Grammy Award-Winning Songwriter Ken Williams Dies at 83

Grammy Award-Winning Songwriter Ken Williams Dies at 83
The famous gold gramophone best known as the Grammy logo on a backdrop as the celebrity arrival area is being set up ahead of the 62nd Annual Grammy awards at LA Live in Los Angeles on Jan. 24, 2020. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)

NEW YORK—Songwriter Kenneth “Ken” Williams, who wrote or co-wrote hundred of tunes for a vast array of performers, including Donny Hathaway, The Four Tops, and Peaches & Herb, including The Main Ingredient’s hit “Everybody Plays the Fool,” has died. He was 83.

Williams died June 17 following a long non-COVID-19-related illness at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, said his wife, Broadway actress and singer Mary Seymour Williams.

Williams, along with Rudy Clark and J.R. Bailey penned the now-classic song “Everybody Plays the Fool,” originally recorded in 1972 and covered by numerous artists. In recent years, Williams’ output has been sampled by artists like Alicia Keys and Lil’ Wayne.

In 1968, Williams founded A Dish-A-Tunes LLC Publishing, a family-owned and operated music company. During the last five decades, Williams added over 500 songs to his music catalog.

In 2004, the song “You Don’t Know My Name” recorded by Keys and produced by Kayne West on ”The Diary of Alicia Keys” won a Grammy and so did Williams since it sampled the 1975 song “Let Me Prove My Love to You,” co-written by Williams and performed by The Main Ingredient.

Some of his songs include “Love, Love, Love” (Donny Hathaway), “I Can’t See Me Without You” (The Impalas), “Let Me Prove My Love To You” (The Main Ingredient), “Only When You’re Lonely” (Holly Maxwell), “Seven Lonely Nights” (The Four Tops), “Keep on Holding On” (Margaret Reynolds) and “Hoping You Will Come Back” (Sandra Phillips).

Williams is survived by his wife; a sister, Dorothy Jones; sons Kenny Williams Jr., Kevin D. Williams, and Kalvin Williams; a daughter, Cheryl Nicholson; a stepson, Kenny J. Seymour; grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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