the Door to Yesterday Volume 3, Number 12. Leon Ware I Wanna Be Where You are. Alan Warner. 2019

I Wanna Be Where You ARE Leon Ware. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 Detroit-born R&B singer/songwriter/pianist/record producer Leon Ware 

(1940-2017) left an indelible mark in soul music.  


He is particularly remembered for his work with Marvin Gaye, the superbly talented and enduringly popular 

soul singer who took Leon’s midtempo conga-driven disco-styled I WANT YOU to the top of the R&B charts in 1976. 

The captivating ballad was originally intended for Diana Ross’s younger brother Arthur ‘T-Boy’ Ross

 but when Motown boss Berry Gordy heard Leon’s demo, he fell in love with the song and immediately 

earmarked it for Marvin. The resulting collaboration between Marvin and Leon resulted in Leon 

 co-writing and producing an entire Marvin album also titled “I Want You” 

which reached #4 on the Billboard 200. 


Marvin and Leon shared a unique bond both of friendship and musical compatibility 

and following the success of I WANT YOU, they also triumphed with a further superlative Marvin single 

which they wrote together namely AFTER THE DANCE.


As particularly evidenced in I WANT YOU, a number of Leon’s compositions

 resulted in sensual romantic ballads.

 

Jazz was also a major influence in Leon’s musical make-up and he told columnist 

Marc Myers ‘What you hear on I WANT YOU are jazz chords against R&B flavors.’  


You can also witness formidable jazz inflections in a song he wrote with Motown’s Pam Sawyer 

called IF I EVER LOSE THIS HEAVEN which he recorded with Quincy Jones it’s among 

Leon’s most recorded copyrights of which other artists such as 

Nancy Wilson, Sergio Mendes and Maxine Nightingale 

cut their own versions. 


An earlier Leon Ware composition from his Motown days was I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE 

which he co-authored with‘T-Boy’ Ross and which became a #2 R&B hit in ’72 by Michael Jackson. 


During his career, Leon collaborated and worked with a broad spectrum of other musicians 

ranging from Brazilian singer/songwriter Marcus Valle, Janis Siegel of Manhattan Transfer

Syreeta, Norman Connors, El DeBarge, Marty & David Paich, Bonnie Bramlett

 and jazz pianist Don Grusin through to jazz guitarist Sandro Albert who co-produced 

Leon’s 2004 album “A Kiss In The Sand”.  


Leon also co-wrote and sang backup vocals on Teena Marie’s Marvin Gaye tribute song 

MY DEAR MR. GAYE on her 1984 Epic album “Starchild”. 


Here’s an alphabetical list of Leon’s charted compositions… 


AFTER THE DANCE 

(Leon Ware/Marvin Gaye) 

by Marvin Gaye

Arr: Coleridge Taylor Perkinson

Pro: Leon Ware

(Tamla: 1976) US #14 R&B, #74 Pop

https://youtu.be/xwVtK14KicU


BABY DON’T STOP ME (Leon Ware/Peter Cetera/Marcus Valle) 

by Leon Ware

Pro: Leon Ware (Elektra: 1981) US #66 R&B 

https://youtu.be/blZDiQjqE-Y

by Quest For Life

Pro: Burt Conrad (Sea Bright: 1986) US #20 Dance

BODY HEAT (Leon Ware/Quincy Jones/Bruce Fisher/Stan Richardson)

by Quincy Jones Feat. Leon Ware

Pro: Quincy Jones & Ray Brown (A&M: 1974) US #85 R&B in ’75 

https://youtu.be/dYuA_c_6if8

FANTASY IS REALITY (Leon Ware/George Clinton/Bernie Worrell)

by Parliament

Pro: George Clinton (Casablanca: 1977) US #54 R&B 

GIVE ME JUST ANOTHER DAY (Leon Ware) 

by The Miracles/Arr: James Carmichael

Pro: Hal Davis (Tamla: 1973) US #47 R&B

GOT TO HAVE YOU BACK (Leon Ware/Steve Bowden/Ivy Hunter) 

