Hit songwriter for Gamble and Huff's Philly Sound
wrote hit songs for The Spinners, Johnny Mathis, Teddy Pendergrass, and Dionne Warwick
Linda Creed found her way to the top of the best-selling charts as a member of a notable group of music makers known as the Philadelphia School. Born in the Quaker City in 1948, she attended Germantown High School, where she was active in music pursuits. In fact, during her high school years, she already was fronting her own band, Raw Soul, which made frequent appearances at the Philadelphia Athletic Club and at Sid Booker's Highline Lounge.
Out of school in the mid-'60s, and eager to move on, she left Philadelphia for New York, where she obtained a job as a secretary at the famed Mills Music publishing company. She also utilized the time to develop her skills as a lyricist, but after eight months of little success, and feeling defeated, she returned to her hometown, which later became the inspiration for the song, "I'm Coming Home," (co-written with another prominent Philadelphian, Thom Bell).
At age 22, Creed's patience was rewarded when her song, "Free Girl," was recorded by British artist Dusty Springfield. Soon, she had another favorable opportunity to join Mighty Three Music (an affiliate of Philadelphia International Records) headed by the successful songwriting trio of Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell. The association with Bell, led two years later to a recording of her song, "Stop, Look and Listen," by The Stylistics, a Philadelphia group whose records were being produced by Thom Bell. Thereafter, numerous hits followed in quick succession, among them were "You Are Everything," "I'm Stone in Love with You," "Betcha, By Golly, Wow," "Break Up to Make Up," "Rock n' Roll Baby," "Rubber Band Man."
In 1972, Linda Creed married Stephen Lee Epstein, and as though taking a cue from the happy event, her next recorded song was the mega hit, "You Make Me Feel Brand New." During this time, she wrote hit songs for The Spinners, Johnny Mathis, Teddy Pendergrass, Dionne Warwick, and others. Then, in 1976, she, with husband Eppy and baby daughter, Roni moved to California where very soon she was busily producing a project with Lonnie Jordan, lead singer of the group, War.
Later the same year, she underwent radical surgery for breast cancer. One month following her mastectomy, she was commissioned to write lyrics for the theme for a motion picture based on the life of Muhammad Ali. The song, later sung and recorded by George Benson, was "The Greatest Love of All," which was recorded a decade later by Whitney Houston. The recording became an enormous hit and one of the biggest to that moment by the star.
The Epstein family returned to Philadelphia in 1980, when Linda's second daughter, Dana, was born. During the early years of the '80s, Linda Creed enjoyed continuing success with her songs, with recordings by Johnny Gill, Stacy Latislaw, The Stylistics, Teddy Pendergrass, and of course, Whitney Houston. The song "Hold Me," written by Creed and Michael Masser, the man who had brought Linda into the Muhammad Ali project, was the first adult contemporary hit for Pendergrass. She also wrote the theme for the TV series, "Simon and Simon." Over the years, cover recordings of her songs were major hits for Roberta Flack, Rod Stewart, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson and numerous others.
Linda Creed lost her long lingering battle with cancer at the age of 37, when she died in April 1986.