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*"Mickey" Stevenson was born on this date in 1937. He is a Black songwriter and former record producer. He was born William Stevenson in Detroit, MI.
His mother was a singer and entertainer who worked with a big orchestra. When he was 7, she wanted me and my brothers to perform at the Apollo Theater in New York for an amateur show. After the Apollo show, his father bought him a bass guitar, which Stevenson later switched to a six-string guitar. It was these instruments that helped him to write songs.
After spending his formative years recording doo-wop and gospel music, he joined Tamla/Motown in 1959. He was head of the A&R department there during the company's "glory" years of the mid-1960s when artists such as the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, and Martha & the Vandellas came to the fore. Stevenson was also responsible for organizing and establishing the company's in-house studio band, the Funk Brothers. He wrote and produced many hit records for Motown, some with co-writer and producer Sylvia Moy. They included "Dancing in the Street," which he co-wrote with Hunter and Marvin Gaye; "It Takes Two" (Gaye and Weston).
He wrote "Ask the Lonely" for the Four Tops; Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (produced), "My Baby Loves Me" (Martha & the Vandellas), "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" (produced) for Stevie Wonder and Gaye's first hit, "Stubborn Kind of Fellow ."He also wrote "Devil with the Blue Dress On" in 1964 with Shorty Long, which became a hit for Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels in 1966. He also wrote under the pseudonym Avery Vandenburg for Jobete's Stein & Van Stock publishing subsidiary.
In 1969, he founded a label called People Records, which recorded Kim Weston and other acts such as Hodges, James & Smith, but the label dissolved around the time James Brown's unrelated label of the same name was founded in 1971. He headed Venture Records in 1969, with a brief to develop their share of the soul and rhythm and blues market, continuing in this role until the mid-1970s. He owned another California label, Raintree, releasing a single by Willard King in 1975. In recent years, Stevenson discovered and produced the R&B female artist Jaisun for an album that reached No. 1 in major breakout markets.
Still, he has largely been involved in producing stage musicals. The latter include Swann, Showgirls, Wings and Things, The Gospel Truth, TKO, and Chocolate City. He got married to Michelle Stevenson, his wife November 11, 2021.