Benny Johnson is a Malayalam music director and song composer. He was born on 26 March 1953 in Trichur, Travancore-Cochin, India. His famous works include Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam, Vadakkunokkiyantram, Perumthachan, Njan Gandharvan, Pontian Mada, and Bhoothakkannadi. He is considered to be one of the top music directors in the industry. In 1968, he and his friends formed a music club named Voice of Thrissur.
Benny Johnson was the main instrumentalist in the club, where he played a wide variety of instruments like guitar, harmonium, drums, flute, and violin.Within a few years, the band became one of the most sought after and recognized musical troupes in Kerala and recruited more than fifty staff members. This club used to accompany music to playback singers like Jayachandran and Madhuri in their musical shows. Johnson began his independent music career by composing the film scores of Thakara (1980), Bharathan'sAaravam (1978), and Chamaram (1980).
He came to prominence and limelight through his collaborations with Malayalam author and director Padmarajan. Koodevide was their maiden venture, which had one of the most famous songs of Benny Johnson "AadivaaKaatte," a pathbreaking song in the Malayalam music industry.Johnson has also released four private albums. His first album Sneha Deepika released in 1989 on Tharangini audios. His skillful and deep integration of textual rhythm of the lyrics together with the rich tonal arrangement, redefined the songwriting in Malayalam cinema, since the late 1980s.
In his film scores, Johnson brings together native South Indian melodic patterns with the harmonic structure of classical music, and this has reached an expressive form of narration through film score. He composed for over 300 films, making him the second most composed music director in the Malayalam music industry after his guru G. Devarajan. Johnson won his maiden National Film Award for the Best Music Direction for the film "Pontian Mada," and the very next year, he won his second National film award for the Best Background Score for the film Sukrutham (1995).
He was the first Malayalee music composer ever to receive a National award in the music category and is also only Malayalee music director who has received two national awards in the music category. Johnson, popularly known as 'Johnson Master,' died in his home in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, on 18 August in 2011 at the age of 58 due to a sudden heart attack. Though he was suffering from several diseases for a long time, his death came as a shock to the industry. The Government of Kerala gave all official honors for his funeral, which was held in his hometown, Thrissur.