Leon Ware : biography
Leon Ware (born February 16, 1940) is an American soul musician and songwriter. Best known for crafting the hit album, I Want You, originally recorded for Ware, until friend and Motown icon Marvin Gaye was assigned to the album in 1976. Ware also is notable for writing the Top 5 R&B single, "I Wanna Be Where You Are", for a young Michael Jackson in 1972, and creating the Body Heat album along with Quincy Jones. He also collaborated with Maxwell on his debut album Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite.
Leon Ware started his career as a songwriter in the spring of 1967 as a songwriter. He co-wrote along with Ivy Hunter and Steve Bowden for the Isley Brothers recording of "Got to Have You Back," In 1971, Leon would collaborate with Ike & Tina Turner, co-writing six songs on their United Artist album called Nuff Said. Released Fall 1971, the album reached the Top 40 of the R&B charts and also appeared in the pop charts. Later that year, Ware began collaborating with Arthur "T-Boy" Ross, the younger brother of Diana Ross. One of the songs they wrote was ‘I Wanna Be Where You Are’. Recorded by Michael Jackson in November, 1971 for his 1972 Got To Be There album. The single exploded in the spring of 1972 peaking at number two on the R&B charts and number 16 on the pop charts. This success would lead to a record contract with United Artists Records with the release of his self-titled debut album ‘Leon Ware. By 1973 Leon had songwriting credits on albums by the Donny Hathaway, Jackson 5, Average White Band, The Miracles and others. In the spring of 1974. Quincy Jones tapped Leon as songwriter and performer for two songs on his Body Heat album. The single "If I Ever Lose This Heaven," which he co wrote with Pam Sawyer and also sang on the album with Minnie Riperton and Al Jarreau, was an R&B singles chart entry in September. Nearly a year later, it was covered by the Average White Band reaching the Top 40 of both the pop and R&B charts in 1975. Ware collaborated again with Minnie Riperton on two songs for her Adventures in Paradise album "Inside My Love," released as a single in the summer of 1975. The song became a Top 40 R&B hit and also reached the pop charts. Also in 1975, Ware and T-Boy Ross had started working on demos for Ware’s second album to be released on Motown and a demo to secure T-Boy Ross a record deal. One of those demo recordings, "I Want You was heard by Motown boss Berry Gordy decided it would be a good fit for Marvin Gaye. Gaye would hear the rest of the demo of the demo tracks for what would become Gaye’s album I Want You. Ware would co produce and co write the album along with T-Boy Ross. Released in March 1976, the album exploded on the charts going number one on the R&B charts and the Top Ten of the pop charts. Having given away the material for his album, Ware began again on a solo effort for Motown. The result would be Ware’s second album, "Musical Massage. Released in September 1976, it did not chart at all due to no promotion by Motown.
For the rest of the 70’s into the 1990s, Ware would continue writing songs for others such as Teena Marie, Jeffrey Osborne, Loose Ends, James Ingram, Melissa Manchester, Bobby Womack and Lulu. He would also release nine solo albums between 1979 and 2008 with varying degrees of success. By the late ’80s and 1990s, Ware continued to work on various sessions as a musician, arranger, and producer. One of his co-written songs, "Independence", the title track of a 1993 album by Lulu was a hit, particularly in Europe. Another session was Maxwell’s debut album, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite which was one of the first albums to usher in New Soul genre. Also, his work was discovered as a source of sampling by rappers and hip-hop artists.
As of 2009, Ware was recovering from treatment for prostate cancer, and credited his friend and fellow songwriter Adrienne Anderson with directing him to appropriate medical care.: "Still Riding High", published March 6, 2009; www.souljazzandfunk.com.