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Op 4 juli 1776, 245 jaar geleden, maakten de Britse koloniën op het Amerikaanse continent zich formeel los van het moederland. Ondermeer Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock en John Adams zetten hun handtekening onder de ‘Declaration of Independence’. Dat deden ze in Philadelphia, de stad die in 1682 gesticht was door William Penn. In Philadelphia kwam bovendien in 1787 het Amerikaanse staatsbestel tot stand. Gedurende een tiental jaren fungeerde de stad als het politieke centrum van de Verenigde Staten.
 
 
421 1 Philadelphia

 
 
American Bandstand
 
 
In de twintigste eeuw, na de Tweede Wereldoorlog, begon de hoofdstad van de staat Pennsylvania opnieuw een interessante rol  te spelen – nu in de popmuziek. Twee van de toonaangevende personen waren echter ‘allochtonen’: Dick Clark en Thom Bell. Op wikipedia vond ik ze dan ook niet terug als lokale beroemdheden.
    Dick Clark (1929-2012) werd geboren in Mount Vernon (New York). In 1952 verhuisde hij naar de omgeving van Philadelphia om er als disc-jockey bij de radio te functioneren. In 1956, bij de opkomst van de rock & roll, nam hij bij een tv-station de plaats in van Bob Horn, die het veld moest ruimen omdat hij dronken achter het stuur gezeten had.
    Het tv-programma voor teenagers, waarin Dick de zeggenschap kreeg en dat hij zelf presenteerde, American Bandstand, had een ongekende invloed op de smaak van het jeugdige Amerikaanse publiek. Lokale platenmaatschappijen als Jamie-Guyden, Chancellor, Swan en Cameo-Parkway, waar de presentator belangen in had, wisten het succes te bewerkstelligen van jonge artiesten: Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Freddy Cannon, Duane Eddy, Bobby Rydell, Dovells, Orlons, Dee Dee Sharp en niet te vergeten: Chubby Checker, de koning van de twist.
 
 
421 2 Chubby Checker en Dick ClarkChubby Checker en Dick Clark
 
 
Thom Bell
 
 
Thom Bell is waarschijnlijk op 27 januari 1943 geboren in Kingston op het eiland Jamaica. Op jonge leeftijd kwam hij in Philadelphia terecht, waar zijn moeder werk kreeg op de universiteit van Pennsylvania. Onder meer met pianolessen wist Thom zijn muzikale talent te ontwikkelen. Anno 1959 werd hij lid van een muziekgroep, de Romeos, die door Kenny Gamble was opgezet.
    In 2006 kon je in Billboard lezen: “Raised in a musical family, Bell was a teen studying to be a classical pianist when he met Kenny Gamble, who went to school with his sister. When Gamble heard Bell’s piano skills, he drafted him into his group Kenny & the Romeos.
   Inspired by a record by Don & Juan called ‘What’s Your Name’, the two also joined forces as Kenny & Tommy and with help from Gamble’s mentor, Jerry Ross [1933-2017], cut a 1959 record for the Heritage label called ‘Someday’”.
   Bell in 2006: “We weren’t really singers, but we thought we’d give it a try anyway. It didn’t do anything, but it gave us a chance to be in the studio and see what real instruments sounded like and be with this band until I got married, left the band and got a job”.
 
Thom kon profiteren van de aantrekkingskracht van American Bandstand, het tv-programma van Dick Clark. Binnen de kortste keren was hij als arrangeur en orkestleider betrokken bij de carrière van Chubby Checker en wat later als toetsenman bij diens platenmaatschappij, Cameo-Parkway.
    “When the noted local Cameo-Parkway label decided to follow Motown’s lead and develop its own in-house rhythm section, the label consulted Bell, who immediately called in members of the Romeos and began writing and producing as well”, aldus de redacteur van Billboard.
    Volgens Bell fungeerden de Romeos enige tijd als een soort huisorkest, dat bovendien op zoek ging naar talent. “They would hold auditions on Saturday, have different acts come in and try to find talent, and we would play behind them”.
 
