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Movie appearances of this song include The Associate (1996 - performed by Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson of The B-52), Boogie Nights (1997), Shrek 2 (2004), Soul Men (2008), You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008), and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011).
Gene McFadden and John Whitehead were songwriters and producers at Philadelphia International Records, where they worked on many of the tracks that helped define the Philadelphia Soul sound. In 1972, they wrote the O'Jays hit "Back Stabbers
" with Leon Huff, who co-owned the label with Kenny Gamble. Subsequent hits the pair penned include "I'll Always Love My Mama" by The Intruders (1973) and "Bad Luck" by Harold Melvin.
By the late '70s, McFadden and Whitehead were hankering to record their own material, and convinced Gamble and Huff to let them try. Exhilarated by the opportunity, they thought, "ain't no stopping us now!," and wrote this motivational song. It was inspired by their personal experience, but resonated with anyone looking forward to a challenge. The song went to #1 on the R&B charts and also found a home on Top-40 radio. It has aged well, and is still played on a variety of radio station formats.
McFadden & Whitehead wrote and produced this song with their keyboard player Jerry Cohen. Recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, other musicians on the track include guitarists Dennis Harris and Bobby Eli, bass player James Williams, and drummer Keith Benson. The backing vocals were done by the female trio of Barbara Ingram, Carla Benson and Evette Benton, who sang on many of the recordings that came out of Sigma. They had various appellations, including The Sweeties, The Philadelphia Angels, and The Girls.
This was the only hit for McFadden & Whitehead. They released two more albums: I Heard It In A Love Song (1980) and Movin' On (1983).
Whitehead's sons Johnny and Kenny had some success in the '90s as part of an R&B group called the Whitehead Brothers.
John Whitehead claimed that he made up the lyrics on the spot in the studio, and did his vocal in just one take.
On May 11, 2004, Whitehead was shot to death while he was working on a vehicle in Philadelphia. He was 55.
Wayman Tisdale recorded an instrumental version for his 2004 album Hang Time that was a hit on American smooth jazz radio stations. (thanks, Beau - Phoenix, AZ)
Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")
Inspired by his dear friend, "Seasons in the Sun" paid for Terry's boat, which led him away from music and into a battle with Canadian paper mills.
Danny played guitar on Sweet Baby James
, and Running On Empty
. He also co-wrote many hit songs, including "Dirty Laundry," "Sunset Grill" and "Tender Is The Night."