“I’m saddened and devastated over the loss of my dear friend, Dick Clark. We were friends for over 50 years. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family, especially his wonderful wife, Kari, who took such incredible care of him always.
Dick was always there for me and Motown, even before there was a Motown. He was an entrepreneur, a visionary and a major force in changing pop culture and ultimately influencing integration. It happened first emotionally. Music can do that. He didn’t do it from a soap box, he just did it. That’s who he was. American Bandstand was a platform for all artists. For me personally, he helped bring Motown into living rooms across America.
Dick did everything with class, style and integrity. He was a true gentleman. His groundbreaking achievements in music and television ensure that his legacy will live on forever.”
Gamble and Huff:
“As fellow Philadelphians, we have admired Dick Clark and the ‘American Bandstand’ brand for many years, as it promoted Philadelphia music around the nation,” said Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff in a joint statement. “Dick Clark was one of our inspirations for creating the ‘Sound of Philadelphia’ music brand. More importantly, we thank him for being one of the pioneers in promoting the Philly Dance and Music scene for the nation and world to enjoy. We send our sincere and deepest condolences to Dick Clark’s family.”
*Legendary R&B production team Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, and Motown founder Berry Gordy have released statements on the passing of Nick Ashford.
The songwriter, who along with wife, Valerie Simpson, wrote some of Motown’s biggest hits, died in a New York City hospital, said publicist Liz Rosenberg, who was Mr. Ashford’s longtime friend. He had been suffering from throat cancer and had undergone radiation treatment, she told the Associated Press.
Gamble & Huff, whose song “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” was produced by Ashford for Motown, said the following:
Nick Ashford was truly one of our favorite songwriting colleagues and producers. He and Valerie Simpson had a major impact on Gamble & Huff’s songwriting career, as Nick was responsible for producing a song we wrote, ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,’ with Motown. Nick heard the song after we wrote it for Dee Dee Warwick and made it a major hit for Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Temptations together. We also worked with Ashford & Simpson on ‘Is It Still Good to You,’ which they wrote for Teddy Pendergrass, and they did an excellent job. We’re longtime admirers of Ashford & Simpson as one of the greatest songwriting teams ever. Nick was a multi-talented artist, and he will be truly, truly missed by both of us.
Motown Records founder Berry Gordy released the following statement:
I am shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Nickolas Ashford. He, together with his wife Valerie Simpson, wrote and produced some of the most unique and memorable songs in the Motown catalog for some of Motown’s biggest artists, such as Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell’s “You’re All I Need To Get By.” They were most responsible for the great hits of Diana Ross’s solo career, including one of my favorites, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which became Diana’s signature song.
But more importantly to me, Nick Ashford was an all-around beautiful human being. Nick will always be a great part of the Motown family and legacy. I send my love and deepest sympathies to Val and his children.
I will remember his warm smile, his great heart and the wonderful songs he left us with. Despite my personal sorrow, I know we will be celebrating his life forever.
*The sudden death of Teena Marie has generated shock and sadness among her fans and friends in the music industry, many of whom took to Twitter to share memories and express condolences, reports MTV.
Diddy tweeted: “R.I.P Teena Marie. God Bless. Damn I just saw her the other day.”
Mary J. Blige also took to Twitter to pay her final respects to the influential artist, who was a friend and protégé of Rick James’. “Rest in peace Teena Marie,” Blige wrote. “My Love for u is forever.”
Common cited their shared astrological sign as a reason he felt so connected to her music. “Teena and I are both Pisces and we believe that we’ve been here before,” he tweeted. “That’s why ‘De Ja Vu’ is my favorite song.”
Prince protégé Sheila E, also shared how much she will miss the singer on Twitter. “I will miss my girl Teena Marie, Real music by real people. God bless my sistah and her family. U will be missed.”
