David Johnson

Born: May 28, 1950 Sheffield, Alabama

2001 Induction Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame

2007 W.C. Handy "Masters & Legends Award"

David Johnson started his music career at the age of 16 as a Disc Jockey at W.L.A.Y. Radio Station in Muscle Shoals, AL.

During this time, he hung around a small recording studio on 2nd street in Sheffield, owned be fellow disc jockey and friend Quin Ivy.

In 1968 Quin Ivy built a new studio on Broadway Street in Sheffield and ask Johnson to come to work with him as studio manager and recording engineer.

During this time Johnson worked with many new R & B artist for Quin Ivy's record label such as Tony Borders, and Bill Brandon as well as Z. Z. Hill.

The first gold record Johnson engineered was "Friend Don't Take Her She's All I've Got" by Freddie North.

In 1972, Johnson purchased the studio from Ivy and changed the name to Broadway Sound Studio (because it was on Broadway Street ). Then formed production and publishing companies.

The first few years of Johnson's recording career, like all of the Muscle Shoals, Alabama recording scene, was mostly music in the R&B field of music. Working with artists like Percy Sledge, Joe Simon, The Commodores, Clarence Carter, Z.Z. Hill, Denise Laselle, Ruth Brown, Arthur Conley, Oscar Tony, Jr., Swamp Dogg, Tony Borders, Dave “Baby” Cortez, Bill Brandon, Bill Coday, Pep Brown, and the Supremes.

Pop artist Johnson worked with included J.J. Cale, Buddy Causey, Ruben Howell, Jinx, Lenny LeBlanc, and Leslie Uggams.

Johnson was the first in the Muscle Shoals area to work with Southern Rock groups. Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, Mama’s Pride, Orgon Zable(with lead singer Micky Thomas later of the Elvin Bishop Band and Jefferson Starship) and Birnum Wood.

Johnson also worked with country artists George Jones, Rosie Carter, Kenny Price, Ed Bruce, and the duo of George Soule/Ava Aldridge.

The first artist he produced was Kip Anderson for Abbot Records, them an R&B album on Sandra Wright, for Stax Records, with the singles “Wounded Woman” “Lovin’ You, Loving Me”. Next an album on Percy Sledge for Monument Records with singles, “She’s Too Pretty To Cry” and “You Had To Be There”.

One of the last projects David worked on before taking the position as Executive Director of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame was the biggest selling album in Clarence Carters Career "Dr. CC" which contained the smash hit “Strokin'”.


Kip Anderson - R & B; Tony Borders - R & B; Bill Brandon - R & B; Ruth Brown - R & B; Pep Brown - R & B; J.J. Cale - Pop; Rosie Carter - Country/Pop; The Commodores - R & B; Arthur Conley - R & B; Clarence Carter - R & B; Doris Duke- R & B; James Govan - R & B; Z.Z. Hill - R & B; George Jones - Country; “Jinx” - Pop; Denise Lasalle - R & B; Lenny LeBlanc - Pop; Mama’s Pride- Southern Rock; Jerry "Boggie" McCain - Harmonica Blues; Freddie North - Pop/R & B; Kenny Price - Country/Gospel; Joe Simon - R & B; Percy Sledge - Country Soul; Lightin' Slim – Blues; Lynyrd Skynyrd - Southern Rock; Swamp Dogg - Blues; The Outlaws - Southern Rock; The Supremes - Pop/R & B; The Tams - Pop/Soul; Oscar Toney, Jr. - R & B; Irma Thomas – R & B; Leslie Uggams - Pop; Sandra Wright - R&B.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame



Board fires hall director

By Russ Corey

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 3:30 a.m.

Last Modified: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 10:42 p.m.

David Johnson's tenure as executive director of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame came to an end Tuesday about the time a bill that would change the makeup of the hall's board of directors died.

Johnson, who has been the director for the past 21 years, said he received an e-mail from the chairman of the hall of fame board of directors that stated he was no longer the director of the hall of fame.

He said the termination was "effective immediately."

The news came shortly before 5 p.m., just hours after a bill that would dissolve the current hall of fame board of directors and change the way board members are appointed was effectively killed before coming to a vote in the state House of Representatives.

The bill was introduced by state Sen. Bobby Denton, D-Muscle Shoals, a recent inductee into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

"It's horrible," Johnson said. "I lacked 3½ years of getting full retirement. It's not a good thing for me for sure."

Johnson said the e-mail was sent by board Chairman John Briggs and contained no reason for the termination. Efforts to reach Briggs on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

"They gave me no explanation," Johnson said.

