Famed Motown producer Norman Whitfield pleaded guilty to tax invasion on more than $2 million worth of income today (January 18, 2005).
Norman Whitfield failed to report the massive amount of earnings, which came from royalties received in just a four-year period, from 1995-1999.
Norman Whitfield’s catalog was a cash cow, because he had been writing or producing hit singles with Motown since 1963.
In the early days of the label, Norman Whitfield wrote or produced hits like “Pride & Joy,” from Marvin Gaye, as well as a run of hits for The Temptations that last over 10 years, from the mid 1960’s to the mid-1970’s.
Norman Whitfield’s groundbreaking production in the recording studio helped usher in the “Psychedelic Soul” era with the song “Cloud 9” by The Temptations, in 1968.
In 1973, Norman Whitfield left Motown and formed his own label, Whitfield Records.
The first group was former Motown act The Undisputed Truth, along with artists Rose Royce, Willie Hutch, Junior Walker and others.
Three years after launching his label, Norman Whitfield landed a smash with Rose Royce’s album “Car Wash,” which earned Norman Whitfield another Grammy in 1977, for Best Score, Soundtrack Album.
In the 1980’s, Norman Whitfield also had a hand in producing the soundtrack to “The Last Dragon.”
Health problems began to slow Norman Whitfield down, since he was suffering from diabetes.
Instead of serving jail time for evading the $2 million in taxes on his royalties, Norman Whitfield was sentenced to 6 months of home confinement and hit with a $25,000 fine.
Norman Whitfield finally died on September 16, 2008, at 3:30 PM.
Waxfact: “Cloud 9” was Motown’s first Grammy Award, for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance by a Duo or Group.