Passings: Sylvia Moy, Writer of Major Motown Hits (1938 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Syliva Moy, writer for Motown Records and a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, died on Saturday (April 15) at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn, MI at the age of 78. According to family members, she died from pneumonia.

Moy was born and raised on the Northeast side of Detroit where she studied and performed both jazz and classical music.

In 1963, she was discovered performing in at Detroit's Caucus Club by Marvin Gaye and Mickey Stevenson who took her Motown and had her signed to both singing and songwriting contracts; however, they urged her to concentrate on her writing as the label had a full stable of singers but not enough material for them.

Her first hit was not only a big deal for Moy, but also for Wonder who had been struggling to find himself after Fingertips. Stevie was on the verge of being cut from the label when Moy convinced executives to let her have one chance with him. Her song for Wonder, Uptight (Everything's Alright), topped the R&B Singles and went to number 3 on the Hot 100. Over the next six years, she would also write such Wonder classics as I Was Made to Love Her, I'm Wondering, Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day, My Cherie Amour and Never Had a Dream Come True. She collaborated on all of those hits plus many more with others in the Motown stable including Holland-Dozier-Holland, Stevenson, Wonder and her most frequent writing partner, Henry "Hank" Cosby.

Outside of Wonder, her collaborations turned out many other Motown classics including This Old Heart of Mine, It Takes Two, Honey Chile and My Baby Loves Me. Moy was also the first woman to be given the title of "record producer" at Motown.

Post-Motown, Moy wrote themes for television shows such as Blossom and Growing Pains, along with film music. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame with her former writing partner Cosby in 2006. Among her non-music endeavors was establishing The Center For Creative Communications which worked with underprivileged children in Detroit to learn media and the creative arts.

Top ten hits written by Sylvia Moy
  • Uptight (Everything's Alright) - Stevie Wonder (1965 / #3 Pop / #1 R&B / #14 U.K.)
  • My Baby Loves Me - Martha and the Vandellas (1966 / #22 Pop / #3 R&B)
  • This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You) - Isley Brothers (1966 / #12 Pop / #6 R&B / #47 U.K.)
  • With a Child's Heart - Stevie Wonder (1966 / #8 R&B)
  • Nothing's Too Good For My Baby - Stevie Wonder (1966 / #20 Pop / #4 R&B)
  • Uptight (Everything's Alright) - Nancy Wilson (1966 / #84 Pop / #10 Adult Contemporary (AC))
  • It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston (1967 / #14 Pop / #4 R&B / #16 U.K.)
  • I Was Made to Love Her - Stevie Wonder (1967 / #2 Pop / #1 R&B / #5 U.K.)
  • Little Ole Man (Uptight Everything's Alright) - Bill Cosby (1967 / #4 Pop / #18 R&B)
  • I'm Wondering - Stevie Wonder (1967 / #12 Pop / #4 R&B / #22 U.K.)
  • Honey Chile - Martha and the Vandellas (1967 / #11 Pop / #5 R&B / #30 U.K.)
  • Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day - Stevie Wonder (1978 / #9 Pop / #1 R&B / #46 U.K.)
  • My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder (1969 / #4 Pop / #4 R&B / #3 AC / #4 U.K.)
  • Never Had a Dream Come True - Stevie Wonder (1970 / #26 Pop / #11 R&B / #31 AC / #6 U.K.)
  • This Old Heart of Mine - Rod Stewart (1975 / #83 Pop / #4 U.K.)
  • This Old Heart of Mine - Rod Stewart (1990 / #10 Pop / #1 AC)
  • It Takes Two - Rod Stewart & Tina Turner (1990 / #5 U.K.)
  • Everything Is Alright (Uptight) - C.J. Lewis (1994 / #10 U.K.)
  • Because of You - Scanty Sandwich (sample only) (2000 / #3 U.K.)
  • Wish You Were Mine - Philip George (2015 / #2 U.K.)

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