Thomas Whitfield 1954-1992

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Thursday 1st October 1992

Gospel star, Thomas Whitfield, dies in Detroit on 20th June.

The gospel world is looking for a new leader following the shock death of the 'master producer of gospel' Thomas Whitfield, who died of a heart attack in June, whilst eating out with choir members.

Born into a Christian family in 1954, Thomas began playing at the Nazarene Church in his native Detroit at the age of 10 and landed his first recording contract with Stax Records whilst still a teen. He was 21 before he decided to become a fully committed Christian.

It was as a producer of other artists that Thomas became well known and by the early 80's was one of gospel's most sought after producers. He produced Vanessa Bell Armstrong's first two albums; 'Chosen' and 'Peace Be' still are regarded as gospel classics.

As producer, arranger and composer, he worked with such luminaries as Shirley Caesar, Edwin Hawkins, Yolanda Adams and James Cleveland. Thomas served as musical arranger on Aretha Franklin's last gospel album 'One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism'. As a recording artist Thomas made several memorable albums, receiving Grammy nomination for 'And They Sang Gospel' for 'Sound Of Gospel' in 1989 and 'My Faith' in 1990.

His current Benson album 'Alive And Satisfied' was released in February and has become Thomas' best selling album ever. Brian Spear, Thomas' manager and friend described him as a warm and caring person who always took time to listen to others. He added, "Aside from James Cleveland, Thomas Whitfield was the first person gospel announcers, artists and gospel contemporaries would think of as helping gospel music to move forward. He always had a contemporary approach but never compromised the gospel message."

Thomas brother Larry said that the singer/producer loved the thought of crossing over and attaining secular success but did not want to compromise and leave out the name of Jesus in his music. He was committed to gospel music and his faith until the end.

Whitfield is survived by his mother three brothers and fiancée Gwendolyn Morton, whom he was due to marry on 3rd October.
Marcia Dixon CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

Reader Comments

Posted by Wanda young in Brown summit, nc @ 18:44 on Feb 13 2019

I ve Mr. Whitfield songs, there is one that i have been trying find. Heard it on Siruris radio, kirk Franklin praise a lady singin...what a friend we have in Thomas Whitfield. Can not seem to pull it up. Please who is this and how can I get this songs.

Posted by Fedd in USA @ 21:42 on Mar 26 2018

I discovered Thomas' music in 2010 after discovering he had produced Aretha Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Vanessa Bell-Armstrong records during the 80's along with Shirley Caesar's Sailin' which one a Grammy. Almost every record he produced was Grammy nominated. I was 6 when passed but his impact on music is here forever.

Posted by Dorian @ 12:04 on Nov 28 2017

This man is my uncle I'm very upset that you didn't talk about his brothers😢😢😢😭😭㈷ 7;😭😭😭😭😭😭 8557;😭😭😭😭😭

Posted by mimi ross in United States @ 20:29 on Jul 31 2017

The question is still not answered what caused him to have a heart attack that young?!- doesnt make sense he was still very young thats sad!! The only good part was dying as a christian may he rest in peace

Reply by Marlin @ 13:24 on Dec 2 2018

If you see how big he was in old Youtube videos, you will understand. Also with him being a gospel superstar, traveling can also have a factor in him having a heart attack. He was one of the most sought after gospel artist of his time.

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Posted by Derek Hawkins in Livonia mi @ 17:19 on Jan 17 2013

Thank u singer unto God. His song always envoke the anointing ..because the name of Jesus was always mentioned in his songs. Yes I miss his praseing and worshiping God. It was never a show with him. God I know heaven is glad to have him back.

Posted by Leola Bailey @ 23:06 on Jul 20 2012

I am so sorry 4 this loss,the gospel community-people in general.Thank God we hav his music 2 liv on.

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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