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A versatile figure during Motown's "golden years," Willie Hutch penned hits for other artists, as well as issuing albums on his own. Born Willie McKinley Hutchinson during 1946 in Los Angeles, CA, Hutch was raised in Dallas, TX, where he began signing as a teenager (as a member of an outfit called the Ambassadors). It was also during his teenaged years that Hutch began penning his own songs, and in 1964 issued a debut solo single, "Love Has Put Me Down." Soon after, his songwriting talents attracted the attention of the soon to be renowned '60s pop-soul outfit the 5th Dimension, for whom Hutch penned several tracks, as well as earning a co-production credit for the group's 1967 debut full-length Up, Up and Away. In 1970, producer Hal Davis asked Hutch to help finish off a song he desperately needed completed for the Jackson 5, "I'll Be There." Hutch delivered; the band recorded Hutch's version the next day, as it eventually became one of the 5's biggest early hits, and led to Motown head honcho Berry Gordy hiring Hutch to act as a songwriter/producer for other Motown artists on a regular basis.
Hutch then produced albums for Michael Jackson and Smokey Robinson during the early '70s, during which time Hutch penned the soundtrack to the 1973 blaxploitation flick The Mack on his own. The soundtrack is often considered to be one of the era's finest, as it spawned such funk-soul classics as the title track, "Brother's Gonna Work It Out," and "Slick." Hutch continued to issue solo releases for Motown, including such titles as Fully Exposed (1973), Foxy Brown, (1975), The Mark of the Beast (1975), Concert in Blues (1976), and Color Her Sunshine (1976), among others. After briefly relocating to the Whitfield record company for a few releases, Hutch returned back to Motown, where he issued further solo albums and worked with others, including a duet between the Four Tops and Aretha Franklin (1983's "What Have We Got to Lose"), Sammy Davis, Jr.'s "Hello Detroit" (1984), and a soundtrack album for the 1985 movie The Last Dragon. Hutch sporadically issued further solo sets in the '90s (1994's From the Heart and 1996's The Mack Is Back), before returning six years later with 2002's Sexalicious. He passed away on September 19, 2005, at his home outside Dallas, TX.
William McKinley Hutchison (December 6, 1944 – September 19, 2005), better known as Willie Hutch, was an American singer, songwriter as well as a record producer and recording artist for the Motown record label during the 1970s and 1980s.Cite error: The named reference Obit was invoked but never defined (see the help page). allmusic Biography
Born in 1944 in Los Angeles, California, Hutch was raised in Dallas, Texas. He joined a doo-wop group, The Ambassadors, as a teenager. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High, he shortened his surname when he started his music career in 1964 on the Soul City label with the song "Love Has Put Me Down".
After his move to Los Angeles, his music caught the eye of the mentor for pop/soul quintet The 5th Dimension, and Hutch was soon writing, producing, and arranging songs for the group. In 1969, he signed with RCA Records and put out two albums before he was spotted by Motown producer Hal Davis, who wanted lyrics to his musical composition "I'll Be There", a song he penned for The Jackson 5. The song was recorded by the group the morning after Hutch received the call. Motown CEO Berry Gordy signed Hutch to be a staff writer, arranger, producer, and musician shortly thereafter.
Hutch later co-wrote songs that were recorded by the Jackson 5 and their front man Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, the newly rechristened Miracles, and Marvin Gaye. In 1973, Hutch started recording albums for Motown, releasing the Fully Exposed album that year. That same year, Hutch recorded and produced the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film, The Mack. Hutch had several R&B hits during this period, including "Brother's Gonna Work It Out" and "Slick". He also recorded the soundtrack for the 1974 film Foxy Brown. He recorded at least six albums for Motown, peaking with 1975's single "Love Power", which reached number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100. He left Motown in 1977 for Norman Whitfield's Whitfield Records.
Hutch returned to Motown in 1982, where he scored the disco hit, "In and Out", that same year and also recorded a couple of songs - "The Glow" and "Inside You" - for the 1985 film The Last Dragon. Hutch left Motown again by the end of the decade and by 1994 had moved back to Dallas.
He died in 2005, aged 60. He is survived by six children, and was the uncle to Cold 187um of the rap group Above the Law. His manager, Anthony Voyce, said of Hutch: "I've never met a more generous and caring person.""Willie Hutch Page". Retrieved August 8, 2009. Cite error: The named reference ALLMUSIC was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "Obituary by Garth Cartwright". London: Guardian.co.uk. October 4, 2005. Retrieved March 25, 2009.