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'Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now' Gene McFadden


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'Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now' Gene McFadden

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McFadden & Whitehead

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania - Gene McFadden, one-half of McFadden & Whitehead, the legendary R&B duo famed for the 1979 pop anthem "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," has died. The 56-year-old succumbed to complications from liver and lung cancer at his Mount Airy home of 15 years at 3:30 a.m. on January 27.

Songwriter/producer partner John Whitehead predeceased McFadden in May 2004. John Cavadus Whitehead was fatally shot and killed outside his Philadelphia home. His murder has yet to be solved. Patty Jackson, morning personality at WDAS-FM (105.3), said the pain of his partner's death took a toll on Mr. McFadden.

"He took the murder hard," Jackson said yesterday. "His battle with cancer was difficult enough, but after John's death, he got steadily worse." WDAS plans to play music written and performed by McFadden and Whitehead throughout the weekend as a tribute.

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McFadden & Whitehead

McFadden & Whitehead were teens when they first broke into the industry as founding members of soul band the Epsilons. The group toured with Otis Redding, who was also the act's manager, until his death in 1967. The pair then joined Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International label, bent on pursuing a recording career.

However, McFadden & Whitehead's songwriting prowess took center stage when they penned "Back Stabbers" for the O'Jays. The R&B chart-topper became a No. 3 pop crossover hit and opened the door to a host of McFadden & Whitehead-written classics, including Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "Wake Up Everybody (Part 1)" and the Intruders' "I'll Always Love My Mama."

They hit No. 1 hit on the R&B chart with "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now." "McFadden & Whitehead were instrumental in creating the sound of Philadelphia," Gamble and Huff said in a statement following McFadden's death. "Their talent was indispensable, and their music capabilities were uniquely flexible."

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The Philly R&B singing duo of Gene McFadden, right, and John

Whitehead rally a group of fans before a playoff game in 1980 at

Veterans Stadium.

The singer's daughter Casandra McFadden remembered the days when her father and Whitehead created songs in the basement, the car or even at the dinner table. But more important, she recalled his message to her.

"The one part people didn't get to see was how loving and funny he was," McFadden said. "He always told us that we needed to stay together. He was all about family."

McFadden is survived by his wife of 38 years, Barbara, four children, two daughters, Casandra and Gina and two sons, Dominic and Gene. Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday at Triumph Baptist Church, North Philadelphia. The viewing will be at 10 a.m., with services following at 11.

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