One of Motown’s bright lights behind the scenes in the 1960’s, writer and producer Frank Wilson, passed away on Thursday from prostate cancer. He was 71.
As a writer and producer, Wilson worked with most of the Motown elite before branching off to other labels during the 70’s. His writing credits include You Made Me So Very Happy (Brenda Holloway and Blood Sweat and Tears), Love Child, Up the Ladder to the Roof, Keep On Truckin’, Still Water (Love) and Boogie Down.
When Motown expanded to Los Angeles in 1965, Wilson became one of the first people to come on board. The west coast’s first single, Stevie by Patrice Holloway, was a Wilson composition and he went on to work on Stevie Wonder’s Castles in the Sand and the Ikettes I’m So Thankful.
Wilson also tried his hand as a singer, releasing one single on the Soul label of his song Do I Love You (Indeed I Do). It didn’t go on to become a hit but made a lasting impression in the U.K. where it has become a classic of Northern Soul. At this point, only two copies are known to still exist.
Over the next ten years, Wilson wrote and/or produced music for Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, The Supremes, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Isley Brothers and many others.
Wilson left Motown in 1976 and worked with the likes of Freda Payne, Lenny Williams and Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. before becoming a born again Christian and entering the ministry. He also became an author including the books The Master Degree-Majoring in Your Marriage and Unmasking the Lone Ranger. In 2006, he returned to producing, working with John Legend on Each Day Gets Better.