 
421 3 Bell Thom jongThom Bell
 
 
Delfonics
 
 
Heel wat artiesten wilden maar wat graag met Bell samenwerken. Zo kwam hij in contact met een zangtrio, de Orphonics, dat zijn naam veranderde in Delfonics, en zich liet inspireren door songs als ‘Tears on my pillow’ (Little Anthony & The Imperials). Stan Watson, die nog eens met de Del-Vikings (‘Come go with me’) zou hebben meegedaan, was hun manager. Stan zette in 1967 het Philly Groove-label op.
 
John Abbey plaatste het geluid van de Delfonics anno 1972 in een historische context. Hij noemde hen ‘the innovators of the city’s famed sound’. Met andere woorden: dankzij die groep kreeg Philadelphia een eigen muzikaal gezicht. “Their earliest Philly Groove hits such as ‘La La Means I Love You’, their first, and ‘Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time’, set a precedent for introducing a full classical style orchestra into music. As the Delfonics grew in importance so, too, did their musical director, Thom Bell.
    The group was established as one of the top three vocal groups in the States, possibly the most important non-Motown group; Bell had become one of the most sought after musical arrangers in the business”.
 
 
421 4 Delfonics

 
De hit ‘La La Means I Love You’ (1968, een song van Thom Bell en Delfonic William Hart) werd niet vergeten. Prince legde in 1996 zijn eigen versie vast. Eerder, halverwege de jaren zeventig, lieten de Bee Gees zich bij hun comeback door dat soort nummers en die vocale harmonieën inspireren.
 
 
Stylistics
 
 
Na verloop van tijd wilden de Delfonics op eigen benen staan. Thom Bell besteedde nu veel aandacht aan een andere zanggroep, de Stylistics.
    Dat kwam goed uit, volgens die zelfde John Abbey: “Avco Records had just bought the group’s contract from the local Sebring Records and decided that with Bell parting ways with the Delfonics, the Stylistics could be the group to replace them in Thom’s life.
   I think it’s fair to say that the Stylistics not only replaced the Delfonics in Thom Bell’s life but also the lives of the mass of the record buying public. They went on to enjoy a million selling album plus three consecutive gold disc singles whilst the Delfonics seemed to stumble into a puzzling situation.
   The Delfonics, who had always written much of their own material, wanted to produce themselves and so they did on the album that followed Thom Bell’s departure. It was only moderately successful”.
 
Popjournalist John Abbey, die zich specialiseerde in zwarte muziek, publiceerde in 1972 een artikel over de ontwikkelingen in Philadelphia. “In the past year or so, we have been blessed with more genuine talent acceptance for our music and those who make it than at any time in possibly the last decade - since the halcyon days of Clyde McPhatter, the Drifters, Coasters and Clovers, the early Motown foundation setters, the miriad of vocal groups and solo acts who ‘had their day’”, schreef hij.
 
 
‘You Are Everything’
 
 
‘You’re a big girl now’, de eerste single van de Stylistics, die ze zelf geproduceerd hadden, bracht de groep bij Avco. “Directly on signing with Avco, the Stylistics were in the studio in Philadelphia with Thom Bell and working on their first album. The initial session gave them their follow-up hit, ‘Stop, Look, Listen’, which quickly emulated ‘Big Girl’, going on the top local surveys across the States, giving them their first national hit.
   But it was the third release that really welcomed them into the winners’ circle and, as with ‘Stop, Look, Listen’, it was a composition of Thom Bell and his brilliant lyricist, Linda Creed. Entitled ‘You Are Everything’, it glided past the million mark in sales whilst still climbing the national pop chart, a feat rarely achieved.
   It was at this point that journalists began acknowledging the Stylistics as the natural successors to the Delfonics as Philadelphia’s leading soul act. Their first album, actually released before this two million selling single began to climb to a more than healthy position in the album chart and has never been out of the R&B Top 10 since. Their fourth single was another gold record, ‘Betcha By Golly Wow’”.
 
