Louis Johnson (Brothers Johnson)

Courtesy of Brothers Johnson Com

A giant of the instrument, a master slap and melodic player…and among the most influential bassists ever…where to begin with the late, truly great Louis Johnson?


He was the bassist that brought the funk to Thriller (1983), and he was pretty impressive on Michael’s Off The Wall (1979) and Dangerous (1991) as well.


Louis Johnson on the title track to Off The Wall https://youtu.be/B3MFbhwfEXU


As co-bandleader of the multi-platinum Brothers Johnson, “Thunder Thumbs” Louis Johnson probably did more to further the acceptance of slap style bass than any other player of his generation.


Though he possessed tremendous dexterity and rendered flashy solos – Johnson’s genius was evidenced in his intuitive rhythmic prowess – which made him an asset in the studio for scores of session and sideman dates.


Dig Louis signature slap style the Brothers Johnson’s iconic interpretation of Shuggie Otis’ “Strawberry Letter 23” https://youtu.be/rquygdjf0d8


Louis’ bass artistry contributed significantly to several iconic albums and hit singles by Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Earl Klugh, Grover Washington Jr., Michael McDonald, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Nicks, Bjork, Quincy Jones, George Duke, and Kenny Loggins …. among many, many others.


Louis Johnson’s extraordinary 1985 instructional film, now distributed by Hal Leonard, is the absolute definitive tutorial on slap bass.


Check out the intro to Louis Johnson’s Star Licks instructional video https://youtu.be/xlzGsTMqZ8g