WBUR News

Support the news

Remembering Sylvia Moy, Pioneering Motown Songwriter And Producer02:22

Play
Sylvia Moy and Stevie Wonder during the 37th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony in 2006, at which Moy was inducted. Moy died Saturday at age 78.closemore
Sylvia Moy and Stevie Wonder during the 37th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony in 2006, at which Moy was inducted. Moy died Saturday at age 78.

Sylvia Moy was one of the first female producers at Detroit's legendary Motown Records, co-writing hits for artists like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and The Isley Brothers. Moy died on Saturday at age 78 in Dearborn, Michigan from complications of pneumonia.

Moy started at Motown not long after a young phenomenon named Little Stevie Wonder hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart. But after he hit puberty, Wonder struggled to stay in the spotlight. It was Moy who reportedly convinced Motown executive Berry Gordy to keep the teenager on contract.

As a songwriter, she wrote for artists like Marvin Gaye and the Isley Brothers. But her most notable creative partnership was with Stevie Wonder. She co-wrote a number of his hits, including "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" and "My Cherie Amour." In 2010, Wonder explained to television host Larry King how Moy even gave "Cherie Amour" its name:

In a statement to Rolling Stone magazine after her death, Stevie Wonder wrote: "Sylvia Moy has made it possible to enrich my world of songs with some of the greatest lyrics. But, not only that, she, through her participation and our co-writing those songs, helped me become a far better writer of lyrics."

Moy was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006; the ceremony featured a surprise performance by Wonder.

Copyright NPR 2017.

+Join the discussion
Share

More from NPR

Support the news