R&B songwriting duo Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff, who wrote hits like “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” the “Soul Train” theme song and “Back Stabbers,” remembered the singer in a statement: “We’re shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Teena Marie. She was one of the most memorable, soulful and unique R&B vocalists to come out of Motown. We send our condolences to Teena’s family, the entire Motown family and of course, our dear friend Berry Gordy.”
Teena Marie sings to Motown founder Berry Gordy (L) during a tribute honoring Gordy at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Heart Foundation in Beverly Hills, in this June 7, 2008 file photo.
Eddie Levert, founder of the O’Jays, recalled Marie’s personal and professional contributions in a statement to CNN. “There are a lot of black people who swore by her and believed in her, as far as her music was concerned,” he said. “She was a good mom, and to me, that is saying a lot.”
Marie was known for hits like “Lovergirl” and “Square Biz.” Her daughter found her dead Sunday. No cause of death has been released, but her publicist said Marie suffered a grand mal seizure a month ago, from which she was still recovering.
At NABOB Dinner: Leon Huff, Maxwell, Hezekiah Walker, Kenny Gamble & Rev. Al Sharpton (Photo: Adria Diane Hughes)
*It was a nostalgic walk down memory lane as the Philly Soul Sound was feted at the Omni-Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The power brokers of urban radio and television came together to celebrate, music icons Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, the architects of that sophisticated soul genre that produced hits ranging from The O’Jay’s “Love Train” to Patti LaBelle’s “If Only You Knew” and the late Teddy Pendergrass’ “Close the Door.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame producing and songwriting duo, Gamble & Huff, took home the coveted Pioneer Award for their 40+ years of hit making at the 26th annual National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) Annual Communications Awards Dinner.
The View’s Sherri Shepherd and R&B superstar Maxwell were among the star-studded celebrities in attendance.
A special highlight of the mystical night of music was Peabo Bryson, Joe and Johnny Gill’s exhilarating musical tribute to Gamble & Huff protégé and R&B legend Teddy Pendergrass (who passed away in January) that had the whole audience up on its feet, whistling and clapping them on.
“Were very proud and honored to have received the 2010 NABOB award, said Gamble & Huff. Being acknowledged by this organization is a very important achievement for us and the Sound of Philadelphia, as broadcasting and NABOB’s role has always been the main catalyst in having our music heard across the country for over 40 years. We feel Black radio will always be considered America’s pulse in music, as well as, the “Message in the Music.”
Gamble & Huff have written over 3,000 songs during their career which has seen them write hit songs for the likes of Diana Ross & the Supremes’ “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” to Labelle’s 2008 comeback CD Back to Now. Their Philadelphia International Record label has earned over 50 gold and platinum records for top-shelf acts such as Lou Rawls, The O’Jays, Patti LaBelle, Billy Paul, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, The Three Degrees and The Jones Girls. Their music has also been featured in advertising campaigns for The Gap, television programs such as Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice,” and films such as Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor.” Gamble & Huff are to `70s a soul what Motown was to `60s R&B. Gamble and Huff co-founded Philadelphia International Records and created monster hits almost from the first day of its inception. Songs they have written and produced together, like “Back Stabbers,” “Love Train,” “For The Love Of Money,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Cowboys to Girls,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Enjoy Yourself,” “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” “Only the Strong Survive” and “TSOP,” have received songwriters’ awards from Broadcast Music International (BMI). All told, the Gamble-Huff/PIR music machine has generated over 100 Gold and Platinum records and over 70 #1 hits.
In 1999, four years after being inducted into the National Academy of Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, Gamble & Huff were honored by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences with the Trustees Award for their extensive body of work, both as producer and songwriter, and their contribution to the entire fabric of popular music. In 2008, Gamble & Huff were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They also have appeared on American Idol in a show devoted entirely to their music, and have been inducted twice into the Dance Music Hall of Fame and the R&B Hall of Fame.
*About 4,000 thousand people paid their respects to R&B legend Teddy Pendergrass at a memorial service Saturday in Philadelphia.