Denton said he's certain Johnson's firing is associated with the bill, which was approved Thursday by the state Senate in a 32-0 vote. "I think it probably is," Denton said. "(Board members) were furious about it. I don't know anything else to say. I'm sorry it happened."

With only three legislative days left in the 2010 session, Denton said the bill is effectively dead.

Johnson said his firing came after an "emergency meeting" of a quorum of the board of directors, who traveled to Montgomery to stop Denton's bill.

Board members Rodney Hall, of Muscle Shoals, Jimmy Johnson, of Sheffield, Dr. Bill Nugent, of Point Clear, and Buel Springer, of St. Florian, met in executive session at the Statehouse to discuss the executive director.

"While we were there, members of the board held an emergency meeting," Hall said.

After an executive session, Hall, Johnson, Springer and Nugent voted to fire Johnson. Hall said insubordination was the cause for Johnson's dismissal.

"He was not following the wishes of the board," Hall said.

Board members said they want to make the hall of fame less dependent on state funding and the facility systematically more organized, things they said they believe the current director does not want.

"The hall of fame board and the people that were working with them worked real hard to keep (the bill) from coming up," Denton said. "They wanted to keep it like it is and let the governor appoint the board members and keep it political, I guess."

Denton arrived as the House committee was about to begin the meeting and just in time to hear Rep. Merika Coleman, the chairman, say the bill was off the agenda.

Coleman said the reason was because the committee had a request for a public hearing on the bill.

Hall confirmed board members attended Tuesday's House committee meeting in Montgomery to ask for a public hearing on Denton's bill.

In addition to Denton, lobbyist Johnny Crawford and attorney and former state Sen. Ryan deGraffenreid attended the House committee meeting, Hall said, noting that deGraffenreid would not say who he was representing.

Coleman took offense when Denton asked if a lobbyist requested the public hearing on the bill. "That is not the way I operate," she told Denton.

Denton apologized to Coleman but said no one notified him that the bill would not come up Tuesday.

"I've been reaching a compromise. That is what I wanted to tell the committee about. I don't know what the big deal is. I just wanted to bring a broader perspective than seven people being appointed to this board by the governor," Denton said.

"This comes on the heels of the bingo thing. It is a heck of a way to end a 30-year career in the Legislature," he said. Denton is not running for re-election.

He said the Legislature does not know what the hall of fame really is.

"The Legislature has never really appreciated what a state-of-the-art facility this is. It is a very big tourist draw for Alabama," he said.

Denton's bill would have dissolved the present board and establish three authorities to appoint new members. Those making the appointments would include the governor, the Alabama Department of Tourism and the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourism Association. Each would appoint two members, and the board would then appoint a seventh at-large member. Board members would be limited to two, six-year terms and would have to reside in Alabama. No two board members could reside in the same congressional district.

Current hall of fame board members Norbert Putnam, who is originally from Florence, and Briggs, who is from Killen, both now reside in Tennessee.

"I wasn't trying to dissolve the board," Denton said. "I was trying to make the board more fair and more statewide."

Denton said he heard that the board members planned on firing Johnson.

"I don't believe what they did was legal," Denton said.

Johnson said Denton wanted to introduce a similar bill a few years ago, but decided against it after discussing it with the hall of fame board of directors. He said Denton introduced the bill without informing anyone, including himself.

"I've been accused of having something to do with it, which is erroneous," Johnson said. "They gave me no explanation, no reasons."

Johnson said he would be paid through the end of the month.

Johnson said the new board has been changing the way the hall of fame operates, but he has done what they have asked.

According to Hall, an example of the insubordination was Johnson's lack of cooperation with a company hired to produce the induction banquet and awards ceremony in Montgomery in March. He said the company backed out of the production because Johnson did not give the company the information and cooperation it needed.

Hall thanked Johnson for his years of service, but said it is time for a fresh start. He also said the staff at the hall of fame is highly capable of running the museum until a replacement for Johnson is found.

The board has launched an internal audit of finances, which Hall said began four days before Denton's bill was introduced March 30. An audit of the hall of fame's finances conducted by the state Examiner of Public Accounts for the years 2006 through 2008 found a number of irregularities in accounting procedures and state guidelines, including violations of the state Open Meetings Act. Most of the present board members were appointed after the state audit was conducted.

"They can audit all they want," Johnson said. "There's nothing to be found."

Russ Corey can be reached at 740-5738 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Montgomery bureau chief M.J. Ellington contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20100414/ARTICLES/4145016/1011/NEWS?Title=Board-fires-hall-d

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