Died Jan. 27 at his Philadelphia home.
Gene McFadden, one-half of the legendary R&B duo McFadden & Whitehead, died Jan. 27 at his Philadelphia home. The 56-year-old suffered from liver and lung cancer. McFadden & Whitehead is best known for its 1979 No. 1 R&B (No. 13 pop) anthem, “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.”
Songwriter/producer partner Whitehead preceded him in death in May 2004 after being shot and killed outside his Philadelphia home. Whitehead’s murder remains unsolved.
It was a teenaged McFadden & Whitehead who first broke into the industry as founding members of the soul band the Epsilons. The group toured with Otis Redding who doubled as its manager until his death in 1967.
The pair then joined Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s infamous Philadelphia International label bent on pursuing a recording career. However, McFadden & Whitehead’s songwriting prowess took center stage when they penned “Back Stabbers” for the O’Jays. The song became a crossover hit (No. 1 R&B, No. 3 pop) and opened the door to a host of McFadden & Whitehead-penned classics, including Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes’ “Wake Up Everybody (Part 1)” and the Intruders’ “I’ll Always Love My Mama.”
“McFadden and Whitehead were instrumental in creating the Sound of Philadelphia,” said Gamble and Huff in a statement following McFadden’s death. “Their talent was indispensable and their music capabilities were uniquely flexible.”
McFadden is survived by his wife Barbara, two daughters and two sons.