Leon Ware

Leon Ware (Feb. 16, 1940 — Feb. 23, 2017) was an American R&B singer, songwriter, and producer who released a self-titled album on United Artists in 1972, followed by the popular Musical Massage on Gordy in 1976.

Between 1979 and 1982, Ware released three LPs on Fabulous and Elektra, including a second eponymous album. Though he mostly kept behind the scenes for the remainder of the 20th century, he resumed a more steady output during his final 16 years, releasing six CDs between 2001 and 2014.

Ware was born on February 16, 1940, in Detroit. As a teenager, he sang in a doo-wop group, The Romeos, with (future Motown staff-writer) Lamont Dozier and (future Originals member) Ty Hunter.

In 1966, Ware co-wrote and produced “Warning,” an a-side by singer Pat Lewis on Detroit soul-press Solid Hit. That same year, he wrote songs for the female trios Gigi & The Charmaines (“Girl Crazy,” Columbia) and Martha & The Vandellas (“Tell Me I’ll Never Be Alone,” Gordy).

He notched more than a dozen writing credits during 1967, including sides by The Isley Brothers (“Got to Have You Back“), Kim Weston (“Land of Tomorrow“), Terri Bryant (“When I’m In Your Arms“), and Johnny Nash (“Stormy”). Ware co-wrote four songs on Souled Out, the 1967 Verve release by The Righteous Brothers.

In partnership with saxophonist/arranger Mike Terry, Ware penned the 1967 Debonaires a-side “I’m In Love Again” (b/w “Headache In My Heart,” produced and co-written by George Clinton). On Detroit soul-press Revilot Records, they collaborated on sides by The Holidays (“I Keep Holding On,” “Loves Creeping up on Me”), and the Rose Battiste single “Come Back in a Hurry” (b/w “I Still Wait for You“).

During 1968, Ware co-wrote and produced b-sides for Terrible Tom (“Lovin’ Cup”) and The Major IV (“I Don’t Believe in Losing”). Two Ware co-writes (“I’m Proud to Be,” “Fresh as a Daisy“) appear on the 1968 self-titled album by soul-rockers Southwind, released on Venture Records.

In 1969, Ware notched writing credits on the self-titled ABC Records release by folk-rockers Phoenix (“Julia’s Face“) and the Major Minor collaborative album by Johnny Nash and Kim Weston (“What Could Be Better“).

By 1970, Ware was a staff-writing regular at Motown. In partnership with lyricist Pam Saywer, he co-wrote songs recorded by the Jackson 5 (“Christmas Won’t Be the Same This Year,” “2-4-6-8“), the Four Tops (“Just Seven Numbers”), and the Ruffin Brothers (“When My Love Hand Comes Down,” “Your Love Was Worth Waiting For“).

Elsewhere, Ware co-wrote 1970 sides for soulster Frankie Karl (“Don’t Sleep Too Long“) and the pop-psych act Orange Colored Sky (“Press a Rose”). The latter appeared on People Records, temporary home for Kim Weston and the Ware-produced psych-rock trio Truth.

Ware’s writing credits proliferated during 1971, when his name appeared on releases by Jr. Walker and the All Stars (“Take Me Girl, I’m Ready”), The Everyday People (“You Can See the World”), United Image (“Love’s Creeping Up on Me“), Merry Clayton (“Whatever”), The Rhythm Rebellion (“Spellbinder”), and Bobby Womack (“Come L’amore“). The Ware/Sawyer co-write “What do You Have to Do (To Stay on the Right Side of Love)” appears on The Return of the Magnificent Seven, the 1971 collaborative album between The Supremes and the Four Tops.

In collaboration with Ike and Tina Turner, Ware co-wrote six songs on the couple’s 1971 United Artists release ‘Nuff Said: “Sweet Flustrations,” “What You Don’t See (Is Better Yet),”  “Tell the Truth,” “Pick Me Up (Take Me Where Your Home Is),” “Moving Into Hip Style – A Trip Child!,” and “Can’t You Hear Me Callin’.” With producer Clay McMurray, the Ware/Sawyer team co-wrote “If I Were Your Woman,” recorded in 1971 by Nancy Wilson, Benny Latimore, and Gladys Knight & The Pips.



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