De Stylistics werden in de pers steeds vergeleken met de Delfonics. Russell Thompkins Jr., frontman van de Stylistics, was het daar niet helemaal mee eens: “The two groups have in common the same writer, the same city [Philadelphia], the same sort of sound, but they’re different. You couldn’t compare ‘Betcha By Golly’ to ‘Didn’t I Blow Your Mind’.
   People used to say we sound like the Delfonics but they don’t any more. Whereas the Delfonics are 100 per cent slow songs we also do up tempo things like ‘Country Life’. That’s more up tempo than anything they ever do”.
   In popkrant Disc schreef Phil Symes: “There’s certainly no denying that Thom Bell is a big part in the group’s success. It’s curious that when he stopped working with the Delfonics, their hits stopped. And as soon as he took up his pen for the Stylistics the hits came never ending”.
   
 
Lof voor de aanpak van Thom Bell
 
 
Thompkins uitte zich vol lof over Bell en diens werkwijze: “Thom is really on top of the American record selling market. He’s aware of stereo and how much effects on record can sell them, and he gears his product to that. He builds his records and when he’s finished building he has a hit.
   The way Thom works he builds the music around the voice. When we first go into the studio to work on a song he just works with a piano. When he has an idea of what he wants to do with the voices, he builds around them”.
   Dankzij de aanpak van Thom Bell waren de Stylistics idolen geworden in de VS, vertelde Thompkins. “We’ve known some places where we’ve had to get out of the place in a hurry because of the frenzied girls. At one place, Bownsville, the girls grabbed one of the guys and gave him concussion”.
 
 
421 5 Thom Bell Stylistics

 
De zanger legde uit hoe dat kwam – mede door de teksten van de liedjes. “Women really dig lyrics, and when we sing slow songs they really get into them. We’ve had women pass out because they’ve got so involved with a lyric. If it’s a sad lyric I’ll show that it really bothers me, and then it bothers them.
   But by appealing to the women you get a big audience of men too. The girls let the guys know they really love our records then the guys go out and buy them for their girls!”
 
 
Thom Bell en Linda Creed
 
 
Door zijn muziekstudies kon Thom goed met allerlei instrumenten omgaan. “A self-described romantic, Bell used vibes, oboe, sitar, flute, harpsichord and bassoon along with strings, brass and percussion. ‘When you study classics you hear all the instruments that you don’t hear usually in other forms of music’, Bell says. ‘You don’t hear a pedal steel guitar in jazz, you don’t hear a harp in blues. It’s not impossible, just not common. I come from a classical world, and I hear classical ways of doing things’”.
   Thom Bell concentreerde zich op de klanken. Na verloop van tijd zorgde Linda Creed (1948-1986) voor het aanleveren van teksten. Aan Bruce Pollock legde ze in 1975 uit hoe dat gegaan was.
   “I started writing songs in 1969. Originally I was a singer and Tommy Bell tried to help me, but I was unsuccessful. When I came back to Philadelphia Tommy suggested I get a job as a secretary at Gamble – Huff.
    I figured, as long as I’m around music, I don’t care.
    Then one day he said ‘Hey Creed, have you ever tried writing lyrics?’
    I told him I’d written poems, but never thought of them as lyrics.
    So we tried it. We sat down and wrote ‘Free Girl’, and that was it – ever since then we’ve been writing together”.
 
De muziek kwam eerst, daarna de teksten. “Tommy and I have always worked in a very structured way. We’ll sit down at the piano together and write a tune for a particular artist. There’s no excess. I would never go home, say, and knock out forty lyrics and bring them in.
    It’s always been very structured and it still is. Originally, we’d sit down together and Tommy would play a melody and I’d write a line at a time or wherever I could fit it in, and then I’d go back and polish it up.
    As we both became more professional and as I began to get a method to my madness, I would just get a tape of the melody from Tommy and then I would go home and take a week or whatever, to really work on it”.
 
