A little over a week before his 73rd birthday, Newnan native Hamilton Bohannon was honored as an outstanding Georgian by the Georgia Senate on Feb. 26th for his many decades working in the music industry. The resolution was presented at the State Capitol in Atlanta by District 35 Senator Donzella James and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle.
The funk, R&B and disco pioneer got his first big break touring as a drummer behind Stevie Wonder when the latter was only 13. That led to a move to Detroit for Bohannon, where he formed a band that provided live backup for many of the Motown greats of the ‘60s and ‘70s, including Smokey Robinson, the Supremes and Marvin Gaye. Later, in the disco era, he recorded a string of singles such as “Foot Stompin’ Music,” “Let’s Start the Dance” and “Disco Stomp” that, while not huge hits in their day, have seen a popular resurgence in recent years after being sampled by Jay-Z, Snoop Dog and Justin Timberlake.
Though Bohannon lives a comparatively quiet life these days back in Newnan, last year in New York City and Washington, DC he played his first live shows in 30 years, with a band that included his old Motown friend Carolyn Crawford on vocals and longtime Lou Reed bassist Fernando Sanders. He hasn’t ruled out further shows.