R.I.P. Legendary soul music producer Bobby Martin

Bobby Martin, known as one of the architects of the "Sound of Philadelphia," has died at age 83. Martin was a key producer and arranger who worked with virtually every great soul music artist of the 70s, from Lou Rawls, to LTD to the Manhattans to Tavares.  Songs ranging from "Me and Mrs. Jones" to "Kiss and Say Goodbye" to the theme from Soul Train all bore Martin's deft touch. Martin is also credited with giving Patti LaBelle her stage name.

Bobby Martin, known as one of the architects of the "Sound of Philadelphia," has died at age 83. Martin was a key producer and arranger who worked with virtually every great soul music artist of the 70s, from Lou Rawls, to LTD to the Manhattans to Tavares.  Songs ranging from "Me and Mrs. Jones" to "Kiss and Say Goodbye" to the theme from Soul Train all bore Martin's deft touch. Martin is also credited with giving Patti LaBelle her stage name.

Philadelphia International Records founders Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff issued a statement: “He was the greatest arranger. We were able to work together with him to come up with a fantastic sound. He was part of a group of arrangers with us that included Thom Bell, Norman Harris, and Roland Chambers, and a vital part of the MFSB team who made major contributions. Bobby was tireless. He used to work all night on arrangements for us. Remembering his work ethic, and what it was like to just be around him, reminds us what a great time it was to be in the music business. “

The Tavares Brothers worked with Martin back in 1979 on their Madam Butterfly album and so respected him that they said they were "devastated" when Martin was unavailable to work with them on their next album.

Martin's own biography describes his history in this way: "Bobby Martin is THE SOUND OF PHILADELPHIA, also known as The Granddaddy of R&B and Soul music." 

We couldn't have said it any better. Godspeed, Bobby Martin.

By Chris Rizik

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