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Songwriter stayed loyal to Motown roots


Eric Lacy / The Detroit News
Thursday, April 20, 2006

James A. Dean reflected on life experiences often and wrote lyrics about them to help create Detroit's Motown sound, said Wardell Montgomery Jr., a fellow songwriter and longtime friend.

"He was a person that really loved music and the arts," Montgomery said. "He wanted something bigger to happen to Detroit, so he had a very business-like approach and wrote songs that people could relate to."

Mr. Dean, a Detroit native, died from cancer of the spine in his home on Sunday, April 9, 2006. He was 63.

Montgomery said Dean is believed to have written hundreds of Motown, R&B, jazz and pop songs over a 40-year span.

One of the most popular songs Dean helped create was "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted," performed by Jimmy Ruffin. Montgomery said Dean also did work for Tom Jones and Johnny Mathis. ... [MORE]

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