General Johnson was singing in his church choir at the age of six and was even part of a group named the Humdingers who were recorded when he was only twelve. The group evolved over the next decade and changed their name to the Showmen. In 1961 the group released It Will Stand with General singing lead. The record reached #61 when it was first released and reached #80 when the record was reissued in 1965. They also recorded 39-21-46 Shape. The songs both hung around long enough to become core records for the Carolina Beach Music genre.
General left the group to pursue a solo career but failed to make much progress. The Motown record producers Holland, Dozier, and Holland left Motown in 1967 to form their own record label. They encouraged General to form a group with three other singers and the result was The Chairmen of the Board. General once again was the lead singer.
Their single Give Me Just A Little More Time sold a million copies and reached #3 in 1970. Two more singles touched each reached #38 that year and got inside the top twenty on the R&B charts.
Their final top forty record on the Hot 100 came with the release of Pay To The Piper in 1971. General co-wrote that single and once again sang lead.
A few more singles reached the top forty of the R&B chart. By 1976 the group had broken up and General was again chasing a solo career. He reformed the Chairmen of the Board in 1978 with original member Danny Woods and a slowly rotating group of other members. They formed Surfside Records and recorded and performed music aimed once again at the Carolina Beach Music market.
General died from lung cancer in 2010 and Danny died in 2018 but new members have joined the group to keep it active.