Henry R. "Hank" Cosby (May 12, 1928 – January 22, 2002) was an American musician of African descent, who worked for Motown Records during the company's early and formative years in Detroit. He first joined as a saxophonist, before becoming a songwriter, arranger and record producer for the label.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Cosby worked with many of Motown's artists, from the Supremes to the Temptations, and is best known for producing or co-producing many of Stevie Wonder's early hits, including his first major hit "Fingertips","My Cherie Amour", "I Was Made to Love Her", "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" and "For Once in My Life". Cosby received a writing credit for Bill Cosby's hit "Little Ole Man", a revamped version of "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" -- but Henry Cosby and Bill Cosby were not related.
Cosby co-wrote and co-produced "The Tears of a Clown", a #1 hit for Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. He was also a prominent member of Motown's Funk Brothers studio band. He was a member of the jazz group, the Joe Hunter band, that was the precursor for the Motown studio session band. He played in various jazz clubs, as well as on records for different labels around the city, before joining Berry Gordy's company.
After leaving Motown when the company moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s, Cosby worked for a time as a producer with Fantasy Records, including production work for Rance Allen, a gospel-influenced artist from Detroit.
Cosby died at age 73 on January 22, 2002, at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, after complications from a cardiac bypass surgery. His name is written on an honorary South Tower Construction beam of the hospital. Prior to his death, Cosby requested that two people sing at his funeral—Stevie Wonder and Jennifer Fouché—and they did. Jennifer Fouché was the last artist that Cosby mentored.
In 2006, Cosby was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
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