60s Soul Giant Al Kent dies at 84

Photo courtesy of Drew Schultz

(June 1, 2021) The deep soul community tonight is mourning. One of the often unheralded singing, songwriting and production greats of the 1960s, Al Kent, has died at age 84.  

Born Albert Hamilton in Detroit, Kent along with his brothers Robert and Eugene and his wife Norma Toney, created a Detroit musical force apart from Berry Gordy Jr.’s Motown juggernaut, writing and producing dozens of now-cherished hits that are still being listened to over a half century after initial release.

“SOS (Stop Her On Sight)” and “(Just Like) Romeo And Juliet” were just two of the best known songs from the team. These and others that helped develop now legendary labels such as Ric Tic and Golden World (later bought by Motown), and established the Motor City as the hotbed for soul music in the early 60s, establishing such seminal acts as Edwin Starr, JJ Barnes, and The Fantastic Four.

(June 1, 2021) The deep soul community tonight is mourning. One of the often unheralded singing, songwriting and production greats of the 1960s, Al Kent, has died at age 84.  

Born Albert Hamilton in Detroit, Kent along with his brothers Robert and Eugene and his wife Norma Toney, created a Detroit musical force apart from Berry Gordy Jr.’s Motown juggernaut, writing and producing dozens of now-cherished hits that are still being listened to over a half century after initial release.

“SOS (Stop Her On Sight)” and “(Just Like) Romeo And Juliet” were just two of the best known songs from the team. These and others that helped develop now legendary labels such as Ric Tic and Golden World (later bought by Motown), and established the Motor City as the hotbed for soul music in the early 60s, establishing such seminal acts as Edwin Starr, JJ Barnes, and The Fantastic Four.

Kent also became a major artist himself, most notably hitting pay dirt with such songs as the instrumental smash ”You've Got To Pay The Price,” and “The Way You’ve Been Acting Lately.”

Kent continued to stay active, and fortunately lived to see his early work grow in reverence by soul music fans around the world. Rest in peace, Sir.

Our thanks to SoulTrackers Bill and Adrian for letting us know.

 
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