Jon Lind, a Grammy-nominated songwriter who wrote hits for Earth, Wind & Fire, Madonna, Vanessa Williams, and others, has passed away. Billboard reports that Lind died Saturday after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 73.
Born in 1948, Lind grew up in Brooklyn and started out as a folk singer in the late 1960s, sharing the stage with the likes of Judy Collins and Harry Chapin as a teenager. He went on to attend New York City’s Mannes College of Music, where he formed the Fifth Avenue Band, which signed with Warner Bros. in 1969 and was managed by Bob Cavallo. After spending time in bands signed with A&M and Capitol, he switched to full-time songwriting at the suggestion of Cavallo, who by then was the manager of Earth, Wind & Fire. “I was in the waiting room in Bob Cavallo’s office, strumming my guitar, playing a new ‘fragment’ of music I’d written,” he told Songwriter Universe in 2012. “[Earth, Wind & Fire leader] Maurice White popped his head in and said, ‘What is that?’ He suggested I ‘lay it down’, and get it to him. I did so, and over the next three months and he turned it into ‘Sun Goddess.’”
The song was covered by Ramsey Lewis and later Earth, Wind & Fire, officially launching his professional songwriting career. Lind went on to write Earth Wind & Fire and the Emotions’ ‘Boogie Wonderland’ alongside Allee Willis, as well as ‘Save the Best for Last’ by Vanessa Williams and ‘Crazy for You’ by Madonna, both of which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. ‘Save the Best for Last’, which Lind wrote with Wendy Waldman and Phil Galdston, also earned him a Grammy nomination in 1992. Among the other artists who have recorded Lind’s songs include Cher, Cheap Trick, Aaron Neville, Jennifer Holliday, Rick Astley, and Pete Townshend.
“The songwriting community lost a great songwriter and a beautiful soul in Jon Lind, who leaves a legacy of iconic songs both as a songwriter and supremely talented A&R man,” ASCAP said in a statement. “The ASCAP family mourns his loss but his humor, his music and his wonderfully generous spirit live in our hearts.”