Disco-Soul Innovator Hamilton Bohannon Dead at 78

Hamilton Bohannon death

Hamilton Frederick Bohannon – better known to the world as Bohannon – has died at the age of 78, according to reports on social media.

A percussionist, producer and artist whose work spanned the spectrum of disco, soul and funk, Bohannon is perhaps best known for his 1976 disco classic “Let’s Start the Dance” featuring singer Carolyn Crawford.

Bohannon grew up in Newnan, Georgia. He learned to play drums at school and soon began playing in local bands, one of which included a then-unknown guitarist named Jimi Hendrix. After moving to Detroit in 1967, he formed Bohannon & The Motown Sound. The group backed and toured with a wealth of Motown artists including Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Diana Ross, the Supremes and The Four Tops.

Decades later Bohannon’s dance-centric musical output found a second life by contemporary artists including Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Nine Inch Nails collectively sampling his tracks. Chicago house DJ/producer Paul Johnson sampled the master himself on his 1999 worldwide smash “Get Get Down.”

In 2008, he published a memoir, Bohannon Speaks from the Beginning.

While he had been off the musical radar, he told The Guardian in 2014 that he had been continually working on music.