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R&B Singer Whitehead Killed

Philly soul man scored chart-topping hit in 1979

May 12, 2004 12:00 AM ET
John Whitehead, who recorded the 1979 chart-topping anthem "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," was shot and killed in Philadelphia yesterday. The Philadelphia soul star was fifty-five.

Whitehead and a mechanic friend were making repairs on Whitehead's SUV on Dallas Street behind the singer's home when two gunmen opened fire. Whitehead was struck in the neck and killed. His friend, Ohmed Johnson, was wounded and hospitalized, but is expected to recover. No arrests have been made.

Whitehead is best remembered for "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," a song he recorded with longtime partner Gene McFadden as McFadden and Whitehead. Though the two had worked as writers and producers in the recording industry for more than a decade, they didn't get around to recording a debut album until 1979. The self-titled set included the hit, which reached Number One on the R&B charts and Number Thirteen on the pop charts. A year later it also became something of an anthem for the Philadelphia Phillies' victorious World Series run.

Despite the immediate notoriety the song gave McFadden and Whitehead, their R&B roots go back into the Sixties, where as the Epsilons they toured with Otis Redding. The two fell in with the Philadelphia International label, where they were among the architects of the Philly soul sound. As producers and writers McFadden and Whitehead contributed hits like "Backstabbers" to the O'Jays, as well as inking songs for Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, the Intruders and numerous others.

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