February 1980: The Brothers Johnson Release "Stomp!"

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: MADISON SQUARE GARDEN Photo of BROTHERS JOHNSON and George JOHNSON and Louis JOHNSON, George (L) and Louis Johnson performing on stage (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
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(Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

The Brothers Johnson were working on what would become the group's fourth album, Light Up the Night, when producer Quincy Jones hit them with a musical challenge: write a song called "Stomp!"

"He was great with coming up with titles," guitarist George Johnson remembered in a 2012 interview. "He came up with the title 'Stomp,' and I thought, ‘What the hell am I going to write about?'"

As Johnson started to put together the song, Jones continued to push him to make it better.

"I took it to the studio and Quincy asked me to rewrite it three times. I thought, OK, he’s challenging me," Johnson recalled. "So I came back, changed some things and wrote it again. And he said, now do you think you can add some more to it? Now, Quincy is not a songwriter, he’s a producer and an arranger, so I thought he was testing me as I was working with Rod Temperton," he added referencing the legendary member of the band Heatwave who would go on to work with Jones on some of his biggest records, including Michael Jackson's Thriller.

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"I knew he wanted to bring out the best in me. I didn’t actually finish “Stomp!” until the night before we were going to the studio. But we nailed it," Johnson said. "I had learned that I could work under pressure as well."

It was worth the effort: released as a single in February 6, 1980, "Stomp!" would march up the charts, peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 on May 24, 1980. It would fly all the way to #1 on the R&B chart.

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