Remembering Skip Scarborough…


The day before the passing of Barry White, black music lost another great. Songwriter/producer Skip Scarborough, who wrote or co-wrote such ’70s hits as “Love Ballad,” a hit for L.T.D., “Can’t Hide Love” and “Love’s Holiday” recorded by Earth, Wind and Fire, “Lovely Day” for Bill Withers and “Don’t Ask My Neighbor” for the Emotions, lost his battle with cancer in Los Angeles.

A writer who specialized in writing sultry songs equipped with tasty, colorful chord structure, Scarborough, who played piano, kept a low profile as he crafted classic songs for artists as diverse as Mother’s Finest (“Love Changes“), Phyllis Hyman (“The Answer Is You“) and Anita Baker (“Giving You The Best That I’ve Got“), not to mention producing the 70s albums of the group Con Funk Shun.

Scarborough, who produced flutist Bobby Humphrey’s 1977 LP “Tailor Made,” also produced Patti LaBelle and Nancy Wilson. For a time the singer was married to singer Alton McClain. The two met when Scarborough wrote and produced McClain’s group, Alton McClain and Destiny.

34 Responses to “Remembering Skip Scarborough…”

  1. js says:

    Alton McClain & Destiny’s “It Must Be Love” is one of my all-time favorite recordings. It ranks with tracks like Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots” and Stevie Wonder’s “That Girl” as examples of a flawlessly produced record. These recordings are as close to perfection as one can get in the realm of pop/soul music. Timeless and instant classics. Skip Scarborough’s talents will be missed.

  2. nakachi says:

    that man made some excellent music happen. i had no idea.

  3. LaNita says:

    I saw this post in the EUR and I thought to myself….hmmm…not many people will recognize his name. He was a tremendous talent. I can recall at the age of 11-12 reading liner notes on all of my LPs…especially ConFunkShun.

  4. Randy says:

    I never met Skip, but I know his son Marc, but have lost touch over the years. Marc, if you see this message you know who I am. I am very sorry for your loss. Keep your head up dawg!

  5. Felix Weber says:

    Skip I miss you, but I know that now you are at the place you always wanted to be. I’m so sure about that! You worked hard for it and you made it!
    Till we meet again…in Christian Love
    Your apprentice and friend – Felix

  6. John Rowin says:

    I just want to let you know how sorry I am about your Dads death. As you know, your
    Dad and I were good friends for alot of years
    and he was a wonderful person with a kind and
    gentle soul.
    Skip………rest in peace my friend.
    John “Slowgovia” Rowin

  7. Brenda B says:

    I have always been touched by Skip Scarborough’s music, and had no idea he’d passed on. So many losses in 2003 that tell you quite frankly times are a changin’. Sad so sad that this man touched so many people’s lives and most people will never even realize it was him all along! God Bless you on your next path Mr. Scarborough, Sir and many thanks from a humble fan.

  8. Me says:

    You talk about a true unsung R&B architect.”Love Me or Let Be Lonely”,”Love’s Holiday”,”Love Changes”,”Let Me Put Love On Your Mind”,”Giving You The Best That I’ve Got” to name a few.The man was nothing short of a true legend. Mr.Scarborough you are humbly and sadly missed by people that know good music.

  9. Harvey Harrison says:

    Skip and I go all the way back to living in the projects as kids. I’ve known Skip for a long time and he was just as beautiful person as the music he wrote and will really be missed by those who loved him and his music.

  10. Junior Hamer says:

    As a big fan of your songwriting, you truly were a unsung genius of R&B music. Whenever I hear “Lovely Day”, “Love Ballad”, “Secrets”, “Can’t Hide Love”, “Don’t Ask My Neighbor”, and “Living Inside Your Love.” I could go on forever. As a British soul fan, I have admired your songs for a very long time. You have may have left us but your music will never leave our hearts.

  11. Lisa Saunders says:

    Wow, words cannot express how you are missed. You were truly the most humble person I knew. I am honored and privileged to have met you and talked with you not just about music, but about our Lord and Savior. When you left R&B and decided to do God’s work through music, you were so very passionate about it and it showed in your every day walk. You were a great man who truly loved his family and reached out to those around you and made them your family too. I thank you Skip for allowing me to see into the man that God has made you and everytime I hear “Don’t Ask My Neighbors” and “Lovely Day”, you are remembered. I know that you are with the Father now, and we will meet again someday. Thank you for your contribution to this world.
    Lisa Saunders.

  12. Gloria says:

    We grooved to many of Skip’s tunes. His songs were the soundtrack of our teenage years in the 70s. He will be missed but has left his legacy. Much love to all the fine folks who appreciate Skip.

