Music News

Philadelphia Soul icon Thom Bell dies at 79

L. Busacca/WireImage for Songwriter’s Hall of Fame

Thom Bell, one of the members of “The Mighty Three” architects of the Philadelphia soul sound, passed away Thursday at the age of 79. No cause of death was revealed. 

Bell’s lawyer tells Billboard, “Thom Bell left an indelible and everlasting mark on the history of popular music,” adding, “The music world has truly lost one of the greats.”

The Mighty Three, which also included Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, are credited with such hits as The O’Jays’ “Back Stabbers,” Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ “I Miss You,” and more. In addition, Bell wrote and produced hits for artists like The StylisticsThe Spinners, The Delfonics and more, including “You are Everything,” “La-La (Means I Love You),” “Betcha by Golly Wow, “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love,” and more.

In 1975, Bell became the first winner of the Grammy for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. He was inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame in 2006 and was also honored with a trustee award by the Recording Academy in 2017. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports both Gamble and Huff paid tribute to Bell, with Gamble sharing, “Leon Huff and I were proud to have him as part of our Mighty Three music writing team, which helped create our signature brand of TSOP,” adding, “He was a great talent and my dear friend. The name of Gamble Huff and Bell will last forever.”

Huff added, “Thom Bell was my favorite musician, arranger, songwriter and music producer of all time. It was my esteem, honor and pleasure to work with him creatively and as a business partner. Rest in peace.”

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