Jazz and blues artist marked by many distinguished compositions and performances. He was hindered by the rise of rock 'n' roll.
He started his dominant streak on the R&B and pop charts after forming a nine-piece orchestra in 1941.
His hits included "Let's Beat Out Some Love,"Baby Don't You Cry," "When My Man Comes Home," and "They All Say I'm the Biggest Fool."
His sister, Ella Johnson, sang most of his songs, including the 1945 jazz standard "Since I Fell for You."
He and Count Basie both recorded for Mercury Records.