Thursday, September 18, 2008

R.I.P. Norman Whitfield

"I Heard It Through The Grapevine"... "Papa Was A Rolling Stone"... "Just My Imagination"... "War"... and, yes, "Car Wash" -- they all came from the pen of the same man, one of the key architects of the Motown sound, Norman Whitfield, who died yesterday at 67. Whitfield, both within and outside of his longtime songwriting partnership with Barrett Strong, produced some of the most memorable and meaningful hits of the 60s and 70s, blending a superb ear for melody with a commitment to make music that mattered. Yes, you could sing along to all those hits, but the songs had a depth and soulfulness to them that made them much more than pop music. In his prime he worked with artists from James Brown to Gladys Knight & the Pips and was the producer and a featured songwriter on many of The Temptations' most successful albums. Norman Whitfield was a giant in his field and will be sorely missed.

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