  13. Marc Scarborough says:

    I am so touched to know that my father’s music is still touching lives to this day. My dad must have dragged me to every recording studio in town as a kid. I did not understand much then, but I soaked it all in, and got to see some of the most legendary artists record their most popular music. What an honor. It was an honor to have known him and to be fathered by him. He was a man of talent, integrity, and most of all a man of God. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and the wonderful musical and spiritual legacy he left behind. He was and still is my hero. He was my dad and my friend. And so i celebrate his life and legacy every year with a free concert and barbeque. If any one is interested in celebrating with us this year, contact me by email at I will be glad to send you info on it. God bless you all and thank you for your love and your prayers.
    Marc Scarborough

  14. leslie brewster says:

    I’m truly sorry to hear that he passed away. When I was a senior in high school, my father took some of my lyrics to Skip to look at…it has always been a source of accomplishment and honor to me just to have had something I had written read by him. I am a teacher now and this year, I hope to be able to share his biography and his accomplishments with my 9th grade students. Marc, I don’t know if you remember my father; Ray,or if we ever meet as children but I agree with your sentiments-as children, we don’t really understand it then…the rehearsals, the shows, the entire atmosphere or the fact that we are witnessing the impact of what it means to be given a gift by God and to share it with others. Your father’s music instantly brings back happy memories and takes me back to more sincere, heart-felt emotions. Pure. timeless.

  15. Richard says:

    What I like most about Skip Scarborough is what I like about all great artists. Style! He was very, very unique. I’m an aspiring songwriter and one thing I’ve learned from people like Skip Scarborough is that having a uniqe voice is preiminent when creating works of art. Long live Skip Scarborough and long live his legacy………….peace!

  16. Cynthia Elise Cooper says:

    I was so glad that I had the pleasure of meeting Skip and Alton. Skip was the most talented songwriter I ever met! He was a kind, considerate, born again christian and I respected him a lot. I am a professional vocalist and I had the opportunity to record a few tracks for Skip. He shopped the songs to a few artists. He will really be missed by all, but, especially to those who knew him well. His songs will always be remembered. Cynthia Cooper, Morrisville, Pa

  17. Yvonne Hynes says:

    I knew Skip. He was a very creative and well loved man.
    I was his widow’s cousin. The times that I was around him, he always made you feel at home and comfortable. He will be missed. I painted his portrait as a gift to his wife Alton McClain-Scarborough, which hangs in their home.

  18. I am sorry that I did not have the pleasure of meeting you. I have met your Mom via telephone and we have become telephone friends. I read both Port Allen’s news article and was proud to be a telephone friend of your Mom. Hope you are resting comfortable in your heavenly home.
    With God’s eternal blessings.

  19. sybil thomas says:

    I am so fortunate and blessed to have had the priviledge of having skip cross my path in life. I thank God for picking me to do demos for my songwriter friend who was just trying to get any song placed with a major artist. Sitting in the basement on an 8-track recorder puttung down just piano and voice to show a simple song called Love Ballad and Don’t ask your neighbor for a whopping $25 waas so much fun with a perfectionist like Skip.
    We both had so many dreams of success for the both of us. I believed in him then,and I believe in him today. Thanks for the memories my wonderful friend. Hold my place in Heaven, my Star in the sky.I’ll never, ever forget you. Please don,t forgetr about me. You are a Love Ballad. See you later Skip.

  20. Robert Russell says:

    There is often, in the course of a lifetime, one person whose love, confidence and influence can facilitate the finding of one’s life passion. Surely, Skip was that person in my life. Simply, he launched my career as a studio bassist but much more, he was dear and much beloved friend. May God bless your continuing journey Godward, Skip. You have my eternal thanks and love.

  21. Relana Scarborough Flores says:

    Skip Scarborough was my father, my friend, and my hero. He blessed my life just by his mere existence. His life was a Love Ballad.

  22. I attended church with the Scarborough family in Baltimore. Mr. Skip was always a gentle presence. Had it not been for someone else mentioning it, a person could completely miss the fact that they were in the presence of such greatness. He is missed and loved but I’m sure he’s working with the best of producers on the heavenly choir’s next release.
    **To the Scarborough family, the loss of such an important part of your life is hard, just try to make your way through it your own way. Don’t let people tell you how you should feel or when you should feel it. Just remember that God loves you and a lot of people here in Baltimore do to.

