McFadden & Whitehead

McFadden and Whitehead were an American R&B duo, best known for their signature tune "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now". They wrote and produced some of the most popular R&B hits of the 1970s, and were primarily associated with Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International soul music record label.[1]

McFadden & Whitehead
Gene McFadden (left) and John Whitehead (right)
Background information
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
GenresR&B, funk, disco
Years active1970–2004 (John Whitehead) / 2006 (Gene McFadden)
LabelsPhiladelphia International
Associated actsTeddy Pendergrass, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, The O'Jays, MFSB
Past membersGene McFadden (deceased)
John Whitehead (deceased)

Early careerEdit

When they were teenagers, Gene McFadden and John Whitehead formed a group called The Epsilons.[2] The personnel included Allen Beatty, James Knight, and future Blue Notes member Lloyd Parks.[3] They were discovered by Otis Redding and toured with him during the late 1960s until Redding's death in a plane crash in 1967.

They signed with Stax Records and had a moderate success in 1970 with "The Echo".[4] The duo later joined "Philly International Records", where they wrote several hit songs, the first being "Back Stabbers" in 1972 for The O'Jays.[2] It reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart.

McFadden and Whitehead also wrote songs such as "I'll Always Love My Momma", "Bad Luck", "Wake Up Everybody", "Where Are All My Friends", "The More I Get, The More I Want", and "Cold, Cold World".[2] The production team also worked with Melba Moore, Freddie Jackson, producer Rahni Song and Gloria Gaynor, Teddy Pendergrass, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Gladys Knight, The Jackson 5, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Lou Rawls, Archie Bell & the Drells, Jerry Bell and The Intruders.[5]

Rise to stardomEdit

McFadden and Whitehead formed together as a group officially under the name "McFadden & Whitehead" in 1977. The pinnacle of their success came in 1979 with "Ain't No Stoppin Us Now," which went to #1 on the R&B charts, #13 on the pop charts, sold eight million records worldwide and was nominated for a Grammy Award. The duo was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where they sang their most famous song on an episode in which Oprah featured the top hits of the 1970s.

Other hits co-written by McFadden & Whitehead include:

  • "Back Stabbers" (the O'Jays)
  • "Bad Luck" (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes)
  • "Wake Up Everybody" (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes)
  • "Where Are All My Friends" (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes)
  • "I'll Always Love My Momma" (the Intruders)
  • "Let's Groove" (Archie Bell & the Drells)
  • "The Strength of One Man" (the Jacksons)
  • "I Got the Love" (McFadden & Whitehead)
  • "You're My Somebody to Love" (McFadden & Whitehead)
  • "I've Been Pushed Aside" (McFadden & Whitehead)
  • "Got to Change" (McFadden & Whitehead)
  • "Do You Want to Dance?" (McFadden & Whitehead)
  • "Just Wanna Love You Baby" (McFadden & Whitehead)
  • "Mr. Music" (McFadden & Whitehead)
  • "This Is My Song" (McFadden & Whitehead)
  • "All the Man You Need" (Jerry Bell)

According to the American Top 40 radio program for the week ended August 4, 1979, Casey Kasem reported that McFadden and Whitehead were in Chicago on May 25, 1979 promoting their music and doing various interviews. Because they agreed to do one more music interview at the last minute, they decided to reschedule their flight to Los Angeles to the next day, May 26.[6] They were originally scheduled to fly on American Airlines Flight 191 on May 25, which crashed shortly after take off from O'Hare International Airport killing all 258 passengers plus the crew.


On May 11, 2004, Whitehead was murdered on the street outside of his Philadelphia home studio, while standing aside as a young man made repairs on his SUV. There, he was shot once by one of several unknown gunmen, who then fled. The case remains unsolved. Whitehead was 55 years old.

On January 27, 2006, McFadden died of liver and lung cancer. He was 56.


Studio albumsEdit

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications Record label

1979 McFadden & Whitehead 23 5 78 Philadelphia International
1980 I Heard It in a Love Song 153 29 TSOP
1982 Movin' On Capitol
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Compilation albumsEdit

  • Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now: The Best of the PIR Years (2004, Edsel UK)


Year Title Peak chart positions


1979 "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" 13 1 10 56 25 9 39 30 5
"Do You Want to Dance"
"I've Been Pushed Aside" 73
1980 "I Heard It in a Love Song" 23 74
"That Lets Me Know I'm in Love"
1982 "One More Time" 58
1984 "Ain't No Stoppin' (Ain't No Way)" 81
1985 "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" (re-release) 93
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


  1. ^ "Philadelphia Soul | Soul Source". December 15, 2009. Archived from the original on December 15, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 819. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  3. ^ "News, reviews, interviews and more for top artists and albums – MSN Music". Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  4. ^ Wynn, Ron. "All Music Biography". Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-31. Retrieved 2010-06-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "AT40: The 70s ... This Week's Show | American Top 40 Fun & Games Site". Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e "US Charts > McFadden & Whitehead". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  8. ^ a b "CAN Charts > McFadden & Whitehead". RPM. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  9. ^ "US Certifications > McFadden & Whitehead". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  10. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Charts Book 1970—1992. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ "IRE Charts Search > McFadden & Whitehead". Irish Recorded Music Association. Archived from the original on June 2, 2009. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  12. ^ "NLD Charts > McFadden & Whitehead". MegaCharts. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  13. ^ "NZ Charts > McFadden & Whitehead". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  14. ^ "UK Charts > McFadden & Whitehead". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2015-03-12.

External linksEdit