Motown songwriter-producer Deke Richards has died at a hospice at age 68. Richards, whose real name was Dennis Lussier, died Sunday at the Whatcom Hospice House, Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center spokeswoman Amy Cloud confirmed Monday. Richards had been battling esophageal cancer, according to a statement from Universal Music.
As leader of the Motown songwriting, arranging and producing team known as The Corporation, Richards was involved in writing and producing many Jackson 5 hits, the Universal Music release said. Those songs included the Jackson 5′s first three No. 1 hits – “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” and “The Love You Save.”
Richards also wrote and produced music for such artists as Bobby Darin, Martha Reeves, and The Vandellas. We send out our condolences to his wife Joan Lussier, his brother and two surviving nephews.