by The Isley Brothers

Pro: Ivy Hunter (Tamla: 1967) US #47 R&B, #93 Pop 

https://youtu.be/lNR5ur8SlcQ

HOT CITY (Leon Ware/Willie Beck/James Williams/Clarence Willis)

by Shadow

Pro: Leon Ware (Elektra: 1980) US #75 R&B

HOW DEEP DOES IT GO (Leon Ware/John Barnes)

by Carl Anderson

Pro: Russ Freeman (GRP: 1990) US #30 R&B

I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE (Leon Ware/Arthur ‘T-Boy’ Ross)

by Michael Jackson

Arr: James Carmichael

Pro: Hal Davis (Motown: 1972) US #2 R&B, #16 Pop  

https://youtu.be/z48J73gxtdI

by Jose Feliciano

Arr: McKinley Terrell Jackson

Pro: Berry Gordy & Suzee Ikeda (Motown: 1981) US #63 R&B in ‘82

by Sybil

Pro: Howie Hersh & Nephie Centeno (Next Plateau: 1990) US #86 R&B 

As WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE: 

by Zulema

Pro: Beau Ray Fleming (RCA: 1974) US #58 R&B in ‘75  

 

 

Marvin Gaye and Leon Ware. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019.

I WANT YOU 

(Leon Ware/Arthur ‘T-Boy’ Ross) 

by Marvin Gaye

Arr: Coleridge Taylor Perkinson

Pro: Leon Ware & T-Boy Ross 

(Tamla: 1976) US #1 R&B, #15 Pop 

https://youtu.be/3bxRYEt92TQ

by Tamiko Jones

Arr: Elgin Wells

Pro: Tamiko Jones

 (Sutra: 1986)

 US #81 R&B  

by Marc Nelson

Pro: Kenni Hairston/Trevor Gale

 (Capitol: 1991) 

US #26 R&B   

by Robert Palmer 

(in a medley with “Mercy Mercy Me”)

Pro: Teo Macero/Co-Prod: Robert Palmer 

(EMI: 1991) US #16 Pop, #90 R&B

 .

 

Mnnie Riperton, Leon Ware and Quincy Jones. The Door To Yesterday. 2019. Alan Warner.

F I EVER LOSE THIS HEAVEN 

(Leon Ware/Pam Sawyer)  

by Quincy Jones

Vocals by Minnie Riperton, Leon Ware & Al Jarreau

Arr: Quincy Jones, Tom Bahler & Dave Blumberg

Pro: Quincy Jones & Tom Bahler

(A&M: 1974) 

US #71 R&B  

by Average White Band

Pro: Arif Mardin 

(Atlantic: 1975) 

US #25 R&B, #39 Pop


INDEPENDENCE 

(Leon Ware/Winston Sela)

by Lulu

Pro: Mike Ward, Cary Baylis, Eliot Kennedy 

(Dome/SBK: 1993) 

US #3 Dance, UK #11  

https://youtu.be/0Tf3oBUg25w


INSIDE MY LOVE

 (Leon Ware/Minnie Riperton/Richard Rudolph) 

by Minnie Riperton

Pro: Stewart Levine, Minnie Riperton & Richard Rudolph 

(Epic: 1975) 

US #26 R&B, #76 Pop 

 https://youtu.be/UVniMFJYY1o


INSTANT LOVE 

(Leon Ware/Jacqueline Hilliard) 

by The Main Ingredient feat. Cub Gooding

Orchestrations: Gene Page

Pro & Arr: Simmons & Gooding 

(RCA: 1976) US #96 R&B


LOOKING UP TO YOU (Leon Ware/Zane Grey) 

by Michael Wycoff

Pro: Webster Lewis 

(RCA: 1982) US #47 R&B 

 

LOVERS AFTER ALL

 (Leon Ware/Melissa Manchester) 

by Melissa Manchester & Peabo Bryson

Pro: Steve Buckingham 

(Arista: 1981)