A 200-member gospel choir sang at the service. Also, Melba Moore, Tyrese and others including Musiq Soulchild, Bunny Sigler, Gerald Alston and Lyfe Jennings, performed.
“He was the first to show it’s good to be sexy and black,” said McKinley Horton, a piano player with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes who sat in the audience. “He presented a certain kind of black manhood, with his dark beard and his big smile, that helped send out a strong R&B message.”
Horton said men had envied Pendergrass, whom Melvin called “Rug” because of his thick hair.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that during the ceremony, Pendergrass’ manager David Markus said his client “rode Gamble and Huff songs like Ben-Hur at Circus Maximus.”
The image of a powerful man in full command of the muscular cadences of the distinctive Philly International sound drew smiles from the audience.
Pendergrass was left paralyzed from the waist down following a 1982 car crash but continued to record music.
Music producer Kenny Gamble says after Pendergrass was injured, “His life changed and he started to really give to others.”
Pendergrass, who died Jan. 13 after a battle with colon cancer, was later laid to rest at a private burial service. He was 59.
*On Wednesday, Teddy Pendergrass, considered by many as the ultimate male soul singer died in Philadelphia at the age of 59.
The singer’s son, Teddy Pendergrass II, said his father passed away at a hospital in suburban Philadelphia. The singer underwent colon cancer surgery eight months ago and had “a difficult recovery,” his son said.
“To all his fans who loved his music, thank you,” his son said. “He will live on through his music.”
Pendergrass suffered a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the waist down in the 1982 car accident. He spent six months in a hospital but returned to recording the next year with the album “Love Language.”
Although he is best known for his soulful singing and passionate love ballads, Pendergrass got his start as a drummer and in 1969 hooked up with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.
By 1971 he had become the face and voice of the group which had signed with legendary producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff at Philadelphia International Records.
The Blue Notes scored smashes such as “The Love I Lost,” “Yesterday I Had the Blues” and “Wake Up, Everybody.”
It was inevitable that Pendergrass would go solo and did in 1976. And according to his website (www.teddypendergrass.com) he became the first black male singer in history to record five consecutive multi-platinum albums.
After playing to sold-out shows around the globe, tragedy struck in 1982 when he lost control of his Rolls-Royce and crashed in Philadelphia, resulting in severe spinal chord damage and paralyzing him from the waist down.
“They don’t fill you with hope after something like this,” Pendergrass told the Philadelphia Daily News in 2007.
“They tell you that your life is going to be shorter, but they don’t know by how much.”
The singer spent six months in a hospital after the accident but returned to recording the next year with the album “Love Language,” Philly.com reported
In 1985 he released “Working It Back,” which was followed by “Joy” (1988), “Truly Blessed” (1990) “A Little More Magic” (1993) and “You and I” (1997).
Gamble and Huff, in a joint statement, said that Pendergrass was “one of the greatest artists that the music industry has ever known, and there hasn’t been another one since.
“We’ve lost our voice and we’ve lost our best friend, but we’re thankful for what we had,” the statement read. “It was beautiful. He was one of the best.”
Earlier, Huff reminisced during an interview aired on WDAS-FM about Pendergrass’ first solo performance, which was at a club in California.
“That night I saw the coming of a superstar,” Huff said. “When Teddy walked out on the stage, he didn’t even open his mouth and the place went crazy with screaming females. He was just so dynamic, and when he started singing, he just blew them away.”
Gamble noted what it was about Pendergrass that drove all those ladies crazy.
“He was tall dark and handsome,” Gamble said. “He had a magnetism about him. He was injured 28 years ago and hung in there a long time. He was strong as a bull.”
Teddy Pendergrass is survived by his wife, his mother, a son, two daughters and nine grandchildren.
Watch Teddy perform (live) ‘Close The Door’:
Teddy performs (live) ‘When Somebody Loves You Back’: