Leon Ware, Legendary Producer/Songwriter for Marvin Gaye and Maxwell, Dies at 77
Legendary songwriter/producer Leon Ware has passed away. He was 77.
Acclaimed as one of music's brightest talents, Ware's signature smooth style was apparent on classic tracks including the Isley Brothers "Got to Have You Back" and The Jackson 5's "I Wanna Be Where You Are."
Originally hailing from Detroit, Ware also collaborated with Ike & Tina Turner, Donny Hathaway and Quincy Jones (Body Heat), as well as on Minnie Riperton's Adventure's In Paradise ("Inside My Love").
Ware's sound was rich and complex, yet accessible. His sound was expansive, and has proven over the years to be timeless. Known for writing sensual songs that resonated, Ware's scope and vision made him one of the most sought after writer/producers in music for decades. One of his most popular hits came via his 1976 collaboration with Marvin Gaye on one of Gaye's most famous tracks, the rich, yet smooth, "I Want You," which went on to be a No. 1 hit on the R&B charts and a top 10 single on the Billboard 200. The song was initially intended for Ware's second solo album but Berry Gordy reportedly loved it so much, he wanted it for Gaye.
Ware also wrote and produced for a who's who of music, including Teena Marie, Jeffery Osbourne, Loose Ends and Bobby Womack. Proving that his talent wasn't limited to any particular era, Ware also co-wrote "Sumthin' Sumthin'" on Maxwell's critically-acclaimed 1996 debut, Urban Hang Suite.
Over the course of his career, Ware also released 11 studio albums, including 1972's self-titled album and its follow-up, 1976's Musical Massage. He also released Rockin' You Eternally in 1981.
Not surprisingly, Ware has frequently been sampled by hip-hop artists over the years. 2Pac (“How Do U Want It”), Das EFX (“They Want EFX”), Curren$y (“Crawfish”) and De La Soul (“Foolin'”), are just a handful of songs that sample Ware's creations.
Take a listen to a few classic Leon Ware-crafted songs below. Rest in peace to a legend.