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hank cosby

Hank Cosby

b. Henry Rhodes Cosby, 12th May 1928, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, U.S.A.

d. 22nd January 2002, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Oakland County, Michigan, U.S.A.

Hank Cosby was born in Detroit in 1928.

He was the son of Joseph A. Cosby and Scrilda Ann Cosby.

Hank graduated from Northern High School and served in the military during the Korean War.

It was during his service he met Nat ‘Cannonball’ Adderly, who featured in the military band school.

They performed sessions for Berry Gordy Jr., who was then writing songs for Jackie Wilson and others.

Nat invited Hank to join his group, however, Hank did not want to travel, so he declined the offer.

The Joe Hunter Band

joe hunter band

When Berry Gordy launched Motown Records around 1959-60, Berry recruited the the Joe Hunter Band and formed a group called the Funks.

Previously, the Joe Hunter band featured James Jamerson (on bass), Benny Benjamin (on drums), Mike Terry (on sax), Larry Veeder (on guitar) and Joe Hunter (on piano).

Many of the group members went on to become part of Motown’s famous in house band, the Funk Brothers.

Hank was recruited into the Motown stable as a saxophone player, however he later became a writer/producer for the label.

The Clan

clan members: l to r: pam sawyer, frank wilson, deke richards and r dean taylor

As a producer, Hank became part of a production team known as the Clan, whose line up featured Berry Gordy, Pam Sawyer, Deke Richards, Frank Wilson, R. Dean Taylor and Hank.

Hank went on to co-write and produce some of Stevie Wonder's biggest hits, along with the late Sylvia Moy.

Smokey RobinsonStevie Wonder

smokey robinson-tears of a clown / stevie wonder-my cherie amour

'My Cherie Amour', 'Fingertips', 'Never Had A Dream Come True', 'I'd Be A Fool Right Now', 'Angie Girl', 'I Was Made To Love Her’, ‘Uptight (Everything's Alright)’ are now considered pop classics along with his other artistic collaborations including the Smokey Robinson collaboration (and number one hit single),’Tears Of A Clown'.


He went on to play saxophone (or write) on many Motown tunes with artists ranging from Marvin Gaye, David Ruffin, Hearts Of Stone, and Mary Wells.

Hank remeined at Motown until 1973, around the time the final recordings sessions in the Detroit studio's were recorded.

These sessions featured the song 'Machine Gun' by the Commodores.

Hank was admitted to William Beaumont Hospital in Detroit for triple bypass heart surgery on the 25th of July 2001.

Because of infections that were not detected in time, he under went 3 more surgeries, to correct the problems.

Hank finally passed away in the morning hours of Tuesday, the 22nd of January 2002.

Stevie Wonder performed 'My Cherie Amour' at Hanks funeral, which was attended by 300 mourners at the James H. Cole Funeral Home in Detroit.

He was married to Patricia Cosby, who was a receptionist at Motown Records in 1962.

Hank Cosby

In 2006, Hank was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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