Reggie Lucas dies at 65
Reggie Lucas, the Grammy-winning musician and Madonna’s first producer who worked on six of the eight tracks on her first record, has died at 65.
His daughter Lisa told the Associated Press that Lucas died from complications with his heart early Saturday in New York City. This is the first of a series of messages she posted on her Twitter profile:
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.
His son Lucas also shared the sad news:
Reggie Lucas, a luminous man I was blessed to call my father, left us this morning in the city where he was born. Guitarist, producer, writer of love songs, and the irreplaceable heart of his family, he will always be my teacher and my guide. His warm spirit will never leave us.
After playing with Miles Davis in the ’70s, Lucas started a musical partnership with James Mtume. The two wrote hits like ’s “The Closer I Get To You” performed by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway and the Grammy Award winning Never Knew Love Like This Before, performed by and Stephanie Mills.
Lucas’ contribution to Madonna‘s 1983 self-titled debut album include Lucky Star, Borderline, Burning Up, I Know It, Think of Me and Physical Attraction.
When asked about is work with Madonna in a 2013 interview with The Atlantic, Lucas said:
When I came to the Madonna record, I came with two things. The first thing was I brought a lot of success and a solid background as a hit producer and songwriter within the R&B world, but it was also with the skill as a composer and rock and roll guitarist. Madonna was simply the first opportunity that I had to play around with other musical interests that I had. […]
As a producer, you understood that your first job was to support people to achieve that end. You challenged the artist just enough to bring out the best in them and introduce them to audiences that they normally wouldn’t be introduced to. When I did Physical Attraction, that was just it. She was a little different. Madonna was wilder in terms of her look and image; I don’t know if her music was that much wilder than anyone else back then. I think her music was sexually freer and it predicted what was going to happen in the future. She was definitely an innovator when it became to being more suggestive, which was pretty cool. I thought it was great.
So–mixing that with my musical background, Madonna’s first album was really a hybrid of her interests and mine. “Physical Attraction” was our starting point with that style. It did pretty well and she began to move forward with her career and sound.
She had a lot of material that she had written and collaborated with other people on in the course of being signed to a record label. When she met me, Everybody was about to come out and she had written Lucky Star. My role had been as a creative songwriting record producer. [Musician James] Mtume and I typically wrote a good percentage of the material we produced for Stephanie Mills, Phyllis Hyman, and those artists. So that’s what I ended up doing for Madonna. I would write songs and ask her, “What do you think of this?” Physical Attraction and Borderline were done specifically during the production process and for her. They weren’t demo songs that I was shopping around.
Madonna and I had an enormous amount of freedom. They would tell us to make the record and we went and made the record. I think, in retrospect, we were happy to come up in an era where the record company played a very small role in creative supervision. Our creative process was very independent.
From the MadonnaTribe team and the Madonna family around the world, our sincere condolences to Reggie‘s family and friends.
Pictures from Lisa Lucas’ Twitter.