It’s one year since the passing of legendary Chicago house DJ & producer Paul Johnson. PJ is without a doubt one of the most influential producers in house music of all time, and we would like to celebrate his life through some of his most iconic tracks.
From collaborating with Daft Punk, Destiny’s Child, Ce Ce Peniston, DJ Sneak, Stacy Kidd, Joey Beltram, Green Velvet, Armando, Ron Trent and many more, it’s clear the Chicago legend has left an everlasting mark on house music. Paul’s soulful and jacking approach to house music has inspired a new generation of producers, and will fuel the genre for many years to come.
Here’s just some of our favourite’s from one of the best to ever do it.
Paul Johnson – Get Get Down [Fuel Records]
It doesn’t get much bigger than this bonafide house anthem. The piano chords, the vocals, the infectious bassline, it’s everything you want in rolled up into a dance-floor hit. Those ascending chords matched with vocal are sure to tear up any dance-floor.
Paul Johnson – Music’s In Me [Relief Records]
This is simply a house music masterpiece. Not many people can touch Sylvetser – You Make Me Feel [Mighty Real] and turn it into their own with such flair. The vocal and piano work in harmony, and the groove is emblematic. It’s frankly impossible not to smile when this plays.
Paul Johnson – Feel My M.F. Bass [Dance Mania]
Paul flexes his power through pounding 909 kick drums and funked up hat’s. Paul rock’s the 909 along with the, now classic ‘Feel my mutha fucking bass in ya face’ sample, that still shakes dance-floors to this day. Many DJs such as Stranger and Partiboi 69 are still playing this regularly, and it’s clear why…it bangs.
Paul Johnson – Hear The Music [Peacefrog Records]
You can tell that Paul Johnson was a big inspiration to Daft Punk when you listen to Hear The Music. Disco house at it’s very finest, and this certainly served as a catalyst to the French house movement and Daft Punk. When it comes to disco house, this track is one of the most influential.
Paul Johnson – It’s a Love Thang [International House Records]
Some more disco house goodness as PJ carefully samples First Choice’s classic – Love Thang. Paul knows how to drive a loop, and find groove to devastating effect. The funked up bongo’s that play off the 909 tom’s is Paul’s groove at its simple yet most effective. This is how sampling is done.
Paul Johnson – A Little Suntin Suntin [Peacefrog]
We return to Paul on Peacefrog, and it’s PJ once showing us just how ahead of his time he really was. Produced in 1996 but and it’s just as cutting edge 26 years later. The carefully orchestrated double hit’s on the stabs, and the ascending chords before leading into floating melodies, Paul is working the MPC like a master on this one.
Paul Johnson – Give Me Ecstacy [Dance Mania]
One of the trippiest track in dance music’s history. Give Me Ecstacy will forever and always tear up a dance-floor. Those whirling synth lines that rise and fall like a frantic siren are guaranteed to transcend the crowd into a frenzy. Like many of Paul’s great tracks, this is powered by a a haunting vocal, and in this case it’s a demanding ecstacy and in search of a balloon. Classic dance-floor hit.
Paul Johnson – Follow This Beat [Peppermint Records]
Paul Johnson on Peppermint, you already know this is a hit. This is french house, coming live and direct from Chicago. The organ and bass hits give an irresistible groove to this masterpiece. The disco flavour combined with the clever beatboxing and phased vocal, make this a sure fire hit.
Paul Johnson – Aww Shit [Relief Records]
This whole EP is absolutely slamming and arguably some of Paul’s best work as he releases on the seminal Relief Records. The whole record deserves a mention as it serves up five jacking ghetto anthems, from Chicago to the world. Aww Shit is the creme of the crop for me, as Paul bangs the 909 alongside the infectious ‘aww shit’ hook and stabbing groove. Classic ghetto from a ghetto champion.
Paul Johnson – Life In The Jungle [Relief Records]
We’re returning to Paul on Relief Records..again, and I its totally justifiable as PJ calls on tribal rhythms and slamming drum work. This is extremely popular to many techno DJs and is somewhat of a techno anthem, despite the vocal repeating ‘I live my life in the jungle, the house jungle’. Like many of Paul’s great tracks, they blur the line between house and techno, and hit that sweet spot of ultimate funk.