Thom Bell was a key creative mastermind behind the “Philly Soul Sound” and its success around the world.
Thom Bell in recent times has had a successful collaboration with Joss Stone on her multi-platinum album “Mind, Body & Soul”, which debuted at number one on the UK Pop album charts in 2004. He conducted the string arrangement on the track “Spoiled”, which sees Stone co-writing with the legendary Lamont Dozier and his son Beau Dozier. The track features the legendary Miami R&B rhythm section, consisting of Timmy Thomas (organ), Willie “Little Beaver” Hale (guitar) and Benny Latimore
Thom Bell conducted string and horn arrangements on track 4 of Joss Stone’s multi-platinum selling album
(keyboards, piano), played on this session at the famous Hit Factory/Criteria Studios, where Aretha Franklin recorded her “Young Gifted and Black” gold album in the early 1970s, co-produced by Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin, the same producers as on the late Dusty Springfield’s album “Dusty In Memphis”.
The late Dusty Springfield’s 1968 hit “Son of a Preacher Man” was a soulful example of the impact rhythm and blues had on a vast white audience. Springfield’s first album on Atlantic Records recorded in Memphis made use of some of the same musicians and background vocalists as Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett used on some their classic recordings. “Son of a Preacher Man” achieved Pop top 10 in the UKand US chart listings.
Dusty went on to have further success with Gamble and Huff, the original architects of the Philadelphiia Sound, with arrangements by Thom Bell, before he went independent from Philadelphia International Records to produce the Stylistics , the Detroit Spinners and Deniece Williams.
Dusty’s follow-up album, entitled “Brand New Me” in the US and “From Dusty with Love” in the UK, was produced in Philadelphia at the world-famous Sigma Sound Studios, the recording base for the Philadelphia Sound. On this project Linda Creed made her debut as a songwriter with Thom Bell on the track “I Wanna Be a Free Girl”.
The first gold-certified album in America for The Stylistics, which produced two gold singles in same year in 1972, was arranged, conducted and produced by Thom Bell.
Bell went on to have tremendous success as a creative collaborator with the Stylistics, helping to produce several million-selling records such as “Betcha By Golly, Wow “, “You Are Everything” from the self-titled album “The Stylistics ” and “Break Up To Make Up” and “I’ m Stone in Love with You” from the second gold album, entitled “Round 2” for The Stylistics.
Bell has received two Grammy Awards and numerous BMI accolades, including 11 Pop Awards with a total of 16 “Million-Air” certificates for 10 songs with one million or more broadcast performances on radio and other outlets. On two occasions Bell has been honoured by Billboard with their Number One Producer award. In recognition of his outstanding achievements to the American music industry, his peers at The Songwriters Hall of Fame inducted him on the 24th June 2006 in New York.
Most of hit records produced by Gamble & Huff from the mid 1960s to the early 1970s had the signature arrangements of Thom Bell. His contribution to the development of the sound was key to the tremendous success it has achieved over the last three decades. His contribution to the world of popular music has had an incredible influence on many of his peers and successors. His impact has been felt all around the world.