The Untold Story Of Johnnie Gee

Marilyn J. Rosas

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Johnie Gee Taking Things Step By Step

Johnnie Gee is a soul music legend. Known for his slow, romantic songs that were a staple of the early 60s and late 70s, Gee has an even more inspirational backstory, from humble beginnings in Milwaukee. Wisconsin. His music started at the young age of six when he played the drums alongside his six other siblings. Later, Gee would come to vocal prominence during his young adult age when he was adopted by the band “Step by Step” as a singer.

During the late 60s, the group “Step by Step” became known around the country, largely following the release of their first track with Cuca Records, “Time After Time.” Further, the group gathered attention in second-hand ways, most notably due to a performance they shared with the Jacksons. All of the other different artist that they performed alongside with began to take a liking to the group, and saw it fit to introduce them to the heads of All Platinum Records, Joe and Sylvia Roberson.  Even though the label company agreed to sign the group on, which later led to the release of one of their hit singles: “Love is Strange”, the contract was soon terminated because of reported feuds between the group and the record label in regards to creative differences.

Of course, Johnnie Gee’s soulful group was not discouraged by the destruction of their first record deal. Instead, they continued touring with all the notable groups they crossed paths with. They played alongside groups such as the Chi-Lites, O’Jays, Millie Jackson, and another artist who were up and coming and represented the same soulful potency that the group cherished in themselves. One of the most memorable stories arose from an unknown encounter with a then young Prince, who snuck onto the stage of  Step by Step’s set only to shred some tunes on their guitars. At the time, Prince, then known as Rogers Nelson, was only 16, and even though he was told to leave the guitar alone, he had a great time playing, speaking to all the rising influence of the late 60s era.

During 1975 the group finally gave recording labels another shot. This turnabout came following the opening for the Chi-Lites at the Brunswick Recording Artist concert. The group then followed them on tour, until the managers, Tim Butler and Marshall Thompson, thought it fit to sign the group up with Brunswick, thus prompting the release of “I Always Wanted to be in a Band” in 1976. Clearly, Johnnie Gee and his band never give up on their dreams, and just because one music label fell short, doesn’t mean the rest did. After all was said and done, Johnnie Gee and Step by Step’s time with Brunswick Records led them to their most productive music producing days in their entire careers. We also offer casino gambling online on one of my other websites.

The Untold Story Of Mr. Gee

Many know Johnie Gee’s on the scene act. In other words, they know the basic facts regarding this Milwaukee soul king. For instance, Johnie was born in Wisconsin September 29th, 1958 as the third child in a family of seven sibling’s total. They were a middle class, African American family, with each a passion for music. Although, it was Johnnie of course who had not only the greatest ambition but the largest talent.

Johnnie’s first rise to prominence came when he joined the Step by Step Band during 1969. Prior to that, Johnnie’s musical focus was purely on drums. He received his first drum set after he was struck by a car at the age of nine while returning home from playing in the streets. The Gee family soon realized the individual who owned the automobile that crashed into young Johnnie Gee was a jeweler, so they quickly filed a civil lawsuit and was compensated for the accident. The money was used to buy Johnnie’s first drum set, along with a handful of other musical equipment that was enough to kick start his career. Miracles really are disguised as tragedies, aren’t they?

Mr. Gee, the father of Johnnie Gee, vehemently supported his son’s music pursuit. The father, who was named D.W Gee, was a US veteran who had served in the Korean War. Following the war, he had joined the Wisconsin Electric company and became historically known as one of the first African American welders to work for said company. He knew the difficulty of the time period they were living in, particularly with the racism plaguing America, but knew music was one outlet where people could truly be themselves and express their opinions through beautiful and creative ways. Thus, he always encouraged and pushed his son to maximize his potential, and sooner than later Johnnie Gee joined his first prominent band, Step by Step.

Yet, Johnnie’s father wasn’t content. This doesn’t mean he wasn’t happy with his son’s achievement, he was ecstatic about the progress Johnnie was making, but he knew that this was the time that Johnnie should be working the hardest. Thus, Mr. Gee made sure that Johnnie practiced for hours on end, even when the routine seemed perfect already. The efforts must’ve paid off, as a few years later Johnnie and his band released Cash Money, their first single that topped the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January of 1976.

All in all, to neglect Johnnie’s dad in the retelling of Johnnie’s rise to fame would be a foolish error. If not for his fatherly support, wisdom, Australian betting companies and drive to see his son become more successful than him, Johnnie would not only have never worked so tirelessly on his stellar performances, but he also wouldn’t even have gotten to receive his first musical instruments, to begin with. It is safe to assume that Johnnie Gee would not have rose to fame if not for Mr. Gee’s ambition.

Puts The (G)ee In Genuine

Johnnie Gee, also known as the king of soul music, first began his musical journey at age thirteen in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the third child of Elgie Gee and D.W. Gee, or Mrs. and Mr. Geek, respectively. His musical prominence started at the age of thirteen when him and his fellow siblings, of which they were seven total, joined forces with a few other friends to form their first ever band, Step by Step. At the time, Johnnie Gee played drums, but as the years progressed he honed his vocal talents to become the iconic singer for this midwestern classic.

Johnnie Gee’s parents were a huge source of inspiration and motivation for the band. Both mother and father worked relentlessly alongside their young musicians to provide and motivate each careers. The father, for instance, devoted a large amount of money in spending for their equipment and other expenses such as tour travels. It is key to note that they weren’t necessarily poor, as they were a middle-class family, yet even though the gestures didn’t risk their financial security all together, they still were enormous gifts of support for the growing band and also tried many online casinos Australia Further, the parents devoted extensive amounts of time to mentoring their children, particularly Johnnie Gee, who spent hours practicing behind the scenes in order to hone and perfect his musical talents.

By 1969, the group finally began to garner professional recognition when they took a tour to Chicago to perform for the esteemed Brunswick Records. This label company was no joke–as they currently held numerous stars under their belt such as Jackie Wilson, the Chi-Lites, Bohannon, Tyrone Davis, Shalamar, Eugene Records, among others. After hearing them perform an opening act for the Chi-Lites, Brunswick records saw it proper to offer the band a record deal, giving them the most needed national attention they deserved.

Indeed, the group released many famous LP’s under the guidance of Brunswick records, often topping #1 on the top 100 hits billboard. Yet, after a few years, the partnership fell apart due to creative differences. Johnnie Gee knew who he was as an artist, and would not let any outside idea chip away at his self-made image. While some may view this as stubborn, it was simply a master knowing what he needed to do to be successful. Following the end of the record deal, Step by Step broke up, with each member pursuing solo careers.

However, Johnnie Gee had other plans in mind. He took to opening his own record label and was responsible for the release of a number of successful LP’s from some of the biggest names in rap, hip hop, and soul at that time, one of whom was the Notorious B.I.G, who has recently passed after decades of fame. If anything, Johnnie Gee encapsulates the saying of sticking to your guns and surrounding yourself with people who support your ideas fully, such as his parents. Way to go Johnnie Gee! 

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