The LIVING LEGENDS FOUNDATION (LLF) mourns the lack of VARNELL JOHNSON. The music business veteran Exec./LLF Pres. was 76 years outdated and handed away on WED (6/21) attributable to congestive coronary heart failure. He is survived by his spouse DARLENE, son VARNELL, (nicknamed “JUNE”), and daughter TRACEY. Funeral preparations will probably be introduced at a later date.
The PHILADELPHIA native and Vietnam Conflict ARMY Fight Medic’s music profession included A&L DISTRIBUTORS, PHILLY GROOVE RECORDS/Head of Promotion, GRC East Coast Dir./Advertising and marketing/Promotions, EMI/UNITED ARTISTS GM/City Music, EMI CAPITOL LABEL GROUPS VP/ A&R /Promotion & Advertising and marketing, MANHATTAN/BLUE NOTES VP/Promotion & Advertising and marketing, JIVE RECORDS-ZOMBA VP/Promotion & Advertising and marketing (established the VERITY RECORDS Division now RCA INSPIRATION), ELEKTRA EVP, ISLAND RECORDS SVP/GM, and consulted artists and label execs together with his firm JUNES ENTERTAINMENT. In 2017 he was introduced the LLF’s Chairman’s Award.
LLF Chairman DAVID C. LINTON mentioned, “He was an in depth good friend, and it is a main loss. On the time he broke into the business, he was capable of work in each side of the enterprise. VARNELL was one of many first Black executives to have whole autonomy throughout the label system.
“He not solely signed some nice artists, however he additionally employed different Black executives and molded so lots of our careers. He had a whole lot of ‘firsts’ in his profession. He was all the time caring, he promoted ladies, and you might all the time name him for recommendation. He was that nice hyperlink.”
LLF Founder RAY HARRIS added, “JOHNSON was an esteemed colleague who got here out of an influential regional music market, PHILADELPHIA, the place the promotion folks had a robust camaraderie, one which continued by smack-talking, shop-talking marathon card video games at such annual conventions because the JACK THE RAPPER FAMILY AFFAIR and the BLACK RADIO EXCLUSIVE (BRE) convention.
“He was a folks particular person, a superb particular person to know, and in addition a veteran report promotion govt. I’ve such a deep appreciation for him as a result of he acquired on board with the LIVING LEGENDS FOUNDATION proper from the start. The group grew considerably due to his participation and management. He was all the time a voice of frequent sense, knowledge, and calm, and we’re going to overlook that voice.”
LLF VP/Advertising and marketing Skilled JACQUELINE RHINEHART commented, “He was the quintessential report man. He was a straight shooter and somebody who was nice at sustaining relationships in any respect ranges of the business. Johnson remained in touch with most of the artists he labored with over time, talking continuously with RON ISLEY, FRANKIE BEVERLY, and VALERIE SIMPSON. He by no means misplaced his position as an influencer.”