Spectropop remembers

JOHNNY BRISTOL (1939 - 2004)

Writer of 'Someday We'll Be Together', 'Hang On In There Baby' and 'Love Me For A Reason'

Born in Morganton, North Carolina, Johnny Bristol was a fine singer and songwriter, with his songwriting taking precedence in his early years at Motown Records. He began his career in 1960 as part of the duo of Johnny and Jackie. He had met Jackie Beavers while serving in the U.S. Air Force. The duo recorded the first version of the song 'Someday We'll Be Together' for Tri-Phi. In 1969 Diana Ross and the Supremes took the song to #1, with Johnny pitching in on background vocals. As the husband of Berry Gordy's sister Iris, Johnny was part of the Motown family. He stayed with the label for the duration of the '60s, partnering Harvey Fuqua and writing and producing for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, Martha Reeves, Jimmy Ruffin, the Four Tops, The Detroit Spinners, Edwin Starr, David Ruffin and Junior Walker.

By 1973 Johnny had departed for CBS Records. The arrangement didn't work out and he left a year later for MGM, where he scored an almost instant success with the song 'Hang On In There Baby', his first solo offering for many years. The hits 'You And I' and 'Leave My World' followed, and his song 'Love Me For A Reason' was a huge success for the Osmonds.

In 1976 he relocated to the Atlantic label and had an R & B hit with 'Do It To My Mind'. Johnny re-recorded 'Hang On in There Baby' with the group Alton McClain and Destiny on Polydor in 1980. The same year, he had a top 40 hit with Amii Stewart entitled 'My Guy/My Girl'. He also appeared on Ariola and Handshake before recording for the British Motorcity label in the early '90s. He released an excellent album in Japan, in 1996, entitled 'Life And Love'.

Johnny died at his home in Brighton Township, Michigan. State Police stated he suffered an apparent seizure and was pronounced dead on arrival at Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital. He was 65.

Adapted from an obituary at soulwalking.com

John William (Johnny) Bristol, singer, songwriter and record producer: born February 3, 1939 - died March 21, 2004