After the successful collaboration with James Mtume, Reggie Lucas branched out and began to write and produce material by himself. In addition to his own instrumental record “Survival Themes” (1978), one of the first solo projects he co-produced was Madonna’s 1983 self-titled multi-platinum debut album, including the million-selling single “Borderline”, which he wrote and produced. The single did extremely well in the UK by selling in excess of 300,000 copies and receiving a gold disc from the BPI.
Lucas also co-produced the first number one single of Madonna’s career, entitled“Lucky Star”, which topped the Billboard Dance Singles Chart week-ending 24th September, 1983 (5 weeks). Reggie Lucas also produced another Top Five single called “Burning Up” which peaked at number three on the Billboard Dance Singles Chart.
The parent album “Madonna” sold over five million copies in America according to the RIAA. It was also awarded platinum status in England for over 300,000 copies sold. The studio album went on to sell in excess of ten million copies worldwide and launched Madonna’s career. Since 2000 her self-titled solo album has sold over five million copies in Europe, according to the IFPI (International Federation of The Phonographic Industry). This album made her into an internationally successful recording artist. The entire album was recorded and produced at Sigma Sound Studios.
On the album Lucas departed from the usual supportive role given to strings and horns and used a form of upbeat synthetic disco, utilising some of the new technology of the time, such as the Linn drum machine, Moog bass and the Oberheim OB-X synthesizer. The sound clearly derives from Lucas’ early work with Mtume, with the synthesizer creating a similar sound to the live strings used on albums from Stephanie Mills and Phyllis Hyman.
Another female solo artist, Randy Crawford, also experienced success with Lucas’ guidance. Her solo album “Abstract Emotion” (1986) received silver certification in the UK from the BPI for over 60,000 copies sold.
Rather surprisingly, Lucas also worked with The Four Tops on their 1985 “Magic” album, which included the single “Sexy Ways” and also “Maybe Tomorrow”, a duet between Levi Stubbs and Phyllis Hyman.
Reggie Lucas died aged sixty-five in New York in 2018. He was certainly a man of many talents.