Berry Gordy & MOTOWN

SoulfulDetroit.com FORUM: Archive - After July 12, 2003: Berry Gordy & MOTOWN
Top of pageBottom of page   By SB (67.27.77.156) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 01:35 pm:

Berry Gordy - "An American ICON."

This link has several pages of the story.

Though - I admire(d) him - I know that he was not perfect - and as many would attest to, he didn't treat all of his artists - producers and musicians fairly, and I agree.

In hindsight - what should these folks have done so that they would have been better protected contract wise?


http://www.history-of-rock.com/motown_records.htm


Berry Gordy's Motown Records

Founder and owner of the Tamla-Motown family record labels, Berry Gordy, Jr., established Motown Records as one of the most important independent labels in the early '60s. Assembling an industrious staff of songwriters, producers, and musicians, Motown Records built one of the most impressive rosters of artist in the history of pop music and became the largest and most successful independent record company in the United State by 1964.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Berry and Bertha Gordy
On November 28, 1929 Berry Gordy was born at Detroit's Harper Hospital. Gordy was the seventh child born to Berry and Bertha Gordy. The Gordys an ambitious middle-class family with roots in Georgia farming and retailing.. The family moved to Detroit in the 1922 with their first three children. It was here that they established a successful painting and construction business that allowed the family to purchase a commercial building on the corner of St. Antoine and Farnsworth. Berry Gordy Sr. also opened the Booker T. Washington grocery store and from which he instilled the values of frugality, discipline, family unity and hard work that were so dear to Booker T. Washington. After studying business in college, Bertha co-founded the Friendship Mutual Life Insurance Company.


Berry Gordy dropped out of school in the eleventh grade to become a professional boxer. At one time he even fought on the same card with the Brown Bomber Joe Louis at Detroit's Olympia Stadium. He ended a his respectable career as a featherweight in 1950. After serving in the Army in Korea from 1951-1953 his love for jazz caused him to open up the 3-D Record Mart - House of Jazz. To obsessed with his own love of Jazz, Berry was to stubborn to stock the Blues records the neighborhood craved. So in 1955 the store went bankrupt and was forced to close.


Berry married married Thelma Coleman and quickly had three children. It was after the closing of the record store that Gordy went to work on the assembly line at Ford's Lincoln-Mercury plant. By 1957, he had quit that job to become a professional songwriter.


Esther, Anna, Bertha, Gwen and Loucye
The Flame Show Bar opened in 1949 and was located at the corner of John R and Canfield. The Flame was the showplace for top Black talent in Detroit during the 50s. Billie Holiday, T-Bone Walker, Wynonie Harris were a few of the many great black entertainers that appeared there. The Berry's were in charge of the photo concessions at the Flame. Sisters Gwen and Anna took the photos with brothers George and Robert developing the film. It was during this time the Al Green the club's owner invited Gordy to write songs for the artists he managed which included Jackie Wilson. Berry teaming with Roquel "Billy" Davis began writing at Green's office. Berry would eventually bring sister Gwen in and the trio would write several bestsellers "to Be Loved," "Lonely Teardrops," "That's Why (I Love You So)" and "I'll Be Satisfied" establishing themselves as hit writers. At this time Gordy started doing some of the producing.


Berry and Raynoma Gordy

One day Raynoma Liles and her sister Alice auditioned for Gordy. Not only did Gordy meet his next wife Raynoma, but he found a lady who could help him write hit records. Known around the company as Miss Ray, she had perfect pitch and could write lead sheets. They soon formed the Rayber Music Writing Company and for $100 they would do whatever was necessary to help a young singer make a record, be it writing, arranging, rehearsing or recording a demo. In this way they were able to find new talent. They also put together the Rayber Voices, a studio group that backed most of Motown's first acts on their early recordings.

In late 1957, Gordy had his first success with "Reet Petite," which was recorded by Detroit born Jackie Wilson, who had replaced Clyde McPhatter as lead singer of the Dominoes. The next year he wrote "Lonely Teardrops" for Wilson.

End of first page.

Top of pageBottom of page   By sb (67.27.77.156) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 01:38 pm:

http://www.findarticles.com/g1epc/tov/2419100830/p1/article.jhtml

Top of pageBottom of page   By R&B (138.238.41.118) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 01:44 pm:

IN THE EARLY SIXTIES THERE WERE NOT ALOT OF ENTERTAINMENT LAWYERS AND AGENTS LIKE TODAY SO ALOT OF THE YOUNG ARTIST SIGNED TO MOTOWN DIDN'T HAVE THAT KIND OF REPRESENTATION,SO THEY BASICALLY HAD TO TAKE BERRY'S WORD THAT HE WOULD TAKE CARE OF THEM.

Top of pageBottom of page   By medusa9e2003 (66.73.9.167) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 09:24 am:

I was in a conversation about Barry Gordy & Motown recently, and it turned into an argument when the person stated that some guy named Pete
Bennett started Motown with Barry Gordy. Now I do know that Pete Bennett is a big name as a promotor(Hollywood), but never knew anything about him starting Motown. Could someone shed some light on this???
Would B greatly appreciated~~~~

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.229.64) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 10:06 am:

Medusa!!!

Thank you for that. People outside of Motown and some inside of Motown have been trying to figure out who this P. Bennett guy was for years. There is an older guy in Detroit with early ties to Motown and the Gordy family I could have asked but never did because I didn't think the person in question was that significant but obviously he was more than just a questionable songwriting credit.

P. Bennett is the name that mysteriously appeared as the songwriter on the original pressings of the Valadiers' "Greetings This Is Uncle Sam" only to as mysteriously disappear on later recordings. None of the Valadiers, who actually wrote the song, knew a P. Bennett.

The true story of Motown has yet to be told in either Berry or Raynoma's book. There are some very interesting accounts that I've yet to see printed anywhere.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 10:14 am:

There's more goofy stories regarding the birth of Motown than one can imagine. The music store I hang at had gotten a new employee. He was telling everybody that his mother had worked with Berry when he started Motown in Cleveland before he decided to move it to Detroit. What an idiot!

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.229.64) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 10:27 am:

I never heard that one Ralph but Berry does have (if he hasn't passed away) a ex DJ/promoter/entrepreneur who lives in Cleveland that was/is married to a first cousin of Berry's whose name is also Gordy. Last time I saw him he was in a wheelchair; he's either Gordy's age or older.

Most of the accounts I'm talking about that haven't been printed are from an older gentlemen who knew the Gordys long before Motown and was married to one of Berry's sisters (something that also has never been printed). The guy still lives in Detroit. I also know two very close friends of Harvey Fuqua that he would tell stuff to. But the older guy in Detroit precedes even that. His accounts cannot be discounted, he also worked for Berry in very capacities before branching out on his own, and very successfully I might add.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 10:40 am:

RD,
I suppose there is room for all sorts of speculation regarding Motown's formative years. I wasn't there from the beginning so I really can't speculate on much. What I do remember during my years there were to brothers, the Novecks, who lived in NYC I believe. every once in a while word got around that they were coming in and there seem to be this sense of panic about the place from certain department heads. I always thought it rather odd.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.229.64) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 10:51 am:

Interesting Ralph. The guy from Cleveland that married Berry's first cousin is Chuck Conway Sr., the last time I saw him he was confined to a wheelchair. I wouldn't be totally shocked if Conway didn't try to convince Berry to start a record company (or co-own one with him)in Cleveland seeing that Bill Randle and Alan Freed were hotshot record breaking DJ's at the time. I'm going to try to contact his son, who is just like his father, and see if he knows of any early records his father had a hand in and what names were involved.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 10:58 am:

RD,
It will be interesting to see what you might learn.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eli (205.188.209.109) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 10:59 am:

The late Pete Bennett has been in the biz since the fifties. He lived in Los Angeles and was in the distribution biz.
In the seventies he formed Cream records who eventually bought out the Hi label.
The company is now helmed by Pete's wife.

I believe that Pete was the brother of Al Bennett who was the founder of the Liberty label.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 11:02 am:

Thanks Bobby. Your usual fount of knowledge I see.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eli (205.188.209.109) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 11:04 am:

Always eager to oblige my goomba!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.229.64) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 11:09 am:

I see why Pete got the initial songwriting credit. He was in record distribution something Berry desperately needed at the time. Something must have happened between the two, however, cause the record stalled after doing so well in markets where it received airplay and was never pushed in other markets.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eli (205.188.209.109) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 12:18 pm:

RD,
Was Pete's name listed on the Monitors version?
Just curious.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.229.64) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 01:48 pm:

No, only on the Valadiers' on Miracles Records.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SB (206.214.2.19) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 03:05 pm:

A'noon all,

MOTOWN Sound - Pop or Soul?


http://www.localdial.com/users/jsyedu133/Soulreview/Understandingpages/franks.htm


Anyone read Posner's book yet? I'm thinking about getting it.

http://www.posner.com/hit_factory.htm

Detroit Free Press rocks doesn't it?

http://www.freep.com/motownat40/archives/index.htm

Top of pageBottom of page   By dvdmike (68.72.94.14) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 07:25 pm:

Some time ago, Harry Weinger said he was trying to work a deal to write a book publishing details all of the sessions at Hitsville's Studio A. I wonder if he's having any success.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Randy Russi (169.139.180.100) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 11:46 am:

In regard to Pete Bennett, I remember a man by
this name who worked with the Beatles at Apple
Records. He is mentioned in Ronnie Spector's
book "Be My Baby", but I know of no connection
between he, Berry Gordy, and Motown.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eli (205.188.209.109) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 11:50 am:

Randy,
It's the same Pete bennett.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 01:01 pm:

Ralph:
Weren't the Noveck Brothers the outside accountants/bookkeepers Gordy hired to keep the books balanced? I recall reading in his autobiography that the Novecks were quite good at keeping BG abreast of the financials regardless of how good or bad the company was doing.
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Randy Russi (169.139.180.100) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 01:20 pm:

Thanks, Eli!

