September 8, 2021
Hailed as one of the most iconic house artists of all time, Paul Johnson died on August 4th in his hometown Chicago, Illinois. The self-taught producer has ignited dancefloors globally since the late 80s with house hits such as “Get Get Down,” “Let Me See You Butterfly,” and “Follow This Beat.” Johnson’s music has a sincere and addictive quality—filled with soulful sounds and irresistible basslines. We sifted through the Chicago legend’s expansive discography and put together a list of the essentials for your enjoyment. You can stream the playlist on Spotify below.
1. Get Get Down
As infectious as it is iconic, “Get Get Down” is easily Johnson’s most famous track. Released in 1999 and still sampled and played by many DJs today, this track is one that will stay in your mind long after the music stops. The iconic shuffled and chopped sample of Hamilton Bohannon’s 1978 disco tune, “Me And The Gang” is the centerpiece of the iconic dance floor rocker.
2. The Groove
The chopped and pitched vocals combined with its groovy bassline demonstrate Johnson’s aptitude for borrowing elements from vintage disco cuts and transforming them into inimitable, gorgeous house bangers. Paul knew exactly what he was doing when he produced this entrancing track.
3. Hear the Music
One can’t help but also feel the music when they hear this disco-house tune. This sped-up, squeaky-soul track is the title track off of Paul Johnson’s second LP, Hear the Music, released in 1996. The soulful vocals are sampled from the disco-era classic, “Hear Music in the Streets,” by Unlimited Touch.
4. Music’s In Me (Original Mix)
The piano riff takes center stage in this swirling spacious disco-house track produced and mixed by Johnson. The sexy bassline and lyrics evoke a euphoric feeling. This sophisticated masterpiece is as delightful as it is enthralling. Keep this feel-good cut on hand for a lively Sunday brunch.
5. Everybody Have a Good Time
The message from Johnson is loud and clear, get loud (now, this is mandatory), be inclusive, and most importantly, have a damned good time! This track is off of the Various Artists 01 EP released only a few years ago on Black Jack Records, with fellow house collaborators Superfunk, EEEdiot, and Vantage. Put this on and have a good ass time!
6. You Make Me Say Do Be Do
With full-toned drums and subtle bells heard juxtaposing charming Do Be Do’s, it's clear that no one can produce house cuts of this caliber better than Chicago’s own Paul Johnson. ‘You Make Me Say’ is inviting, dynamic and illustrates Paul’s adeptness at combining contrasting song elements, which reveal a tireless house track that just won’t quit.
7. If You Ever Call Me
The looping, hypnotic vocals in this sexy house track are simply iconic. The track features tight mixing by Paul, and the beats are light and fun. This is one to have on your day party playlist.
8. Honest (with Innocent Soul) [Original Mix]
There is no question about it, the loudness wars are real. Allow Innocent Soul & Johnson to show you how it’s done with “Honest.” This track is the one to play at around 2 am, when it’s time for a reinvigorating second wind to bring the party back up to speed. Believe me, you’ll want to turn this one all the way up.
9. He Loves Me 2 (Paul Johnson Vocal Dub) - Cece Peniston, Paul Johnson, Steve Hurley
This particular vocal dub is a special one. Paul Johnson's Dancefloor Dub remix of CeCe’s single actually entered the Billboard Hot Dance Music/ Club Play chart in 1999 and peaked at number 24. The vocal dub is a more subtle melodic take on the dancefloor remix, yet just as danceable.
10. Housebreak Hotel
“Housebreak Hotel” is a continuous, euphoric symphony of strings, cowbell, and a killer bassline. At 128 BPM, this blazing beat is one that will get you up and moving. Paul released this track on the newly established Italian label Discodelic on July 14th of this year as a part of his I Can Make You a Big Freak EP.
Words by Melisa Yuriar. Follow her on Twitter @mildcob