 US #34 R&B, #54 Pop, #25 AC  

https://youtu.be/I2pOSGrg3zQ


MYSTERY DANCER 

(Leon Ware/Billy Beck/James Williams/Clarence Willis) 

by Shadow

Pro: Leon Ware 

(Elektra: 1980) 

US #68 R&B


ROCKIN’ YOU ETERNALLY

 (Leon Ware/Marcus Valle) 

by Leon Ware

Pro: Leon Ware 

(Elektra: 1981) US #74 R&B  

https://youtu.be/uN0Kqqc4L6Q


ROLLING DOWN A MOUNTAINSIDE

 (Leon Ware/Jacqueline Hilliard) 

by The Main Ingredient

Arr: Rene Hall

Pro: Gooding & Simmons

(RCA: 1975) 

US #7 R&B, #92 Pop 


SUMTHIN' SUMTHIN' 

(Leon Ware/Maxwell Rivera) 

by Maxwell

Pro: Maxwell 

(Columbia: 1997) 

US #23 R&B, UK#27 (The Mantra)

https://youtu.be/zU7R8VArC-I


TRUST YOUR HEART

 (Leon Ware/Bobby Womack/Don Davis)

by Bobby Womack

Arr: Rudy Robinson & Wade Marcus

Pro: Don Davis 

(Columbia: 1978) US #47 R&B


UP IN HEAH 

(Leon Ware/Tina Turner) 

by Ike & Tina Turner

Pro: Gerhard Augustin 

(United Artists: 1972) 

US #47 R&B, #83 Pop

https://youtu.be/HtgkIDDAGnU


WHAT’S YOUR NAME 

(Leon Ware) 

by Leon Ware

Pro: Leon Ware 

(Fabulous: 1979) 

US #42 

R&B in ‘80


Among the later R&B chart songs that sampled Leon Ware’s compositions…


HEY MR. D.J. 

by Zhane 

(Flavor Unit: 1993) 

sampled LOOKING UP TO YOU by Michael Wycoff.


HOW DO U WANT IT

by 2Pac Feat. KC & JoJo 

(Death Row: 1996) 

sampled BODY HEAT by Quincy Jones.


POOR GEORGIE 

by MC Lyte 

(First Priority: 1992) 

sampled I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE by Michael Jackson.


SMILE by G-Unit 

(G-Unit: 2003)

sampled I TOO AM WANTING 

(Leon Ware/Syreeta Wright/Curtis Robertson).


WANNA GET TO KNOW YOU 

by G-Unit Feat. Joe 

(G-Unit: 2003) 

sampled COME LIVE WITH ME ANGEL

 (Leon Ware/Jacqueline Hillard) 

by Marvin Gaye.


WHAT CAN I DO 

by Ice Cube (Priority: 1993) 

sampled I WANT YOU by Marvin Gaye.


WHEN YOU GET HOME 

by Montell Jordan

 (Def Jam: 1999) 

sampled I WANT YOU by Marvin Gaye.


WHERE YOU ARE 

by Cali Swag District

 (Capitol: 2010) 

sampled I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE by Michael Jackson.


In addition, the Soulchild remix of Brandy’s 2002 hit FULL MOON 

used an extract of LOOKING UP TO YOU by Michael Wycoff.


US Chart positions quoted above are as published originally in Billboard magazines; 

researched and compiledby Joel Whitburn in his series

of Chart Books published by Record Research Inc. 


His books are available thru their website 

www.recordresearch.com


Additional songwriter lists appear in the following previous editions of "The Door To Yesterday": 


Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson: Vol.3, No.3

Dave Bartholomew: Vol.2, No.19

Thom Bell: Vol.3, No.9

Charles Brown: Vol.2, No.25

Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil: Vol.2, No.6

Neil Sedaka: Vol.3, No.6

 


Please send any comments or 

suggestions to 

thedoortoyesterday@gmail.com


Rock on.


Alan Warne