McFadden and Whitehead were an American songwriting, production, and recording duo, best known for their signature tune "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now". They wrote and produced some of the most popular R&B hits of the 1970s, and were primarily associated with Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International soul music record label.
When they were teenagers, Gene McFadden and John Whitehead formed a group called The Epsilons. The personnel included Allen Beatty, James Knight, and future Blue Notes member Lloyd Parks. They were discovered by Otis Redding and toured with him during the late 1960s until Redding's death in a plane crash in 1967.
The duo later joined Philly International Records, where they wrote several hits songs, the first being "Back Stabbers" in 1972 for the The O'Jays. It reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart.
McFadden and Whitehead also wrote songs such as "I'll Always Love My Momma", "Bad Luck", "Wake Up Everybody", "Where Are All My Friends", "The More I Get, The More I Want", and "Cold, Cold World". The production team also worked with Melba Moore, Freddie Jackson, producer Rahni Song and Gloria Gaynor, Teddy Pendergrass, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Gladys Knight, The Jackson 5, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Lou Rawls, Archie Bell & the Drells, Jerry Bell and The Intruders.
McFadden and Whitehead formed together as a group officially under the name "McFadden & Whitehead" in 1977. The pinnacle of their success came in 1979 with "Ain't No Stoppin Us Now," which went to #1 on the R&B charts, #13 on the pop charts, sold eight million records worldwide and was nominated for a Grammy Award. The duo was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where they sang their most famous song on an episode in which Oprah featured the top hits of the 1970s.
Other hits included:
According to the American Top 40 with Casey Kasem radio program for the week ended August 4, 1979, Casey Kasem reported that McFadden and Whitehead were in Chicago on May 25, 1979 promoting their music and doing various interviews. Because they agreed to do one more music interview at the last minute, they decided to reschedule their flight to Los Angeles to the next day, May 26. They were originally scheduled to fly on American Airlines 191 on May 25, which crashed shortly after take off from O'Hare International Airport killing all 258 passengers plus the crew.
On May 11, 2004, Whitehead was murdered on the street outside of his Philadelphia home while doing car repairs with his nephew. In an apparent case of mistaken identity, he was shot by two unknown gunmen, who then fled. The case remains unsolved. Whitehead was 55 years old.
On January 27, 2006, McFadden died of liver and lung cancer. He was 57.
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Image from Discogs