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Thom Bell, a producer that helped to create “Sound of Philadelphia” Soul music, has passed away at 79.
Vanessa Bell, Bell’s wife, said last week to the Associated Press that he died at his Bellingham home on Thursday following a long battle with cancer. But, it is not known if there are any further details about the cause of death.
Bell, Kenny Gamble, and Leon Huff were the Mighty Three who created the “Sound of Philadelphia”, in the 1970s.
Gamble shared the following Instagram post: “Tommy, I have been best friends since over 60 years,” Gamble said. “When we first met, we decided to start writing songs together and form a singing duo ‘Kenny and Tommy’ and then our band The Romeos… He was a great talent and my dear friend. Rest in peace buddy.
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“Thom Bell was my favourite musician, arranger and songwriter of all time!” According to Huff’s press statement, Huff stated that according to Rolling Stone. “It was a great honor and pleasure for me to work with him as a creative partner and business partner. Rest in peace.
Bell was born in Jamaica in 1943. He moved to Philadelphia as a youngster. Bell went on to become a session musician and arranger for groups such as the Spinners, Delfonics, and the Stylistics.
His best-known songs include “La-La Means I Lovin’ You” by Delfonics and “Rubberband Man” by the Spinners. He also wrote “Backstabber” for the O’Jays. Elton John’s song, “Mama Can’t Buy You love” was also produced by him.
He was first to be awarded a Grammy for producer of the Year, non-classical, in 1975. Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, he was also inducted in 2006. In 2017, the Recording Academy awarded him a trustees’ award.
In a statement made earlier this year, The Mighty Three said that they would be the centre of a documentary called The Sound of Philadelphia.
The trio released a statement saying that they are proud to share their life stories and show the hard work involved in creating great music after six decades. Rolling Stone Deadline earlier this year. “Our long-time and new fans will have a unique glimpse into the creation of Sound of Philadelphia. The themes of empowerment, love, and ‘people all around the world’ will be presented to them. We’ve always had a message in our Music !!!'”
Bell is survived his wife Vanessa and six children, sons Troy and Mark, Royal, Christopher, Tia and Cybell. New York Times.