The SHOF was saddened to learn of the passing of 2007 Inductee Michael Masser on Thursday, July 9.
Songwriter/producer Michael Masser first came to fame with the number one smash hit “Touch Me In the Morning” that he wrote and produced for Diana Ross in 1973. He followed that with the chart topping “Theme from ‘Mahogany’ (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?)” and along with lyricist Gerry Goffin received an Oscar nomination for best Original Song.
When Michael produced Teddy Pendergrass’ album “Love Language” he discovered and nurtured a promising young singer, Whitney Houston, who sang the duet “Hold Me” with Teddy. Music history was made with the collaboration of Michael Masser and Whitney Houston. The fusion of Whitney’s brilliant voice and Michael’s songwriting and production talent gave us some of the best songs of our times including three number one hits from Whitney’s first two albums “The Greatest Love of All”, “Saving All My Love” and “Didn’t We Almost Have it All.”
Michael’s success as a songwriter/producer continued with many more hits including “Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You” - Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson; “If Ever You’re In My Arms Again” - Peabo Bryson; “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You” - George Benson and Glen Medeiros; “Nobody Wants To Be Alone” - Crystal Gayle; “Last Time I Saw Him” - Dottie West and Diana Ross, “First You Have to Say You Love Me” - with inductee Neil Diamond, “Miss You Like Crazy” Natalie Cole, “It’s My Turn” - Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross, “All At Once” - Whitney Houston, “Someone That I Used To Love” - Barbra Streisand.
Motown paid tribute to Michael Masser on the Diana Ross album “To Love Again” saying “To this day, the template Ross forged with Michael Masser has remained unique, and influential to new generations of balladeers. But more importantly, the music itself has lost none of its honesty, warmth and romance.”
Masser’s longtime manager Kurt Vitolo said, “His induction into the SHOF was maybe the biggest highlight of his life and meant everything to him. The world does not sound as pretty the past few days but he left us with great music to hear forever.”
Masser is survived by his wife, Ogniana Masser; sister, Rhoda Lev; daughters Jennifer Convery and Aleksandra Rouschkolb; son Sean Masser; and grandchildren Joshua and Ryan Masser.
Go to Masser’s Songwriters Hall of Fame exhibit here.
Read a UK Telegraph tribute here.