composer from Los Angeles,
California, who started out
on the piano and studied at home with his dad until landing a scholarship
to the Brooklyn Conservatory.
graduation, he returned to the City of Angels and became an arranger for Reprise
Records in 1962. In 1963, he
and Barry White co-arranged “Harlem Shuffle”, which became a
minor hit for Bob and Earl on the R&B chart. Barry was so impressed by Gene, he hired him to arrange all of his records. This turned out to be a very
fruitful collaboration, resulting in the creation of the Love Unlimited
A couple of
Gene’s early successes as an arranger were “The In Crowd”
by Dobie Gray, which peaked at #11 on the R&B chart, and “You’ve
Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”
by the Righteous Brothers, which reached #3 on the R&B chart and spent
two weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1969, he
wrote the music for the children’s television program, H.R. Pufnstuf. He also penned the scores of the
feature films, Blacula,
Brewster McCloud and Fun With Dick and Jane. Other cinematic credits include Bridget Jones’s Diary, Dirty Dancing, Endless Love, Grace of My
Heart, Money Talks, Soul Man and Top Gun.
In the mid-‘70s,
he began to release his own albums.
Hot City, issued in 1974, cracked
the Billboard Top 200 and went to #41 on the R&B chart. A pair of singles, “All Our
Dreams Are Coming True” and “Satin Soul”, peaked at #9
and #4 respectively on the U.S.
dance chart in 1975. In 1976, Lovelock! managed
the #45 spot on the R&B chart. His disco version of the theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind
reached #30 on the R&B chart in 1978. In 1980, he unveiled one more album,
Love Starts After Dark.
‘70s and ‘80s, he seemed to have the Midas touch. To date, 200 of the recordings on
which he toiled have reached gold and/or platinum status. A few of the hits that benefited
from his arrangements are “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie &
Diana Ross, “Philadelphia Freedom” by Elton John, “Saving
All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston, “Tonight I Celebrate
My Love” by Peabo Bryson & Roberta
Flack and “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” by Johnny Mathis
& Deniece Williams.
discography reads like a who’s who of late 20th century
pop music and includes Blue Moves by
Elton John, Christmas by Kenny
Rogers, The Chrome Collection by
the Spinners, Come See About Me
by Neil Sedaka, Dad Loves His Work by James Taylor, Endless Flight by Leo Sayer, Fate for Breakfast by Art Garfunkel,
Foxy Lady by Cher, Joyful Jukebox Music by the Jackson
5, Living Without Your Love by
Dusty Springfield, Love Language
by Teddy Pendergrass, One Day in Your
Life by Michael Jackson, Out of
the Shadows by Paul Jackson, Jr., Pastiche
by the Manhattan Transfer, Recently
by Joan Baez, Rise by Herb
Alpert, Set My Love in Motion by Syreeta, Singer
of Songs--Teller of Tales by Paul Davis, That's What Friends Are For by Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams, The
35th Anniversary Collection by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, and Touch Me in the Morning by Diana
away on 24th August 1998 after a long illness, at UCLA Medical
Center in L.A.
Johnny Mathis and Deniece
Emotion (Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb)
S CBS 6164B (UK 45)
Too Much, Too Little, Too Late (Nat Kipner/John
S CBS 6164 (UK