Deke Richards dies

March 26, 2013 by  

Deke Richards dies, Deke Richards, the Motown songwriter, arranger and producer who founded the Corporation, the team that wrote the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save” and other Sixties and Seventies hits, died Sunday at a hospice house in Bellingham, Washington, after a battle with esophageal cancer. He was 68 and lived between Seattle and the Canadian border.

Richards, a Los Angeles native, and partners Freddie Perren and Fonze Mizell, had originally written the Jackson 5’s 1969 breakthrough hit “I Want You Back” as a more topical anthem called “I Wanna Be Free.” The Motown songwriters intended to give it to Gladys Knight and the Pips, but Richards caught the Jackson 5’s performance at the Daisy in L.A. and made the connection; he called founder Berry Gordy Jr., who had the same idea, suggesting the writers add Frankie Lymon-style kiddie lyrics for the new group of child singers.

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