New York's Daily News is reporting that Grammy Award-wining artist Ralph MacDonald has died after a long illness. MacDonald, who penned the classic R&B tunes "Just the Two of Us" and "Where is the Love," had suffered from a stroke and lung cancer in recent years. MacDonald won Grammy Awards as a performer and producer for "Calypso Breakdown," which appeared on the Saturday Night Fever sound track.
David Hinckley of the Daily News writes:
Born in Harlem on March 15, 1944, MacDonald was a working musician as well as a writer and producer. Until health problems sidelined him a year and a half ago, he continued to tour regularly as a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band.
The son of legendary Trinidadian calypso performer MacBeth the Great, MacDonald began performing as a small boy when his father would have him dance on the drums.
At 17, he landed a job in Harry Belafonte’s steel band, where he remained for the next decade. After telling Belafonte that the singer needed more authentic calypso music, he wrote an album of songs that Belafonte recorded as “Calypso Carnival” in 1966.
Soon afterwards, MacDonald launched his own publishing company, Antisia Music, with his friends Bill Salter and William Eaton.
MacDonald, an acclaimed percussionist, went on to write many songs for a variety of artists, including Amy Winehouse, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, Bette Midler, Diana Ross and Grover Washington Jr., for whom he wrote the hit "Mr. Magic."
MacDonald is survived by his wife, Grace, and four children. He was 67.
Read more at the Daily News.