Veteran US R&B singer shot dead

posted 2004-05-21 13:36:47 by pinenut

American R&B singer John Whitehead, best known for the 1979 hit song Ain´t No Stoppin´ Us Now, has been shot dead in Philadelphia.

The 55-year-old musician was shot in the neck while he and another man, also wounded, were mending his car in the street. The two assailants fled.

Whitehead and singing partner Gene McFadden were both former members of The Epsilons, managed by Otis Redding.

After a brief stint in jail for tax evasion, Whitehead went solo in 1988.


McFadden was reported to have been devastated by the news of his colleague´s death.

He attended the scene of the crime in the city´s West Oak Lane neighbourhood.

The other man shot in the incident, Ohmed Johnson, was taken to hospital. Police said he was in a good condition early on Wednesday morning.

"Why did they do this to my dad?," daughter Dawn Whitehead, 33, asked at the scene.

"I just talked to him yesterday. He was a fun person. Who would want to kill him?"

Police said they had no suspects or motive for the crime.

Both McFadden and Whitehead were born in Philadelphia in 1948, joining The Epsilons as teenagers.

The group´s career took off during a two-year tour singing backing vocals for Otis Redding in the 1960s, but the quintet split up following Redding´s untimely death in 1967.


Subsequently, McFadden and Whitehead joined the Philadelphia International label where they focused on their producing and songwriting skills.

Notable hits on the songwriting front included Wake Up Everybody for Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, and Back Stabbers for The O´Jays.

The pair also wrote for artists including The Jacksons, James Brown and Gladys Knight and The Pips, winning over 20 gold discs.

Ain´t No Stoppin´ Us Now, later covered by Luther Vandross, sold more than eight million records and was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Copywrite BBC