Johnny Bristol was one of the mainstays of my entire Motorcity project. I recorded ten songs with him, but wrote about fifty, including songs for The Contours, The Monitors, The Satintones, and many many others. I had intended to re-record "Man Up In The Sky" for Barrett Strong, but Barrett wanted way too much money, and Johnny begged to do the song, and it became one of our biggest records. He also recorded his classic song "What Does It Take To Win Your Love" for us, which he had originally written for Junior Walker, and he re-recorded his biggest ever hit for us, "Hang On In There Baby", which I am proud to finally add to the video footage we filmed of him in 1990, when I got him over to England to appear at Great Yarmouth in the autumn of that year, which is when this performance was filmed. Johnny Bristol was a fine singer and songwriter, with his songwriting taking precedence in his early career at the Motown Records imprint. Johnny was later to marry Iris Gordy and become an 'actual' part of the Motown family. He began his career in 1960 as part of the duo of Johnny And Jackie. Johnny met Jackie Beavers during a period of National Service in the U.S. Air Force. The duo recorded the first version of the tune 'Someday We'll Be Together' for Gwen Gordy and Harvey Fuqua's Tri-Phi Imprint. The Supremes' version later reached the National Charts later in the decade in 1969, with Johnny pitching in on background vocal chores. Johnny stayed with Motown for the duration of the Sixties, 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, the late Edwin Starr, David Ruffin and Junior Walker ('How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You' and co-writing 'What Does It Take To Win Your Love'). By 1973, Johnny had departed from the Motown stable and left for CBS Records. The arrangement didn't work out and he left a year later for the MGM imprint. He scored an, almost, instant success with the song 'Hang On In There Baby', which was a first solo offering for many a year. Johnny had two more hits for the MGM label, 'You And I' and 'Leave My World' in 1974 and 1975, respectively. One of his songs, 'Love Me For A Reason' was released as a single, however, a cover version by the group The Osmonds, received all the kudos. Johnny released several fine albums following the parent album to his initial hit single. In 1976, he had relocated to the Atlantic label and had an R & B hit with the song 'Do It To My Mind'. His album 'Strangers' was released in 1979, with the title track becoming highly collectable and covered by the group Tavares under the title 'Strangers In Dark Corners'. Johnny re-recorded 'Hang On in There Baby' with the group Alton McClain and Destiny on Polydor in 1980. The same year, Johnny had a top 40 hit with the singer Amii Stewart entitled 'My Guy, My Girl'. Johnny also recorded for the Ariola and Handshake label before signing with Motorcity in the early Nineties. Johnny Bristol died on Sunday the 21st of March 2004 at the St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital in Howell, Michigan from natural causes. He was 65. Michigan State Police in Brighton stated Johnny suffered an apparent seizure at his Brighton Township home and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
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