Artist Spotlight: Thom Bell

Born on January 26, 1943, Thomas Randolph Bell, or better known as “Thom Bell,” is an American songwriter, arranger and producer born in Jamaica. Thom is best known as one of the creators of the Philadelphia style soul music within the 1970s.

Thom was trained as a musician, once he was classically trained as a musician growing up, he moved to Philadelphia as a teenager. He was inspired to sing with artists such as, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Daryl Hall. It was in Philadelphia where Bell’s first big break would happen. His big break in soul music came from Cameo Records which was stationed in Philadelphia. He was then introduced to a local group called The Delfonics in 1967, and had then gone on to produce two singles for them on the label, Moonglow. His smooth and luscious style to soul music made for great display of his talents. He went on to use those production talents and be a part of large group hits for the Philly Groove Label. These hits included La-La (Means I Love You) and Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time), which were such a great hits that in 1970 they were nominated for a Grammy Award.

In 1971, Thom had moved into another local group and began producing for them, they were known as The Stylistics, which were part of Avco Records. Bell then teamed up with the Philadelphia songwriter known as, Linda Creed. This partnership then included Russel Tompkins, JR and the lead singers of The Stylistics, by teaming up with them, Bell then went ahead and helped them generate three albums with such memorable tracks. This would set Thom Bell and Linda Creed up to be one of the era’s dominant soul songwriting teams. This team would produce such hits like “Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart),” “You Are Everything,” “Betcha by Golly, Wow,” “Break Up to Make Up,” and “You Make Me Feel Brand New”.

By 1972, Bell had then decided to move over to Atlantic Records and begin production with the group The Spinners. The group had been with Motown Records for a while, but later moved over to Atlantic Records after receiving very little attention. This huge collaboration with Thom Bell would successfully last for seven years and within those years they would create 8 original albums, to which five of those albums were gold and included many top chart hits such as “Mighty Love,” and “Ghetto Child”.

When 1975 rolled around, Thomas Bell was awarded a Grammy for Best Producer of the Year. Subsequently, Bell had much success within the R & B realm and went ahead to work on and continue creating such commercial appeal all the while still creating hit singles.

Thomas Bell has always been such an inspiration to André and his musical endeavors. Growing up listening to hits such as “Betcha By Golly Wow” would only push young André to later produce the song himself. The song is nothing short of a hit as, to why this song brings back such fond memories to André from when he was young. This heartfelt single will leave you with an attitude so positive and loving, that you cant help but to just smile when you listen to it.