Randy

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 01:50 pm:

Yes Kevin, the Noveks were some sort of accountants for the company. However there was some sort of air of mystery about them that seemed to keep some on their toes.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher (65.238.127.208) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 02:24 pm:

Pete Bennett has a website where he claims to be the number one promotion man in the world. Maybe he was secretly behind the rise of Motown, had an interest in the company and the Novacks were keeping track of everything for him.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Music Soul Boy (64.236.243.31) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 02:28 pm:

I thought someone else was in promotions at motown

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 02:29 pm:

Scratcher:
Do you have Bennett's URL? I would like to check this out.
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher (65.238.127.208) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 02:33 pm:

http://www.petebennett.com/

There's no mention of Motown anywhere that I could find. Wouldn't it be a twist to find out that Motown was white owned (majority) and fronted by an African-American?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 02:36 pm:

I think if any one promotion man gets credit for Motown's success it would be Barney Ales.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 02:46 pm:

Thanks, Scratcher for the URL.

I may not have known Barney Ales but from what I've read from different sources (Ralph included) he was a major key to Motown's rise and success.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Music Soul Boy (64.236.243.31) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 02:47 pm:

I thought someone else was in promotions at motown

Top of pageBottom of page   By SB (205.186.130.68) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 02:50 pm:

Below is an article written about - The Hit Man", a.k.a., = Berry Gordy. Now don't blame me - the messenger. Ya'll have at it if you want to crack on Berry. I am just wondering what could have possibly been done by the artists/producers/musicians that had contracts w/Motown back in the day, which would have insured that they were issued better contracts.

http://slate.msn.com/id/2076709

I think it is a good question. R&B - stated that there were not a whole heap of entertainment attorneys back then. What would we have done?

I feel for all the disgruntled folks though. It surprised me in that Berry couldn't be fairer, and especially since he is a Sagittarius, because it is one of the fairest zodiac signs out there. Who advised him to be so tightfisted I wonder?

Below is an older article where Berry donated 750K to artist’s w/previous ties to Motown.

http://slate.msn.com/id/2076709

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher (65.238.127.208) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 02:51 pm:

Barney Ales didn't work in promotion. (Wasn't that Al Abrams?) He was in distribution and collected the money from the distributors. The big fight Berry and Marvin had occured when Marvin cussed out the all white promotion department and it got back to Berry.

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Barry Sheffield (195.92.168.169) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 02:55 pm:

Personally I have a lot to say "Thanks" to what BERRY GORDY brought me and many millions of others in Music, not a lot of us know the "whole truth, and nothing but the truth" - also as someone else posted things have changed a lot since early 60's in Contracts with Artists & Management.

We all make mistakes in life, but count up the other side of the cales and they usally balance.

John

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher (65.238.127.208) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 02:57 pm:

I don't think anybody is knocking what Berry did John but what's wrong with the true story coming out and not the one madeup for public consumption?

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 03:06 pm:

Barney was indeed the head of sales and, according to BG's book, when his sister Loucye (who was the accounts payable/receivable head) was having difficulties with gettting the distributors to pay up, he put Barney in charge of collections, a position Ales accepted begrudgedly (this made him responsible for selling and collecting, which meant having to freeze accounts if they didn't pay their bills in full).

The anecdote of Marvin's fight with Barney Ales & his associates over the sales of his record(s) was well documented in Berry's book.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher (65.238.127.208) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 03:11 pm:

KevGo, I do believe that Barney Ales was more Sales than Promotions. Al Abrams I do believe was the key promotion person at Motown during their glory years. Ales main job was distribution (selling) and collecting. I don't think Ales went around to radio stations trying to get Motown singles added.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher (65.238.127.208) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 03:13 pm:

Addendum: Barney Ales wasn't exactly the publicist type.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 03:38 pm:

SB:
Read Berry's autobiography...speak to those who worked alongside him & Motown (from Mike McLean, who was there from the git-go to Ralph Terrana)...These folks provide a "snapshot" of Hitsville no journalist could ever describe.

Why was he tightfisted? Gordy had to be tightfisted in order to survive. To be an indie label in the midst of majors like Columbia, RCA & Decca ruling the roost I would guess was no picnic. The one big advantage indies had was they were able to capitalize on music faster, quicker and push it harder by almost any means necessary than any major. For example, when Columbia Records released an old Four Tops single from their vault, Gordy ordered H-D-H to come up with something fast. The result - "It's The Same Old Song."

The article made a point, though - he wasn't the only tightfisted record executive nor was Motown alone with not listing their session musicians on albums. Yet why do we single out Motown for not listing the Funks and not Brian Wilson & the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" for not giving written props to the Wrecking Crew? Why do we criticize Joseph Jackson for the treatment of his children and not Murray Wilson for driving Brian and his brothers crazy? Why do we question who sang on what Motown recordings when Phil Spector NEVER used Veronica Bennett's sister and cousin on the Ronettes releases? The article may not have asked these questions in particular but it sure as hell was heading into that direction.

There has to come a point where and when Motown will be recognized for its uniqueness but as far as business practices go it was no different than other labels and managers who did the same if not worst.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By SB (205.186.130.68) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 03:53 pm:

Oops - I posted that article twice. Here is the other one I meant to post.

http://www.newstribune.com/stories/090800/ent_0908000041.asp

Yeah KevGo - it is almost like what about the other books that have been written about the Motown experience - other than Otis's that is? For instance, Mary Wilson wrote about how she went to several parties where cocaine was served on silver platters and what not, and that many folks was doing it.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher (65.238.127.208) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 04:04 pm:

Berry Gordy was a private person who didn't say much to the media. What would make someone think he completely opened up in his book? There wasn't a lot of new revelations in Gordy's book except some of the details about his family (and a lot was not said in this regard)and growing up. Like Ralph said, it seemed that the Novack Brothers carried a bit more weight than just a pair of bookish bean counters. People have been trying to find out for years who they (the Novacks and some others at Motown) "really" worked for.

As for Raynoma's book she was more on the creative side of the ledger. I don't think she really knew that much about the money matters and business dealings.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Weldon A. Mc Dougal III (68.80.162.3) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 04:18 pm:

did anybody read "Motown The Golden Years"???
WELDON

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 04:18 pm:

Scratcher:
The impression I got from Raynoma (and Berry's) book is that she was involved with business dealings as well as creative. She helped oversee the construction of the Snakepit from purchasing isolation curtains to the hiring of our fellow Forum member Mike McLean to be the chief engineer (I believe Mike even posted the story about his getting hired at Motown). That is going beyond creative.

I do agree that Gordy was a private person and I'm not saying that his book is the end all or the be all. If anything, it makes an interesting reference point for discussion as to the creation of Motown and its success.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher (65.238.127.208) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 04:29 pm:

KevGo when Motown blew up Raynoma was in Washington D. C. struggling with Shrine Records and totally out of the picture.

Hiring somebody for a job is one thing. Approving the expenditure of monies to promote a record across America is another.

Berry started out large and in charge but that changed around 1965; strangers in key positions became fixtures at Motown.

It's rumored the reason he never gave Holland, Dozier and Holland the piece of the pie that they deserved is because he didn't have it to give. It wasn't just up to him.

None of the people you mentioned were part of Berry's inner circle. It took a lot of money and clout to accomplish what Motown did. You can have the best engineers, musicians, singers and songwriters in the world but if you don't have the money and clout to get your product into people heads it doesn't mean a thing.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 04:53 pm:

Scratcher:
I'm not referring to when Motown "blew up" - I'm referring to when he started Motown/Hitsville in 1960. Raynoma was involved in the business dealings in the very early stages of Motown's infancy and this is according to both Berry & Raynoma's accounts.

Berry knew he needed someone with sales muscle to sell his records which is why he hired Barney Ales, a long-time record salesman who had labels such as Capitol Records as his client.

If Berry & Raynoma didn't hire Mike McLean who built the company's eight-track reel-to-reel machine with his two-hands would they have been able to even record as many tracks with the Funks to make records that became hits through constant promotion? Forget it - they would've been broke from just paying outside studios such as United Sound and stuck with product that they didn't have the budget to promote.

Raynoma was part of the "inner circle" until her clashes with Barney Ales and her divorce from Gordy changed all that. When Motown blew up she was in NYC trying to run a Jobete office but the material the writers were coming up with wasn't given creedence and she stupidly pressed copies of Mary Wells' "My Guy" without consent (we call it bootlegging)and got busted by the FBI. Shrine Records didn't happen until over a year later.

And please - I know it takes money & clout to run a company and promote records but it ain't worth at hill of beans if you don't have the foundation to even create the product.

