Syl Johnson, Blues Hall of Famer & Chicago R&B Legend Dead At 85


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 R&B legend Syl Johnson has transitioned.

Johnson’s family, which includes his youngest daughter and Grammy-nominated artist, Syleena Johnson and son Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson confirmed over the weekend that the Chicago native had passed away at the age of 85. The family did not provide his cause of death.

“A fiery, fierce, fighter, always standing for the pursuit of justice as it related to his music and sound, he will truly be missed by all who crossed his path. His catalog and legacy will be remembered as impeccable and a historical blueprint to all who experience it.”

Born Sylvester Thompson on July 1st, 1936 in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Johnson moved with his family to Chicago in 1950.

The Mississippi born singer was known for his hits, “Come On Sock It To Me,” “Different Strokes,” and the Al Green assisted “Take Me to the River.”

The 2020 inductee of The Blues Hall of Fame retired from music in the 1980s and founded the popular Chicago-area food chain Solomon’s Fishery.

Syl’s music was heavily sampled by artists including Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan, Run DMC, Kanye West, Nas and many more. The 1967 classic, “Different Strokes,” has been sampled over 300 times in Hip Hop music.

Reportedly Syl Johnson often found himself with no credit for samples, and no money from the record sales.

Johnson’s brother, Blues legend Jimmy Johnson, died a little over a week before him on January 31. Syleena Johnson shared this sentiment about her uncle on Instagram.

“He is a star, and everyone loved him. I loved Uncle Jimmy and I wish I had tried to spend more time with him. I wish I was closer to him, even though I have always felt connected to him through music. Music is me, my dad, and his language for certain.”



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