Leon Ware (born February 16, 1940) is an American music artist, songwriter and composer.
He was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Besides a solo career as a performer, Ware is best known for producing hits for other artists including Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Maxwell, Minnie Riperton and Marvin Gaye, co-producing the latter music artist’s album, I Want You.
Leon Ware started his career as a songwriter in 1967. He co-wrote along with Ivy Hunter and Steve Bowden for The Isley Brothers recording of “Got to Have You Back”. In 1971, Leon would collaborate with Ike & Tina Turner, co-writing six songs on their United Artist album called Nuff Said. The album reached the top 40 of the R&B charts and also appeared in the pop charts. Later that year, Ware began collaborating with Arthur “T-Boy” Ross, younger brother of Diana Ross. One of the songs they wrote was ‘I Wanna Be Where You Are’ recorded by Michael Jackson for his album, Got To Be There. The single reached the runner-up position of the R&B charts and peaked at 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972. Ware’s songwriting success led to a contract as an artist to United Artists, releasing his self-titled debut album.
Ware wrote for numerous artists during this period including Donny Hathaway and The Miracles. In 1974, Quincy Jones booked Ware as songwriter and performer for two songs off Jones’ Body Heat album. The song, “If I Ever Lose This Heaven”, hit the R&B charts in September of the year and was covered by the Average White Band. Ware worked with Riperton on Jones’ album and collaborated again on Riperton’s album, Adventures in Paradise album, composing Riperton’s R&B hit, “Inside My Love”. Ware and T-Boy Ross worked on demos for Ware’s second album, this one to be issued on Motown Records and also for T-Boy Ross to win a deal. One of the demo recordings, “I Want You”, was heard by Berry Gordy, who decided the song would be a good fit for Marvin Gaye. Gaye heard the other demos and decided to record much of it on what would be his next album, I Want You. Buoyed by the number-one title track, the album peaked at number-one on the R&B charts and reached the top ten of the Billboard 200 selling over a million copies.
Having given away the material for his album, Ware began again on a solo effort for Motown. The result would be Ware’s second album, Musical Massage. Released in September 1976, the album failed to generate similar success and was not properly promoted. Ware continued his songwriting and producing career while also releasing solo albums between 1979 and 2008. During that period, Ware wrote for Teena Marie, Jeffrey Osborne, Loose Ends, James Ingram, Melissa Manchester, Krystol, Bobby Womack and Lulu, co-writing the latter’s European hit, “Independence” in 1993. Ware helped to produce singer Maxwell’s debut album, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, released in 1996, and considered one of the landmark albums of the neo-soul genre. At the same time of that success, Ware’s earlier work became a heavy source of samples in hip-hop music.
As of 2009, Ware was recovering from treatment for prostate cancer, and credited his friend and fellow songwriter Adrienne Anderson with directing him to appropriate medical care.
Elektra Records 1982
Tracks: Slippin´Away, Lost In Love With You, Shelter, Why I Came To California, Depper Than Love, Can I Touch You There, Words Of Love, Miracles, Somewhere & Where Are They Now.
Musicians on the Leon Ware album: Leon Ware, Jeff Porcaro, James Gadson, Nathan East, Chuck Rainey, Abraham Laboriel, Dean Parks, David T. Walker, Steve Lukather, David Paich, David Foster, Geoff Leib, Sonny Burke, Marty Paich, Bill Champlin, Lenny Castro, Airto Moreira, Laudir de Oliveira, Kurt McGettrick, Gato Barbieri, Tamara Champlin, Rita Coolidge, Bonnie Bramlett, Chris Bennett, Joann Harris, Janis Siegel & Flora Purim.
Elektra Records 1981
Tracks; A Little Boogie (Never Hurt No One), Baby Don´t Stop Me, Sure Do Want You Now, Our Time, Rockin´You Eternally, Got To Be Loved, Don´t Stay Away & In Your Garden.
Musicians on the Rockin´You Eternally: Leon Ware, James Williams, Chet Willis, William Beck, Marcos Valle, Michael Boddicker, Ludir de Oliveira & Shadow.
Inside Is Love
Fabulous Records 1979
Tracks: What´s Your Name, Inside Your Love, Love Is A Simple Thing, Love Is A Simple Thing, Small Café, Club Sashay, Try It Out, Love Will Run Away, On The Island & Hungry.
Musicians on the Inside Is Love Album: Leon Ware, James Gadson, Graham Jarvis, Ed Greene, Scott Lipsker, Eddie Watkins, David T. Walker, Wah Wah Watson, Bruce Fisher, Chris Rae, Sonny Burke, Michael King, Peter Robinson, Paulinho Da Costa, Holden Raphael, Oren Waters, Julia Waters, Maxine Waters, Deborah Thomas & Melissa Manchester.
Motown Records 1976
Tracks: Learning How To Love You, Instant Love, Body Heat, Share Your Love, Holiday, Phantom Lover, Journey Into You, Musical Massage, French Waltz, Turn Out The Light, I Wanna Be Where You Are (Bonus Track CD), Comfort (Bonus Track CD), Long Time No See (Bonus Track CD), Don´t You Wanna Come (Bonus Track CD) & You Are The Way You Are (Bonus Track CD).
Musicians on the Musical Massage album: Leon Ware, James Gadson, Chuck Rainey, David T. Walker, Ray Parker Jr., Sonny Burke, John Barnes, Jerry Peters, Bobbye Hall, Gary Coleman, Eddie Brown, Jessie Smith, Merry Clayton, Felicia Griner, Minnie Riperton, Marvin Gaye & Bobby Womack.