Producer Tom Bell, The Mighty Three, who co-created “The Sound of Philadelphia” with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, died at the age of 79. His cause of death was not immediately revealed.
“Tommy and I have been best friends for over 60 years,” Gamble said at a press conference. We decided to form our band Romeo…he was a great talent and a dear friend of mine.Rest in peace buddy. ”
“Tom Bell was my favorite musician, arranger, songwriter and music producer!” adds Leon Huff. “It was my honor and pleasure to work with him creatively and as a business partner. Rest in peace.”
Bell’s greatest contributions to Philly soul pioneering in the ’70s include ‘La-La Means I Love You’ by The Delfonics, ‘Rubberband Man’ by The Spinners, and ‘Buck’ by The O’Jays and the Stylistics. There are songs such as Starbucks. I’ll Be Around” and “Betcha By Golly Wow”. He also produced Elton John’s song “Mama Can’t Buy You Love.”
His work earned Bell the Producer of the Year award at the 1875 Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. Russell Tompkins Jr. of the Stylistics honored Bell in a Grammy interview in honor of the music legend. In 2017, he called Bell “a huge influence on my career.”
“That’s when I started learning my craft,” he said. “And what I learned in my sessions with him impacted my entire career.”
The Mighty Three interviewed for Sam Pollard’s documentary on Philadelphia International Records, introducing the trio’s work in promoting Philadelphia’s music to the world.
“After 60 years, we are extremely proud to finally share our life story with the world and showcase all the hard work that went into creating this incredible music,” the trio said in a statement earlier this year. “Our long-time fans and new fans alike have always wanted us to say ‘MESSAGE TO MUSIC!!!'”