Passings: Producer and Songwriter Ron Dunbar (1939 - 2018)

by VVN Music

Ron Dunbar, a huge unsung presence in 70's and 80's R&B as a producer and songwriter, died on Wednesday (April 4) at the age of 77.

Born in Detroit, MI, he was an early employee of Motown from the late-50's, writing a song that became a minor hit for the company twice, "Greetings (This is Uncle Sam)" (Valaiers / 1961 / #8 Pop // Monitors / 1966 / #100 Pop / #21 R&B)).

Dunbar also worked closely with Brian Hyland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland in an uncredited capacity until they left the label in 1968. Dunbar continued to collaborate with the trio as they started their Holland-Dozier-Holland Productions and Invictus and Hot Wax labels, writing hits for the Honey Cone, Freda Payne, the Flaming Ember, Chairmen of the Board and others with "Edith Wayne", who was actually the three owners of the company who couldn't use their own names because of existing contracts with Motown. It was also this time that he collaborated with General Johnson on the Clarence Carter hit "Patches".

After the two labels went out of business, Dunbar worked as an independent producer before beginning work with George Clinton and his bands Parliament and Funkadelic as A&R Director of their Uncle Jam Records starting in 1978.

Dunbar left Clinton in 1980 and, once again, went independent until he began work with Holland Group Productions in 1998.

Hit songs written by Ron Dunbar:
  • "Crumbs Off the Table" - Glass House (1969 / #59 Pop / #7 R&B)
  • "Girls, It Ain't Easy" - Honey Cone (1969 / #68 Pop / #8 R&B)
  • "Give Me Just a Little More Time" - Chairmen of the Board (1970 / #3 Pop / #8 R&B / #3 U.K.)
  • "Band of Gold" - Freda Payne (1970 / #3 Pop / #20 R&B / #1 U.K.)
  • "(You've Got Me) Dangling on a String" - Chairmen of the Board (1970 / #38 Pop / #19 R&B / #5 U.K.)
  • "Westbound #9" - Flaming Embers (1970 / #24 Pop / #15 R&B)
  • "Patches" - Clarence Carter (1970 / #4 Pop / #2 R&B / #2 U.K.)
  • "Deeper and Deeper" - Freda Payne (1970 / #24 Pop / #9 R&B / #33 U.K.)
  • "I'm Not My Brother's Keeper" - Flaming Embers (1970 / #34 Pop / #12 R&B)
  • "Pay to the Piper" - Chairmen of the Board (1970 / #13 Pop / #4 R&B / #34 U.K.)
  • "She's Not Just Another Woman" - 8th Day (1971 / #11 Pop / #3 R&B)
  • "(The Day I Lost You Was) The Day I Found Myself" - Honey Cone (1972 / #23 Pop / #8 R&B)
  • "Agony of DeFeet" - Parliament/Funkadelic (1980 / #7 R&B)







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