Who was Norman Whitfield?
Norman Whitfield was a Grammy-winning songwriter, producer and arranger who worked with many Motown Records artists, such as the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and Edwin Starr. He was born in Harlem, New York, in 1940 and moved to Detroit, Michigan, in his teens. He joined Motown in 1958 and started as a quality control department employee, before becoming a songwriter and producer. He co-wrote and produced many enduring hits, such as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, “War”, “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”, and “Car Wash”. He was also one of the pioneers of the psychedelic soul subgenre, infusing soul music with elements of rock, funk, and pop.
How did Norman Whitfield die?
Norman Whitfield died on September 16, 2008, at the age of 68. He had been suffering from diabetes and other health problems for several years.
How did Norman Whitfield impact the music industry?
Norman Whitfield was a visionary and influential figure in the music industry, especially in the soul and R&B genres. He helped shape the Motown sound and brought innovation and experimentation to the label. He challenged the artists he worked with to explore new musical directions and express social and political issues in their songs. He also created his own label, Whitfield Records, in 1975, and launched the career of the disco-funk band Rose Royce, whose song “Car Wash” became a number one hit and a classic of the genre. He also wrote and produced songs for other artists, such as the Undisputed Truth, the Four Tops, and the Pointer Sisters. He received several awards and honors for his work, including six Grammy Awards, an Academy Award nomination, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
What are the tributes to Norman Whitfield?
Norman Whitfield’s death was mourned by many fans and fellow musicians, who paid tribute to his talent and legacy. Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown, said that Whitfield was “one of the most prolific songwriters and record producers of our time. Smokey Robinson, another Motown legend, said that Whitfield was “a very, very talented and creative person. Otis Williams, the leader of the Temptations, said that Whitfield was “a genius at what he did. Other artists who expressed their admiration and gratitude for Whitfield included Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Alicia Keys. Whitfield’s songs have also been covered, sampled, and referenced by many contemporary artists, such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Erykah Badu, and Amy Winehouse, demonstrating his lasting influence and relevance in the music world.