Master tunesmith helped create the "Motown Sound"

Browse Song Catalog: BMI

Norman Whitfield

Inductee
Born/Died
Inducted

His "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" one of the most played songs of the 20th century on American radio and TV

New York-born music legend Norman Whitfield came to Detroit by chance... his father's car broke down there. Using his keen eye for observation, Whitfield found a mentor in Motown founder Berry Gordy.

After wood-shedding on local labels, he began writing songs for Motown and eventually promoted to head of quality control because he was so meticulous about maximizing hit records. The story of him and songwriting partner Barrett Strong creating three distinct versions of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" for Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & the Pips and The Temptations reflects his creativity.

The Temptations became his primary project in 1967 with Motown's first Grammy-winner "Cloud Nine," ushering in a new day of thought-provoking psychedelic soul (a la Sly Stone) to the label with other acts such as Edwin Starr ("War") and The Undisputed Truth ("Smiling Faces Sometimes").

Whitfield left Motown in 1975 to start his own Whitfield Records label, scoring his last greatest success with the band Rose Royce, which earned him a second Grammy for the Car Wash soundtrack, followed by several hits at the end of the decade.

Wrote over 400 songs;  produced Temptations biggest hits

Links

Acknowledgements

Biography & Discography:

BMI Database (www.bmi.com)

Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com)

National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (www.grammy.com)

All Music Guide (www.allmusic.com)

Top Pop Singles:1955-1999
Whitburn, Joel
Record Research, Inc. 1999.

Top Pop Album:1955-2001
Whitburn, Joel.
Record Research, Inc. 2001.

Top R&B Singles: 1942-2001
Whitburn, Joel.
Record Research, Inc. 1999.

Material and Memorabilia:

All Material provided is courtesy of the Songwriters Hall of Fame Archives.