Louis Johnson

He was the bassist that brought the funk to Thriller (1983), and he was pretty impressive on Michael’s Off The Wall (1979) and Dangerous (1991) as well.


As co-bandleader of the multi-platinum Brothers Johnson, “Thunder Thumbs” Louis Johnson probably did more to further the acceptance of slap style bass than any other player of his generation.

Though he possessed tremendous dexterity and rendered flashy solos with the so-called best of them, Johnson’s brilliance was evidenced in his melodic skills and intuitive rhythmic prowess – which is why Louis’ session work was equally legendary.

His bass artistry contributed significantly to several iconic albums and hit singles by Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Earl Klugh, Grover Washington Jr., Michael McDonald, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Nicks, Bjork, Quincy Jones, George Duke, and Kenny Loggins, among many, many others.

Louis Johnson’s extraordinary 1985 instructional film, now distributed by Hal Leonard, is the absolute definitive tutorial on slap bass.