The songwriter was best known for his collaborations with Stylistics, Spinners, Delfonics, and others.
Thom Bell, a pioneer of Philadelphia soul in the 1970s, passed away on Thursday in Bellingham, Washington. He was 79.
Philly R&B radio station 105.3 WDAS-FM broke the news first, with host Patty Jackson saying, “We remember Thom Bell: record producer, arranger, and songwriter known for his work with Linda Creed, Gamble and Huff, the many hits, the creators of Philly soul.” The station also paid tribute to the late musician on its website by sharing a video of the Stylistics’ 1972 Bell-produced single “People Make the World Go Round.”
“Thom Bell left an indelible and everlasting mark on the history of popular music, but even more so, he will be remembered by all who knew him as a kind and loving friend and family man,” Bell’s attorney told Billboard. The music industry has truly lost one of its greats.”
Nile Rodgers also paid his respects to Bell on Twitter, tweeting, “#RIPThomBell.”
He is widely regarded as one of the greatest writers and producers. My heartfelt sympathies go out to his family and friends. As the band for the group New York City (I’m Doing Fine Now), a Thom Bell smash, he was the architect of the relationship between #BernardEdwards and me.”
Bell, born in 1943 and studying classical music as a child, was well-known for his work with early R&B acts such as the Delfonics, the Spinners, and Deniece Williams. He co-wrote several soul classics with Linda Creed, including “Betcha By Golly, Wow,” “You Are Everything,” “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” and “Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart).” He also co-wrote and produced songs for a young Elton John in the late 1970s, and early 1980s, including “Are You Ready for Love” and “Mama Can’t Buy You Love.”