Harvey Fuqua

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Harvey Fuqua
Harvey Fuqua.jpg
Fuqua in 2000
Background information
Birth name Harvey Fuqua
Born (1929-07-27)July 27, 1929
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Died July 6, 2010(2010-07-06) (aged 80)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Genres doo-wop, R&B,
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, record producer, record label executive
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1951–2000
Labels Chess, Motown (Tamla-Motown), RCA, Fantasy
Associated acts The Moonglows, Etta James, Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell, Spinners, Johnny Bristol, New Birth, Sylvester, etc.

Harvey Fuqua (July 27, 1929 – July 6, 2010) was an American rhythm and blues singer, songwriter, record producer, and record label executive.

Fuqua founded the seminal R&B/doo-wop group the Moonglows in the 1950s. He is noted for later having been one of the key figures in the development of the Motown label in Detroit, Michigan: his group gave Marvin Gaye's musical career a start, and Fuqua 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. He is the nephew of Charlie Fuqua of The Ink Spots and is the uncle of filmmaker Antoine Fuqua.

Biography[edit]

Fuqua was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and was the nephew of Charlie Fuqua of The Ink Spots. In 1951, with Bobby Lester, Alexander Graves and Prentiss Barnes, he formed a vocal group, the Crazy Sounds, in Louisville, later moving with other members of the group to Cleveland, Ohio. There, they were taken under the wing of disc jockey Alan Freed, who renamed them "The Moonglows" after his own nickname, "Moondog". The Moonglows' first releases were for Freed's Champagne label in 1953. They then recorded for the Chance label in Chicago, before signing for Chess Records in 1954. Their single "Sincerely" reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart, and # 20 on the Hot 100, in late 1954.[1]

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 with "Ten Commandments of Love" (#22 on the Billboard Hot 100), but Fuqua left in 1958. The Moonglows reunited temporarily in 1972, and in 2000 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

While on the Chess label, Fuqua also appeared on record in duets with Etta James, having hits with "If I Can't Have You" (#6 R&B, #52 pop, 1960) and "Spoonful" (#12 R&B, #78 pop, 1961).[2]

Fuqua left the Moonglows when Leonard Chess suggested that he join Anna Records in Detroit. At Anna Records, Fuqua began working with Anna Gordy, Billy Davis, Lamont Dozier and Johnny Bristol. He also introduced Marvin Gaye to Anna's brother, Berry Gordy, and married their sister Gwen Gordy. In 1961, he started his own labels, Tri-Phi Records and Harvey Records, whose acts included the Spinners, Junior Walker and Shorty Long. However, tiring of running a small independent label, Fuqua welcomed the opportunity to work at Motown, and was hired to head the label's Artist Development department and meanwhile worked as a producer for the company. Fuqua brought the Spinners and Johnny Bristol to Motown, and co-produced several hits with Bristol. He was also responsible for bringing Tammi Terrell to the label, and for suggesting and producing her duets with Marvin Gaye, including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Your Precious Love". In 1962, with the Five Quails, Fuqua had a minor hit with "Been a Long Time."

Around 1971, Fuqua left Motown and signed a production deal with RCA Records, having success particularly with the band New Birth. He also discovered disco pioneer Sylvester, and "Two Tons O' Fun" (aka The Weather Girls), producing Sylvester's hit singles "Dance (Disco Heat)" and "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" in 1978 as well as his album Stars in 1979. He also served as Smokey Robinson's road manager. In 1982 he reunited with Marvin Gaye to produce the singer's Midnight Love album, which included the single "Sexual Healing". In 2000 he set up his own "Resurging Artist Records", and also acted as a trustee of The Rhythm and Blues Foundation. Fuqua co-wrote one of the most famous disco instrumentals, "K-Jee," recorded by MFSB for the movie Saturday Night Fever.

Fuqua resided in Las Vegas, Nevada, until his death from a heart attack in a hospital in Detroit on July 6, 2010.[3]

Solo singles discography[edit]

Year A-side B-side Label and number Notes
1959 "I Want Somebody" "Da Da Goo Goo" Chess 1713
1959 "Twelve Months Of the Year" "Don't Be Afraid Of Love" Chess 1725
1960 "Blue Skies" "Ooh, Ouch, Stop" Chess 1748
1960 "If I Can't Have You" "My Heart Cries" Chess 1760 Duet with Etta James
1960 "Spoonful" "It's a Cryin' Shame" Chess 1771 Duet with Etta James
1961 "The First Time" "Mama" Chess 1781
1962 "What Can You Do Now" "Will I Do" Harvey 121 Duet with Ann Bogan
1962 "Any Way You Wanta" "She Loves Me So" Tri-Phi 1017
1963 "Memories Of You" "Come On and Answer Me" Tri-Phi 1024

Charitable work[edit]

In March 1995, Harvey Fuqua, along with his wife Dr. Carolyne, incorporated The Foundation for the S.T.A.R.S., a nonprofit organization that reaches out to address some of the difficulties that plague underprivileged youth in the inner-cities of America, with the belief that every dream should at least have the opportunity to be realized.

Lawsuits[edit]

In November, 1982, disco-star Sylvester filed a lawsuit against Fuqua and Fantasy Records, which ultimately proved successful in establishing that the company had been withholding money from him totaling $218,112.50. Nevertheless, Fuqua proved unable to pay anything more than $20,000, meaning that Sylvester never saw the majority of the money that was legally owed to him.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hogan, Ed. "Biography: Harvey Fuqua". AMG. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 222. 
  3. ^ obituary in Miami Herald.

External links[edit]