Johnny Bristol


3 Février 1939, Morganton, Caroline du Nord, United States


Remembered mainly for his classic soul hit 'Hang On in There Baby', Johnny Bristol was a powerful, heart-wrenching R&B crooner who also worked for Motown records during its golden period in the 1960s and '70s. Born in North Carolina, Bristol was serving in the air force when he started singing in a doo-wop duo with Jackey Beavers and recorded a string of singles in 1959 for the Tri-Phi label. When the company was taken over by Motown in the mid-'60s, he began working with Harvey Fuqua as a producer and songwriter and after marrying the niece of label founder Berry Gordy, he became an important part of the company and helped create hits such as 'Aint No Mountain High Enough' for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, 'Someday We'll Be Together' for Diana Ross and the Supremes and 'What Does It Take' for Junior Walker and the Allstars.

Wanting a shot at stardom himself, he signed to MGM as a solo artist and found instant success when his debut single 'Hang On in There Baby' reached number two in the UK and number eight in the US in 1974. It was later covered by Bette Midler, Blue and Gary Barlow and has become a well-recognised slice of R&B-pop from the era, but Bristol's following singles 'Memories Don't Leave Like People Do' and 'You and I' failed to make the same impact. The Osmonds had a number one hit in the UK with his song 'Love Me for a Reason' and Bristol later recorded the duet 'My Guy - My Girl' with Amii Stewart which was popular in Europe in 1980. He continued to perform, record and write regularly into the 1990s, before his death aged 65 in 2004 from natural causes.

Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved