BMI is greatly saddened by news of the death of Sylvia Moy, who passed away Saturday of complications from pneumonia in Dearborn, Michigan at the age of 78. One of the preeminent songwriters of Soul music’s golden age, Moy became an in-house writer for her native Detroit’s Motown label after being discovered by Marvin Gaye and Mickey Stevenson in 1963.
Her career as a songwriter, however, really took flight when she convinced label founder Berry Gordy to let her try to write a hit for the developing talent that was Stevie Wonder. The resulting song, co-written with Wonder and Henry “Hank” Cosby, was titled “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” a 1975 hit that cemented Stevie Wonder’s status and vaulted Moy to a new level.
Moy went on to co-write a clutch of Stevie Wonder’s most successful and beloved songs, including “My Cherie Amour” (co-written with Wonder and Cosby), “I Was Made to Love Her ” (co-written with Wonder, Cosby and Lula Mae Hardaway) and “Never Had a Dream Come True” (co-written with Wonder and Cosby). She also co-penned hits for Martha and the Vandellas (“Honey Chile” and “Love Bug Leave My Heart Alone” with Richard Morris), The Isley Brothers (“This Old Heart of Mine [Is Weak for You] with Holland-Dozier-Holland) and Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston (“It Takes Two,” with Mickey Stevenson).
In later years, Moy prolifically composed music for film and television. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame with her frequent collaborator Henry “Hank” Cosby in 2006. As a BMI affiliate for the entirety of her career, Moy was routinely recognized for the formidable merits of her accomplishments. She received 14 separate BMI Pop and R&B awards, with certain songs of hers having achieved over 6 million performances and counting.
Sylvia Moy will be dearly miss by her friends at BMI.