(Reuters) - Deke Richards, who led the prolific songwriting and producing team at Motown Records that wrote for the Jackson 5 under the simple heading The Corporation, has died, Universal Music said on Monday.
Richards, 68, died on Sunday at the Whatcom Hospice House in Bellingham, Washington, surrounded by his immediate family, Universal Music said in a statement. He had been battling esophageal cancer, it said.
Richards, whose real name was Dennis Lussier, along with Motown founder Berry Gordy, Alphonzo Mizell and Freddie Perren comprised “The Corporation,” the label’s in-house producers and writers in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Corporation wrote and produced the Jackson 5’s first three songs to reach No. 1: “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” and “The Love You Save,” as well as many others, Universal said. Richards also wrote for Diana Ross, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, and other artists.
Richards is survived by his wife, Joan Lussier; his brother, Dane Lussier; and nephews Chris Lussier and Cory Lussier.
Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Catherine Evans