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Iconic Philly Arranger, Producer and Songwriter, Thom Bell - Dead at 79

Iconic Philly Arranger, Producer and Songwriter, Thom Bell – Dead at 79

L-R: Leon Huff, Thom Bell & Kenny Gamble (Image: Kenny Gamble)
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PHILADELPHIA (CelebrightAccess) – Legendary producer, arranger, and songwriter Thom Bell passed away Thursday (December 23). Philly radio station WDAS-FM reported the news of his death. He was 79. The cause of death has not been revealed.

 

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Bell was born Thomas Randolph Bell in Jamaica in 1941 and moved to Philly as a child. He developed an affinity for classical and studied classical music. As a young man, he joined up with his friend Kenny Gamble and became a part of the singing group the Romeos. A multi-instrumentalist, he had planned to become a classical music conductor. Instead, he became a touring conductor for singer Chubby Checker.

Two years later, he joined the record label Cameo and was hired in his first production job – for The Delfonics in 1968. In 1969, the Delfonics had two big hits, “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind” and “La La Means I love You.” After years of gaining a reputation around Philly for his vocal arrangements and lush production work, he went on to work with the Stylistics and The O’Jays,  producing songs such as “Betcha by Golly Wow,” and “You Are Everything,” “I’ll Be Around,” and “Ghetto Child,” among others with songwriting partner, Linda Creed.

Throughout his career, he worked with The Spinners, Johnny Mathis, Dionne Warwick, and many more – he is credited with creating the “Sound of Philadelphia” alongside Gamble and Leon Huff.

He won a Grammy in 1975 as Producer of the Year was in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006, and received the Grammy Trustees’ Award in 2016.

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