Musician passes away after battling oesophageal cancer
Motown songwriter-producer Deke Richards, who penned songs for The Jackson 5 and The Supremes, has died at the age 68.
The musician, who was suffering oesophageal cancer, died in a Washington state hospice on Sunday (March 24), according to the Hollywood Reporter. He was leader of the Motown songwriting, arranging and producing team The Corporation who’s hits included The Jackson 5 classics ‘I Want You Back’ and ‘ABC’. Richards also co-wrote ‘Love Child’ for Diana Ross And The Supremes, as well as her solo track ‘I’m Still Waiting’.
The Corporation comprised of Motown label head Berry Gordy, Alphonzo Mizell, Freddie Perren and Richards and was created in 1969. According to Michael Jackson biographer, J. Randy Taraborrelli, The Jackson 5 track ‘Mama’s Pearl’ was originally called ‘Guess Who’s Making Whoopie (With Your Girlfriend)’. But Richards had the lyrics changed to preserve the frontman’s innocent image at the time.
Richards’ final project before he died, involved mixing eight unreleased tracks by Martha Reeves And The Vandellas for the band’s 50th anniversary box set, which is due to be released on April 5.