Wednesday, February 21, 2024

RIP Legendary Songwriter Thom Bell, 79, Wrote Dozens of Classics for Spinners, Stylistics, Dionne Warwick, Philly Soul Groups, Elton John


I am really sad to report the death of Thom Bell, the Gershwin of Philly soul. Bell wrote so many hits, especially with his late partner, Linda Creed, that he was inducted a decade into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Indeed, there would have been no Philly soul without Thom Bell. He was so prolific and successful that he co-produced, mixed and wrote for a special Elton John EP called “The Thom Bell Sessions.” Bell also produced dozens of hits including The Spinners and Dionne Warwick on the monster, “Then Came You.”

Thom wrote all the hits for the Stylistics, the Spinners, the Delfonics.The titles included “Betcha By Golly Wow,” “Break Up to Make Up,” “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time,” “You Are Everything,” “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” “La La Means I Love You,” “I’ll Be Around” and so on. What a run! His “People Make the World Go Round” for the Stylistics was such a transcendent hit that it was remade and covered by jazz artists.

Thom co-wrote with the great Jerry Butler (still alive in Chicago– if you know how to reach him, email me at “Brand New Me,” a hit for Dusty Springfield, for Jerry, and a song that Aretha Franklin recorded and included in her final couple of tours.

This is a HUGE loss for pop music. I hope the Grammys will do a special segment on Thom and his many hits.

Thom wrote so many songs, I could put all the videos here. But he produced The Spinners’ “Could It be I’m Falling in Love,” which may be his most classic record — and that’s saying a lot. Listen to the orchestration and the vocals. This was his genius.

And here’s La La Means I love You:

And my personal favorite, “You Are Everything”:

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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