Photo: Robert Taylor

Legendary Philly Musician Thom Bell: Dead At 79

Best known as one of the Mighty Three co-creators of the Sound of Philadelphia along with partners, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, Thom Bell passed away on Thursday (12.21) at the age of 79.

In addition to working with Kenny and Leon on such classic songs as the O’Jays’ ‘Back Stabbers’ and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ ‘I Miss You’, the Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer/arranger and 2006 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee wrote a string of hits for the The Delfonics, The Stylistics, and The Spinners in the late 1960s and 70s.

Throughout his career, Bell went on to compose and produce albums for The Temptations, Johnny Mathis, Sir Elton John and Joss Stone, and received 2017 trustees’ lifetime achievement recognition from the Recording Academy after being honored with the first non-classical producer of the year trophy at the 1975 Grammy Awards.

Paying tribute to their legendary music partner, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff have issued the following statements:

“Tommy and I have been best friends for over 60 years.” “When we first met, we decided to start writing songs together and form a singing duo ‘Kenny and Tommy’ and then our band the Romeos. 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. He was a great talent and my dear friend. The name of Gamble Huff and Bell will last forever. Rest in peace buddy!” said Gamble

“Thom Bell was my favourite 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” added Huff.

Thom Bell is survived by his wife, Vanessa Bell, and children Royal, Troy, Tia, Mark, Cybell and Christopher.

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Author: Saul Goode

Photo: Robert Taylor