Singer, songwriter and record producer Harvey Fuqua, an early mentor of Marvin Gaye, has died. Fuqua was 80.
Ron Brewington of the Motown Alumni Association says Fuqua died of a heart attack Tuesday at a Detroit hospital. The Louisville, Ky., native founded the R&B-doo-wop group the Moonglows, which signed with disc jockey Alan Freed. Their first single was the 1954 hit “Sincerely.”
Fuqua is credited with discovering the young Gaye in Washington, D.C., taking him to Chicago and Chess Records, and then to Detroit and Motown. He later managed Gaye as well as singer Tammi Terrell, according to Detroit News archives.
Fuqua added Gaye and others in 1958 to a reconstituted group Fuqua called Harvey and the Moonglows. It had the 1958 hit “Ten Commandments of Love.”
He started Tri-Phi and Harvey Records in 1961, recording the Spinners, Junior Walker & the All Stars, and Shorty Long.
Motown Records founder Berry Gordy later hired Fuqua to develop recording talent.In 2000, Fuqua and the Moonglows were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
We’re sad to report to SoulTrackers that legendary R&B performer, producer and executive Harvey Fuqua, had died in a Detroit hospital. Fuqua is, by any measure, one of the most important people in the history of soul and R&B, and we’re praying for his recovery.
More about Harvey Fuqua
He is noted for being one the key figures in the development of the Motown label in Detroit, Michigan: his doo-wop group gave Marvin Gaye his start in his career, and he and his wife at the time, Gwen Gordy, distributed the very first Motown hit single, Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want)”, on their record label, Anna Records. Fuqua later sold Anna Records to Gwen’s brother Berry Gordy, and became a songwriter and executive at Motown.
Fuqua founded the seminal R&B/doo wop group the Moonglows with Bobby Lester, Alexander Graves and Prentiss Barnes.
Mentored by Alan Freed, the group’s doo-wop harmony style achieved great success on the national R&B charts in the mid 1950s. Recording on Chess Records, Fuqua initially shared lead vocals with Lester, but eventually asserted himself as the leader of the group. This changed in 1957 when he, in effect, sacked the other members and installed a new group, previously known as the Marquees, which included Marvin Gaye.
The new group, billed as Harvey and the Moonglows, had immediate further success, but Fuqua left in 1958. The Moonglows reunited temporarily in 1972, and in 2000 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.