Die nieuwe manier van samenwerken lag Linda wel. “You know, when somebody’s playing the piano, he may go off to another part of the song, to the bridge or something, and I’d still be stuck on the verse. And it’s very hard for someone to play the same four bars over and over till I get it. This way I have the chance to think about what I want to write, to get the feeling of it”.
    Terwijl ze het huishouden deed, kwamen de ideeën vanzelf bij haar op. “Generally I sit with a song about two or three days, playing it over and over, listening to it while I’m making the bed, or cleaning up. And then, generally, after about two or three days I get a feeling for it and the song just comes in about three-quarters of an hour, and I’ll write the entire thing. Then I’ll leave it alone that day and come back to it the next day to polish it and maybe try and change words, to make the meaning trickier”.
 
 
421 6 Linda CreedLinda Creed
 
 
Eigen ervaringen. Echte emoties, daar draaide het om. “Generally I start from the top, first line, first verse, and go all the way through the song. I can’t go to another line unless I have the line before it completed. A lot of people write lyrics and there’s a line in there that’s a really great, heavy line, but you say ‘What the hell are they talking about?’ because it has nothing to do with what they said before. To me, if you’re going to state something, state it so that it’s understandable. I believe in proper English, in completed thoughts, completed sentences.
    I write pretty basic lyrics, really basic emotions that would be very easy for anyone to identify with, but at the same time there’s a certain depth to them.
    I don’t write poems anymore – lyrics have taken up the need for writing poems. A couple of times I’ve written things on the spur of the moment – I’ll get a surge and I might write out three pages of ideas and I’ll keep them around and maybe pull a line from it or an idea that’s really good. But  basically, I know where everything comes from. I can identify everything because I only write from my own experience. The only song I didn’t write from my own experience was ‘Ghetto Child’, which is probably why I’ve always hated it”.
 
De combinatie Thom Bell – Linda Creed – Stylistics zorgde voor een grote doorbraak van de Philly Sound, het muzikale geluid van de stad Philadelphia. De ene hit volgde de andere op: ‘Stop, look, listen’. ‘Betcha by Golly, wow’, ‘I’m stone in love with you’, ‘Break up to make up’, ‘You make me feel brand new’, ‘You are everything’, ‘Rockin’ Rolling’ Baby’.
 
 
Invloed van de Stylistics
 
 
Ook de muziek van de Stylistics was van invloed op de Bee Gees en later Prince. Simon Frith schreef in 1979: “The Gibbs’ richly layered arrangements may sound effortless, but they’ve done a lot of soul listening. Hovering over [het goed verkopende album] ‘Spirits Having Flown’ is the clear influence of Thom Bell. At least three of these Bee Gees tracks would fit pretty snugly onto an old Stylistics LP. ‘Too Much Heaven’ revolves around a straight Philly phrase (echoes of ‘You’re A Big Girl Now’). ‘Stop (Think Again)’ uses the same structural tricks as ‘Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)’. ‘Reaching Out’ starts with a Gibb sounding like Russell Thompkins.
   Not for too long, though; the Gibb tremble eventually appears. Compared to the Stylistics, the Bee Gees have ugly voices. Their falsettos derive not from pure gospel tenderness but from pop conventions of strangulated sincerity. The Stylistics, for all the sweetness of their work with Thom Bell, were a soul group – their art was the art of emotional expression.
   The Bee Gees aren’t in the expressive business at all. Their sound might just as well be made by machines. Their records are only sound tracks, which is why ‘Saturday Night Fever’ worked so well”.
   Het mega-succes had de Bee Gees niet populair gemaakt bij de Britse pop-‘elite’.
 
