I can't believe I missed the news that Harvey Fuqua passed away last month. Fuqua is probably the most important figure in the development of R&B that you've never heard of. Not only as a singer and producer, although the fact that his career was bookend with "Sincerely" (1954) and "Sexual Healing" (1982) is pretty astounding on its own. But at every step in the glorious history of R&B, Fuqua served as a connecting thread between generations. For example, Fuqua began his career in the sweet vocal harmony style popularized by the Ink Spots (of whom one was his uncle). Later critics would start to call this music "doo-wop", but in the early 1950s it was still produced and consumed almost entirely within urban African American communities. Fuqua wasn't the only one who introduced that style into the (much larger and more commercially successful) world of rock n' roll, but his alliance with Alan Freed (whose nickname "Moondog" was the source of the name "Moonglows") was a major moment in that story.
And it goes on from there. Fuqua discovered Marvin Gaye, and then moved on to Detroit to join the Gordy family business, becoming one of the bridges between doo-wop and Motown. And so on and so on, touching everyone from Sylvester (the man produced "You Make Me Feel", for goodness sake!) and then famously Marvin Gaye's last album. They don't make 'em like that anymore.
Another nice tribute here.