John Whitehead, an R&B artist and songwriter, was murdered on May 11. He was 55.
Whitehead and his friend Oemidd Johnson were working on a vehicle behind his Philadelphia house when two men approached and opened fire. Johnson survived with a bullet wound to the buttocks, but Whitehead was shot in the neck and killed.
Whitehead and singer Gene McFadden were just kids when they formed The Epsilons. The group was discovered by Otis Redding and invited to tour with him. The Epsilons later signed with Stax records and enjoyed moderate success with the song, “The Echo.”
In the 1970s, the duo became a successful songwriting team for Philly International Records. They wrote and produced numerous hits performed by other artists, including “Back Stabbers,” “For the Love of Money,” “I’ll Always Love My Mama,” “Wake Up Everybody” and “Where Are All My Friends.”
As singers, McFadden & Whitehead were best known for the 1979 song, “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now,” which they wrote and performed. The tune hit No. 1 on the R&B chart, sold more than 8 million records and was nominated for a Grammy Award. It also became the unofficial anthem for the Phillies and the Eagles. The duo’s later releases failed to top the charts.