Thursday, September 18, 2008

R.I.P. Norman Whitfield

I just saw that one of the greatest songwriters and record producers of all time, Norman Whitfield, passed away yesterday at the age of 67.

Norman Whitfield was a big part of the Motown juggernaut of the 60's and 70's. Whitfield wrote and produced some of Motown's biggest hits, including "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," "Just My Imagination," "Ball of Confusion," "War," and others. He also won a Grammy for his score of the 1976 film "Car Wash."

Back in 1982, I created and produced a musical revue that was a salute to Motown called "Dancin' In The Street!" The show was a smash hit in Boston at the old Next Move Theater and ran here for a total of 70 weeks. The show also ran at the historic Ford's Theater in Washington, DC. The success of that show was a testament to the enduring legacy of "The Motown Sound" and the singers, songwriters and producers who truly delivered "The Sound of Young America."

Thanks to Norman Whitfield and the other members of the great Motown family, it is a sound that will live forever as the true American songbook.

My condolences to the family and friends of the great Norman Whitfield.

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