I know when people bring up Motown Records, the usual line-up is brought up in the conversation, Barry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder, blah, blah, BLAH! Not taking nothing away from them, but personally it's a lot of history about Motown that's not discuss. I'm really interested in the people that's in the background that really makes the magic comes to life when it comes making masterpieces. Motown had a lot of great composers over there like The Funk Brothers, Holland-Dozier-Holland, but the one that sticks out the most to me and changed the landscape for Motown sound was Leon Ware.
Leon Ware was a composer for Motown, his first taste of success was with his friend, and label mate Marvin Gaye. Leon helped Marvin crafted the timeless classic album "I Want You". What a lot people don't know about the song "I Want You" wasn't for Marvin Gaye, it was actually for Leon. When Barry Gordy heard the making of the song, he told Leon Ware this song is not for you, this is for Marvin and it fit the mood for the album he was helping Marvin with. After begging pleading with him, he gave it to Marvin and it was a smash hit. (Sorry for the sidebar story LOL) When "I Want You" was released, it changed the landscape of how Motown sound changed, even though slowly it was going through a process of changing, but Leon pushed the envelope with the raw emotion of jam session with Marvin making classic and not forcing the music to be made.
After helping make that classic album, Leon came out with his debut album on Motown called "Musical Massage". Leon picks up where he left on with Marvin takes you on soothing ride with horns and some of the most incredible strings I've heard on album. With great songs like "Learning How To Love You", his rendition of "I Wanna Be Where You Are" which he helped write for the late great Micheal Jackson, and the title song "Musical Massage". To me Musical Massage was "I Want You" on crack! Leon Ware put his prints on R&B and Soul to show he wasn't going anywhere for awhile. Leon Ware had a short stint at Motown, but was able to produce for likes of Syretta Wright, Quincy Jones and many others. Leon went on to make other albums and just recently he helped R&B artist Maxwell craft his latest album "BLACKsummers'night". All in all Leon put his mark on a era that no one can take away and also a moment at Motown that should be discussed more instead of being Motown's Lost Jewel.
Here's some of his hits
Marvin Gaye "I Want You"
"Learning How To Love You"
Quincy Jones "Body Heat"