Ivy Jo Hunter, Motown singer, songwriter, and producer, dead at age 82

A perhaps lesser-known but no less impactful member of Detroit’s Motown music era has reportedly passed away.

According to SoulTracks, Motown singer, songwriter, and producer Ivy Jo Hunter died this week at the age of 82.

Hunter helped to write and produce numerous well-known hits for several of the popular groups and individual stars that arose during the Motown era.

An integral part of Motown’s legacy

Born in 1940 and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Hunter was already performing music in that city, chiefly playing the keyboards or trumpet, when he was discovered and signed by Motown Records, where he eventually became one of the label’s main songwriters and producers.

The outlet noted that his talents as a singer and songwriter were perhaps taken for granted by the label, as much of his own work was never released until decades later, he didn’t always get the credit he was due in writing songs for others, and other artists were elevated above him despite his prominent role in helping them gain recognition in the first place.

Hunter ultimately split with the label when Motown moved from Detroit to California, after which he briefly worked alongside Parliament Funkadelic as well as other artists, such as Wee Gee of the Dramatics.

He also went on to write and record more music on his own label in his hometown, according to the Soul&Jazz&Funk website.

Dozens of top hits

Though his own music wasn’t published until later in life, Hunter’s influence on Motown was certainly felt and heard at the time of its heyday.

He helped write and produce hit tracks for artists and groups like the Isley Brothers, the Four Tops, the Temptations, the Spinners, the Contours, and arguably most famously, the hit “Dancing in the Streets” by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

He will be missed

The Motown Museum said in a statement, “Ivy Jo was not only a remarkable writer and producer, but also a loving husband, father and grandfather. We send our condolences to his family, friends and dedicated fans around the world.”

He will certainly be missed by those who knew him personally as well as those who only knew of him through the incredible music he helped create for and with others.