As of this posting, the details of his passing are not known, but Johnson’ death was confirmed by his nephew Troy on Instagram. In addition to being a founding member of the Brothers Johnson with his brother George, Louis was a longtime collaborator of Quincy Jones. You can hear his artistry on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and “Off the Wall,” and even Jones’ “Mellow Madness” album.
Back in the mid-70s to early 80s the Brothers Johnson was all over the radio and R&B and Pop charts with hits like 1976’s “I’ll Be Good to You,” 1977’s “Strawberry Letter 23” and 1980’s “Stomp!” In fact, fans of the Brothers Johnson will recall that their 1976 debut, “Look Out for #1” was produced by Jones and even could brag that the King of Pop, Michael Jackson sang back up on their 4th platinum release, “Light Up the Night.”
But what made Louis Johnson stand out for a lot of music fans was his style of playing which earned him the nick name of “Thunder Thumbs.” And as Billboard points out, he was also one of the pioneers of slap bass, making him an in-demand session player for everyone from Stanley Clarke to Donna Summer. Many of his classic grooves for artists like George Duke and Michael McDonald have also received a second life as some of hip-hop’s most popular samples.
“He was a dear and beloved friend and brother,” Quincy Jones told Rolling Stone, “and I will miss his presence and joy of life every day.”
Read/learn MORE about the death of legendary bassist Louis Johnson at Rolling Stone.
Watch/listen to musical tribute to Louis Johnson with music from the Brothers Johnson:
BONUS: Louis Johnson jams and performs Billie Jean (Michael Jackson) [live]: