Classics: Johnny Bristol – Love No Longer Has A Hold On Me (Handshake Records)
‘Love No Longer Has A Hold On Me’… Now you please tell me! Is it just me or you can feel it too… That something of Barry White on Johnny Bristol‘s rendition of this song?!? I’m just asking nowadays. As I remember the reactions of the crowd whenever playing it in the club I was workin’ for at the time.
Was it on purpose? I wouldn’t go that far. Although even the arrangements and the overall feeling of ‘Love No Longer Has A Hold On Me’ remind me of Big Bazza at the end. And how I deeply miss him. To be honest, I hardly understand why Bristol hasn’t gone further way in that direction. And by that, I mean come up with solid jams from then on. No more than he did years before as a matter of fact. This after the release of the seminal ‘Hang On In There Baby’.
A native of Morganton, NC, Johnny Bristol starting his recording career back in the late 50’s. This while duetting along with Jackey Beavers (whom he met while in the US Air Force) under the Johnny & Jackey guise. Together, they released 4 singles including the original version of ‘Someday We’ll Be Together’. Diana Ross & The Supremes eventually covering it back in 1969 with Bristol in charge of the production.
Strange as to how, despite a velvet baritone voice, Bristol made more his patth as a songwriter / producer, eventually teamin’ up with Harvey Fuqua. And working with countless luminaries during his years at Motown. From Smokey Robinson to Gladys Knight & The Pips. But also Edwin Starr, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell. Not to mention Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder among others.
Bristol finally left Motown to sign as a solo artist with MGM in 1974. There he scored immediately with the memorable ‘Hang On In There Baby’. With the latter pretty much overshadowing his future releases for the label. Meanwhile ‘Love Me For A Reason’ which he’d released as a part of his debut-album soon after became a hit for labelmates The Osmonds.
He eventually came back under the spotlights in 1981 with his ‘Free To Be Me’ debut-album for Handshake Records. The latter featuring ‘Take Me Down’ which make quite some noise on the NYC Disco scene. But also the Barry White-ish ‘Love No Longer Has A Hold On Me’ which got him back to the attention of the UK Soul/Dance audiences.
He progresively disappeared from the radar from then, despite a couple of extra releases around the end of the 80’s.
Johnny Bristol sadly died in his Brighton Township, MI home of natural causes on Mar. 21, 2004, aged 65.