Wednesday, September 21, 2005

SOULOBIT: Willie Hutch

The death has been announced of Willie Hutch, Motown singer-songwriter.

Born in LA and raised in Sallas, Hutch cut his first single in the early sixties; he released an album in 1964 but never really seized the public imagination as a singer. His big break came in 1970 when Hal Davis, impressed with his work writing and producing for other bands, called him to deliver some words in a hurry for a tune he'd come up with. Hutch turned around a lyric overnight, and the next day at 8 am the Jackson 5 took the song, I'll Be There, into the studio. Berry Gordy was so impressed with this - and his arrangements for Never Can Say Goodbye - that he gave him a permanent role at Motown.

His reputation secured, Hutch went on to work with all the big names on the label, producing Smokey Robinson's first solo album. Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops and The Fifth Dimension all recorded his songs; he also scored the soundtrack for Pam Grier's Foxy Brown movie.

Although his production work overshadowed his singing career, Hutch did amass a number of albums of his own over the year, releasing two in the nineties.

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