DECATUR, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Rummage through the bins at a record store, and within minutes you’ll probably spot Jimmy Roach's name. As a songwriter, producer, and arranger, Roach has recorded with soul’s biggest superstars, from the Four Tops to the Spinners to Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. And this weekend, he’ll be inducted alongside some of those icons into the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.
"It's really hard to describe all this. It's just – it's special,” Roach says, talking about the news of his induction. "It's really a great honor to have other people inside your industry, you know, recognize what you've done."
Jimmy Roach was born in New York and began his music career there, but moved to Detroit to work at Motown Records in the late 1960s. While there, he co-wrote perhaps his biggest hit, David Ruffin’s Top 10 smash “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me).”
Of his time working at Motown, Roach says, “I was a fan! You know, I loved the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, all those people … They would come in off the road and they didn’t have, like, two or three weeks to learn a song. They might have an hour.”
Roach lived and worked in Detroit for three decades, and moved to Atlanta in 2002. He still writes and produces here and recently released a single with singer Donnell Hendrix, “Pride.”
The musician says even after 50 years of penning and producing classics, he’s still thrilled by the end results: “It’s still an exciting feeling to hear something you did on the radio.”
Roach will head to Detroit this weekend for the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame ceremony, where he’ll be inducted alongside honorees including Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. But first, he met up with FOX 5's Paul Milliken at Decatur’s Wuxtry Records to do a little “digging” through the stacks to learn more about his fascinating life and career.