Motown record producer and songwriter Frank Wilson, who worked with the Temptations, the Supremes and Marvin Gaye, died of lung infection complications on Sept. 27 in a hospital in Duarte, Calif. He was 71.
Born in Houston, Wilson briefly attempted a career as a singer, joining Motown’s new Los Angeles outpost in 1965, but it was as a producer and a songwriter that his talents fully blossomed. Moving to the label’s Detroit headquarters in 1966, Wilson wrote or co-wrote such hits as “Love Child” for Diana Ross and the Supremes, Gaye’s “Chained” and “All I Need” for the Temptations.
After Eddie Kendricks left the Temptations, Wilson produced his 1973 No. 1 hit “Keep on Truckin’ (Part 1).” Wilson also helped write “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” a 1967 top 40 single for Motown’s Brenda Holloway that soon became an even bigger hit for Blood, Sweat and Tears.
Wilson retired from music in the mid-’70s to become a pastor, and served in a number of Los Angeles ministries over the next several decades.
Though he never officially released any material as a performer, a shelved 1965 recording of Wilson singing his own composition “Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)” later became an unexpected touchstone of Britain’s Northern Soul movement, with an original pressing of the single selling for nearly $40,000 at a 2009 auction.