Gordy's Cycle Of Success said it all - Create, Sell & Collect.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.228.19) on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 08:05 am:

Barney Ales was the head of Sales but the late Phil Jones headed the radio promotion (his official title was Director of Marketing and Promotion) and Al Abrams the publicity. Motown's promotion department was all white until Miller London integrated the department in 1969.

Miss Ray was nowhere around or involved when Motown really took off. HDH and the patented Motown sound was just starting. When Berry exiled her to New York she was totally out of the loop. When she came back to the company some years later the outsiders had already became central figures at the company. Her input was always mostly on the creative side with some admininstration input. She wasn't dealing with the big boys: the movers and the shakers. She sure couldn't move or shake any of Shrine's singles onto the charts.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Weldon A. Mc Dougal III (68.80.162.3) on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 08:45 am:

RD, what you are saying is true, but the promotion department was not all white, Jack Gibson, Warren Linear,Weldon A. Mc Dougal III, Larry Maxwell,was there before Miller London,
Jack, Warren, Larry and myself, went to all the radio stations,in USA, Jack Gibson was in the promotion department befor Barney Ales and Phill Jones,
WELDON

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.242.64) on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 09:20 am:

Weldon you brought up a reference point and some names I had forgotten about. I believe you can include Dave Clark in that early mix as well.

Neither Barney Ales, Al Abrams nor Phil Jones were at Motown in the beginning. Abrams came aboard before the other two. In the beginning the records were promoted to radio stations by blacks. However, when Barney Ales came on the scene (when the company really started rolling) all the head honchos in sales and marketing were white.

Miller London was the first to hold a "corporate" position in Motown's Sales and Marketing Department. Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Gibson and the other more less field (independent) guys--soldiers as opposed to officers? Did any ever have a title other than promotion man or promotions?

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.242.64) on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 09:50 am:

One more point. Motown early years except for the occasional hit and the abundance of misses they had between 1959 and 1962 are often overlooked. When people talk about the key people in sales and marketing being all white they are always referring to the period between 1963 and 1969 when the company went ballistic. And as you said Weldon, even in those years, many of the field personnel were African-American. But a journalist peeking into Motown's sales and promotion department in the midsixties didn't see that.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 10:59 am:

RD:
When did Phil Jones pass away? I thought he was at Fantasy Records serving as VP (mind you, this was at least 5 to 6 years ago).
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 11:19 am:

Kevin,
Phil Jones passed last year I believe. I think it was posted on the forum.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 11:34 am:

Ralph,
Thanks for the 411. I had colleagues who worked for Fantasy's distributor here in NYC and they all had great things to say about Phil. I must've been out to lunch when word of his passing hit the Forum.
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 01:25 pm:

Kevin,
Phil was a total pro. I was with Norman Whitfield the night he completed the Tempt's Masterpiece album. The first guy Norman called to share his enthusiasm was Phil. Kind of tells you something about the man.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Randy Russi (169.139.180.100) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 12:14 pm:

I don't believe in the '60s artists at Motown had
contracts any different from artists elsewhere.
I think the problem was with Motown managing its
artists and collecting the money from performances. Other labels didn't do that as far
as I know.

To SG--Posner's book to me is a rewrite of Berry
Gordy's book with a few things pulled from books
by Motown artists. I am disappointed that I
bought it.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue (63.85.105.20) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 12:19 pm:

It wasn't just Berry's book or those by Motown artists; Posner used anecdotes from my book as well, he is quite a prodigious reader.

He listed all the books at the end that he used as sources, including mine, but in the copy he uses anecdotes from our books without saying that he didn't get them firsthand. That I had a problem with, other writers did too.

His response was that direct attribution (saying, "as Holloway said to blah blah in her book blah blah) or footnotes at the end of each chapter, would slow the book down.

Yeah it would, and it would also make it look like you got most of your good stuff from other writers.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 12:19 pm:

Randy:
Right on about the Motown contracts not being different than other labels. According to Berry's book their contracts were based on United Artists' recording contracts (this made sense because BG produced Marv Johnson for UA). Other sources say that earlier contracts were based on Chess Records' agreements (which also made sense since BG licensed the Miracles' recordings to Chess).
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 12:28 pm:

Perhaps if there was anything unusual about the Motown contracts it may have been the length of the agreement. When I signed my producer's / writer's contract it was for a seven year duration. I believe this was true with most artists and writers. My brother and I signed together in Ralph Seltzer's office. After we signed Russ said to Mr. Seltzer, " Well, you own us now " . Mr. Seltzer laughed.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 12:36 pm:

Ralph:
Thank God you & Russ have a sense of humor...:)

Sue:
Did Posner site you as a source of the anecdotes he lifted from your book(s)?

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue (63.85.105.20) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 12:42 pm:

Kev,

Like I said, he listed my book along with Berry's and all the others, all together at the end of the book. But there was no direct attribution, no indication of what he took from each of our books.

Thus he'd write "Gordy says" or "Gordy remembers" as if he said it directly to him. Or he'd say Brenda Holloway remembered Diana Ross swiping a can of hairspray on a Motown bus tour, and quote her -- as if Brenda told it to him. She didn't, he got that from my book. I'd have to go through the book to figure out what else he got from me -- but that's the point, the attribution should be there so you know, who did Brenda say it to? Who did Mary Wilson say this thing to? You don't have to be writing a stuffy scholarly work to think that attribution isn't important.

Listing the books you used at the end of your book, doesn't cut it.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 01:02 pm:

Kevin,
I suppose it helps to have a sense of humor to survive in this busines, but I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new.

Top of pageBottom of page   By stephanie (64.63.221.172) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 01:11 pm:

Sue
You are so right he doesnt (Posner) say where the quotes came from directly and I think the book was haphazardly written myself!!! One thing that has been bugging the heck out of me when I saw Standing in the Shadows of Motown and they state that "James Jamerson had to scalp a ticket to get into Motown 25" I was floored.

Did anyone know about this later on? I mean thats like saying We are going to do a tribute to
Stax records and Duck Dunn or Isaac Hayes had to scalp a ticket!!! Man I know Suzanne DePasse had to BEG some of these artists to come back for an appearance but they wouldnt have had to BEG the Funk Brothers. Im even shocked ALL of them were not asked to be there..whats up with that? I dont buy that excuse that Suzanne Depasse or the general public didnt know them because everybody knows the Motown sound and they could have all been introduced even if Jamerson couldnt play like the others at that time they could have introduced him.
Stephanie

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 01:17 pm:

Steph,
You're preaching to the choir here sweetie.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SB (199.183.170.110) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 03:35 pm:

Hey Sue. Is there any info listed about your book(s) listed on this site? I'd gathered from reading some posts - that you had penned at least one or more - but I had never seen a title listed. And if not - then have you ever listed an email address here. I would love to read your book. Thanks.

Way to carry it girlfriend. Reading and writing are rite (As my grandmother spelled it) up my alley.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 03:54 pm:

SB,
Sue is our author in residence.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue (63.85.105.20) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 04:01 pm:

SB,
My book is "Women of Motown," available at amazon.com. A new expanded edition will probably be available in the next year or so.

I'm working on two other projects that'll see the light of day next year.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Livonia Ken (136.1.1.101) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 04:03 pm:

SB,
I will save her the agony of self-promotion and tell you that Sue's book is called "Women of Motown: An Oral History (For the Record)". It's still in print and readily available.

Regards,
Ken

Top of pageBottom of page   By Livonia Ken (136.1.1.101) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 04:05 pm:

So much for saving any agony. That's great news about the expanded edition. I will keep an eye out.

Regards,
Ken

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue (63.85.105.20) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 04:14 pm:

Thanks Ken ...I used to be shy but I guess I'm not anymore (laugh).

Top of pageBottom of page   By TonyRussi (68.210.9.227) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 04:20 pm:

"Women of Motown" is a must read for all Motown fans.I can't wait for the expanded edition!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By SB (199.183.170.110) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 04:36 pm:

Now now. I think I've seen the title Sue - but never attributed to you. Thanks for getting back - and I will definitely add it to my "Wish" list - and I'll insure my wishes come true.

Congratulations. From reading the comments of others here - they must feel that it is a great read and of the highest caliber. I can hardly wait.

Btw - Randy Russi - I hear 'ya. I read where the singers and other Motown artists, also had problems/troubles receiving their just due - as in royalties. How could anyone justify royalties being withheld, and how could they get away w/it? I suppose it had something to do w/the finest of print perhaps?

Top of pageBottom of page   By stephanie (64.63.221.59) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 04:38 pm:

The BEST thing about Sue's book is that it is an oral history from the women themselves and not speculation and it is a MUST read I have three or four friends who have it,,,
Stephanie

Top of pageBottom of page   By Tony Russi (68.210.9.227) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 04:46 pm:

I don't think receiving proper royalties was a problem for just Motown artists especially during the60's.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher (65.238.127.54) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 06:02 pm:

SB if you check the archives you'll find that most artists never received royalties, or their proper royalties, not just from Motown, but all the major record companies. Many are still in the hold (or the red) after 35 years. And lets not confine this to just the '60s cause it's still happenning now. I hear the members of the rap group A Tribe Call Quest (or something) who had a big CD a few years back live in the livingroom of one of the members' parents. Phil Spector gave the Ronnettes $14,000.00 one time and never another penny--ever.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 06:25 pm:

Scratcher:
The rap group was A Tribe Called Quest and the album you're referring to was "The Low End Theory", which is the group's best selling CD to date - it was released in the early spring of 1992. I was a record retail manager when this album hit and yes it was a monster seller.

