Artist Focus: Norman Whitfield

Some artists leave a legacy that stretches far beyond a great single or a number 1 album. Artist Focus is a new series hosted by the extended MDR family that dives into the life and times of the musicians that have defined the sound of modern music.

This week, Richie Anderson explores the legacy of the late Motown songwriter and producer Norman Whitfield. Tracking his journey in sound from his doo-wap influenced hits of early Motown through his late sixties pioneering Psychedelic Soul and on to full on Funk and Disco throughout the seventies. Whitfield along with lyricist Barret Strong wrote or co-wrote 61 UK hits and 92 in the US charts. Whitfield’s production style crafted the hugely influential Afro-American sound of acts such as Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and The Temptations among others. You’ll know the songs, but maybe not the name as there still exists an air of mystery surrounding the elusive Whitfield.