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 and had a hit called "The Echo". 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.


"The Echo"
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
Mr. Music
This Is My Song
Rainy Night in Georgia

 

Talk Of The Town - Little Bit Of Your Lovin / Blank

Note from Edie:
I stumbled upon John Whitehead's baby boi's today and was knocked OUT of my chair! Naturally I started hunting for background bio's and stuff, only to discover they are the progeny of this one half of the famous Philly duo. Then, I was knocked out the 'other' side of my seat to learn Whitehead was murdered! I am lookin' soooo crazy yall. *sigh* (As a sidenote, too, I can't even hear McFadden & Whitehead without thinking about Foxy..*UD'rs will know what I mean*....

Anyway, I have the Whitehead talents on the Main tearing UP some video, 'Forget I Was A "G"...Superb video..I am bobbin to thee BEAT, ya heard???? Check it out, and thanks for taking the time to read this info on their talented Daddy..♥

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Comment by Virgo91261 on August 23, 2008 at 4:38pm
"Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" was huge the year I graduated from high school. (I'm dating myself but so what...lol.) I remember one of the local DJs saying that the song should be the new national Black anthem. There'll always be a place for "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," but I could see the DJ's point. Whenever I hear "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," it always uplifts my mood because it's such a positive song. I knew that John Whitehead and Gene McFadden were prolific songwriters, yet I had no idea how prolific until I read this blog. May they both rest in peace.
Comment by gmack on July 22, 2008 at 2:22pm
guess I have to hang around oooh well pay back...lol
Comment by Edie Antoinette on June 25, 2008 at 10:15pm
I love "I Hope That We Can Be Together Soon"..so I threw it in..lol..Enjoy!


  1. play 10 - Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes - Wake Up Everybody
  2. play 05 - Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes - Hope That We Can Be Together Soon
Comment by Edie Antoinette on June 25, 2008 at 9:29pm
btw: I love Give The People What They Want...that is a JAM!!!
Comment by Edie Antoinette on June 25, 2008 at 9:27pm
They were so talented ...let me go get you all's favorites. I love Wake Up Everybody too.
Thanks Tw0 and Sole..and the pic of Foxy brings tears to my eyes. It seems so strange without her. Thanks for posting it Solebaby...

Remember how she used to call Donny's little son her husband? LOL!!!!
Comment by Shelley "SoleMann" King on June 25, 2008 at 8:32pm
Beautiful Blog and i remember hearing the news of John Whiteheads murder, so sad...Everytime i hear ain't no stopping us now, i too am reminded of Foxy, she will always be missed...

Comment by gmack on June 25, 2008 at 8:21pm
I love Wake up everybody
Comment by Edie Antoinette on June 25, 2008 at 7:44pm
I miss Foxy...this one and Atomic Dog always remind me of her. Wonder how her sons are doing.
Comment by saraphen on June 25, 2008 at 7:28pm
That's Foxy's song!!
Comment by Edie Antoinette on June 25, 2008 at 6:56pm
Enjoy!

  1. play 01-the ojays-back stabbers
  2. play 02-the ojays-992 arguments
  3. play 03-the ojays-love train
  4. play 04-the ojays-time to get down
  5. play 05-the ojays-put your hands together
  6. play 06-the ojays-for the love of money
  7. play 07-the ojays-sunshine
  8. play 08-the ojays-give the people what they want
  9. play 09-the ojays-survival
  10. play 10-the ojays-i love music
  11. play 11-the ojays-livin for the weekend
  12. play 12-the ojays-stairway to heaven
  13. play 15-the ojays-the big gangster
  14. play 16-the ojays-message in our music
  15. play 14-the ojays-use ta be my girl
  16. play 13-the ojays-darlin darlin baby (sweet tender love)

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Introspection

Spotlight | Maze

  1. play Maze — 03 Feel That You're Feelin'
  2. play Maze — 04 Somebody Else's Arms
  3. play Maze — 04 Southern Girl
  4. play Maze — Can't Get Over You
  5. play Maze — Golden Time Of Day
  6. play Norman Brown — Night Drive
  7. play Norman Brown — Feeling
  8. play Norman Brown — Still
  9. play Miles Davis — miles 1
  10. play miles 2
  11. play miles 3
  12. play miles 4
  13. play miles 5
  14. play Marvin Gaye — I Met A Little Girl
  15. play Santana — 01 Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
  16. play Santana — 02 Black Magic Woman-Gypsy Queen
  17. play Mongo — 02. Afro Blue



