William McKinley Hutchinson
December 6, 1949– September 19, 2005
“Instead of brother turning on sister Sister turning on brother. Now how you gonna get it together being against one another? Shoot ups, live ups, all high Till your world is turned to stone. How you can you deal with the truth When reality’s all gone?” – Brother’s Gonna Work It Out/ Willie Hutch
I came to know Willie Hutch through my mother who was deeply involved in the 1970’s era. She loved a movie called “The Mack” which is about a pimp named Mack Julian *don’t quote me on that*. After listening to the soundtrack written by Hutch, I recognized Hutch’s distinctive blues like voice especially on my favorite song “I Choose You.” His voice reminds me of southern-home-cooking in big momma’s kitchen on a Sunday morning. It’s a shame he never received the proper notoriety as others. Let’s admit he was one of the driving forces behind Motown Records success. Hutch’s music still lives on through artists today sampling his music. We had artists reached into Hutch’s vault such as Mary J. Blige, Usher, Three Six Mafia, Ameriie, and J-Cole. We need to get to know the man behind some of the biggest hits which shaped an entire era.
He was born William McKinley Hutchinson on December 6, 1949 in Los Angeles, California but he was raised as a small child in Dallas, Texas. He really liked gospel, jazz and rhythm and blues. As a student at Booker T. Washington high school in Dallas, Hutch worked his craft by playing instruments. Later, he led a doo-wop group called the Ambassadors where there he wrote songs for the group. He joined another group called the Versatiles which later changed their name to the Fifth Dimension. The group had several singles pinned by Hutch from 1964-1967 and later became one of the most popular groups in America. Hutch signed with RCA in 1969.
Hutch is forever known in the music world for writing and producing some of the most memorable soundtracks during the blaxploitation era. He wrote songs for the movie soundtracks such as “The Mack” and “Foxy Brown”. In the 1970’s, he helped Motown producer Hal Davis to write the famous track for The Jackson called “I’ll be there.” In 1973, Hutch signed with Motown records released a couple of albums including Love Power which topped the Billboard top 40. He worked on tracks for the film The Last Dragon. Hutch returned to Dallas in the later years and rested from the music business. Willie Hutch passed away on September 19, 2005. He was 55 years old.
I can listen to Hutch music on any day; it’s just sad that great talent like this goes unrecognized. To this day , I still listen to “Brother is going to work it out” and gives me the motivation to push forward. I said this song should be President Obama’s theme song. Thanks Willie Hutch for the music to inspire a generation.