DETROIT (AP) — Harvey Fuqua, a singer, songwriter and record producer who was an early mentor to Marvin Gaye, died here on Tuesday. He was 80.
The cause was a heart attack, Ron Brewington of the Motown Alumni Association said.
Mr. Fuqua, a native of Louisville, Ky., began his career with the doo-wop group the Moonglows, which initially recorded for a small label run by the disc jockey Alan Freed and later signed with Chess Records. The group’s single “Sincerely,” written by Mr. Fuqua, was a Top 20 hit in 1955.
When Mr. Fuqua reconstituted the group as Harvey and the Moonglows in 1958, Gaye was among its members. The group had a hit that year with “Ten Commandments of Love.”
In 1961 Mr. Fuqua formed his own record companies, Tri-Phi and Harvey, for which he recorded the Spinners, Junior Walker and the All Stars, and Shorty Long.
Berry Gordy Jr., the founder of Motown Records, later hired Mr. Fuqua to run the label’s artist development department and supervise recording sessions. He brought some of his own labels’ acts with him and also worked closely with Gaye, helping to make him one of Motown’s biggest stars and teaming him with the singer Tammi Terrell for a series of successful duet records.
After leaving Motown in 1971, Mr. Fuqua produced hit records for the disco singer Sylvester and other artists. In 1982 he reunited with Gaye, who had also left Motown, to work with him on his comeback album, “Midnight Love,” for Columbia.
Information on survivors was not immediately available.