Harvey Fuqua, a music veteran–whose career started as founder of the R & B/Doo-Wop group, the Moonglows, and ended with him being known as one of the key record executives behind the development of Motown in Detroit–died July 6 just days shy of his birthday on July 27. He was 80.
Fuqua was born in Louisville, Ky., and in 1951 formed a group called the Crazy Sounds along with Bobby Lester, Alexander Graves and Prentiss Barnes.
After moving to Cleveland, Ohio, the group began working with disc jockey and independent record label owner Alan Freed, who renamed them the Moonglows.
From there, the group went to Chance label in Chicago, and Chess Records in 1954. This connection produced “Sincerely,” which rose to number one on the Billboard R & B chart and number 20 on the Hot 100 chart in late 1954.
In 1957 with new members, including Marvin Gaye, and a new name, Harvey and the Moonglows, the group achieved further success. Then Fuqua left the ensemble to head over to Anna Records in Detroit. There, he worked with Anna Gordy, Billy Davis, Lamont Dozier and Johnny Bristol and made an introduction that would lead to future music history. He introduced Gaye to Anna’s brother Berry.
His stint at Anna Records gave Fuqua a bigger taste of what life was like on the management size, and in 1961 he started his own record labels–Tri-Phi Records and Harvey Records–which would eventually be home to acts like the Spinners, Junior Walker and Shorty Long.
But the independent road was a tough one, and Fuqua later decided to join Motown Records. Among the acts he brought to the legendary label were Johnny Bristol, the Spinners and Tammi Terrell.
He also suggested teaming Terrell with Gaye for duets that resulted in the hits “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Your Precious Love.”
In 1982, he and Gaye reunited to produce the album “Midnight Love,” which included the seminal hit single “Sexual Healing.”
Described as a “perfectionist” by one former member of the Moonglows, Fuqua’s motto was: “You must rehearse. If you stay ready, the you ain’t got to get ready.”