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Henry R. "Hank" Cosby (May 12, 1928 – January 22, 2002) was an American songwriter, arranger, producer and musician who worked for Motown Records from its formative years. Along with Sylvia Moy, Cosby was a key collaborator with Stevie Wonder from 1963–1970. Cosby co-wrote and/or co-produced three No. 1 US hits: Stevie Wonder's "Fingertips" (1963), The Supremes' Love Child (1968), and The Miracles' "The Tears of a Clown" (1968).
Cosby, early 1960s
|Birth name||Henry R. Cosby|
|Also known as||Hank Cosby|
|Born||May 12, 1928|
Royal Oak, Michigan, U.S.
|Died||January 22, 2002 (aged 73)|
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Saxophonist, songwriter, arranger, producer|
|Years active||1950s - 1970s|
|Associated acts||The Funk Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson|
Life and careerEdit
Cosby was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1928. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, where he played alongside jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley in the military band. Upon his return to Detroit, he joined pianist Joe Hunter's jazz band. He played tenor saxophone in jazz clubs, as well as on records for different labels around the city.
When Berry Gordy launched Motown Records in 1959 he recruited the Joe Hunter Band with Cosby, Benny Benjamin, James Jamerson, Larry Veeder, and Mike Terry, forming the basis of the ever-growing group of studio musicians contracted to the company. These studio musicians became known as the Funk Brothers, and as a member of their early line-up Cosby performed on hundreds of Motown recordings in the 1960s, including Martha Reeves & the Vandellas US#2 hit "Dancing in the Street" (1964). As was Motown's policy at the time, none of the studio musicians were credited by name. Cosby also played on John Lee Hooker's 1962 single "Boom Boom", on Vee-Jay Records.
In addition to his saxophone playing, Cosby showed Gordy his talents as an arranger, producer, and songwriter, and became a key collaborator with the young Stevie Wonder.
Through the 1960s Cosby worked with many Motown artists, including production work for The Supremes, The Temptations, Jr. Walker, Edwin Starr, Brenda Holloway, and others. He is best known for co-writing and/or co-producing many of Stevie Wonder's early hits. These include Wonder's first major hit "Fingertips", "My Cherie Amour", "I Was Made to Love Her", "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" and "For Once in My Life". Cosby received a writing credit for Bill Cosby's US#4 hit "Little Ole Man (Uptight, Everything's Alright)" (1967), a revamped version of "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" - but Henry Cosby and Bill Cosby were not related.
After leaving Motown when the company moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s, Cosby worked for a time as a producer with Fantasy Records, including production work for Rance Allen, a gospel-influenced artist from Detroit. His later productions include albums for Martha Reeves, and Blood, Sweat and Tears. In 1977 Cosby wrote and produced the song "Be My Fortune Teller" by 94 East, one of the first recordings by Prince, and Colonel Abrams.
Cosby died at age 73 on January 22, 2002, at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, after complications from a cardiac bypass surgery. His name is written on an honorary South Tower Construction beam of the hospital.
|1963||Fingertips||Stevie Wonder||US#1||Cosby, Clarence Paul||Berry Gordy Jr.|
|1965||Uptight (Everything's Alright)||Stevie Wonder||US#3, UK#14||Cosby, Sylvia Moy, Wonder||Cosby, Mickey Stevenson|
|1966||Nothing's Too Good for My Baby||Stevie Wonder||US#20||Cosby, Moy, Stevenson||Cosby, Stevenson|
|1966||A Place in the Sun||Stevie Wonder||US#9, UK#20||Ron Miller, Bryan Wells||Cosby|
|1966||It Takes Two||Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston||US#14, UK#16||Stevenson, Moy||Cosby, Stevenson|
|1967||I Was Made to Love Her||Stevie Wonder||US#2, UK#5||Cosby, Moy, Wonder, Hardaway||Cosby|
|1967||I'm Wondering||Stevie Wonder||US#12, UK#22||Cosby, Moy, Wonder||Cosby|
|1968||Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day||Stevie Wonder||US#9, UK#46||Cosby, Moy, Wonder||Cosby|
|1968||Love Child||Diana Ross & the Supremes||US#1, UK#15, CAN#1||The Clan||The Clan & Henry Cosby|
|1968||For Once in My Life||Stevie Wonder||US#2, UK#3||Ron Miller, Orlando Murden||Cosby|
|1969||My Cherie Amour||Stevie Wonder||US#4, UK#4||Cosby, Moy, Wonder||Cosby|
|1969||No Matter What Sign You Are||Diana Ross & the Supremes||US#31, UK#37||Cosby, Berry Gordy Jr.||Cosby, Berry Gordy Jr.|
|1970||The Tears of a Clown||Smokey Robinson & The Miracles||US#1, UK#1||Cosby, Wonder, Robinson||Cosby, Robinson|
|1970||Never Had a Dream Come True||Stevie Wonder||US#67, UK#6||Cosby, Moy, Wonder||Cosby|
|1970||I Should Be Proud||Martha & the Vandellas||US#80||Cosby, Pam Sawyer, Joe Hinton||Cosby|
|1971||C'Est La Même Chanson||Claude François||FR#7||Holland-Dozier-Holland||Cosby|
|1973||With a Child's Heart||Michael Jackson||US#50||Cosby, Moy, Vicki Basemore||Freddie Perren, Fonce Mizell|
|1962||The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie||Stevie Wonder||-||Clarence Paul, Hank Cosby|
|1962||Tribute to Uncle Ray||Stevie Wonder||-||Clarence Paul, Hank Cosby|
|1966||Up-Tight||Stevie Wonder||US#33, UK#14||Paul, Cosby, Stevenson,|
Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier
|1966||Down to Earth||Stevie Wonder||US#92||Clarence Paul, Hank Cosby|
|1967||I Was Made to Love Her||Stevie Wonder||US#45||Clarence Paul, Hank Cosby|
|1974||Mirror Image||Blood, Sweat & Tears||US#149||Henry Cosby|
|1978||We Meet Again||Martha Reeves||-||Henry Cosby|
|1978||Straight From The Heart||Rance Allen||-||Henry Cosby|
|1979||Come Away With Me||The Originals||-||Henry Cosby|
|1980||Gotta Keep Moving||Martha Reeves||-||Henry Cosby, Lamont Dozier|
- "Hank Cosby". The Independent. 2002-04-06. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
- Liner notes. The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 4: 1964, Hip-O Select - B0005946-02, USA, 24 Feb 2006
- Murray, Charles Shaar (2002). Boogie Man: The Adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American Twentieth Century. New York City: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 237–240. ISBN 978-0-312-27006-3.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- "Henry Cosby | Songwriters Hall of Fame". Songhall.org. Retrieved 2020-05-13.