Former Motown song writer and record producer Frank Wilson, best known for his work with The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, died last week in a hospital in Southern California. He was 71.
Wilson’s daughter Tracey Stein told the LA Times that her father passed away from complications of a lung infection on September 27. Wilson was diagnosed with prostate cancer several years ago, according to Stein.
Born in Houston in 1940, Wilson moved to Los Angeles, California in his teenage years to pursue a music career.
In 1964, Wilson joined Motown record label founder Berry Gordy’s team and began producing music hits for the company’s West Coast office.
The long list of popular songs that Wilson either wrote or co-wrote include: Stevie Wonder’s “Castles In the Sand;” Diana Ross and The Supremes’ “Love Child,” “I’m Living in Shame,” “Up the Ladder to the Roof,” and “Stone Love;” The Temptations’ “All I Need;” Marvin Gaye’s “Chained;” and Four Tops’ “Still Water (Love).”
After Eddie Kendricks left the Temptations, Wilson produced Keep On Truckin’ (Part 1), which reached the number one spot on the Billboard pop charts in 1973.
Things changed for Wilson, however, in 1976 when the Baptist-raised producer recognized a “huge spiritual void” in his life and decided to largely leave the recording business behind.
“I just had a one-track mind and that was making the next number one record,” Wilson told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1995. “It took God to make me realize there was more to life than music.”
After leaving the secular music industry, Wilson became a minister, traveling and writing books, two of which include: The Master’s Degree — Majoring in Your Marriage and Unmasking the Lone Ranger.
Wilson is survived by Bunny Wilson, his wife of more than 26 years, their six children, six grandchildren; a sister; and three brothers.
In memory of Frank Wilson’s life, here is one of his hit songs Do I Love You.