The longtime leader of doo wop legends the Flamingos, the multifaceted Terry Johnson also served as a Motown staff writer and producer during the label's commercial and creative heyday. Born Isaiah Johnson in Baltimore on November 12, 1938, as a youth he counted the Orioles' Sonny Til and the Swallows' Earl Hurley among his neighbors, while future Flamingos Jake and Zeke Carey were members of his church choir. In 1954, Johnson teamed with four high school friends as the R&B vocal group the Whispers, signing to the Philadelphia-based Gotham Records for a pair of 1955 singles, "Fool Heart" and "Are You Sorry." Johnson wrote, arranged, and sang lead on both records, and after the Whispers dissolved he joined the Flamingos in late 1956, replacing the military-bound Zeke Carey. Not only did his gorgeous tenor fit perfectly with the Flamingos' satiny harmonies and gossamer arrangements, but Johnson's skills as a composer and producer also proved critical, and such hits as "Lovers Never Say Goodbye," "At the Prom," "Heavenly Angel," and the group's signature classic, "I Only Have Eyes for You," are all products of his behind-the-scenes wizardry.