BMI was saddened to learn of the death of Thom Bell, who passed away Thursday at his home in Bellingham, Washington at the age of 79. An influential figure in contemporary American pop and soul music and one of the preeminent architects of the Philadelphia Sound, Bell was already a seasoned songwriter, arranger and producer responsible for hits like “Then Came You” by Dionne Warwick and the Spinners, “People Make the World Go Around” by the Stylistics and “Rubberband Man” by the Spinners when he met the songwriting duo, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff of Philadelphia International Records (PIR). Initially PIR’s in-house arranger, Bell augmented Gamble & Huff compositions like “Back Stabbers,” “Love Train,” and several other classics. After collaborating on several iconic tracks with Gamble & Huff, Bell joined the duo in forming a music publishing company for their songs called Mighty Three Music. Throughout his amazing career, Thom Bell won a Producer of the Year Award at the 1975 GRAMMY Awards, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006 and won 29 BMI Awards.
Earlier in 2022, BMI had the great honor of reuniting Gamble, Huff and Bell for the trio’s first in-depth interview in decades, celebrating the 60th year of their uninterrupted relationship with BMI. The three gentlemen’s unique creative chemistry ignited the conversation, and Bell’s enthusiasm for the art and craft of songwriting was infectious. Watch the exclusive interview here.
Thom Bell will be greatly missed by his friends, fans and family at BMI.