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Remember Norman Whitfield

September 18, 2008

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On September 16th 2008 we lost one of the greatest songwriter/producer ever, “the Undisputed King Of PscychedeIic Soul“, I am of course talking about Norman “Jesse” Whitfield.  He was the creator of the legendary “Motown” sound and a major influence for “psychedelic soul” in the sixties.  Taking over Smokey Robinson‘s job as main producer for The Temptations, remember “Cloud Nine“, that’s him.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine“; composed by Mr. Whitfield and performed by Gladys Knight & The Pips (and of course Marvin Gaye) became “top hits” in no time and was (also) a Grammy Award winner with The Temptations.  With Edwin Starr and The Undisputed Truth he experimented with new sounds and new techniques that gave a trademark to his productions (in the late 60′s).  The Temptations were not really feeling his “new style” and tensions appeared; and that was at a time Norman wrote bangers for Edwin Starr (probably “War”, a Anti-Vietnam war song); Did you know Starr moved to England in the seventies?
In the seventies Norman Whitfield started his own label, no real major succes with except maybe for the “Car Wash” song by Rose Royce, a soundtrack that every music lover should have (My dad gave it to me!), it actually won a Grammy Award for “Best Soundtrack” in 1977.  In the early 80′s he went back to Motown Records and produced the hit single “Sail Away” for The Temptations and another soundtrack (The Last Dragon), a martial arts film.
He suffered from diabetes and had troubles with the Government or let’s say the “Internal Revenue Service“, for not reporting the income he earned in the nineties.

Whitfield died on September 16 2008
Rest In Peace

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LeFtOoO