Syl Johnson, a widely respected Chicago blue and soul singer known for being an enormous influence on the hip-hop community, has passed away. He was 85.
NPR writes bout one of his best-known songs, "As one of the most widely sampled songs in hip-hop, 'Different Strokes' has been borrowed by dozens of artists, including Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy, De La Soul, Ice Cube, and Kanye West and Jay-Z."
- KC's View:
In all honesty, I'd never heard of Syl Johnson before he passed away.
But I was reading an appreciation written by the great Ace Atkins in "Garden & Gun," in which he wrote:
"How did the entire world not know about Johnson? Over the years, his music has provided comfort, pure pleasure, and inspiration. Just last fall, I started outlining a new novel while listening to his debut album, 'Hi, Back for a Taste of Your Love.'
"Grittier, edgier, and more blues-inspired than Al Green, Johnson’s music had a transcendent quality that I couldn’t get enough of. Sadly, unlike a lot of those other soul heroes, I never got to hear the man perform.
"But what a life. What a legacy."
I'd never heard of him. But I went to iTunes … and started playing his albums, "Dresses Too Short." "Back For A Taste Of Your Love." And "Complete Mythology." And "The Best of Syl Johnson: The Hi Records years."