Grammy-winning musician Reggie Lucas, who played with Miles Davis in the 1970s and produced most of Madonna’s debut album, has died. Lucas was 65.
According to his daughter, Lucas died from complications with his heart early Saturday in New York City.
“After a long and arduous struggle with his physical heart (his emotional one was perfect) he was called home. I wish he’d had more time, I wish we’d all had more time with him, but he left this world absolutely covered in love, with his hands held and his family beside him. I’m glad he’s at peace now,” Lisa Lucas wrote on her Facebook page.
Reggie Lucas, my adored and beloved father, passed away early this morning at the age of 65. He made beautiful music, a beautiful family, a beautiful life and I will miss him every single day that I live on this earth. pic.twitter.com/Oo1dc2XHG6
— Lisa Lucas (@likaluca) May 19, 2018
Lucas was born on Feb. 25, 1953 in Queens, New York. After playing with Davis in the 70s, Lucas began a musical partnership with percussionist James Mtume. Together they wrote hits like Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s “The Closer I Get to You” – later covered by Beyoncé and Luther Vandross – and Stephanie Mills’ “Never Knew Love Like This Before,” which won the duo the Grammy for best R&B song.
Lucas went on to produce the majority of Madonna’s 1983 self-titled debut album, which sold more than 5 million units and included the hits “Borderline” and “Lucky Star.”
RIP Reggie Lucas. Co-wrote a few songs you know: The Closer I Get To You. I Never Knew Love Like This Before
Borderline. Cut his teeth as Miles’ guitarist right out of high school. Produced early hits for a scrappy singer of Michigan named Madonna. THAT dude. Rest easy.
— Earl Douglas (@edouglas528) May 20, 2018
When Warner Brothers called me about working with Madonna, I was the big score,” Lucas told Rolling Stone in 2013. “It seems ridiculous in retrospect, but I was an established professional and she was a nobody. I met with her at a tiny little apartment she had in the Lower East Side. I thought she was vivacious and sexy and interesting, and had a lot of energy.”
“‘Borderline’ has a stylistic similarity to ‘Never Knew Love Like This Before. This was the first record I ever used a drum machine instead of a drummer. And the bass on ‘Borderline’ is an ARP 2600 synthesizer, but the great Anthony Jackson – who did that intro on the O’Jays’ ‘For the Love of Money’ – is playing along on an electric bass guitar, and they’re playing so tight you can’t tell the difference.”
In addition to his daughter, Lucas is survived by his wife Leslie Lucas; his son Julian Lucas; his mother Annie Wolinsky; and his brother Greg Lucas.
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