Prince ging een stap verder. In 1996 nam hij ‘Betcha by Golly wow’ op. Zijn versie verscheen op single en bezorgde hem een internationale hit.
 
 
421 7 PrincePrince
 
 
Spinners
 
 
Het talent en succes van Thom Bell werkten aanstekelijk. In 1972 werd hij naar eigen zeggen in Philadelphia gebeld door Henry Allen van Atlantic Records. De platenmaatschappij wilde graag met hem in zee gaan. Op zijn verzoek kreeg Thom een lijstje toegestuurd van mogelijke artiesten. “They must have had 80, 90 artists. And at the bottom of the last page I saw ‘Spinn’ and rest of the word wasn’t printed on the page”.
   Dat waren toch niet de Spinners, vroeg Bell. Met die groep wilde hij dolgraag opnamen maken. Bij Motown hadden ze volgens hem nooit de erkenning gekregen die ze verdienden. Zelfs een productie van Stevie Wonder (‘It’s a shame’) had het niet gered.
   Op aanbeveling van Aretha Franklin had Atlantic de Spinners onder contract genomen. Een eerste sessie onder supervisie van Jimmy Roach had teleurstellend uitgepakt. De belangstelling van Bell kwam als geroepen.
   Als het aan Thom gelegen had, zou er meteen een album opgenomen worden. Maar Atlantic stelde zich zuinig op. Ze hadden al flink geïnvesteerd in de groep. Er moest eerst maar eens een goede single komen. Bell: “Atlantic could not afford to spend a lot of money on these guys, so they only wanted to do four songs”.
 
Thom had een melodie gecomponeerd en probeerde die uit in de Sigma Studios van Philadelphia. De sessiemuzikanten namen hem niet serieus. “The musicians laughed at the simple structure, but Bell told them to play it like he wrote it. ‘And they started feeling good about it. It only took 40 minutes’”.
   Linda Creed was op dat moment niet beschikbaar om de tekst te schrijven. “Bell needed lyrics in a hurry. ‘My partner Linda Creed was getting married and it was impossible for her to do that and get her wedding together at the same time’, the producer explains.
   Creed said she wouldn’t mind if Bell worked with someone else”.
 
Phil Hurtt trad op als redder in de nood. “‘I couldn’t think of anybody, so I started knocking on doors in the office to see if I could find a lyricist. No one was there, because I’m an early bird. I found one room open. A cat named Phil Hurtt was there’.
   Bell had gone to high school with Hurtt. He asked the lyricist a question: ‘If I give you a melody, can you stick exactly to that melody. Every ooh and every aah that I want a lyric to, can you fit it in without changing it?’
   Hurtt took the challenge; Bell brought him back to his office and sang the melody for a song called ‘I’ll be around’.
   It didn’t take long for the lyrics to be completed. ‘Next day, he came in with it. Bang! There it was!’”
   Met die aanpak wisten de Spinners, Thom Bell en Atlantic de nummer één positie te pakken te krijgen. Opvolger ‘Could it be I’m falling in love’ bereikte korte tijd later de top van de zwarte hitlijst.
 
 
Steeds meer hits voor Thom Bell en de Spinners
 
 
421 8 SpinnersDe Spinners
 
 
Bij de Spinners werkte Thom Bell niet exclusief samen met Linda Creed. In 1973 ging de producer en arrangeur in zee met Joseph ‘Joe’ B. Jefferson.
   In 1993 vertelde Jefferson hoe het gegaan was. Hij had altijd al belangstelling gehad voor de mensen achter de muziek. Wat speelde zich af achter de schermen, vroeg Joe zich af. “You saw the stars all the time but you never saw the writers or the producers”. Als drummer van de Manhattans (‘Kiss and say goodbye’) wist hij met Thom in contact te komen.
   Thom Bell: “He was energetic. He was a clean cat and he knew what he wanted to do and I felt he had something to offer. I gave him an office and a piano”.
   Joe ging aan de slag en kwam tevoorschijn met de titel ‘One of a kind (love affair)’. De song zelf moest nog geschreven worden. 
   Jefferson: “He said, ‘That’s a great title. Let me hear it’. So I had to buckle down and try to write a song”.
 
