Motown songwriter-producer Deke Richards dies

Deke Richards

Deke Richards (center) flanked by the late
Alphonzo Mizell (left) and Freddie Perren

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Motown songwriter-producer Deke Richards dies, aged 68.

Richards, whose real name was Dennis Lussier, had been battling esophageal cancer, a statement from Universal Music said.

As leader of the Motown songwriting, arranging and producing team known as The Corporation, Richards was involved in writing and producing many Jackson 5 hits, including their first three No 1s – I Want You Back, ABC, and The Love You Save.

Richards also co-wrote Love Child for Diana Ross and The Supremes, as well as Ross’s solo track I’m Still Waiting.

He produced and wrote for Martha and the Vandellas as well as Bobby Darin.

 

 

The Jackson Five

 

The Corporation, which comprised of Motown label head Berry Gordy, Alphonzo Mizell, Freddie Perren and Richards, was assembled in 1969 to create hit records for the label’s new act, The Jackson 5.

Born April 8, 1944, Richards passed away at the Whatcom Hospice House in Bellingham, Wash. on Sunday.

He is survived by his wife, Joan Lussier, among other relatives. A private family celebration of his life is being planned. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking industry colleagues to honor Richards by supporting music education.

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