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The Showmen

The Showmen were one of the R&B groups to bridge the gap between doo wop and soul in the early '60s, creating a buoyant, energetic fusion of harmonies and propulsive R&B beats. The group only had one hit, "It Will Stand," which charted both in 1961 and in 1964, but their lead singer, General Johnson, went on to greater success as the leader of the '70s soul group Chairmen of the Board.

Formed in Norfolk, VA, in the early '60s, the Showmen consisted of Johnson (born Norman Johnson, May 23, 1943), Leslie Felton, Gene Wright, Dorsey Wright, and Milton Wells. In 1961, the group signed with Minit Records, which was based in New Orleans. Their first single was a rock & roll anthem, "It Will Stand." Released in the fall of 1961, "It Will Stand" was a hit, particularly on the East Coast and in the New Orleans era, but it only peaked at number 61 on the pop charts. Nevertheless, the song's popularity never decreased and it became a hit three years later, when re-released on the Imperial label. On its second release, the single peaked at number 80 on both the R&B and pop charts.

Between the two chart appearances of "It Will Stand," the Showmen kept recording and performing. During this time, they had no national hits, but "39-21-46" became a significant regional hit. In 1965, the group signed with Swan Records, but none of the ensuing singles became hits. In 1968, Johnson left the band and moved to Detroit, where he formed the Chairmen of the Board, who would later have hits with "Give Me Just a Little More Time," "(You've Got Me) Dangling on a String," and "Everything's Tuesday" in the early '70s. In the three decades after the breakup of the Showmen, "It Will Stand" and "39-21-46" remained popular on the East Coast "beach music" scene and Johnson would later return to this area, carving out a living as a local performer. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Doo Wop Classics

1. It Will Stand

2. Let Her Feel It In Your Kiss

3. The Wrong Girl

5. I Love You, Can't You See

6. Valley Of Love

7. I'm Coming Home

8. The Owl Sees You

9. For You, My Darling

10. Strange Girl

11. This Misery

12. Fate Planned It This Way

13. Swish Fish

14. Country Fool

15. True Fine Mama

x

Track List: The Showmen Selected Favorites

1. True Fine Mama

2. To Prove My Love Is True

3. The Wrong Girl

4. The Owl Sees You

5. Swish Fish

6. Strange Girl

7. Somebody Help Me

8. Country Fool

9. Coming Home

10. 39-21-40 Shape

11. It Will Stand - Original

12. I Love You, Can't You See

13. I Fall In Love

14. For You My Darling

15. Fate Planned It This Way

x

Track List: Come Pioveva…

1. Come Pioveva

2. Giovane Amore

3. Storia D'Amore N. 1

4. Che Succede Dentro Di Me

5. Io L'Amo Di Più

6. La Notte Sogno Ancora Te

7. Che Farai

8. Catarì (Marzo)

9. Amore Che Fu

10. Che M'e Fatto

11. Ma Perché Ami Il Gatto

12. Basta Che Mi Vuoi

x

Track List: Un'ora Sola Ti Vorrei

1. Mi Sei Entrata Nel Cuore

2. Ci Crederesti Se (Birth)

3. Gloria, Ricchezza E Te

4. Non Si Può Leggere Nel Cuore

5. Piece Of My Heart

6. Voglio Restare Solo

7. Un'ora Sola Ti Vorrei

8. Tu Sei Bella Come Sei

9. Sto Cercando

10. Credi Credi Credi In Me

11. Get It

12. Let Yourself Go

x

Track List: It Will Stand

1. It Will Stand

2. Country Fool

3. This Misery

4. The Wrong Girl

5. Fate Planned It This Way

6. For You My Darling

7. Valley Of Love

8. The Owl Sees You

9. Swish Fish

10. I'm Coming Home

11. Strange Girl

12. I Love You, Can't You See

13. Let Her Feel It In Your Kiss

14. True Fine Mama

Comments

Report as inappropriate
A very smooth talented group.
Report as inappropriate
Everyone thinks it's 39-21-46. He's saying during the song, 39-21-40 SHAPE!! I see the name of the song wrong everywhere.
Report as inappropriate
What a beach song Nags head N C
Report as inappropriate
Love his voice.
Report as inappropriate
Love this song
Report as inappropriate
rocco.cefalo
My band here in Charlotte NC The Band Of Gold opened many times for General Johnson and the Charimen of the Board. The article above should have also mentioned that General Johnson wrote the 70's hit Patches for Clarence Carter, Want Ads and One Monkey Don't Stop No Show for the girl vocal group Honey Cone among many other songs. Johnson died 10/13/2010, but Chairmen of the board is reformed and continues performing lead by long term member Ken Knox.
Report as inappropriate
If you lived in the Tidewater area then you knew that The Showmen was to us what The Tempts were to Detroit....b e l i e v e it
Report as inappropriate
The best R&B song! EVER!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Report as inappropriate
I LOVE BEACH MUSIC. PEPPERMINT LOUNGE, ROUGES GALLERY
Report as inappropriate
"It Will Stand" is one of the greatese R&R records ever, at least it's one my favorites!!!

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