Saturday, February 11, 2012

Whitney Houston

Singer Whitney Houston died today, 11 February 2012

Philly Pioneers Remember
Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston was an unbelievable talent and one of the greatest voices of all time," say "Sound of Philadelphia" producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, in a joint statement to the press. Gamble & Huff are a songwriting and producing team inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Gamble & Huff accept their award at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

 "Her passing is a tremendous shock and a terrible shame," the statement continued. "She had a rough life and was under so much pressure as an artist, because she meant so much to the music community. She was one of the most admired singers ever, who was loved by everybody. We’re praying for her family.”

Gamble & Huff’s relationship with the Houston family began in the late ‘60s when they worked with the R&B act the Sweet Inspirations, founded by Cissy Houston. A Gamble & Huff composition, "Gotta Find Me A Brand New Lover" appeared on the group’s fifth album (Sweet Sweet Soul) in 1969, and “whenever Cissy couldn’t find a baby sitter, she’d bring Whitney to our studio in Philly. Cissy always used to talk about her daughter when we were recording with her, and what a great talent she was going to be.”

The duo also reflected on Houston's strong "Philly" connection, recalling when an unknown Whitney Houston recorded “Hold Me,” a duet with Gamble & Huff recording artist Teddy Pendergrass for his 1984 Elektra album, “Love Language,” his first following the automobile accident that left him paralyzed.

Gamble & Huff wrote and produced a number of hits with the late Linda Creed, who later wrote Houston’s No. 1 hit “Greatest Love of All.” They first met Houston in Philadelphia at a memorial for Creed, following her death from breast cancer, recalling that Houston “looked like a model and had so much going for her” when they went to her dressing room. They also recalled seeing Houston for the last time at Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party in 2008.

The songwriting/producing team wrote "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," "Expressway to Your Heart," "If You Don't Know Me By Now," "Me & Mrs. Jones," the Jacksons' hit, "Enjoy Yourself." In 1979, they wrote the McFadden and Whitehead hit, "Ain't No Stopping Us Now." Together they have 86 BMI Pop and R&B awards. /