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Jackson 5 Songwriter/Producer Deke Richards Passes Away at 68

L to R: Freddie Perren, Deke Richards, Alphonso Mizell (UMe)Deke Richards, a songwriter and producer who worked on many of The Jackson 5 's biggest hits as well as hits for other Motown acts, died Sunday in Bellingham, Washington, after a battle with esophageal cancer.  He was 68. 

Richards led the famed Motown songwriting and production team known as "The Corporation," which also included Motown founder Berry Gordy, the late Freddie Perren and the late Alphonso Mizell.

Richards, whose given name was Dennis Lussier, had a hand in writing such classic Jackson 5 tunes as "I Want You Back," "ABC" and "The Love You Save," as well as the chart-topping Diana Ross and the Supremes hit "Love Child."  His most recent production credits include last year's Jackson 5 rarities collection Come and Get It: The Rare Pearls and the soon-to-be-released Martha Reeves and the Vandellas box set, 50th Anniversary: The Singles 1962-1972, due out on April 5.

Deke is survived by his wife of 26 years, Joan Lussier.  His family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, fans can pay homage to Richards by donating to music-education programs like the Heroes and Legends Scholarship Foundation.  Visit HALAwards.com to find out more about that organization.

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