Unfortunately, Q-Tip, Pfife & the Abstract (the group members)signed a horrendous record deal with Jive Records. It was sad that Q-Tip had to still live with his mother and crash on the living room couch while TLET went platinum. Worse yet, the group still owed Jive three more albums (which they recorded but didn't have the fire of "Low End Theory").

It's funny you mentioned the Ronettes, who also signed a rotten record deal with Phil Spector. When the Ronettes were in court fighting for their royalties, Hilary Rosen - the former chief of the RIAA - wrote a "friend of the court" brief that basically called for the court not to reverse the agreement they signed in 1963 fearing that it would set a bad precedent in the industry (in other words, other artists could sue labels for bad deals and win). I wrote a scathing letter to Hilary Rosen reminding her that these contracts were drawn at a time when there were no such thing as "artist rights" and that her "brief" showed that she is no friend of the artists who supplied the talent for a Phil Spector to benefit, among other things. I was told by some of my friends at the major labels that I shouldn't have done that (fearing that I would never get a job at a major)but guess what? I'd rather work for independent labels and for the artists' best interests than get caught up in the spiders' webs the Shrinking Big 5 have created.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher (65.238.127.54) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 06:31 pm:

Q-Tip, Pfife and the Abstract? Do they really call themselves that KevGo or did you make those names up?

I can't even pronounce the second name.

Yea, but you validated what I said about the rap group though. Sold all them records and still don't have a pot to piss in. Not like it's anything new, I've been hearing similar stories since the late '60s.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 06:37 pm:

Scratcher:
Those are their stage names. Pfife is pronounced "FIFE", like fife & bugle.
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Bob Olhsson (12.93.84.201) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 12:08 am:

People like to apply the standards of the album-oriented labels of the late 1970s and later to contracts of 1930-1970 singles-oriented record labels. By any reasonable standard, Motown's royalties were typical of their era while Motown's tenacity at supporting artists despite numerous unsuccessful releases has no parallel in the past or present.

Motown's sales and promotion staff were world-class by any standard. A key person who hasn't been mentioned was Tom Noonan who created the very first sales charts for Billboard before Motown lured him away. While the department heads were already seasoned pros before coming to Motown, they also developed a number of young black promotion and sales executives around the United States.

As for odd stories of Motown's beginnings, the funniest I can remember hearing was about some independent sales or promotion guy in Texas who announced that HE was the head of Motown.

Top of pageBottom of page   By The Old Miner (62.49.143.234) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 06:34 am:

At last, Mr Olhsson, the voice of sanity!

Thank You.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.229.15) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 08:30 am:

Bob saying that Motown's royalty rate was on par with the other recording companies really isn't saying much. Since all the other recording companies royalty rates and contracts stunk you're saying that Motown's stunk too.

You also stated that Motown stayed with artists who had a string of unsuccessful releases longer than other companies. The truth is Motown stayed with SOME artists longer than others with the prime examples being the Temptations and the Supremes. Other than those two can you name me any other Motown artist from that era that had seven or nine non charting records in a row and remained with the company? Like all recording companies Motown had many artists who recorded one or two records and were out the door. I can give more far examples of Motown's one and two release wonders than I can of artists who had a string of unsucessful releases and remained with the company.

Bob, was the guy from Texas name Alvin Jones?

The problem with the Internet is that revisionist history is running rampant. Thankfully, there are a still a lot of people around to set the record straight and not just shoveling out old tired ass company lines.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Tony Russi (68.210.9.227) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 09:38 am:

Scratcher worse then the Ronettes getting only $14,000. Phil Spector, from what I was told had only paid the Crystals $5,000. & thats why they said "no way" to flying to LA to record "He's A Rebel".They thought they could stall & get some money out of him...they ofcourse were shocked that he could use other vocalists and use their name.Motown did build careers and their artists could/did/ and still work anywhere.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.229.15) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 10:10 am:

To correct a typo, I meant to say:

I can give far more (not more far...) examples of Motown's one and two release wonders than I can of artists who had a string of unsucessful releases and remained with the company.

Carolyn Crawford (3 releases), Chico Leverett (1), Frances Nero (1), Hattie Littles (2 or 3), The Vows (1), the Serenaders (1), Mickey Wood (1), Nick and the Jaguars (1), Little Otis (1), Mickey McCullers (1), Lee & the Leopards (1), Mike & the Modifiers (1), Liz Lands (3), LaBrenda Ben & the BelJeans (1), Marv Johnson (2), Terry Johnson (1), The Valadiers (3), Luther Allison (1), Eric & the Vikings (2), Frankie Kah'rl (1), The Creations (1), Lamont Dozier (1), the Equadors (1), Henry Lumpkin (2), Connie Van Dyke (1), Linda Griner (1), Herman Griffin (1 or 2), Joanne & the Triangles (1), The Headliners (1), and to wind up this short incomplete list, Ray Oddis (1).

The above all recorded at Motown during their glory years Bob. Motown didn't stick with these artists through a string of unsuccessful releases. There are as many more artists from the same period with one to three releases. All signed seven year deals and couldn't record anywhere else (or they thought they couldn't) until their Motown contracts expired.

Can you give me a list of artists that Motown stuck with through numerous unsuccessful releases other than the Supremes and the Temptations, Bob?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Bob Olhsson (12.93.85.57) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 11:43 am:

All I know is that I worked on the records and that a number of unsuccessful artists got paid weekly advances until they eventually became successful or left the company. I was thinking specifically about the Commodores but there were many others.

Considering that Motown was promoting and selling 98 cent list price singles as opposed to $5 albums prior to 1970, and considering that the artists were never charged for studio time, producers' fees or promotion and that royalties were based on the list price of the records rather than wholesale, I'm sorry, Motown's royalties did not stink when you compare apples to apples.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.229.15) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 12:04 pm:

The Commodores were a little later on in the mix, Bob. Plus, they came to the company with knowledge (college degrees) and lawyers. They didn't sign the dumb deal.

Those monies for those weekly advances Motown paid came either from gigs those artists did or were justified in that many such as the Spinners did odd jobs at Motown. Remember Motown held management contracts over their artists. Artists have told me that they couldn't work in a club or a show unless Motown was in on the deal and received the money.

Artists like the late Otis Leavill once told me they (him and other artists) use to laugh at the Motown acts like the Temptations because they didn't get all their money after doing a show and had to exist on small salaries.

I also dispute your assertion that Motown artists were not charge studio time, producer fees or promotion. Especially when many like the Temptations and Gladys Knight & the Pips said they were. If that was the case then why are many of Motown artists who last recorded in the '60s and '70s still in the red? What expenses ARE being charged to their accounts?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Livonia Ken (136.1.1.101) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 12:04 pm:

BTW,
The members of a Tribe Called Quest were:

Q-Tip (aka "The Abstract"), Phife (aka "Phife Dawg"), and DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad

"The Low-End Theory" is one of my favorite albums of the 90s. The rhymes were endlessly clever, the "bitch", "ho", and "gangsta" factor were pretty much nil, and they were smart enough to hire talented folks like jazz bassist Ron Carter to actually play on their album.

Regards,
Ken

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 12:24 pm:

RD,
Motown artists were NOT charged studio time.
I have stated this before on some thread. They were, however, responsible for session costs, mainly the fees of musicians. this was charged to their accounts. Ths was one of Gladys Knight's big beefs with the company. At the time she hadn't had a hit for a while and was open to all producers. ( Motown had a policy. If a producer got hot with an artist, then that artist was exclusive to that producer and could not be touched by othr producers. Until that should happen artists were fair game to all producers. hence the growing studio bills of a particular artist.) She felt a lot of junk was being recorded on her by all these producers and was doing little for her except running up her tab. It was at that time that Harry Balk isolated her and turned her over exclusively to Clay McMurray I believe. At any rate, this was what the artists were charged for on their sessions.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.229.15) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 12:27 pm:

Ralph, whatever you call it they were charged for recording and the fees must have been substantial if these fees were as you say only "session costs." If not, then why are so many ex Motown artists, i.e. (the Dazz Band who some members I know) still in the red?

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.229.15) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 12:34 pm:

Not to rub it in Ralph but if the Funk Brothers were only paid five dollars a man per session as they claim until later in the sixties how did the session fees become so substantial?

And I repeat Motown never gave the artist anything when they dole out those advances. That was money the artist had earned doing gigs, working at Motown, or both. It was their money that Motown held in a bank account earning interest.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 01:18 pm:

RD,
The charge of session costs is universal in the business and not exclusive to Motown. It's a company's way of showing faith in the potential of an artist. If an artist doesn't get a hit, then of course they will be in the red to the company. The company still eats the loss though if the artist never hits, so where's the beef?

You're not rubbing anything in pal regarding what Motown was paying the Brothers. This was a city wide practice. All the session musicians were working for peanuts in the early days from all the city's record companies.

