Thom Bell index
Thom Bell interviews:
- 1992 — Interview with Thom Bell conducted by Dan Kimpel in March 1992 for the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase musepaper
- 2006 — NPR, Thom Bell interviewed by Terry Gross on “Fresh Air”
- 2008 — Thom Bell and the Sound of Brotherly Love — Houston Press: Rocks Off interview by Bob Ruggiero, published Mon., Dec. 8 2008
- 2011 — “BBGW!” — The Thom Bell Story, Part 1 — found at the website Soul Jones Words (souljoneswords.blogspot.com), originally published in Manifesto Magazine in December 2011 — On 18 September 2014, I noticed that the link to this article was broken. Have not been able to locate it elsewhere.
Thom Bell quotes:
From the March 1992 interview by Dan Kimpel — The first record I did with them [The Delfonics] in 1965 was with Cameo Records. Cameo didn’t know anything about black music at the time, and neither did I. But the record did well in the Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Virginia area. The second record did well in the same area, and then the company folded. When the company folded, the guy [probably Stan Watson, manager of the Delfonics] went out and got a loan and put some money up and said “Man, you’ve got to give me a hit record on this group.” So I called around different publishers and told them my name. “Who?” “Thom Bell.” “No, I’m afraid the only Bell we know is Bell Telephone and the Liberty Bell with the crack in it.” And I said, “I’m looking for songs.” “Well, no.” And if they did send you songs, they’d send you the junky songs. I said, “This can’t be. I’m going to write my own doggone songs.”
From the December 2011 Manifesto Magazine interview with Thom Bell, regarding Bell’s favoring of falsetto in a lead vocal — “Undoubtedly, that’s a Philly sound, oh yeah. We had Donnie Elbert too and Little Joe who sang Peanuts [Okeh 4-7088, 1957], man those tenors were synonymous with Philadelphia.”
From the 2008 Rocks Off interview with Bob Ruggiero — I had studied to be a concert pianist for so many years, so the classical world is where I came from. It was a natural process for me to hear music with oboes and cor anglais and things like that.
But Atlantic Records had strings, and there was a tympani in “There Goes My Baby” by the Drifters, and then Teddy Randazzo and Don Costa were doing things with Little Anthony and the Imperials, and then Burt Bacharach with Dionne Warwick. So it wasn’t [unprecedented], but our songs were different.
(left to right) Leon Huff, Thom Bell, and Kenny Gamble
Book on Philadelphia Soul:
- A House on Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul, by John A. Jackson, 2004
Record and Publishing Companies:
- Cameo Records
- Philly Groove Records — 45 rpm single discography (45cat.com)
- Philly Groove Records — album discography (bsnpubs.com)
- Avco Records
- Atlantic Records
- Philadelphia International Records
- Mighty Three Music
- William Hart — See the links in our Delfonics page
- Linda Creed — Songwriters Hall of Fame
- Linda Creed — Wikipedia
- Phil Hurtt — Soulwalking.co.uk
- Kenny Gamble — Songwriters Hall of Fame
Arrangement, production, and publishing associates:
Songbook’s Thom Bell feature pages
Pop quiz #1: Who is (or are) in this photo with Thom Bell?