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Interviews with BRUCE HAWES and JOSEPH JEFFERSON


As already mentioned in the previous part of the story, after Thom Bell put Charles Simmons, Joseph Jefferson and Bruce Hawes together, the three of them became "ear-marked" writers for the Spinners. Not only did they write big hits for them (Mighty Love, Sadie, Games People Play), but were also responsible for bulk on the material on such albums as Mighty Love and New and Improved.

Bruce Hawes: "I was born in Philadelphia in 1953. My father and mother met on the road, so to speak, traveling with different gospel singing groups. My father was also an ordained minister in the Church of God International based out of Tennessee."

"I was a singing performer with my sisters from age three. At age fourteen I began playing piano after being inspired by a 500-voice choir singing a classical piece entitled The Dirge of Two Veterans in the summer of 1968. My first song was written that summer and was recorded by the The Church of God Mass choir led by a former member of the world-famous Clara Ward Singers."

"I started my own gospel choir in high school, which was the second school sponsored gospel choir in the Philadelphia school system history. I graduated in 1971 from Olney High School in Philadelphia and was voted most talented by my graduating class."

"In 1972 I said a prayer and declared that I love gospel, but was faced with a decision of what to do with my talent. Within hald an hour after the prayer the answer came in a song completed in that time-frame. Three months later I met Tommy Bell and after my interview with him he stated that he liked the song so much that he was recording it the following week. It was the last song chosen for the first LP by the Spinners on Atlantic Records. Three months after that they gave my first gold LP". The song in question was I Could Never (Repay Your Love).

When writing together Bruce was mainly the keyboards for the team and he created much of the music around the ideas. "Lyrically we had whatever fits best" consensus policy. We all would start with an idea and melody, without lyrics, and wrote the words to our hummed melody after recording the idea down on to a point on cassette. In the case of Games People Play, Joe started the song with melody of the verse, and we embellished on that theme through the first verse. When came around the time for the chorus, I was the hook man most of the time as well as the music man as well as a lyrics writer".

"We often talked about, what we wanted to do with the Spinners, and actually envisioned ahead of presentation what direction we were going to take them into. This was never told to Tommy, although as a result we dominated the Spinners LPs, songs chosen and recorded. Philippe Wynne was truly our key man inspiration for the Spinners. He and Charles were very close, and we all adored him.

"We three did not have a formal break-up, we went on to do other things on our own. We are sill very close and only await for a feasible opportunity to collaborate together again". Beside the Spinners, Burce has written songs, among others, for such artists as the Stylistics, the Whispers, City Limits, Phyllis Hyman, Lowrell Simon, South Road Connection, Anthony White, Little Anthony, New York City, Melba Moore, the O'Jays, Tupac, R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, L.L. Cool J, Cuba Gooding Jr.& Sr., Stevie Wonder, Marlena Shaw, Michael Jones, First Choice, Double Exposure, Blue Magic, Johnny Mathis, Eloise Laws, Brockington Ensemble, Richie Havens, Gladys Knight & the Pips and the Futures.

"Currently I have been developing an eclectic project entitled e.T. & the Mystics. e. T stands for Emotional Thug. He is a profetic rapper that I discovered here recently in Florida after years of uninspiring artists coming across my path. His real name is Vicardo, born and raised in Ft. Pierce in south Florida."

JOSEPH JEFFERSON

"I was born in Petersburg, Virginia, in 1945. I started out playing in a school band, continued to play music throughout high school, played music in the army band. I've always had this desire to be a musician."

"I was pretty known in Virginia as a drummer, because I used to play around a lot. I got an offer to play on the road with the Manhattans, and I took that offer. I played drums

Heikki Suosalo


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