RD, I have to ask you...Why do you doubt all I'm telling you? Don't you realize I was in the middle of everything in those days? Listen to what I tell you.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 01:43 pm:

RD:
You are arguing with folks who were there at Motown and have no reason to lie. If Ralph Terrana said that an artist was not charged studio time but were charged for musician's time then I have no reason to doubt him because he was there.

Bob Olhsson was there as an engineer and have seen his share of agreements good or bad. I can tell you worse horror stories from artists who were not on Motown and had even worse contracts.

Why all the hostility toward Motown when other labels and managers have done worse? Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night was signed to Columbia Records in the early 1960s and was not given an advance - they told him his monies would come from record sales. His records flopped and he left the company for the West Coast penniless. Ace/Kent Records reissue compilations featuring artists who probably never saw a single penny from one song they cut - and these guys mined catalogs from as small as Shrine and as large as Columbia/Epic.

I don't see anyone trying to re-write history out here unless it is someone who has a vested interest in keeping certain truths buried. Not saying they don't exist - they do, but as long as we have folks like Ralph, Bob, Weldon, Clay and others who worked for Motown - and these guys wouldn't have any reason to revise anything - we will always know the real deal.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Handsome (170.118.157.134) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 01:55 pm:

Sue, I enjoyed your book, "The Women of Motown". Will your upcoming expanded book talk about other women, not so popular in Motown, i.e-Blinky, Barbara McNair, The Andantes, Barbara Randolph, & Gladys Knight? (I'm sure there are others).

Handsome

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.228.6) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 02:05 pm:

Ralph:

You'll dealing in semantics here. I don't care what you call it a fee is a fee. And those fees must have been substantial to keep many ex Motown artists in the red. If the Funks worked for peanuts and the artists were only charged session fees then how did those fees become so substantial? (Asking for the second time.)

I doubt your rose colored glasses view because I've personally talked to many artists who recorded at Motown who have told me different. And they all give basically the same account.

I'm actually agreeing with Bob's original post that Motown's contracts was like everybody elses stinking contracts. He modified that by saying things that were half true like the advances. Those advances were from monies those artists had earned. The Commodores were earning money for Motown from the git-go; they went on a big long tour as the opening act for the Jackson Five before anybody had ever heard of them.

KevGo:

I've known many Motown artists, know some now, that's where I get my info from, not some book. Ralph and Bob may have been there but they were engineers they had nothing to do with royalties and payments to artists. Email Edwin Starr's manager and ask her when was the last time they issued a royalty check to Starr.

The reason the O'Jays never signed with Motown is because of the practices I speak of.

You have to understand that Ralph, Bob, and others who post here aren't the only ones who were there. I can back up everything I say. I don't post gossip and I don't consult Motown books for my information. You have no ideal of my expertise and knowledge in this area. You simply, as usual, go along with the groove. Why should I, or others, put any credence in what you say? Was you there? You weren't even a teen during Motown glory years in the sixties. What do you know? You quote from books, album covers and CD booklets.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 02:07 pm:

Kevin,
Thanks for the support. I'm sure you realize that I'm not trying to blanketly defend Motown. I'm merely relating what I know to be true. If I may add, I have also seen where certain artists had gotten themselves into financial problems such as IRS debts and such and observe the company pay the bill. Of course the money went onto the tab they owed the company but why shouldn't it? I've also observed that, for the most part, artists are the least informed on what their contract is really about and will generally complain about a muriad of silly things. I think that on the whole, Motown was a pretty fair company to be signed to. I never had an gripes.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 02:10 pm:

RD,
Read my above post and take into account everything else I've said. There is no rose colored view here, only plain facts. GEEZE RD!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 02:15 pm:

RD,
I wasn't an engineer. I ran the studios. ALL studio time was accounted for through my office and I was never asked to furnish this information with anyone in accounting. One more time RD...GEEESH!!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.228.6) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 02:16 pm:

Ralph, I'm not singling out Motown. I think they were just like everybody else, maybe a little better, because they did pay their artists something and some companies never did. But you have to remember the management deal they had these artists tied to early on. Most of the monies they paid out in advances were from money the artists had earned on the road.

G. C. Cameron told me personally that he has never received a royalty check from Motown or any other company. Cameron's session fees shouldn't have been that much. He had only been with Motown a couple of years when the Spinners hit with "It's A Shame." He had a separate contract from the others. The song sold nearly a million copies and he got nothing.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 02:21 pm:

In fact I remember Harry Balk venting one day about some artist that was complaining about something and Harry saying something to the effect that don't these artists realize they are getting a world class recording facility for free? That their recording bills could be so much higher if Motown was charging to their accounts whatever the going hourly studio rates were at the time.
RD..you say you have facts. I truly doubt that since you seem to be taking your information from some obscure artists that obviously haven't a clue.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 02:28 pm:

RD,
I would guess the Spinner's session fees to be quite high. there was a substantial effort put forth on their behalf before they hit. And don't forget, many artists AND producers were getting draws on future royalties. At tmes they may not realize just how fast these advances can add up. Historically, artists have always complained about their deals at record companies, and many times rightfully so. All I'm saying here is I know what the artist was charged with and what the artist wasn't charged with regarding studio time.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 02:31 pm:

And as far as G.C.'s separate contract I havn't a clue what is in it but can guess he doesn't have all the facts either. It would take someone like forum member Fred who is a top notch music attorney to really figure out what the deal was.

Top of pageBottom of page   By TonyRussi (68.210.9.227) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 02:37 pm:

Without knowing anything about GC's contract,I would think the money made by "Its A Shame" would have to cover the many previous releases by the Spinners plus the LP that was previously released.Besides "I'll Always Love You" these previous releases did not sell significantly.It would be very interesting to see an International Talent Management contract on any of the artists.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 02:42 pm:

I used to think it was "I have the studio and equipment, you have the voice and talent, lets make a deal." All the work the artist put into the recording and the performance is just to make the company money. I guess the artist is darned anyway you look at it.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 02:49 pm:

No Sis,
Don't you realize what it takes to build and then operate and maintain a studio?

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 03:09 pm:

No I don't Ralph. I just purchased the 45 and enjoyed the music. :o)

I was a nine to five person. :o) But, I spent some of the hourly wages to help buy plane tickets so my brothers could get home when they didn't get paid. I was one of the individuals who signed for amps and guitars with my good credit. :o) In other words, I was on the other side of the fence, not important. (LOL)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Livonia Ken (136.1.1.101) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 03:13 pm:

Sis,
Your woes remind me of that old joke about "How do you tell the difference between a musician and a savings bond?"

"Eventually the savings bond matures and earns money."

No offense, musicians, I'm just funnin'-ya. :)

Regards,
Ken

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 03:14 pm:

Sis,
I can see why you are a StuBass angel.

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 03:16 pm:

LivoniaKen - That was a good one.
I'm really glad I wasn't one of the wives who had to go to Hitsville to get money to pay the electric bill, while the husbands were show boating on tv singing "Get Ready." (LOL)

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit (68.42.209.170) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 03:17 pm:

Ralph - LOL. I thought I was kicked out of that club.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.238.127.74) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 04:39 pm:

Guys, if G. C. had a separate contract then the rest of the Spinners (and he did), why was he accountable for recordings made by the group without him (if he was)? He should have only been accountable for the recordings he made with the group or any solos (if any) he did prior to joining the Spinners.

And Ralph I know a whole bunch of Motown artists that have told me stuff, not just G. C. even some arrangers like Clevelander Wade Marcus. Kenny Stover was a Motown artist and writer and he's talking now. And BTW, he lives in Cleveland. Everybody's not lying. But granted, artists who recorded for other companies tell the same horror stories; even worse. Motown did provide the groundwork for a handful of artists to establish long, relatively fruitful careers. But there were others who don't paint such a rosey picture.

Like Edwin Starr. Starr loved Golden World Records and hated Motown. For a long time he wouldn't even talk about Motown. But readily talked about Golden World and Ed Wingate. Wingate paid his artists and the people who worked for him at his label. Why do you think George Clinton trekked from Plainsfield, NJ every weekend to work at Golden World--he was compensated.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 04:43 pm:

RD:
I know of many Motown artists, producers, engineers and session people as well as those who worked in the music industry in Detroit (and Chicago for that matter - where most of my music industry mentors live, such as Carl Davis & Sonny Sanders - and they worked with many Motown folk). I get most of my information from them and give them more creedence than I give any book. That's my job as a liner note writer and compilation producer - get the story straight from the horse's mouth or someone who worked with the horse.

I'm not saying you should give creedence to what I say but with all due respect to what you know don't expect folks to take your word just because you say you were there with these artists. There are those who were there in the mix (Ralph, Clay, Weldon, Bob, Russ)and those who were there with the mix. Who do I turn to first? Those in the mix.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 04:58 pm:

RD,
Believe what you want to believe.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.238.127.74) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 05:11 pm:

Kevin, you don't turn to anybody but yourself. You process the information and if the subject matter interests you enough you find out for yourself from the horses mouths. You attempt to verify to your own satisfaction what's out there.

The part about Motown that most artists hated was the management contract. It wasn't so much the recording contract and royalties because few knew of any artists who were receiving royalties anyway. They wanted a company to market their recordings so they could secure live work. But after a show they wanted the money from that gig in full, in their pockets. Motown sent the money back to Motown and gave out little advances to the artists and paid their expenses (which was also subtracted from their accounts).

