Chart Performance: Pop (#12) & R&B (#1 for 2 weeks); 1976
Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne
Well before McFadden & Whitehead scored as artists with Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now, they were writing hit songs for other acts. Gene and John’s very first effort together had been Back Stabbers, recorded by the O’Jays. After it became Philadelphia International’s first #1, label owners Kenny gamble and Leon Huff asked them to come up with something for Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes. Taking the assignment to heart, McFadden and Whitehead, along with Victor Carstarphen, delivered Where Are All My Friends (#8 R&B; 1974) and Bad Luck (#1; 1975). Neither a dance nor romance record, Bad Luck was a social commentary on the state of America: a theme the three writers returned to for their next Blue Notes success. With Victor playing a melody on the piano, John spontaneously sang the lyrics to Wake Up Everybody. In the studio McFadden, Whitehead, Gamble, and Huff sang backup to Teddy Pendergrass’ lead on the Blue Notes fourth and final #1.
This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.
- Kenneth Gamble
- Leon Huff
Lyrics Written by:
- John Whitehead
- Gene McFadden
- Victor Carstarphen