Clark Atlanta University Remembers Music Icon and CAU Alumnus Hamilton Frederick Bohannon


(Clark Atlanta University April 25, 2020) –ATLANTA, GA –  The music world has lost one of its legendary pioneers and Clark Atlanta University has lost one of its most influential alumnus – the legendary Hamilton Frederick Bohannon. 

“I am extremely saddened to learn of the passing of one of Clark Atlanta University’s most gifted alumnus, Clark College, Class of 1964, music legend Hamilton Frederick Bohannon.  He was a nationally renowned musician, songwriter and record producer who was a leading figure during the 1970s and 80s disco era. His unique style continues to influence the music industry and I suspect it will continue for years to come,” said Clark Atlanta University President, George T. French, Jr., Ph.D. 

Bohannon was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa from Clark Atlanta University during the 2016 commencement exercises. He was also inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame, an honor well deserved for his contributions to the music industry and African American students at HBCUs.

“I personally enjoyed hours of engaging Dr. Bohannon in conversation, as he shared with me his many worldwide experiences and opportunities to influence the entertainment industry and African American culture,” French said. 


Bohannon’s music catapulted him to world-wide fame having achieved so many accomplishments to include; being recognized by representatives from the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, Tennessee where several personal items from Bohannon’s collection are on display, being named an honorary Atlanta Chapter board member of the National Black Radio Hall of Fame and having The “Bohannon Soul Club” open in his honor in Berlin. If these accomplishments were not enough, his music has recently been included on the soundtrack of the movie and legal drama “Just Mercy” starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx.

Bohannon loved his alma mater. Last spring, He performed a benefit concert at Morehouse College, with all proceeds going to Clark Atlanta and Morehouse students. Only a few days later, his daughter, April who is also a Clark Atlanta University alumna was married. 

He graduated from Clark College in 1964 with a degree in Music and Secondary Education. He was offered a music scholarship in percussion to attend Indiana University, instead he taught public school.  He left the school system to join Stevie Wonder as his drummer, which further propelled him in becoming bandleader at Motown Records. Bohannon and the Motown Sound, as his band was best known backed Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Martha and The Vandellas, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Diana Ross and The Supremes and the entire roster of Motown Artists in live concerts. 

Bohannon has pioneered three genre of music being Disco, House Music and Hip Hop.  His style of music by keeping “four on the floor” led to Modern Dance Music.  He charted Billboard’s top 100 R&B charts 41 times.  His music has also been featured in several movie sound tracks-including Sword Fish and Daddy’s Little Girls, several television shows, Entertainment Tonight, commercials and films.  JAY Z, Mary J Blige, PDiddy, Snoop Dogg, Heavy D and Justin Timberlake are just some of the over 200 artists that have sampled Bohannon’s music. 

For additional information visit or contact Jolene Butts Freeman, Director of News and Media Relations at Clark Atlanta University at (770) 376-5991 or via email at #CAU #OneExceptionalUniversity #CAUStrong.