Monday, May 27, 2024

Hamilton Bohannon, 78, Dies, Live Drummer for Stevie Wonder and Other Motown Acts, So Famous He Was Immortalized in “Genius of Love”


Hamilton Bohannon was already such a legend on the drums in 1981 that the Tom Tom Club– an outgrowth of Talking Heads– immortalized him on their now classic record, “Genius of Love.” See below, at 2:22 in the video. Bohannon, Bohannon, Bohannon.

Bohannon died today in Georgia at age 78. Starting in 1975 he was Stevie Wonder’s touring drummer, and became famous for his Motown band that played with all their acts that were on the road through the mid 80s. He was also a recording artist on his own, with hits on urban radio. Foot Stompin Music and Let’s Start the Dance were the two big ones.

Even if you hated disco in the mid 70s (as I did) you couldn’t deny or get away from Bohannon, whose music I would say was more funk than disco. There wasn’t a club you’d walk into without hearing him. I have no doubt he’s been sampled countless times by rappers. Many of the beats you hear today or over the last 20 years came from Bohannon. The website WhoSampled counts at least 126 instances of Bohannon music “interpolated” into contemporary recordings.

Also, I loved his album covers. RIP.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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