The practice continued until the late sixties. That kind of arrangement has since been declared illegal. But continues in practice to new members of old establish groups like the Temptations, the OJays, etc. The money is not divided equally five or three ways and is the same regardless of what size venue they play. This is why the turnover is so high. Members of the Tempts get a set amount for each show they do. Ron Tyson gets more than the newer Tempts and nobody knows what Otis take is. The new O'Jay get the same as a Tempt. The difference is the amount of work. The Tempts work 9 months a year or approximately 270 days or gigs while in the past the O'Jays was only working about 90 days or gigs a year; they have since increased that.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 05:52 pm:

RD:
Sounds like these groups use the old "salary system" that companies use for their employees (tenured staff get higher salaries, newer staff get entry level). I guess if Otis paid Barrington (when he was in the group) the same as Ron Tyson, someone would raise hell.

It wasn't unusual that record companies managed artists as well. MGM Records used to manage their acts and even handle some of their bookings. Carl Davis used to manage many of the acts he produced as well(Walter Jackson, Gene Chandler, the Artistics). But these particular artists (from what I know) did get paid a fair amount of money.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.238.127.74) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 06:03 pm:

Yep Kev, the same old salary system. And I guess you can see why a lead singer ends up resenting the fact that a non lead singer, i.e. Otis Williams makes more then them. Unlike most of the other groups, however, the Temptations do get royalties, which is an added bonus. They got a check after the success of the Phoenix Rising CD and the single "Stay," even the new members, and according to my source the money was divided equally among them (again, nobody knows what Otis gets). More than $10,000 but far less than $20,000 for each member. One of the newer members disappeared for two weeks after receiving his check.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.238.127.74) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 06:16 pm:

Kevin:

I should clarify something. The new members are on salary while on their probation period. After that they get a set amount per each gig they do. How it's paid, nightly, weekly or monthly...I don't know.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.238.127.74) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 06:17 pm:

Kevin:

I should clarify something. The new members are on salary while on their probation period. After that they get a set amount per gig. How it's paid, nightly, weekly or monthly...I don't know.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 06:30 pm:

RD:
I guess this system is in play for two reasons - so that the new member has to work their way up the ladder and to ensure that the tenured guy will get his due. However, if you sing lead - especially on a tune that becomes a hit - your salary should increase immediately.

Now, with all fairness, Otis should be making the most amount of money out of the five - he is the group leader (has been since the git-go), the one who has been around the longest, etc. But, let's say Ali-Ollie Woodsen ever rejoined - he should not have to start all over again like a new member. He should be paid a much higher salary because he draws an audience and - let's face it - helped put the Tempts back on the map ("Treat Her Like A Lady", the For Lovers Only album).

Who were the member who left the Tempts after getting his check?

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 06:32 pm:

RD:
I figured that there would be some stipend or salary offered while on probation. I can't see anyone working just for food and lodging (although I wouldn't be surprised if THAT happened).
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.238.127.74) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 06:45 pm:

Kev, the point is that most new members think the probationary period is too long and a bunch of bull since they're on stage performing as hard as everyone else. In the old days if there were five men in a group you do a gig get paid and the money is split five ways after paying who has to get a cut, like the band members, manager, booking, etc. There was none of the stuff that is going on now. Hence, nearly all these old soul groups have a high turnover if they're not comprised of mostly original members.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 07:49 pm:

Folks:
If I may digress for a moment this is for Scratcher and Ken from Billboard magazine, describing A Tribe Called Quest's reunion and a lingering problem w/their record label:

http://www.billboard.com/bb/daily/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1947661

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Soulaholic (68.41.193.232) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 08:41 pm:

RD,
According to whom, in the Temptations? Who is your source?

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.238.127.74) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 08:57 pm:

Soulaholic I wouldn't reveal a source on this forum. If you don't believe something I post check it out for yourself don't be intellectually lazy. I've been in and associated with the music business since the sixties. Keep on believing the bullcrap you've been fed about the business; you think I care what you think?

BTW, a northern soul zine did some very candid interviews on some ex Temptations recently. Maybe you should find out which one and check it out. Particularly, read Richard Street's account.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 09:10 pm:

RD:
Soulaholic was just asking a question regarding where you get your information from - there is no need to get defensive. He is not being intellectually lazy.

I quote my sources and not afraid to because these folks have no reason to lie and they are in the industry as well.

You seem to be in the know, RD. Share with us your knowledge but share with us where you get the knowlegde from so that we can both learn together.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.238.127.74) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 09:14 pm:

KevGo, if Soulaholic took the time to read even this thread he would see some of my sources. So evidently Soulaholic is intellectually lazy. If he read other threads he would see I use to work with the O'Jays at a recording company and others. If he read some more he also see that I posted that I have interviewed hundreds of artists. I mentioned that I talked to G. C. Cameron in this thread. Why do you feel the need or the obsession to jump into frays that don't concern you?

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 09:19 pm:

RD:
You and I were having a decent dialog regarding the Tempts, bad contracts and the like when Soulaholic chimed in with a question pertaining to the topic at hand, so how can I be jumping into a fray that "doesn't concern me" when I was involved in a dialog with you from the git-go?

I guess it's time to turn the computer off and rest. I'll check y'all over the weekend.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.242.110) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 09:27 pm:

KevGo, I came like that because Soulaholic was trying to be a smartass. The question was not legitimate because I had named some sources, not all, but some.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 09:44 pm:

RD,
I think it's time to drop the whole thing. I don't think I like where this seems to be going. In defense of Kevin, a thread is open territory for all to give an opinion. If you require privacy, then e-mail is the way to go.

why don't we just sum this whole discussion up with admitting that we, as a whole, do not have the definitve answer to this debate, and certainly as individuals we are even further from a universal conclusion.

As the Beatles said...Let It Be...

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.242.110) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 09:51 pm:

I had dropped it Ralph. Soulaholic asked me a question.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 09:53 pm:

OK RD, fair enough. Now let's consider it dropped everyone.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Soulaholic (64.12.97.7) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 10:59 pm:

Sorry Ralph,
But RD snapped when I asked a simple question. Who is your source in the Temptations, RD?

The answer is, you have no source there, or you would be proud to reveal it, as you mention G.C. Cameron and others.

The Internet is a wondrous thing; a guy with a computer in Cleveland who "used to work with the O'Jays" is on the same level with Ralph Terrana, the guy who ran the Motown recording studio.

No matter who tells RD what, he's always got the final answer. How, RD? Did Motown relocate to Cleveland when we weren't looking?

If you just ONCE said "Oh, that's interesting, that's different than what I heard" instead of insisting you're always right, no matter if Berry Gordy and every last Temptation swore out affidavits for you -- I might not be so apt to doubt everything you post.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.242.110) on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 11:03 pm:

I had ended this discussion Ralph maybe you should tell this fool Soulaholic to do the same. If you want the info Soulaholic seek it out yourself like I did. Nobody is asking you to believe nothing. Nobody snapped. I was curt in my reply because you were siding with the status quo and being a smart ass.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vonnie (205.188.209.109) on Saturday, August 02, 2003 - 12:04 am:

RD & Soulaholic,

One Love and Peace

Vonnie

Top of pageBottom of page   By Soulaholic / Brian (68.41.47.183) on Saturday, August 02, 2003 - 01:37 am:

Hello RD & Vonnie:
Are there two Soulaholic's in the group?
I did not know there was an other person with that handle.

I am Soulaholic 68.41.47.183 and have not been in this thread at all

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Saturday, August 02, 2003 - 10:58 am:

Look...everyone seems to have some sort of point they feel is valid. Let's not let this thread deteriorate the way Isaiah's thread did. Not one of us here can say for certain that we know all that went on within the company. I feel I have a slight edge over most of you simply because I was smack in the middle of the Creative Division, running the studios and acting as a right hand man to Harry Balk ( my biggest joy ). And even I don't know everything that went on at Motown.
So please everyone, in the interest of us all, let us smooth out.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ron Murphy (68.42.89.162) on Saturday, August 02, 2003 - 05:55 pm:

growing up in Detroit in the 60's was exciting for me because of my interest in music later starting in the business in 1965, now there were rumors and stories going around all the time about what was going on over there. the main thing I think about Motown & Berry is that he gets credit sometimes for things other people did but does not get credit for the most important thing a president of any company can do and that is to pick the right people for the right jobs and get those people to work to impress the boss . Berry Gordy was great at that. he admited his biggest mistake was moving the studio out of Detroit Motown was unique here in Detroit where out in LA it was just another record company and really went to pot after Berry retired from the everyday action.

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle (62.252.128.6) on Saturday, August 02, 2003 - 06:50 pm:

Ron

Thanks for the common sense.

The amount of unrealistic dialogue about Berry Gordy on this website continues to annoy me.

Most of it comes from people unable to grasp how money moves and has to movein a business to ensure survival.

Novacks were critical to the success story. Labelled "Bean Counters" to the masses (jealous masses)!!

Accountants know the score, know how money flows, where and when it comes from and when it needs to be released. Also what it needs to be invested in.

Check out the GW story. JoAnne says Berry was struggling for a long time. Struggling means on the edge financially. It takes 7 years for a manufacturing company to gain stability.

