Thom Bell, A Grammy Award-Winning Producer, Dies At Age 79

Thom Bell, A Grammy Award-Winning Producer, Dies At Age 79

According to his publicist, the Grammy Award-winning producer, who is best known as one of the Mighty Three co-creators of the Sound of Philadelphia alongside Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, died on Thursday (December 22).

Thom died at his home in Bellingham, Washington, but no cause of death has been given.

As well as working with Kenny and Leon on tracks including the O’Jays’ Back Stabbers and Harold Melvina and the Blue Notes’ I Miss You, Thom – who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006 – also wrote a string of hits for the likes of The Delfonics, The Stylistics, and The Spinners in the late 1960s and 70s.

Thom went on to compose and produce albums for the likes of The Temptations, Johnny Mathis, Sir Elton John and Joss Stone.


He received a lifetime achievement honour from the Recording Academy in the form of a trustees’ award in 2017 after previously being honoured with the first non-classical producer of the year accolade at the 1975 Grammy Awards.

Thom is survived by his wife, Vanessa Bell, and children Royal, Troy, Tia, Mark, Cybell and Christopher.

Both Kenny and Leon have paid tribute to their late friend and collaborator.

Kenny said: ‘Tommy and I have been best friends for over 60 years. When we first met, we decided to start writing songs together and form a singing duo ‘Kenny and Tommy’ and then our band the Romeos.


‘Leon Huff and I were proud to have him as part of our Mighty Three music writing team, which helped create our signature brand of TSOP. He was a great talent and my dear friend. The name of Gamble Huff and Bell will last forever. Rest in peace buddy!’

Leon added: ‘Thom Bell was my favourite musician, arranger, songwriter and music producer of all time. It was my esteem, honour and pleasure to work with him creatively and as a business partner. Rest in peace.’