Harvey Fuqua, the noted singer, producer and record executive, passed away on Tuesday, July 6 at a Detroit hospital. The cause of death was heart attack. He was 80 years old.
Fuqua’s career spanned the history of black music in America. He produced or performed in genres ranging from doo-wop to rhythm & blues to soul to disco to R&B. Often working behind the scenes, he was not as well known as many of his peers: Berry Gordy, Marvin Gaye, the Spinners, etc.
Fuqua’s first success in the music industry was with his ’50s-era group The Moonglows. The group was mentored by DJ Alan Freed and scored a Billboard Hot 100 hit “Sincerely” in 1954 (later used in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas). In the late ’50s, he moved to Detroit and introduced a young Marvin Gaye to Berry Gordy. He eventually brought over several other future staples to Motown, including The Spinners, Johnny Bristol and Tammi Terrell. Fuqua produced numerous records at Hitsville, including several Gaye-Terrell hits “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “You’re All I Need To Get By” and “Your Precious Love.”
In the ’70s Fuqua had moved away from Motown and found success with the funk band New Birth; several of the band’s songs have been sampled by hip-hop artists, like Jamie Foxx, De la Soul and MF Doom. Later in the decade, he produced disco hits for Sylvester (“Dance (Disco Heat)” and “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”) and Two Tons Of Fun (later known as The Weather Girls).
In the early ’80s he helped Marvin Gaye during his post-Motown, post-addiction convalescence in Europe and worked with the singer on the hit “Sexual Healing.”
In 2000 The Moonglows were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That same year, Fuqua started his own Resurging Artist Records label and served as an advisory board member of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. According to a statement from his family, “Fuqua was working with S.T.A.R.S., an inspirational group at the time of his transition.”
Filmmaker Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) is his nephew.
Memorial services are being planned.