The history of the Butlers/Raw Soul is dense, but for all of us music nerds, that's normal. It is not totally clear what year the Butlers actually formed but they released their first single in 1963 on Liberty Records. That single was "She Tried To Kiss Me" and another single followed on Guyden entitled "Lovable Girl." After the Guyden single the Butlers took a break not recording another record until the single "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" was released on the Phila label in 1966. The group also backed Charles Earland and Jean Wells on one Phila single ("I Know She Loves Me"). 


As you might be noticing, the Butlers were doing a fair amount of recording but not achieving much success. The group's recordings sold regionally but never had the promotion to make an impact on the national scene. After the single with Phila, the Butlers moved to the Fairmount label (part of the Cameo-Parkway family) and released a handful of singles, some being reissued singles of the past. The Butlers were with Fairmount for 1966-67 and then moved to Sassy Records. Sassy released the group's greatest single (in my opinion) "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" b/w "If That's What You Wanted." A copy of that 45 sold for just under $500 last summer on eBay. Even though that isn't that much in the world of record collecting--it's still a hefty sum. The Butlers released another single on Sassy ("She's Gone" b/w "Love Is Good") that appears to be even 
harder to come by then the "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" single.

 

The true history become a bit blurred here as the AMG biography states that the Butlers last record was released on C.R.S. in 1974 (". However, between 1971 and that single, Frankie Beverly formed a group called Raw Soul and released a number of singles. Some of the songs recorded by Beverly during this period are "While I'm Alone," "Open Up Your Heart," (both on the Gregor label) and "Color Blind." "Color Blind" was released by the Eldorado label and rerecorded by Maze. Beverly's big break came when Marvin Gaye asked Raw Soul to back him on a tour. Gaye helped Beverly/Raw Soul get a contract at Capitol. Beverly decided to take the group in a different direction, a name change occurred, and Maze was created. 

The above isn't the most complete history of Beverly but hopefully someone will know a way to get in touch with the man or his management because a comprehensive pre-Maze history needs to be done on Frankie Beverly (his real name is Howard, by the way). Below you'll find every Frankie Beverly (pre-Maze) song available to me right now ("Color Blind" will be up soon). 

If you have a song that is not included below, shoot it over to funkinsoulman (at) yahoo.com and it will go up in the next Frankie Beverly post (later this week--highlighting Maze). Also, if you have any more information please share your knowledge. The Butlers material has been comp-ed sporadically (usually imports) but the entire Maze catalog has been reissued and is available. 

Enjoy.  "She Kissed Me" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967) 
 
 "I Want To Feel I'm Wanted" (not sure which label or year) "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" (Phila, 1966) "Because Of My Heart" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
   
 "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" (Sassy, 1967)
   
 "If That's What You Wanted" (Sassy, 1967)
 



Frankie Beverly is one of those cats that has lasting power. He started in the music business doing a tour with doo wop group the Silhouettes and then formed his own group called the Blenders. The Blenders never recorded a single, Beverly wouldn't appear on wax until forming the Butlers a few years later. Along with Beverly, the Butlers included Jack "Sonny" Nicholson, Joe Collins, John Fitch, and Talmadge Conway.

Beverly would later enjoy great success fronting Maze and Conway would become a
well-known penning Double Exposure's
"Ten Percent" and the Intruders' "Memories Are Here To Stay." 
 While Maze is a phenomenal group, Beverly's work before that group will always stand out as his best (imo).

The Butlers produced tunes that most Northern Soul fans would kill for and Raw Soul gave the funksters something to pursue. If, by chance, you know of a way to get in touch with Frankie Beverly or his management, please drop me an e-mail. It would be absolutely great to do an interview with him about his pre-Maze work. He's still playing out, most recently doing a New Year's Eve show in Atlanta.
:: Funkinsoulman ::

Power...Through Simplicity ♪♫♪

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