RD has been going on about Motown for too long.

He or she declares to have interviewed hundreds of artists.

Where are these interviews? Why don't you share them? Why don't you tell us who you are?

Is that really too much too ask for?

David

Top of pageBottom of page   By SB (67.201.101.87) on Saturday, August 02, 2003 - 07:40 pm:

Hey David.

Well - I'll bow out of this debate - since I asked the question and was just trying to learn. I know nothing about the ins and outs that went on at Motown, or about the mechanics of running a business. My concern was coming from a humanistic and compassionate place.

I posted a month ago or so – my thoughts on Berry's contribution to the music industry – but no one agreed w/me or picked up the conversation – so I knew not how others felt about him.

I have read many pieces about how unfair Berry was to some of his artists and the like - so that is where I was coming from, and that was my question. Was he unfair - and if so why?

I've read some things about him in news articles, this site and other sites. Some say - that he had his faves at Motown - and we all know that this has been reported. Some have sued him and Motown - and so on. Yet – I’ve always believed that he brought a lot to the table – and offered many of these artists – probably the only real opportunity for success that they would not have been offered elsewhere.

Otis mentioned in his book that he and the other group members didn't know any better when they signed their contract - yet - he also admitted that Berry took care of their every need - and that they never wanted for anything. I got the impression that he was not happy about the way he and the other members were treated at first – and he forgave but never forgot. When the Tempts resigned w/Motown after leaving there for a minute – they brought in an attorney that knew how to represent.

I have also read about the ones that have sued Berry and Motown – to include Martha Reeves. I read an article about her recently – and although she did mention the fact that she had to sue – and had misgivings about how some artists – writers and the like were treated by Motown – IMO – she truly tried to temper her remarks. She also exclaimed how well they were taken care of and that they never had to worry about a single thing whilst they were w/Motown in the early years – and as it related to finances. And I also came away thinking that she did still have love for Berry Gordy.

My thing is - I want to insure that my heart is fair when dispersing my compassionate thoughts and feelings for all concerned.

Btw David - check out that Soul Club link I posted - and click on the "J" tab. There are several songs there made by Johnnie Mae Matthews.

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle (62.252.128.6) on Saturday, August 02, 2003 - 07:55 pm:

SB

I will add the name of Funk Brother Jack Ashford to the fray, who declared in February that he was proud to have worked at Motown.

And also Mike McLean who consistently showed huge amounts of common sense when it came to this subject.

Finally there are 26 employees who work in our small company in Glasgow. 24, to a man, think they are hard done by.

Truth is they are not.

David

Top of pageBottom of page   By LTLFTC (12.210.76.205) on Saturday, August 02, 2003 - 08:04 pm:

I obviously wouldn't know the particulars of the contractual situations of artists at Motowns, but I DO know that often times when people are compensated with "Advances", they are reluctant to honestly acknowledge how much they've been 'advanced'; this sure isnt exclusive to the music business.

Steve K

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.229.135) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 11:04 am:

David M, I'm one of the biggest supporters of Motown and what Berry did that you can find anywhere. This is simply a discussion. Soulaholic was questioning some things I said about the Temptations not Motown in general, which I discovered from an ex Tempt and people who work with them. I also pointed out a northern soul zine that interviewed some ex Tempts recently and stated much but not all of what I said. What you and others have to understand that these artists were with Motown a relatively short time and was free of Motown and other companies for a much longer time and over the years have told their accounts to many. There are plenty of ex Temptations going around yapping...

If I post something I'm not sure of I write it as such. Often I'll toss things out to get other responses. It's all about getting the whole story.

What I said about Edwin Starr and his dislike for Motown is true and no secret. He loved Ed Wingate and Golden World but hated Motown. I knew the man David, knew him before he became Edwin Starr. Nobody is making stuff up here.

Nobody has even touched or commented on Bob's errorneous statement that Motown stay with acts for a long time. The only case of them doing this was with the Supremes and the Temptations. I gave proof of other artists who had one or two singles; yet this point was ignored.

I live in America David. Know many of the artists, songwriters and producers talked about on this forum. Have interviewed, smoked doped and dranked with some. Knew them when they were so call hot with records on the charts and were virtually begging others for money or worked odd jobs to get by between gigs.

I don't have the rose colored glasses, star gazing view of these artists that you and others have. Ann Bogan, Wade Marcus, the Five Quails, the O'Jays, Kenny Stover, Elgie Stover, Sonny Turner, Johnny Moore (Drifters), Imperial Wonders, The Womacks, The Occassions, Two members of S.O.U.L., and others I can recall at the top of my head lived in my neighborhood or school district. I know that most of them wasn't making much or anything from their records because their family houses rarely changed. Prior to "Backstabbers" Walter Williams nearly took a job at Fords Motors. The O'Jays were always hanging out at the pool halls and other local spots. We knew they weren't anywhere near rich, well off or even middle class despite all the recordings they made.

I see these artists and the companies they recorded for in a different perspective than you and some others here cause I know the real deal...and many on this forum don't. There is absolutely no way somebody on the outside can know these artists better than people who often times grew up with them.

Everybody wasn't a bad guy and I never said Motown was, they were like everybody else, played by the same rules. Don Davis was one of the good guys. Every song he acquired whether it got cut or not he paid an advance to the writers. Most of the companies in the south with the exception of Henry Stone's were far more honest and upfront with their artists than the major companies. If they made money the artists nearly always got their share.

It's highly unfair for you to take certain comments I make and then form an opinion on how you think I feel about a subject.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue (205.188.209.109) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 11:35 am:

RD,
Who do you write for?

As far as Motown sticking with artists, you forgot the Spinners. Whether or not their treatment was right -- acting as chauffeurs, working in packaging -- they weren't cut loose by the company when they didn't rack up hits.

Dennis Edwards was with no group when he says Berry Gordy signed him, just to keep him on retainer until he could find a place for him. He paid him for quite a while just to do nothing, until the Tempts opening came up. How many companies do that, then or now?

The idea that being a recording star is necessarily going to be a lifetime gig for every singer or group is a bit of a stretch.

Once Berry Gordy signed an artist, and they did some recordings, was it supposed to be a lifetime gig, like getting in at Ford Motor Co.? That would be a hard payroll for any company to maintain, much less an independent like Motown.

The socialist in me would suggest that artists and musicians are so valuable to society that they should be subsidized in some way so they don't have to work day jobs. But the capitalist part of me understands that few private companies could afford to do that.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Soulaholic (68.41.47.183) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 11:45 am:

Hello RD:

Someone has used by Name "Soulaholic" in this thread it was not me. I have no comment about your statements. BEWARE someone is using names that are not theirs when they post!!!!!

I feel some one does not have the ability to stand up and be recognize for what they are saying.

The original Soulaholic

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue (205.188.209.109) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 11:48 am:

p.s. to RD:

The only way we can know how anyone feels about something is to take what they write here on the subject. How else are we to know??

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.228.2) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 12:10 pm:

Sue, I had to stopped and changed a credit card just last week so I will not reveal my identity as I have been the victim of identity theft. I've written for many publications, however, including the old Players Magazine. You can believe it or not; I really don't care. If something I say peak your interest than check it out for yourself like I do. I don't take anybodys comments on this or any other forum as fact until I check it out myself.

The Spinners worked odd jobs at Motown something the Five Quails wouldn't do. The money Motown was giving them was money they earned. Motown really didn't release a lot of records on them. After the first flop, the next two were modest R&B hits that should have been much more but Motown never got behind the Spinners. Harvey use to wail about this all the time. After those first three it was like a single record release a year.

Most, at least 95 percent of the artists who recorded for Motown, never got an advance. The only ones who did were the ones with hit records or those who worked at Motown or earned money on the road via Motown's management arrangement.

Do you understand that after a gig the Motown acts didn't get the money they made at the gig? That the money was sent back to Motown? Other groups got paid by the promoter after the gig--all their money. This is why many groups wouldn't sign with the company when this practice was in place. Most groups had managers, with Motown these managers were superceded.

Sue, Dennis Edwards had an uncle in Cleveland (he passed a few years ago) that he would come see when he wasn't working with the Tempts. His uncle owned a construction company and Dennis would work for him. This occured prior to him working with the Tempts and afterwards as well. Edwards still has a lot of relatives here and once worked with the O'Jays specifically Bobby Massey at Massey's Devaki Records (in Cleveland). He's also very good friends with Margaret Foxworth an ex background singer and girlfriend of Al Green. The only thing I can comment on what you said is that it wasn't a real long time before Dennis signed with the Temptations that he was recording some solos and then with the Contours; so there was not a long period of time that Motown advanced him money for nothing. Dennis's Motown accounts and others are well known to some of us in Cleveland, Sue.

