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the showmen

The Showmen

The Showmen were formed in 1961, and remained together, initially, until 1968

The group comprised of:

Norman Johnson (b. 1st September 1943, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A. d. 13th October 2010, East Point, Georgia, U.S.A.) (lead)

Gene 'Cheater' Knight (d. 1992, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A.) (first tenor)

Dorsey 'Chops' Knight (second tenor)

Leslie 'Fat Boy' Felton (baritone)


Milton 'Smokes' Wells (bass)


Randall Wilkins

Pearly White Jnr.

Reggie Sands

Hank Rush


Greg Gallashaw

The Showmen were a group who were formed by Norman Johnson, via two previous incarnations, namely, the Israelites (circa 1949), and the Humdingers (1956 - 1961).

The Showmen were later to form the group the Chairmen of the Board, which featured General Norman Johnson.

In 1956, the Showmen signed to the Atlantic Records imprint for 4 sides (including 'How Could You Forget', 'One More Kiss', 'Ride Alone' and 'Papa Lollipop').

It Will Stand it will stand

By 1961, the group had relocated to the New Orleans based Minit Records, recording 5 singles, including the song 'It Will Stand' (number 40 R&B, number 61 pop - the flip, 'Country Fool', received solid airplay in many parts of the country).

Other 45's included 'Mind Your Mama', under the group name Carl Frost and the Showmen, for the Lawn imprint.

The Showmen some folks don't understand it

In 1962, the group released the album 'Some Folks Don't Understand It' for the Minit Records label.

In 1963, the Showmen scored another hit with '39-21-40 Shape', which proved to be popular in future years.

'It Will Stand' was later to return to the charts in 1964 (number 80 pop).

A few of the Showmen's recordings, Minit Records held on to when Minit was sold to Imperial Records, where the group also moved on to.

The Showmen recorded a couple of sides for Imperial, and then recorded for Instant and Swan Records, in 1965, with (later Three Degree vocalist) the late Fayette Pickney, along with Helen Scott and Janet Jones becoming part of the line-up for a while.

A Little BitOur Love Will Grow

You're EverythingWrong Girl

various label single releases:

' a little bit' / 'our love will grow' / you're everything' / 'wrong girl'

At Swan, Norman Johnson recorded the solo single 'The Honey House', the Showmen released 'Our Love Will Grow', before moves to several other little labels, including Action, Airecords, Jokers Three ('A Little Bit (Of Your Love'), Stardust ('Wrong Girl'), and Amy.

When the Chairmen of the Board were formed, the Showmen continued with various line-ups.

These featured the likes of Randall Wilkins, Pearly White Jnr., Reggie Sands, Hank Rush, and Greg Gallashaw.

The Showmen had by now joined the Chairmen's own label, Surfside.

Here they recorded 'No Trespassing', 'Sweet Beach Music' and 'Shaggin' The Night Away' in 1983, 1985 and 1990 respectively.

The Showmen's legacy has endured in the Carolina area, where their hits 'It Will Stand' and '39-21-40 Shape' have become East Coast Beach Music classics.

General Johnson passed away during October 2010.

Real Player


Some Folks Don't Understand It (Minit Records 1962)

Some Folks Don't Understand It (Charly Records 1991) (re-release)

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