Paul Williams

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Paul Williams is one of the most beloved and respected music creators in the world today; a lyricist and composer who has won an Oscar Award, three Grammy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, an Ivor Novello International Award and earned induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Williams’ timeless classics range from “We’ve Only Just Begun”, “You and Me Against the World” and “The Rainbow Connection” to "Touch" and "Beyond" on Daft Punk’s chart-topping Album of the Year, Random Access Memories on which he also performed, receiving a Grammy as Featured Artist.

Robert "Kool" Bell (of Kool & The Gang)

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One of the founding members of the group that bears his name, Robert “Kool” Bell helped form Kool & The Gang in 1964 with his brother Khalis, and friendsDennis "D.T." Thomas, Robert "Spike" Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown, and Ricky West. With hits like “Celebration,” “Summer Madness” “Ladies’ Night,” and “Jungle Boogie,” Kool & The Gang earned 25 Top Ten R&B hits and nine Top Ten Pop hits, in addition to selling more than 70M albums worldwide.

The Zombies (Rod Argent & Colin Blunstone)

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The Zombies were part of the “British invasion” movement of the 1960s and enjoyed some major success for a short period before they broke up after only a few years. But the band’s acclaimed 1968 album Odessey and Oracle is considered to be one of the greatest albums ever recorded and hits like “She’s Not There,” Tell Her No,” and “Time of the Season” remain all time classics. Rod formed a new band called Argent, which hit big in 1972 with “Hold Your Head Up.” Colin released three solo albums, co-produced by Rod, in the early 1970s.

Todd Rundgren

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Groundbreaking singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Todd Rundgren started his career as a guitarist for Nazz, before fronting the band Runt and eventually pursuing a solo career. His first official solo album, Something/Anything (released in 1972 via Warner Bros. Records), stayed on the Billboard 200 for nearly a year and contained some of his most notable hits, including “I Saw the Light” and “Hello, It’s Me.” Todd became one of the most prolific artists of the 70s & 80s, releasing numerous solo albums, as well as critically acclaimed work with his band, Utopia.

Gloria Gaynor

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One of the most legendary divas of all time, Gloria's recordings of “I Will Survive,” "Never Can Say Goodbye," and "I Am What I Am" remain all-time classics. The 2-time Grammy Award winner’s career spans over five decades, 20 albums and genres ranging from disco to Gospel. Gloria is also an acclaimed author, the subject of a forthcoming documentary on her life, and a member of the Grammy Music Hall Of Fame.

Jon Anderson of Yes

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Widely regarded as pioneers of progressive rock, Yes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. Formed in London in 1968, Yes' sound is instantly recognizable by the band's jazz and rock playing, and by the singular alto-tenor lead vocal of Jon Anderson. Yes' classic albums, including The Yes Album, Close To The Edge, Fragile, and 90125, are staples of classic rock libraries everywhere, and their iconic songs, like "Roundabout," "And You and I," "I've Seen All Good People," and "Owner Of A Lonely Heart," are known by music fans worldwide.

Jimmy Webb

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A celebrated and prolific songwriter, Jimmy’s works have been recorded by world-renowned artists, such as Glen Campbell, Richard Harris, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Nina Simone, Donna Summer, and Tony Bennett, just to name a few. Some of his best known songs include “Up, Up and Away,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Worst That Could Happen,” “Galveston,” “Highwayman,” “MacArthur Park” and “Wichita Lineman,” which Bob Dylan has called the greatest song ever written.

Gamble & Huff

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As creators of the "Philly Sound" and their own Philadelphia International Records label, Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff have written and produced over 175 gold and platinum records, including all-time classics by The O'Jays, Billy Paul, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, MFSB, The Three Degrees, Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass, and The Jacksons. Their hits include iconic classics like “Love Train” by The O’Jays and “Me And Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul. In 1995, they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame and in 2008, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Debbie GIbson

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At the age of 16, Debbie Gibson signed to Atlantic Records and immediately had a string of Top 5 hits, all self-written and co-produced. Her songs “Foolish Beat” and “Lost In Your Eyes” both hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 (the former of which made her the youngest female artist to write, produce, and perform a Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 song) and her album Electric Youth spent five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album chart. She was recognized by ASCAP as Songwriter of the Year, along with Bruce Springsteen, in 1989 and has since sold over 10 million albums.

Tony Visconti

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Tony Visconti is a 3-time Grammy winner and one of the most acclaimed producers in the history of Rock & Roll. Among his seminal productions are "Get It On (Bang A Gong)," from one of 10 albums he produced for T. Rex, as well as legendary albums for Badfinger, Iggy Pop, Thin Lizzy, the Boomtown Rats, The Moody Blues, and Morrissey. Most notably, though, Tony produced 14 albums for David Bowie, with whom he worked for over 45 years.

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  • Clive Davis
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Rock & Roll High School is an interview series that spotlights some of the most important figures in the history of contemporary music. Interviews by Pete Ganbarg, President of A&R at Atlantic Records. Keep Reading