Philly soul songwriter Allan Felder's songs can found on countless records created during the '60s, '70s, and '80s. Some of his frequent collaborators were Norman Harris, Bunny Sigler, and Ron Baker.…
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Allan Felder Biography

by Ed Hogan

Philly soul songwriter Allan Felder's songs can found on countless records created during the '60s, '70s, and '80s. Some of his frequent collaborators were Norman Harris, Bunny Sigler, and Ron Baker.

Born Allan Wayne Felder on May 26, 1943, in Philadelphia, PA, he was one of nine children of the union of Sylvia and Harold Felder. He began singing in church at Miller Memorial Baptist Church. Graduating from Simon Gratz High School, Felder joined the U.S. Navy, serving for four years. After his stint, he worked at Frank's Soda and Bottling Company and Westinghouse Electric Company.

Around 1968, Felder co-wrote a song with neighbor Tommy Keith that was recorded by Felder's sister Nadine and her group, Honey and the Bees. Later he became friends with WDAS radio DJ Jimmy Bishop and arranger/guitarist/songwriter/producer Norman Harris. Felder and Harris began a long and fruitful collaboration that began with "Walk Right Up to the Sun," which was a hit for the Delfonics, going to number 13 R&B in fall 1971.

Felder's songs can be found in the Mighty Three Music catalog, co-owned by Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thom Bell. The O'Jays, Dusty Springfield, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, and Archie Bell and the Drells are among the many artists who recorded his songs.

Harris and Allan Felder wrote the debut single of First Choice, the pumping "This Is the House Where Love Died" released on Philly Groove Records. Their follow-up "Armed and Extremely Dangerous" was their first big hit going to number 11 R&B on Billboard's charts in early 1973 and was a Top 20 U.K. hit. The Armed and Extremely Dangerous album was released in fall 1973, just as another song co-written by Felder, "Smarty Pants," a cautionary tale about unwanted pregnancy reached number 25 R&B. First Choice's highest R&B charting single "The Player-Part 1" was co-written by Felder, based on the popular blaxploitation' movies of the time (Shaft, Superfly, The Mack); it hit number seven R&B in summer 1974. The Player LP was issued in fall 1974.

When Harris formed Baker Harris Young Productions with fellow MFSB vets, bassist Ron Baker and drummer Earl Young, Felder's songs appeared on some B-H-Y-affiliated releases. On the Philly vocal group Double Exposure's first Salsoul Records LP, Ten Percent -- issued August 1976, reissued on CD on July 22, 1996 -- included the huge disco hits "Ten Percent," "Everyman (Has to Carry His Own Weight)" b/w "Gonna Give My Love Away," and "My Love Is Free" b/w "Just Can't Say Hello." Felder co-wrote the sly ballad album closer, "Pick Me." In 1976, Felder, who has a daughter Allison Bianca and a son Troy, married Evelyn Boyd.

Later, Norman Harris formed Gold Mind Records, which was distributed by Salsoul. Already dancefloor favorites because of "Armed and Extremely Dangerous" and "The Player-Part 1," First Choice signed with Gold Mind and their first release for the label, the ultra-catchy "Doctor Love," went to number 23 R&B in summer 1977.

In 1985, Felder co-wrote "I'd Rather Be By Myself," a club hit for David Ebo, the singer who replaced Teddy Pendergrass in Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. In 1989, Felder sang in the Male Chorus of the Morris Chapel Baptist Church where he also taught Sunday School. After a long illness, Allan Felder died on November 7, 1999, in his native Philadelphia. On that date, Philadelphia radio station WDAS-FM held an all-day tribute to the prolific songwriter, playing Felder-associated records.

Other songs co-written by Felder are: "Things Ain't Always Been This Good" and "Willing' and Able" from Carl Carlton's 1975 ABC Records LP I Wanna Be With You; "Immune to Love" and the tender ballad "You Made My Life Complete" from Eddie Holman's This Will Be a Night to Remember; "Chains," the wise "It's Not What You Got," the romantic "Never Gonna Leave You" -- both radio-aired tracks -- and "I Won't Take No" from Eddie Kendricks' He's a Friend; The Whispers' "A Mother for My Children" and "Bingo"; Archie Bell and the Drells' "I Could Dance All Night"; "Things Are Gonna Get Better," "I Lied," and "Your Love Is Good" from Sigler's That's How Long I'll Be Loving You and Keep Smilin'; Love Committee's "Cheaters Never Win" and "Law and Order"; Loleatta Holloway's "Dreamin'" and "Good Things Don't Last Forever" from Ecstasy Passion and Pain; Keni Burke's "Risin' to the Top" and "Hang Tight"; The O'Jays' "Love You Direct"; Blue Magic's "Look Me Up," title track of their LP, Magic of the Blue, and "Welcome to the Club"; "Think for Yourself" by the Temptations; South Shore Commission's "We're on the Right Track"; "You Can't Have My Love" from the Jones Girls' Keep It Comin' LP; The Temptations' Atlantic single "Think for Yourself"; and The Trammps' "Hooked for Life," "Hold Back the Night," and "God Gave Me Everything."

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