Johnson is son of Antony and Mary of Chelakottukara Veettil, Thrissur in Nellikunnu. Being a native of Nellikunnu, he was a member of Church choir of St. Sebastian's Church. As an instrumentalist, he was active in Thrissur's music scene too. In 1968, Johnson and his friends formed a club named 'Voice of Thrissur', becoming the main instrumentalist of the group and this club became one of the most popular one in the state.
Playback singer Jayachandran reongnised Johnson's talent and introduced him to veteran music director G Devarajan master in 1974, when Johnson arrived Chennai to buy a music instrument for his club. Devarajn master called Johnson's father and requested him to allow him to continue Johnson's career in music field. He debuted in Aaravam of Bharathan by rendering background music. Antony Eastman's debut film Inaye Thedi was his first independent work.
Then Johnson scored music for Parvathy, directed by Bharathan. It was Balachandra Menon's Prema Geethangal, which gave him a break. Super hit songs of this film are 'Swapnam verumoru swapnam...', Nee Nirayu Jeevanil Pulkamaay...', 'Muthum Mooodi Ponnum Nee Choodi Vaa...' and Kalakala mozhi prabhathamayi...'
He became a regular musicians for the films directed by Padmarajan, Bharathan, Sathyan Anthikaad, Mohan, Sibi Malayil, Sreenivasan, Lohithadas and Kamal. Some of the films for which he tuned evergreen nostalgic melodies are Namukku Parkkaan Munthirithoppukal, Njan Gandharvan, Oru Minna Minunginte Nurungu Vettam, Vadakku Nokki Yanthram, Perumthanchan, Amaram, Manichithra Thaazhu, Ponthan Maada, Bhoothakkannadi, Aaravam, Thakara, Chamaram and others.
In 1990, Johnson almost stopped his music composing, but he made his second entry as playback singer in Tamil film Kankalaal Kaithi Seyy for the music scored by AR Rehman. In 2008, he scored music for Gulmohar, directed by Jayaraj. ONV Kurup penned lyrics for it.
He is recipient of two national awards for the movies Ponthanmada (1993) and Sukrutham (1994) and five state awards. He is survived by his wife Edakochi Velikakathu Veettil Rani and children Shan and Ren. After embalming, his body will be kept for homage at his house in Chennai and would bring to his native place by 6.00 pm on Friday. The cremation will take place at his native village on Saturday.