Revered Motown producer dies at 67

Norman Whitfield cowrote “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and helped define label’s sound

Norman Whitfield, a producer and songwriter whose work propelled Motown Records into more ambitious musical territory, died Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 67.

Whitfield had struggled for months with complications from diabetes, and his prognosis had been day-to-day for several weeks. He had recently emerged from a coma.

“It’s a very sad day,” said Janie Bradford, who with Whitfield cowrote the Temptations hit “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby.”

The obituary continues here.

Some of the many classics Mr. Whitfield wrote/produced are in this obituary.

We “Boomers” have lost so many of our musical living legends of late: it causes me pause.

R.I.P.  Brother Whitfield.  I am glad that you were able to share your genius with the world. If you don’t know Norman listen to this to hear his genius.

Published in: on September 17, 2008 at 2:02 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. thats so sad! so many people of that generation are passing away, unfortunately without passing on a lot of what they know to younger artists…thats a great song, both the gladys knight and the marvin gaye versions, though i think i like the gladys knight one better.

  2. So very very sad indeed dfunk.

    The X generation seems to only know about making electronic tracks and making some noise (that doesn’t pass for good singing or songwriting) over top of it and calling it music. They don’t know the “old school” ways.

    The good news is brothers like Raphael Saadiq and other neo-soul musicians are trying their best to keep the great sounds of “real” music alive.

    It’s too bad that the great talents behind the greatest music of our time, such as Mr.Whitfield, Smokey Robinson, Isaac Hayes, Dave Porter, Al Green et. al. never got together and had some sort of music school to teach those younguns something! Maybe it’s not too late. Gordy certainly has the funds to do it.

    PS. I like Gladys’ version better than Marvin’s too. But the Temptations version is the ultimate! Their harmony and arrangement is simply awesome!

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