b. Leon A. Ware, 16th February 1940, Black Bottom, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 23rd February 2017, Marina del Rey, California, U.S.A.
Leon Ware was born in Detroit in 1940.
The youngest of eleven children, and the seventh son, Leon Ware's father worked for the Ford Motor Company.
His mother was a beautician and minister.
During his youth he had an accident with a slingshot and caught himself in the eye leaving him totally blind for two years.
stevie wonder outside the michigan school of the blind in 1967
Consequently, Leon was sent to the Michigan School For The Blind, which, incidentally, is the same school that Stevie Wonder was sent to.
Leon cites as his favourite vocalist, Nat King Cole.
His first venture into songwriting was at nine years old, penning the tune 'The Girl Of My Dreams'.
By the end of the decade, he had joined ABC Records, where he acted as an arranger and songwriter.
In 1960, Leon had written half an album for himself, which was never completed.
In 1967, he wrote his first gold record for The Isley Brothers.
He continued to work as a 'backroom boy' in the 60's, first at Motown, then at Bell Records, turning freelance at the start of the 70's.
He wrote the majority of Ike And Tina Turner's 'Nuff Said' in 1970, before rejoining Motown and co-writing Michael Jackson's 1972 hit 'I Wanna Be Where You Are' with T-Boy Ross, brother of Diana Ross.
During the early seventies, Leon married Susaye Greene for whom he produced an album on Motown that was never released.
Leon and Susaye were later to divorce.
leon ware - 1972 / the education of sonny carson - 1974 / musical massage - 1976 / inside is love - 1979
Leon re-emerged as a vocalist in 1973, when he was featured on Quincy Jones's 'Body Heat'.
t boy ross
With T-Boy Ross, he then began work on a romantic song-cycle, intending it to be his own solo debut.
marvin gaye and leon ware
The result was the delicate and tender 'I Want You', one of Marvin's finest artistic achievements.
This exposure enabled Leon to launch his own career with the acclaimed 'Musical Massage'.
Leaving Motown in 1978, he enjoyed minor US hits in 1979 and 1981 with 'What's Your Name?' and 'Baby Don't Stop Me', in the style that he had created for Marvin.
rockin you eternally - 1981 / leon ware - 1982 / undercover - 1987 / taste the love - 1995
He has worked, written or produced material for artists as diverse as:
Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Norman Connors, Vesta Williams, The Main Ingredient, Average White Band, Con Funk Shun, Loose Ends, Billy Griffin, Donny Hathaway, Bobby Womack, Rufus, Krystol, Shadow, Melissa Manchester, Minnie Riperton...in short, there is hardly a soul band that Leon Ware has not had some involvement at one stage!
He released the excellent 'Taste The Love' set, in 1996, for the U.K. based Expansion label, which was folowed by a U.K. tour.
He is still writing, with some material still un-released.
Leon's wife is Carol Ware, who has been a major figure in the world of R & B publishing, and, during the early nineties was Vice President of Creative Services at MCA.
In 2001, Expansion Records released two albums by Leon.
The first was a re-issue of the 'Musical Massage' album, which contained several unreleased tracks.
candlelight- 2001 / love's drippin - 2002 / deeper - 2003 / a kiss in the sand - 2004
The second album was a colloboration between Leon and Don Grusin, entitled 'Candlelight'.
This set was mainly a collection or re-worked jazz standards with two additional original tunes penned by Leon.
In the autumn of 2001, 'Rockin' You Eternally' and 'Leon Ware' were re-issued on CD in the U.K.
Leon returned to the studio for the project, entitled 'Love's Drippin', in 2002.
In 2004, an album entitled 'Deeper' was released on Blues Interactions Inc out of Japan.
The album featured new songs along with unreleased and previously released material.
moon ride - 2008 / leon ware and friends - 2010
The albums 'Moon Ride' followed in 2008, followed by 'Leon Ware & Friends' in 2010, which were both followed by European tours.
In 2017, Leon featured on the album 'Love In Beats', by the U.K. Soul vocalist, Omar.
In 2009, he was treated for prostate cancer.
Leon Ware passed away in February 2017. at the age of 77.
His wife, Carol, said the cause was complications of prostate cancer.
At the time of his passing, Leon was working on a new album, entitled ‘Rainbow Deux’.
I would really like to thank Charles Waring @ Blues And Soul magazine, Martijn Delaere and Tony Horn of Soulin Magazine, for their help and information regarding Leon and his career.
Leon Ware (United Artists Records 1972)
The Education Of Sonny Carson (Paramount Records 1973)
Musical Massage (Motown Records 1976)
Inside Is Love (Fabulous Records 1979)
Rockin' You Eternally (Elektra Records 1981)
Leon Ware (Elektra Records 1982)
Undercover Lover (Sling Shot Records 1989)
Taste The Love (Expansion Records 1996)
Musical Massage (Expansion Records 2001, with additional unreleased material)
Candlelight (Expansion Records 2001)
Love's Drippin' (Kitchen Records Records 2003)
Deeper (Blues Interaction Inc Japan Records 2003/4)
A Kiss In The Sand (Kitchen Records 2004)
Moon Ride (Stax Records 2008)
Leon Ware & Friends (Expansion Records 2010)
Sigh (P-Vine Records 2014)
Rainbow Deux (Work in progress album 2017)