Bobby Martin was a legendary R&B producer, composer and arranger.
He died on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 from a sudden illness at a hospital in San Diego, Calif. He was 83.
Martin was a key arranger of some of The Sound of Philadelphia’s hits, including “Me & Mrs. Jones,” “You’ll Never Find (Another Love Like Mine),” “Cowboys to Girls,” and the Grammy Award-winning “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia),” also known as the Soul Train theme.
“He was the greatest arranger. We were able to work together with him to come up with a fantastic sound,” Sound of Philadelphia co-founders Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff said in a joint statement.
“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.”
Martin began professionally producing music in 1959 in Philadelphia. He recorded hit records by Whitney Houston, L.T.D., MFSB, The Manhattans, Tavares, Larry Graham, The O’Jays, Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, The Three Degrees, The Jacksons, Dusty Springfield and The Bee Gees. He amassed Grammys and multiplatinum and gold records over the decades with some of the top artists. He is also credited with giving Patti Labelle her stage name and recorded her initial record releases.
He worked with Herb Albert at A&M, Columbia Records and other top labels.
Belinda Foster of AWJ Platinum PR said it’s been an honor to serve as Martin’s publicist for the past five years.
“His musical legacy and spirit of grace and humanitarian outreach live on through all who have been touched by his warm spirit and zest for creative expression,” Foster said in a statement.
“Through his gift in arranging music, he has birthed hit records that have risen to the occasion to become timeless classics. His warm smile, kind heart and passion for creating music shine on in our memories of Mr. Bobby Martin. He will forever be the maestro of the Philadelphia Sound to all who knew him well,” Foster said.
Martin was still actively producing music and was preparing to release a new series of musical projects. He was also launching a nonprofit for arts in San Diego — The Bobby Martin Foundation. Martin’s wife, Bessie Martin will move foward with his plans as the new president and CEO of Bobby Martin Productions, Red Ruby Records and Bobby Martin Music. She is appointing her grandson, Miguel Martin, in a key position in the companies. Miguel Martin had served as a producer with Bobby Martin Productions and was his grandfather’s personal manager.
These activities will go on to commemorate Martin’s legacy and commitment to music and the arts.
Martin was born on May 4, 1930. He resided in San Diego for the past 10 years.
He is survived by his wife, Bessie Martin and grandson/personal manager, Miguel Martin.
Funeral services are pending.