R.I.P. legendary Chicago soul hitmaker Sonny Sanders

(October 13, 2016) The history of the Golden Age of Soul Music is filled with names of musical giants who, while not gaining immense public attention, had immeasurable impact on the music that changed the world. One of them was the great WilliamSonny” Sanders, who has died at age 77.

Sanders was a triple threat: songwriter, producer and arranger. And he worked with the best of the best, particularly in Detroit and Chicago. Sanders spent time at the fledgling Motown label in the early 60s, working with Mary Wells and Barrett Strong. But his greatest impact came in the Windy City, where he helped guide the music of such incredible artists as The Chi-Lites, Tyrone Davis, Jerry Butler and Gene Chandler, and even some very early work with a Boston-based group called Chubby and the Turnpikes – later renamed Tavares, and Manchild, the initial band of Babyface.

(October 13, 2016) The history of the Golden Age of Soul Music is filled with names of musical giants who, while not gaining immense public attention, had immeasurable impact on the music that changed the world. One of them was the great WilliamSonny” Sanders, who has died at age 77.

Sanders was a triple threat: songwriter, producer and arranger. And he worked with the best of the best, particularly in Detroit and Chicago. Sanders spent time at the fledgling Motown label in the early 60s, working with Mary Wells and Barrett Strong. But his greatest impact came in the Windy City, where he helped guide the music of such incredible artists as The Chi-Lites, Tyrone Davis, Jerry Butler and Gene Chandler, and even some very early work with a Boston-based group called Chubby and the Turnpikes – later renamed Tavares, and Manchild, the initial band of Babyface.

Times changed, but Sanders kept busy in the 80s and 90s, including a reunion with Chicago record mogul Carl Davis for several projects and even work producing the final album by The Chi-Lites’ legendary lead singer, Eugene Record, Let Him In. Though health limited his work in the 21st Century, Sanders continued mostly in Gospel circles with his Joy Over One Publishing company

There is no question that soul music of the 1960s and 70s benefitted greatly from the quiet genius of Sonny Sanders. He will be greatly missed, even as his body of musical work lives on.

By Chris Rizik

 
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