Bell was kritisch toen hij het voorlopige resultaat hoorde: “Let me ask you something. Is this the best you can really do with this song?”, vroeg hij aan zijn nieuwe medewerker. Hij stimuleerde hem verbeteringen aan te brengen. 
   In het Billboard-boek over nummer één rhythm & blues hits was te lezen: “They met two weeks later. Jefferson describes that meeting: ‘I played it for him. Once I got to the first chorus, he said, ‘You don’t have to play any more. It’s a great song. It’s a number one record’.
   And I said, ‘Get out of here’.
   Bell thought it would be a perfect tune for Bobbie Smith and Phillippe Wynne [van de Spinners] to share lead vocal duties. ‘Bobbie was a light voice and Phillippe was the one that took you to the gospel, took you to church and made you hear it. He made you move. One was pop, one was R&B. One was rural, one was urban’.
   Bell says he knew how Wynne would sing it: ‘1 – 2 – 3, boom, 1 – 2 – 3, boom. Because he’s got a lot of rhythm, that down home old gospel way of doing things’”.
 
Opnieuw kreeg de producer oppositie van de sessie-muzikanten die hij had ingehuurd. “The studio musicians resisted the beat Bell heard but the producer insisted they record it his way”.
   Bell: “I said, ‘Close your ears and read the music. Don’t try to create it. I know exactly what it’s going to sound like’.
   They still didn’t particularly knock the knot about the 1-2-3-kick business, but they went along with the program and that’s exactly how Phillippe and Bobbie sang it”.
   In Philadelphia was een nieuwe hit geboren.
 
Jefferson werd er niet slechter van. “I ran downstairs to pick up the mail. There was a letter from BMI (with) a check in there. One quick look at it and I said, ‘They sent me $20’.
   My lady Rosa came in. She was looking through the mail and ran in and said, ‘Joe, did you look at this check?’
   ‘Yeah, BMI sent me 20 bucks’.
   ‘Are you crazy? This is $20,000’.
   That’s when it really dawned on me that I had something here”.
 
 
421 9 Joseph Jefferson 2019Joseph Jefferson (2019)
 
 
Voor een volgende opname-sessie vergrootte Thom Bell zijn schrijversteam. Allerlei mensen kwamen hun diensten aanbieden. Thom stuurde ze door naar Jefferson. Zo bracht hij hem samen met Charles Simmons en Bruce Hawes. Het trio Jefferson-Simmons-Hawes zorgde ervoor dat de producer zowel met ‘Mighty love’ als ‘(They just can’t stop it the) games the people play’ de top van de R&B-hitlijst wist te bereiken.
   In 1976 bereikten de Spinners opnieuw de top van de zwarte Billboard hitlijst, deze keer weer ‘gewoon’ een melodie van Thom Bell en een tekst van Linda Creed: ‘Rubberband Man’. 
   
Dionne Warwick
 
 
Thom Bell was er in geslaagd drie Philly-groepen achter elkaar naar de top te brengen: eerst de Delfonics, daarna de Stylistics en ten slotte de Spinners.
   Vanwege zijn muzikale kwaliteiten werden hij en Linda Creed regelmatig vergeleken met met een ander duo: David Bacharach en Hal David. Dat bleek nog eens toen Bell en Dionne Warwick, die groot geworden was door de songs van David & Bacharach, samen gingen werken. Thom en Dionne kwamen met elkaar in contact toen de zangeres met de Spinners op toernee ging.
 
