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Harvey Fuqua, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Musician/Producer

Did you know that musical icons Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Spinners and even Marvin Gaye have a strong local connection? These industry giants were either discovered or developed by Louisville native and Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Harvey Fuqua.

Harvey “Mr. Quaz” Fuqua was born July 27, 1929 in Louisville.

He rose to fame in the 50s, as a founding member of the Doo-Wop group The Moonglows, which the singer/songwriter started with fellow Louisvillian Bobby Lester. The group hit number one on the R&B chart and number 20 on the pop Billboard’s chart in late 1954 with their single “Sincerely”. According to the Courier-Journal, the group “recorded a half-dozen other hits that influenced groups such as The Temptations.”

Harvey Fuqua left The Moonglows in 1958 and began producing for artists like Etta James … and later started his own record labels. This all led to a job at Detroit’s legendary Motown Records as head of Artist Development, writing and producing for the label’s artists throughout the 60s.

After leaving Motown, Fuqua continued producing, collaborated on Marvin Gaye’s final projects, and even recorded a reunion album with The Moonglows.

In March of 2000, Harvey Fuqua and the Moonglows were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Fuqua worked in the music business for nearly six decades before he retired.

He died July 6, 2010, at 80 years-old.

Etc:

  • Harvey Fuqua was the nephew of guitarist Charles “Charlie” Fuqua of The Ink Spots.
  • The Moonglows were originally called The Crazy Sounds. They were renamed The Moonglows by legendary rock and roll disc jockey Alan Freed, who served as the group’s mentor and manager. The Moonglows’ first releases were for Freed’s Champagne label.
  • Fuqua was a life-long mentor to Marvin Gaye, helping to develop Marvin’s talent when Gaye was a short-lived member of The Moonglows (A young Gaye joined the group in 1959).
  • Fuqua was once married to Gwen Gordy, the sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy. Fuqua and Gwen distributed the very first Motown hit single, Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)", on their record label, Anna Records. Fuqua later sold Anna Records to Berry Gordy and became a songwriter and executive at Motown.
  • As an A&R executive for Motown, Fuqua brought Tammi Terell to the label and wrote and/or produced duets for her and Marvin Gaye, including the classics: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “You’re All I Need to Get By”, “Your Precious Love”. He also worked on hits for The Supremes, Jr. Walker and the Allstars, and Stevie Wonder.
  • Fuqua is also credited with discovering disco pioneer Sylvester and The Weathergirls (“It’s Raining Men”).
  • He was also a board member of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
  • According to the Courier-Journal, Fuqua “still did consulting work for Smokey (Robinson) as late as the early 2000s”.
  • In 1995, Harvey Fuqua and his wife Dr. Carolyn Fuqua started a nonprofit foundation to help the dreams of America’s inner-city youth come true. The Foundation for the S.T.A.R.S (Souls Taking Action Reaching Souls) eventually led to the creation of The S.T.A.R.S. Vocal Ensemble, a reflection of Fuqua’s love of music.
  • Extensive tributes to Harvey Fuqua can be found at Beaudaddy and Classic Urban Harmony.
Program 512
"Louisville Life" explores Thomas Merton’s Louisville, learns about a local music legend and more. (#512)