Brothers Johnson – Ticklishly Smooth Funk Sounds

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Music has the power to bring diverse groups of people together, it can soothe us in times of stress and pump us up when we need motivation. But can it tickle?

Yes, argues Michael Fenchel of the University of Michigan. In an interview with the Tickle City Award Committee earlier today, Fenchel described his relationship with the ticklishly smooth sound of the R&B/Funk duo The Brothers Johnson, consisting of George “Lightning Licks” and Louis “Thunder Thumbs” Johnson.

When asked if a particular song went above and beyond the realms of ticklish, Fenchel responded with two words and a two-digit number: Strawberry Letter 22.

He picks it up there:

I first came into contact with the band about four years ago, while hitting a great win streak on In fact, I believe their silky smooth tones even helped lead to the initial discovery of the very concept of ‘tickle city,’ as it is nearly impossible to feel anything but ticklish when the feathered notes of the song slide into your ears. Their inspirational lyrics about love and fruit-filled letters incite a deep feeling of joy and peace, as listeners often stand captivated and sway back and forth to the melodic tones.

One day at work I was having a rough day and had just finished chugging my Starbucks DoubleShot coffee. After setting up the next electrostatic simulation I was running, I slipped out and played the song. From the first note, I was transported away from the stress and worry of everyday living to a world of love and happiness at the sound of “hello my love…” I became entranced and spent the rest of the afternoon smiling and productive, knowing that strawberry letter 22 existed in the world. Thank you Brothers Johnson for brightening up a gloomy day at the office. You certainly are Tickle City!

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