The Supremes (music group)

PASSINGS: Deke Richards

PASSINGS: Deke Richards

Deke Richards, 68, who as part of the songwriting and producing team known as the Corporation was responsible for many of the Jackson 5's early hit songs for Motown Records, died Sunday at a hospice in Bellingham, Wash., of esophageal cancer, according to a statement from the Universal Music record label.

Richards and the other members of the Corporation — Alphonso Mizell, Freddie Perren and Motown founder Berry Gordy — created and shaped the Jackson family band's first three No. 1 hits: