Linda Diane Creed (December 6, 1948 – April 10, 1986), also known by her married name Linda Epstein, was an American singer-songwriter and lyricist who teamed up with songwriter-producer Thom Bell to produce some of the most successful Philadelphia soul groups of the 1970s.
|Birth name||Linda Diane Creed|
|Born||December 6, 1948|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||April 10, 1986 (aged 37)|
Ambler, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Genres||R&B, soul, pop|
Born in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia in December 1948, Creed was active in music at Germantown High School. After graduation, Creed decided against college and devoted her energies to writing and producing music. Her career was launched in 1970 when singer Dusty Springfield recorded her song "Free Girl." That same year, Creed teamed with Bell, a staff writer, producer, and arranger at Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's record label Philadelphia International Records. Their first songwriting collaboration, "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)", became a Top 40 pop hit for the Stylistics, beginning an extended collaboration that also yielded the group's most successful recordings, including "You Are Everything", "Betcha by Golly, Wow", "Break Up to Make Up", "People Make the World Go Round", "You Make Me Feel Brand New," and "I'm Stone in Love with You" (the latter with Anthony Bell). Creed and Bell also paired on a number of hits for the Spinners, including "Ghetto Child", "I'm Coming Home", "Living a Little, Laughing a Little", and "The Rubberband Man." Linda Creed also worked with fellow Pennsylvania native Phyllis Hyman on many of her songs, most notably "Old Friend."
Though diagnosed with breast cancer at 26, Creed kept on working, teaming with composer Michael Masser and writing the lyrics to the song "The Greatest Love of All", the main theme of the film "The Greatest", a biopic of the great boxer Muhammad Ali, launched in 1977. The song was originally recorded by George Benson and released as a single in 1977, becoming a big hit, peaked at #2 on the R&B chart. The lyrics of the song were written in the midst of her struggle with breast cancer. The words describe her feelings about coping with great challenges that one must face in life, being strong during those challenges whether you succeed or fail, and passing that strength on to children to carry with them into their adult lives. In the spring of 1986, the song was recorded by Whitney Houston and topped the charts. Weeks before Houston reached number one, Creed died of breast cancer on April 10, 1986, at the age of 37. She was survived by her husband, Stephen "Eppy" Epstein, a longtime music promoter around Philadelphia, and their two daughters, Roni Lee and Dana Creed.
- "The Greatest Love of All" – originally recorded in 1977 by George Benson; later covered by Whitney Houston in 1985
- "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)" – originally recorded by The Stylistics also covered by Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye.
- "You Are Everything" – originally recorded by The Stylistics also covered by Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye.
- "Betcha by Golly, Wow" – originally recorded by Connie Stevens as "Keep Growing Strong", later made famous by The Stylistics, later covered by Phyllis Hyman and Prince
- "People Make the World Go Round" – The Stylistics, Angela Bofill, Michael Jackson
- "I'm Stone in Love with You" – originally recorded by The Stylistics
- "Only For The Children"- originally recorded by The Stylistics
- "Break Up to Make Up" – originally recorded by The Stylistics
- "Rockin' Roll Baby" – originally recorded by The Stylistics
- "You Make Me Feel Brand New" – originally recorded by The Stylistics
- "Ghetto Child" – originally recorded by The Spinners
- "I'm Coming Home" – originally recorded by Johnny Mathis, later covered by The Spinners
- "Life Is a Song Worth Singing" – originally recorded by Johnny Mathis, later covered by Teddy Pendergrass
- "Living a Little, Laughing a Little" – originally recorded by The Spinners
- "The Rubberband Man" – originally recorded by The Spinners
- "Old Friend" – originally recorded by Phyllis Hyman
- "Half Crazy" – originally recorded by Johnny Gill
- "Hold Me" – Teddy Pendergrass (duet with Whitney Houston)
- "I Don't Want To Lose You" - The Spinners
- "Love Don't Love Nobody" - The Spinners
- Jackson, John A. (2004). A House on Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul. Oxford University Press. pp. 105–107. ISBN 978-0195149722.
- Ankeny, Jason. "Linda Creed Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
- "Linda Creed, Songwriter, 37; Known for the 'Philly Sound'". The New York Times. Associated Press. April 13, 1986.
- "Linda Creed Profile". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 4, 2018.