Detroit native Leon Ware, one of the great soul and R&B songwriters of our time, died yesterday at the age of 77. In 2009, he was treated for prostate cancer. Ware’s family has yet to release details surrounding his passing.
Ware’s prolific career began in 1967 when he co-wrote The Isley Brothers’ “Got to Have You Back.” He went on to collaborate with Ike & Tina Turner and Arthur “T-Boy” Ross, younger brother of Diana Ross. One of the songs they wrote was ‘I Wanna Be Where You Are’ recorded by Michael Jackson for his album, Got To Be There. He also lent his low-key production touch to Marvin Gaye’s groundbreaking I Want You released in 1976.
Among his vast array of credits Ware went on to write for Quincy Jones, Teena Marie, Jeffrey Osborne, Loose Ends, James Ingram, Melissa Manchester, Krystol, Bobby Womack and Lulu. He helped produce singer Maxwell‘s seminal debut album, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, in 1996. Ware also released 11 solo albums.