David Nathan wijdde er in 1975 een artikel aan, waarin hij de producer aan het woord liet.
   “He says that working with Dionne has been a totally enjoyable experience and took time to explain how they’d worked on the first album. ‘Well, like all the people I produce, I sat down with Dionne and talked for about two or three hours. Just talked about whatever – not about music or material. Just conversation. That’s what I’ve always done with all the acts I worked with – Russell Thompkins of The Stylistics, all the guys in The Spinners.
   Then from our conversation, I draw up a character reference – get some idea of what kind of person you are. A personal impression is formed from what I hear and I work on that.
   With Dionne, I had this constant feeling that there was a connection between her and a cat. Just take a look at her: she has a feline grace, she’s slinky. Even her facial features – those eyes, the cheekbones. So for about three weeks, I studied all the books I could find on cats and their behaviour and saw how it related to Dionne’”.
 
David Nathan gaf wat achtergrond over de persoon Thom Bell.
   “We should add at this stage that Mr. Bell is a particularly remarkable human being. He reads some five books a week, has a library that boasts nearly 2,500 books on subjects as varied as aerodynamics to the sex life of a mosquito – and we’re not jiving! He lives basically on but a couple of hours sleep and one square meal a day, stating that his relaxation comes from work. A pretty phenomenal young man!”
 
Thom Bell: “After drawing our conclusions about that cat connection, I sat with Linda Creed and out came ‘The Track Of The Cat’. Then, it was a question of choosing material which fitted along with the impressions I had formed of Dionne and her character. She’s an unpredictable lady – you never know what she’s going to say next!”
   Nathan: “Carefully handpicking material from his own stable of writers as well as penning six of the ten tracks (all but one with Linda Creed), Thom set about working on the rhythm tracks for the sessions and then rehearsed with Dionne just a couple of times to familiarize her with the songs”.
   Thom: “If they become too familiar with them, they become bored – which is understandable. So I like to keep them as fresh as possible. I always know how I want the finished product to sound right from the beginning and I don’t discuss with the artists how they should sound. 
   Basically, after our initial conversation, I listened to Dionne sing with just a piano – no mike. Because a microphone distorts your voice and I wanted to get an accurate idea of what Dionne could do, even though I’d heard, of course, the records she’d out over the years.
   I give the artists direction as to what I want and then tell them to sing the material the way they want, their own interpretation. Then, we compromise and use some of what they do with some of what I want them to do”.
 
 
421 10 Dionne Warwick en Thom BellDionne Warwick en Thom Bell
 
 
Thom Bell bracht Dionne Warwick samen met de Spinners. Zo werd ‘Then came you’ geboren, de grootste hit uit haar carrière – een echte nummer één hit in Amerika. Een decennium lang leek Thom Bell alles wat hij deed in goud te veranderen. Zo werkte hij nog succesvol samen met Elton John (‘Are uou ready for love’, 1979), Deniece Williams (‘It’s gonna take a miracle’, 1982), en in 1990 nog James Ingram (‘I don’t have a heart’).  
 
Harry Knipschild
1 maart 2021
 
Clips
 
 
Literatuur
 
John Abbey, ‘The Stylistics, four releases, four hits!’, Blues & Soul, 3 maart 1972 
John Abbey, ‘The Stylistics’, Blues & Soul, juni 1972 
John Abbey, ‘The Delfonics’, Blues & Soul, oktober 1972
Phil Symes, ‘Stylistics’ Soulful Romance’, Disc, 4 november 1972
Dede Dabney, ‘Thom Bell’, Record World, 6 januari 1973
Tony Cummings, ‘The Thom Bell Story’, Black Music, januari 1974
Bruce Pollock, over Linda Creed, In Their Own Words, Collier Books, 1975
Roger St. Pierre, ‘Worries of the Warwick sisters’, NME, 12 julo 1975 
David Nathan, ‘Dionne Warwick and Thom Bell: Hitting The Road Together’, Blues & Soul, december 1975 
Simon Frith, ‘The Bee Gees – Spirits Having Flown’, Melody Maker, 3 februari 1979
Adam White, Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Rhythm & Blues Hits, New York 1993