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Thom Bell, ‘Sound of Philadelphia’ producer, dies (79)

Thom Bell, the Grammy-winning producer who greatly influenced Philadelphia soul music, died Thursday at age 79. Bell died at his home in Bellingham, Washington, his attorney, Michael Silver, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Bell, Kenny Gamble, and Leon Huff worked to create “The Sound of Philadelphia” in the late 1960s and early 70s. “Tommy and I have been good friends for over 60 years,” Gamble said in a statement to the Inquirer. “When we first met, we started writing songs together.

And decided to form the singing duo, Kenny and Tommy. Then our band The Romeos. Leon Huff and I were proud to be part of our Mighty Three music-writing team, which helped create our signature brand TSOP.

Thom Bell, 'Sound of Philadelphia' producer, dies (79).
Thom Bell, ‘Sound of Philadelphia’ producer, dies (79).

New York’s Thom Bell speaks on stage during the Grammy Salute to Music Legends event at the Beacon Theater on July 11, 2017, in the city. Getty Images for Naras. “He’s a great talent and a dear friend of mine. The name Gamble, Huff, and Bell will live on forever.

Keep calm my friend! ” Huff told the outlet. ”Thom Bell is my favorite musician, manager, songwriter, and music producer. It is my honor, respect, and pleasure to work with him as a creative and business partner. Be at peace.”

Born in Jamaica to two musicians on January 26, 1943, Bell West grew up in Philadelphia with nine brothers and sisters. He studied classical piano. But eventually Pop entered the space. He and Gamble began playing together in the group Kenny & the Romeos.

Huff replaced Bell on the piano when he left the band. An arranger and songwriter, Bell served as a staff writer and touring conductor for Chubby Checker. He also produced Delfonix’s hits “La-La (Means I Love You)” and “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)”.

His other songwriting credits include “I Can’t Take It” by Orlons. and “You Make Me Feel Brand New” with Linda Creed. He also arranged the strings on the O’Jays’ 1972 hit “Back Stabbers”. The band is on Gamble and Huff’s Philadelphia International Records label, Bell died Thursday.

The cause of death was not immediately announced. Wire Image for Songwriter Hall. “I’m a very independent person,” Bell told The Enquirer in 2020. “I’m not a follower. I’m a leader, I want to lead.” He often repeats his personal motto. “You can never tell when you’re with Bell.”

He has worked with Elton John, Teddy Pendergrass, Denis Williams, and Johnny Mathis throughout his career. He also worked with Dionne Warwick, Lou Rawls, Anthony & The Imperials, and Dusty Springfield. Bell has been nominated for three Grammy Awards.

And won Producer of the Year in 1975. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. He is survived by his wife Vanessa. and his children, Royal, Troy, Tia, Mark, Campbell, and Christopher.


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