los Angeles. Extremely impressed, Jones asks George and Louis if they will work with him on “Mellow Madness”, the album he is currently recording. They accept Jones’ offer and play on the album, as well as George co-writing and singing lead on the first single “Is It Love That We’re Missin’” (#18 R&B, #70 Pop). Shortly after that success, The Brothers Johnson are signed to A&M Records, and begin work on their debut album with Quincy Jones producing. While working on material for the album, they choose ten songs out of a possible two hundred for the final group selected to record. Inspired by his girlfriend (and later wife) Debbie Smith, George begins writing what becomes “I’ll Be Good To You”, collaborating with his brother Louis. A mutual friend of their named Senora Sam hears the song as a work in progress, contributing lyrics to the song, including the line “the way we stand, and the way we lie”. Released as the first single from their debut album “Look Out For #1” in February of 1976, “I’ll Be Good To You” quickly becomes a hit on R&B radio, then a pop crossover smash. Some promotional 45’s serviced to radio stations, feature an alternate mix with double tracked lead vocals and additional synthesizer overdubs, that is quickly replaced by an edited version of the album mix for the commercial release. The song is revisited by Quincy Jones in 1989 when he re-records it with Ray Charles and Chaka Khan for his album “Back On The Block”. Jones’ version also tops the R&B singles chart in October of 1989, winning a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal in 1991. The Brothers Johnson’s original version of “I’ll Be Good To You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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