  23. Cheryl Smith says:

    I was thinking about my big brother today and decided to Google his name. I must say that reading all of the post, even those up to this month (almost 4 years after his death) brought tears to my eyes. He truly was a great man and a wonderful big brother. When I was in LA City Collge (1980’s) I could hardly wait for class to be over so I could drive over to Hollywood to watch him “do his thing” in the studio. It was always amazing to watch such talent come out of such a laid back person. He was truly as great a his music. Our family misses him very much, but since his music continues to be played almost daily, he is never far away.

  24. Deborah Lucas - "Lil Sis" says:

    Well its been 4 years now Skip and our last conversation which took place on July 2nd, echos through my mind like it was only yesterday. I was so happy and so proud that you were able to attend my wedding on June 28th, that it made my day that much more special. I have so many fond memories of my brother Skip, that if my eyes were able to record, I would be able to show my family and friends what a beautiful man Skip was. He was always “Giving the Best That He Had” and you didn’t “Have to Ask His Neighbors” who he was. Skip, your music is the true essence of what real music is. I love you and miss you “Big Bro”.
    Always and forever in my heart.
    Love your “Lil Sis”
    Debbie Jo

  25. Margie Green says:

    To my son Skip,
    My love for you is everlasting and I’m very proud of the man you were and your accomplishments in life.
    By the grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we will see one another again.
    Rest in peace my son.

  26. Tim Brannon says:

    Just want to send a shout out to the family of Skip-I know it’s been well over 4 years since his passing but I just discovered this site recently after visiting Gary Taylor on Youtube. My first “Skip Scarborough” experience was E,W@Fire’s ‘World’s A Masquerade’ and from then on I was locked into his spirit and it eventually inspired me to create my own music. I miss that vibe that he brought to life through his music, a truly blessed man. RIP Skip.

  27. Greg says:

    I am so grateful to the man whom has helped me survive the 70’s to become the man that I am today who in turn is helping others in the fight against HIV/AIDS, especially our inner city youth. Thanks Skip, I continue doing this work because of people like you. You are still…A Beam of light and A Ray of Hope in these troubled times.
    Bless you, Skip.

  28. Airsongs Detroit Production Team says:

    Skip Scarborough was a true R&B genius. Blessings go out to the family and friends of this great man. God bless you all!!! Airsongs Detroit Production Team.

  29. Xavi says:

    And “A Theme for Relana” is one of the most beautiful songs about a woman. It is right up there with Naima and Nica’s Dream …

  30. A true fan!!! says:

    I came across this sight trying to find the music to “Love Ballad” & I had no luck but started to read about this person that I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting & was really moved by everyones comments,especially his mother. I am a country musician singer & song writer. I also own my own academy teaching music to everyone especially children! I was practicing in my home studio when I noticed that my wifes daughter turned up “Love Ballad” & it stopped me dead in my tracks!!! I haven’t heard that song in years & what a feeling it gave me to hear it again! I downloaded it right away & started going back to my R&B roots that my parents brought me up on. Like I said, I’ve been trying to get the music for it but no luck but I sure am glad to have found this sight! What a living memorial this sight is & I’m proud to be a part of it. I won’t share my name because I’m not worthy & that’s not why I’m here. I just wanted to express my gratitude towards this Man & all who have written! God Bless you all in the name of Jesus Christ!

  31. Alvin Willis says:

    I have always been a Skip Scarborough fan, even when I didn’t know who he was, I knew the music, My name is Alvin Willis and I’m a songwriter, I would love to speak to a family member to get more insight on Skips musical journey and background, I can be reached via my email

    I aspire for songwriting greatness like Skip.

  32. Eddie Jordan says:

    I met skip in the early 1970s when I was a member of the Master Plan Band he wrote a song fore me called Comming Home. The song was never recorded but I still remember the words . Skip was one of best and I will miss him. EDDIE JORDAN……

  33. carolyn pivato says:

    In Sept 1964, I started college at LACC (Los Angeles City College). On my first day, I knew no one as I was from Atlanta Ga. Sitting alone, this short guy with the most beautiful eyes came and sat next to me and introduced himself. From that moment, for many years, Clarence was my “hangout buddy”. We had great fun in his Covair that we were always counting pennies to get gas. At the time, my dad own a gas station, but he made us pay full price for gas (about $0.27). Skip introduced me to the members of Earth Wind & Fire (Irvine, Ca 1965). I lost track of Skip over the years and tried to reconnect, to no avail. Very strange, Thursday, 12/28/17 7am … I get to this website!
    RIP my very old friend!

  34. Craig says:

    I am one of SKIP’S fans for a good number of years. I was hoping somebody could tell me the story behind ” DON’T ASK MY NEIGHBOR ” Miss SHEILA won’t tell me.

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