Deke Richards, the leader of songwriting/production team The Corporation, passed away at the age of 68 at the Whatcom Hospice House after losing a battle with esophageal cancer. Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center spokesperson Amy Cloud confirmed that Richards passed away on Sunday, March 24. He is survived by his wife Joan Lussier and other relatives.
Richards was the leader of The Corporation, a group of talented song writers gathered by Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records. The group also includes Fonce Mizell and Freddie Perren. The song writing team contributed to the success of Jackson 5 by penning such songs as "I Want You Back", "The Love You Save" and "ABC".
Richards also co-wrote Diana Ross and The Supremes' hit song "Love Child" and Ross' solo song "I'm Still Waiting". In addition, he worked for Bobby Darin and Bonnie Bramlett.
Later he joined a project, "Come And Get It: The Rare Pearls", Jackson 5's 2012 release which includes rare and unreleased tracks of the group. His final project is mixing eight songs from Martha Reeves & the Vandellas for the upcoming release "50th Anniversary: The Singles 1962-1972."
Richard revealed his first impression after watching the Jackson 5 in "Come and Get It: The Rare Pearls", saying, "If you ever heard a young entertainer sing his or her heart out once in your life, I don't care who it was and where it happened, I guarantee you: the experience was nothing like the night I saw Michael Jackson and his four brothers. When the performance was over, everyone knew they had just witnessed something very special; something just short of a miracle, and as close as you can come to a phenomenon."
A private family event to celebrate his life has been arranged. In lieu of flowers, his family asks colleagues in music industry to support music education by donating via the HAL awards' site.