John Whitehead Biography
Renowned singer songwriter, John Whitehead, wrote and performed many songs that gained national and international acclaim. "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" is just one of John's many mega hits. John was nominated three times for Grammy Awards.
It was John Whitehead's love of music that kept him going in the industry for years. At age sixteen, he toured with Otis Redding, who also managed him along with his group, "The Epsilons". After Otis' death, John was managed by Guilda Woods, the wife of popular Philadelphia disc jockey Georgie Woods. John and his group made his first recording on the Stax label entitled, "The Echo," a record that brought the group local fame. Gene McFadden and John Whitehead were the remaining members of The Epsilons, whose name later changed to the "The talk of the Town". John then became affiliated with the production team of Gamble and Huff and the "Sound of Philadelphia". The rest is history. The team of McFadden and Whitehead wrote their first hit, "The Backstabbers" for the O'Jays, which became a gold record. It would be the first of many (37) Gold and Platinum hit records for the team of McFadden and Whitehead and Philadelphia International Records.
After the Backstabbers was written, McFadden and Whitehead went on to write songs for the Backstabbers album, which also went Platinum. Songwriting was natural for John and he began writing songs for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Intruders, Billy Paul, Teddy Pendergrass, The Jacksons, Archie Bell and The Drells, The Futures, Lou Rawls, and Ms Jean Carne. John also wrote and produced for Hush Productions recording artists, Freddie Jackson, Melba Moore, Beau Williams and Eric Gable.
John Whitehead performed live around the world and at home in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love for such events as the Philadelphia 76ers' 2001 NBA playoffs and the 2002 NBA All-Star Basketball game. For three years running, John performed at NBA all-star Ray Allen's Ray of Hope Foundation Basketball Tournament. John performed on the Oprah Winfrey TV Show not long ago and was featured on the VH-1 Special, "Where are they now?". John's new CD is entitled "Messages" and it includes such great inspirational songs as, "Let Freedom Ring", "Stand Tall" and a remake of John's "Wake Up Everybody". Let Freedom Ring is a duet with Israeli singing sensation, "Rita" and this song was recently selected as the leading song for the program for the Rally for the Troops at the Washington Mall sponsored by the Citizens United Foundation, April 2003.
Music is the universal language and John's message songs have universal appeal. John's favorite quotation is, "People who make music together cannot be enemies as long as the music lasts." So let the music play!
John Whitehead was shot dead Tuesday, May 11, 2004, in Philadelphia.
Whitehead, 55, and another man were working on a vehicle when they were shot by two gunmen, police said. The assailants fled.
The names Gene McFadden and John Whitehead should be familiar to anyone who has been remotely connected to the music industry during the 70's. They wrote and produced some of the most powerful R&B hits of this decade.
As young men they formed a group called the Epsilons. They had the good fortune to be discovered by the late great Otis Reading, touring with him during the late 60's until his unfortunate death.
Gene and John then returned to Philly International Records where they wrote hit after hit, the first being "Back Stabbers" for the O'Jays. It became Number One across the board in one week.
After that, hits like "For the Love of Money," "I'll Always Love My Mamma," "Bad Luck," "Wake Up Everybody," "Where Are All My Friends," "The More I Want," "Cold, Cold World" were written and produced for artists like Teddy Pendergrass, The Intruders, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The O'Jays, Gladys Knight and The Pips, The Jacksons, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Lou Rawls, and Archie Bell and The Drells, just to name a few.
Then McFadden & Whitehead wrote and sang "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" which sold more than 8 million records and was nominated for a Grammy Award. They sang the song on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" when the program was featuring the most favorite hits of the 70's.
Notable songs include ---
Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now
I Got the Love
You're My Someone to Love
I've Been Pushed Aside
Got to Change
Do You Want to Dance?
Just Wanna Love You Baby
This Is My Song
Rainy Night in Georgia
John Whitehead will be missed. Remember him through his music.
McFADDEN & WHITEHEAD
A Philadelphia songwriting, production, and performing duo who were prominent at Philadelphia International during the '70s, Gene McFadden and John Whitehead also scored a number one R&B hit as vocalists. Their single "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" was
number one R&B in 1979 and peaked at number 13 pop. The two were members of the Epsilons as teens, a band that toured with and were managed by Otis Redding until his death in 1967. They later signed with Stax and had a moderate hit in 1970 with "The Echo." When Lloyd Parkes left, McFadden & Whitehead changed their name to Talk of the Town and began working with Gamble & Huff. Although they were being primed to record for North Bay, when Gamble & Huff discovered the duo's writing talents, they decided instead to employ them in that capacity at their label, Philadelphia International. Their first collaboration came on the Intruders' "I'll Always Love My Mama." They later wrote and/or produced such classics as "Backstabbers" for the O'Jays, "Bad Luck" and "Wake Up Everybody" for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and "Let's Groove," "Soul City Walk," "Strategy," and "Don't Let Love Get You Down" for Archie Bell & the Drells. They also worked with Carolyn Crawford and did outside projects during the '70s and '80s with Melba Moore, Gloria Gaynor, Freddie Jackson, Willie Collins, and Beau Williams. The duo cut their own album, McFadden & Whitehead, in 1979 and made more singles for TSOP in 1980 and Capitol in 1982. "I Heard It in a Love Song" was a Top 30 R&B hit in 1980. ~ Ron Wynn, All Music Guide