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JOHN WHITEHEAD (of Mc Fadden & Whitehead) SHOT DEA

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FROM www.bbc.co.uk

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 assailant 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 where Whitehead was earlier shot in the neck.

The other man shot in the incident was taken to hospital.

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.

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.

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This is desperately sad news. John Whitehead was a great singer and writer. It's quite affecting to listen to Part 2 of (his) I'll Always Love My Mama by The Intruders, where they talk about gangs and the dangers of the streets, and think that Whitehead was outlived by his own mother, ending up the victim of exactly such street violence.

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