File picture of Syl Johnson. Photograph:( Twitter )
Syl Johnson became famous in the 1960s and 1970s with Chicago label Twinight. The label issued his 1968 debut ‘Dresses Too Short’ which featured the hit song ‘Different Strokes’.
Hall of Fame legend star Syl Johnson is no more. The 85-year-old whose 1967 single ‘Different Strokes’ was a mega hit has been frequently sampled by some of hip-hop’s top artists.
No cause of death has been announced.
In a statement, Syl Johnson’s family said, “It is with extreme sadness that our family announces the passing of Soul & Blues Hall of Fame legend Syl Johnson (born Sylvester Thompson in Holly Springs, MS). Dad, Brother, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, Uncle, Friend & Artist, he lived his life as a singer, musician, and entrepreneur who loved black music.”
Johnson was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1936.
He became famous in the 1960s and 1970s with Chicago label Twinight. The label issued his 1968 debut ‘Dresses Too Short’ which featured the hit song ‘Different Strokes’.
Syl had been in the news in 2011 when he filed a lawsuit against JAY-Z and Kanye West for using portions of his song in ‘The Joy’ without proper clearance. The suit was settled. Johnson also sued Michael Jackson, Cypress Hill, and others for sampling his music without permission. It’s noted that he was very protective of his work.
He was inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame in 2019.