Thursday, October 02, 2008

Norman Whitfield RIP

One of my favorite record producers, Norman Whitfield, recently died. He was most closely connected to the Temptations, ambitiously wresting control of them away from Smokey Robinson way back in 1965. The two of them went head-to-head trying to outdo each other by coming up with hit songs for the group. When Norman's composition/production for "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" outperformed Smokey's composition/production of "Get Ready" on the charts in 1965 (although both were pretty big records), Motown's head Berry Gordy handed over the reins to Norman. Smokey of course did fine for himself but the Temps became all Norman's and he oversaw all of their hits until 1975 when Whitfield left to focus on producing a wider variety of artists. At any rate, Norman was one of Motown's unheralded geniuses. Look at this partial resume of songs he wrote, produced or both:

Ain't Too Proud To Beg
I Heard It Through the Grapevine
Too Many Fish in the Sea
Beauty Is Only Skin Deep
Pride & Joy
I Wish It Would Rain
Papa Was A Rollin' Stone
I Can't Get Next To You
Cloud Nine
Too Busy Thinking About My Baby
Ball Of Confusion
Smiling Faces Sometimes
The End Of Our Road
Car Wash

and one of my top 3 records ever, the absolutely brilliant Just My Imagination.

1 comment:

Rick said...

Hey waistcoat...didn't get a chance on Friday to tell you how great your playing was. Good to hear you again.