Friday, September 19, 2008

Norman and O V

Another soul icon has died, this time Norman Whitfield, who took Motown off into a new more psychedelic direction in the late 60s. After co-writing some of the early Motown classics such as Marvin Gaye's 'Pride and Joy' and the Velvelettes' 'Needle in a Haystack' he took charge of the Temptations and changed their style dramatically, producing hits such as 'Papa was a Rolling Stone', 'Ain't too proud to beg' and 'Cloud Nine'. After leaving Motown in the early 70s he had further success with Rose Royce and 'Car wash' but little was heard from him after that. Whether his Motown legacy was good or bad was debatable as for many, like me, the sound became progressively less Motown-ish but, like Isaac Hayes who also died recently, he changed the face of soul music. Here's Norman's obituary in The Times

Meanwhile, back in Memphis, I hear that Morgan Freeman is opening another Ground Zero Blues Club in the city to add to the Clarksdale establishment. I read on the excellent that there will be a special event on November 15 with the Hi Rhythm Section to dedicate a headstone to O V Wright's grave. The blog also updates the story of Sir Lattimore Brown who is now in ill health and suffered badly as a result of Hurricane Gustav. There's a load of other fascinating staff as well and it's well worth a read.


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