RIP Norman Whitfield

Posted by Maximum Fun on 17th September 2008

Last week, I posted a couple of videos from the kings of psychedelic soul, Funkadelic. While Funkadelic were wearing diapers and climbing out of the Mothership, Norman Whitfield was pulling Motown into the psychedelic age with his productions for the Temptations and others. I *love* these records — there’s something amazing about the tension between the orchestral grandiosity, uber-tight vocals and the crazy psychedelic… I dunno… outrageousness.

Above is a favorite of mine, “Masterpiece” from the Temps album of the same name. I used to use that loooooooong intro as theme music for the KZSC News back in college. Below is another classic, “Psychedelic Shack,” along with “Cloud Nine,” which might be my favorite Temps track.

Whitfield also wrote and produced for The Undisputed Truth and Rose Royce, including the latter’s big hit “Car Wash.” The former’s albums are great — you can hear Whitfield going apeshit in the studio, with crazy strings and complicated basslines and amazing interplay between the voices. I even like Whitfield’s later, disco-yer work — I have a couple singles by a female vocal group called Stargard he produced that are silly, but great.

Oh, and he wrote “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” Did I mention that? ‘Cause he did.