Thom Bell



Songwriting credits:


Songbook’s Thom Bell feature pages



Thom Bell interviews:



Thom Bell-3 (early)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, regarding the association of falsetto* in a lead vocal with the Philly Sound:

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.

Leon Huff, Thom Bell, and Kenny Gamble-1-d13

(left to right) Leon Huff, Thom Bell, and Kenny Gamble


Book on Philadelphia Soul:


Record and Publishing Companies:



Arrangement, production, and publishing associates:


Thom Bell 5

Pop quiz #1: Who are in this photo with Thom Bell?


* Lead singer of the Delfonics William Hart has denied in multiple interviews that he sang falsetto on classics such as “La-La Means I Love You” and “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time.” For example, a page on the Delfonics at includes the following quote by Hart: “Most people think it’s falsetto, but it’s really my natural voice. When it’s time to sing, I just go into the higher register.”


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