Michigan, who was a member of the legendary Funk
Brothers, who backed some of Motown’s biggest artists of the
‘60s and ‘70s.
One of his
earliest recording sessions was with Edwin Starr on “Stop the War
Now” in 1971.
Motown relocated much of its operation to Los Angeles, and Melvin was flown there to perform
on the Rare Earth Album, Ma. It was supposed to be a four-day
stop, but turned out to be a permanent move. He fit right into the burgeoning Hollywood session scene.
point: Shortly thereafter, he
and Herbie Hancock were hired to record
“Let’s Get it On” with Marvin Gaye. This was the beginning of a
beautiful friendship, and a lucrative collaboration that began with the
soundtrack of Death Wish. He also worked on Herbie’s albums, Feets Don’t Fail Me Now, Man-Child,
Mr. Hands, Secrets, and V.S.O.P.
In 1983, he
went on The Midnight Love Tour with Marvin Gaye, which turned out to be the
soul singer’s last.
The Motown Historical Museum honoured Melvin with “The Man of
Motown” tribute in 2003.
discography is massive—to date, his recordings have sold
approximately 100 million times—and here are but a few
highlights: ABC by the Jackson 5; Colors by Herb Alpert; Conversation Peace by Stevie Wonder;
Damita Jo by Janet Jackson; Do it Baby by the Miracles; Hot City by Gene Page; Inside You by Frankie Valli; L.A.
(Light Album) by the Beach Boys; Making
Music by Bill Withers; No One
Home by Lalo Schifrin; Off the Wall by Michael Jackson; Promise of a New Day by Paula Abdul; A Quiet Storm by Smokey Robinson; Rapture by Blondie; Smokin’
Section by Tom Scott & L.A. Express; Take Me Home by Cher; and, That’s
What Friends Are For by Johnny Mathis & Deniece
He can also be
heard on the soundtracks of Animal
House, Car Wash, Shaft, and Sudden Impact.
In the field
of music education, he has participated in the Jazz Mentorship Program and
the Thelonious Monk Institute/Jazz in the
Johnny Mathis & Deniece
Emotion (Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb)
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