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After awaking from my night shift I got the news that producer songwriter and pioneer NORMAN WHITFIELD had died its seem s we are losing at lot of great pioneering at present .No one could argue that this man did not have an effect on the current R&B /soul sound when motown,s sound was begin to look a little old Whitfield along with collaborator BARTON STRONG ushered in a new stronger grittier sound that would help take the motown sound through the 70,s and up to the 80,s sure the motown sound was always good but times where changing and require someone with vision to look ahead. NORMAN WHITFIELD was behind such songs as HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE (written for both MARVIN GAYE/GLADYS NIGHT ) & PAPA WAS ROLLING STONE ( written for THE TEMPTATIONS) he changed the sound to a more psychedelic soulful rock sound that captured the hearts of the young old with lyrics that didn’t just talk about love and the bedroom and how much he hated the world but dealt with issues that where real in a positive vibe ,without sounding soft .For these young ears it would be in summer 1981 whilst yet again listening to a local radio station, the DJ at the time BARRY BOOGIE MAN CURTIS was playing a song that got my attention it entitled HIGH ON THE BOOGIE and the group was called STARGARD whilst not realising who was behind this group I bought the album. After doing so I then set about looking at the previous work’s he done with the band UNDISPUTED TRUTH.NORMAN WHITFIELD was born May 12th 1940 at 19 he came to the attention of the MOTOWN people of whom he was spending at lot of time. Gordy had noticed how persistent he was a gave him a job. WHITFILED had used the opportunity to get in the front door and berry gordy and Norman Whitfield would reap the rewards. He worked with The Marvelettes' & The Velvelettes' but his big break would come working with THE TEMPTATIONS .This in turn lead to working with MARVIN GAYE and GLADYS KNIGHT, yet as the 60,s was ending so Whitfield would s use the experience and the experimenting to start up his new psychedelic sound that would in turn inspire the likes of SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE & FUNKADELIC . NORMAN WHITFIELD left motown around 1973 to start his own label WHITFIELD RECORD S he then set about creating the group UNDESPUTED TRUTH and by 1976 his sound would be heard on the classic movie CAR WASH with title song be song by ROSE ROYCE (remember them).The 80,s came around and Whitfield would commence working with STARGARD on the above mentioned project that would get my attention and the attention my friends and family at the time. NORMAN WHITFIELD died September the 16th of diabetes and other complications. So to NORMAN WHITFIELD we say a great thank you for the music.
BELOW IS A SELECTION OF SONGS FROM THE TALENTED MAN
Tribute to Norman Whitfield - Rose Royce - Keep On Keepin´On
Stargard - Back to the Funk
The Temptations - Papa Was A Rolling Stone
EDWIN STAR - WAR