Top of pageBottom of page   By STUBASS (206.135.204.254) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 12:52 pm:

I CAN TELL YOU A STORY ABOUT SOMEONE VERY VERY NEAR TO ME...WHO WAS LISTENING TO A FINAL MIX WITH BERRY...WHEN THIS PERSON TOLD BERRY THAT A COUPLE OF THE INSTRUMENTS SOUNDED OUT OF TUNE!!!...WHAT CAME NEXT WAS THAT "CHILLING" BERRY STARE...A FEW MOMENTS OF SILENCE...AND BERRY SAYING...I LIKE IT THIS WAY...TO WHICH THIS PERSON SAID (TO HIMSELF OF COURSE)...IF YOU WANT IT OUT OF TUNE...YOU'VE GOT IT OUT OF TUNE)...END STORY!!!...STUBASS

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue (63.85.105.20) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 01:18 pm:

RD,
You also should realize that the Artist Development services Motown rendered to each artist couldn't be measured in dollars, as each of them has admitted freely. I just talked to Dennis Edwards Friday, and he couldn't say enough about Artist Development, and all the training he got from Maurice King and others. It enabled the Motown artists to have stage careers long after their recording careers were over.

He says he passes that Motown training onto the guys in his Temptations Revue.

Motown had a paternal/maternal relationship to its stars, they were taken care of in many ways like kids. Berry liked the control that gave him.

But the support and training he gave them was just unprecedented in the recording industry. The only thing I can think of that compares would be a film studio like MGM that groomed young stars.

If you talk to the Spinners, as I did for the liner notes I wrote, you'd know they also give major credit to Artist Development. While they were doing the odd jobs that maybe weren't wonderful for them to have to do, they also were able to use AD freely, they weren't touring so they could just go over and have Cholly and Maurice put them through their paces, endlessly. They said that's why they developed such a live act that they sometimes blew their headliner Marvin off the stage (this according to Uriel Jones).

RD if you had a better-rounded vision of Motown OK, but you seem to focus on the same thing over and over, without seeing the other aspects. You are at a distance, after all.

p.s. identity theft? Everybody knows who Ralph is, who Bobby Eli, David M, mhc, Dennis Coffey, Clay McMurray and I are. Etc. etc. You need a little more information than just a person's name on a website to do identity theft.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.228.2) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 01:36 pm:

Sue, you seem to think I'm knocking Motown and I'm not. I realize the things they did for artists that other companies didn't bother doing. But this was because they held management contracts on these artists and other companies did not. I also realize that a handful of Motown artists have enjoyed long careers; far longer than somebody who recorded for Chess Records or most any other label you can name. The majority of artists Motown signed, like most companies, are not as happy with the company, hence the lawsuits. Even HDH have issues. Even some of those artists who have enjoyed long careers have sued the company.

And if you had talked with the Spinners over some drinks in the sixties after one of their gigs you would have heard of completely different account about Motown from them.

From a person's name Sue you can find out out lot of information about them, their address, civil and criminal cases, etc. Check the Philadelphia County Records (they're online) and type in the name of some Philadelphians you know. I don't need any schooling about identity theft from you, thank you. If you feel free about revealing yourself than continue to do so. But don't for one minute try to tell me and others what to do.

I'm not going to argue with you about what someone told you. I'm talking personal experiences, living amongst these people, being in places they were and knowing close relatives and even siblings, and being in the business myself. I don't get my info from books. I don't approach artists as a writer, hence I don't get the bullshit, candid made for publicity rags accounts. Do you actually think they're going to rag on somebody to you?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 02:12 pm:

RD,
I'm Curious. What do you do in the business?

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.228.2) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 02:31 pm:

Nothing much now, Ralph; just a little fringe stuff. But the accounts still interest me. I'm writing a book with an ex Motown writer that will probably be scrapped because you just can't reveal certain things about people without inviting tons of lawsuits. And the major publishers don't want the goody, goody books unless the subject was/is super famous. Suffice to say most biographies you read about artists are superficial at best because they have to be because of legal issues.

Detroiters are safe from public scrutiny for now. Their civil records are not online yet. If you went to prison in Michigan that info is available but not the civil or criminal dockets.

I advise anyone to check one out. Las Vegas' is online. Type in somebody's name and see if you would want Joe Public knowing all that information about you. I found out about the site for Philadelphia because I was looking for some info about a deceased relative that was wanted by another relative.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue (63.85.105.20) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 02:35 pm:

RD,
Yes I'm curious, what do you do in the business?

And you're quite wrong, the artists rag on quite a bit about Motown and other matters. Remember, the Spinners left Motown behind a long time ago, there's nothing keeping them from being honest now. Just read what they told me, that I have in the liner notes. They felt they didn't really hit their stride until they got loose, and hooked up with Thom Bell.

As a journalist you get both endless complaining, but they also talk about the good things. It's all fodder, it's all true and both the good and the bad need to be acknowleged.

I'd watch what performers say under the influence though (laugh). Take a lot of that with a grain of salt.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.228.2) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 02:53 pm:

True Sue. I take what artists tell me with a grain of salt regardless of whether they're under the influence or not. Teetolers lie and embellish too.

Record company executives too. I once asked a woman (about three or four years ago) who was like the VP of a record company in Memphis about Randy Brown and she told me he was alive and well. I asked again about a month later and she reiterated, Mr. Brown was live and well, "I just talked to his brother Bertram the other day," she said. In fact, he had been dead for years.

I once stumbled across a website dedicated to an obscure Cleveland artist that proclaim him to be some great artist who tunes were aired all the time in Cleveland. I, being in the business at the time, knew the artist from back then but the accounts on this site was pure fabrication. People that lived on this guy's street didn't know who he was. And nobody can remember much, if any airplay he ever got. Many artists from the same era he was from don't even remember him. WaltB do you remember Cleveland Robinson?

People have to recognize that Motown had a unique arrangement with its artists in that they not only had them signed to recording contracts but management contracts too. The younger artists didn't complain much about this (what did they know), but the established artists had problems with the arrangement. Still some, like Chuck Jackson signed. Jackson who has played some clubs in Cleveland in the past that I won't even go to, like the old SKD Lounge, was compensated in that Motown kept him working, opening for their then established artists.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue (63.85.105.20) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 05:03 pm:

RD,
I've heard this before from you -- that if an artist says something that contradicts your theory, "artists lie."

Only by talking to a number of Motown personnel and artists do you get a well-rounded picture of what went on.

It amazes me that you seem to think you know better than people who were there. This is a new theory of journalism and research, you should write a book. "Don't trust the people who were there, they lie."

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 05:19 pm:

You see RD, I don't think you want to go one on one with Sue for very long. she is extremely adept at finding ones weak spots and then she'll jab you till you're silly.

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle (62.252.128.6) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 05:46 pm:

Nice one Sue

David
rose-tinted glasses off.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.228.98) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 08:11 pm:

Sue, can you tell me where you got the notion that I implied that if an artist says something that contradicts my theory they're lying? How did you make that leap? I never said or implied anything of the such. What I said was that some artist and people in general have told me things that I found out later to be lies. Haven't you? And what makes you think I'm always talking about Motown artists? What lie did I ever say a Motown artist told me? Please enlighten me?

Your point that Ralph and David cheerleader on isn't even valid. How would I have known they lied if I hadn't check other sources and found out the truth?

I don't have any theory when I talk to an artist. Where did that come from? What I do have in my head is a history of their recordings, who produced them, what labels, etc. If you come with knowledge they usually won't try to BS you.

What people who worked at Motown with these artists fail to understand is that most of these artists was with the company a short time and had a life before Motown and after Motown that unless you knew them, or kept up with their careers or nine to five lives, you know nothing about. That applies to Motown and artists who recorded for other labels.

Did you know Dennis Edwards use to work at his uncle's at his construction company in Cleveland where he has many relatives, some I've worked with at various jobs and that he worked extensively on an album by a local act called Truth in the '70s and was even part of their live show for a minute along with Margaret Foxworth? Did you know that Roy C. Hammond cut enough tracks on Dennis Edwards for an album at his company in South Carolina that has never seen the light of day.

What the people who knew these acts at Motown know is their experiences with these artists at Motown and they talk about that; I respect that; but you also have to respect people that have known them, often for much longer periods of time, outside of Motown and in some cases prior to Motown.

I hate to play the race card but why do whites think they know more about blacks, black music and black culture than blacks? Do you live, or have ever lived in the community with some of these artists, Sue, Ralph or David? Most of you know them superficially just like most sports fans only know Kobe Bryant and Bret Favre superficially. You think you know them but you really don't. With the exception of Stubass, did any of you actually live around these artists and dealt with them on a day to day basis?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph (209.240.198.62) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 08:15 pm:

I REALLY resent that last paragraph RD.

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.228.98) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 08:29 pm:

I'm sorry Ralph but it had to be said, it was said on another thread as well in so many words by many others. I admit I generalized. Some whites indeed have lived around black artists and know them very well like Bobby Eli. But I was talking in general. People of any race resent when people of another race think they know more about them then they know about themselves. Particularly somebody like me who's been involve in the scenario since the sixties. When Blacks had no say so in the matter American History was written incorrectly; well we have a say so, a voice, and all the rights of the majority race in this country these days and that injustice won't happen again.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue (205.188.209.109) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 11:28 pm:

RD,
We're talking about a private record company that was owned by a black man but included both blacks and whites, including Ralph. Yet you're effectively saying nobody white can possibly know as much about this record company that you, in faraway Cleveland, can.

Well at least your feeling is out in the open.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Heikki (212.54.27.209) on Monday, August 04, 2003 - 02:25 am:

Hi RD!
I have that Dennis Edwards album on Roy C's Three Gems label. I'm at work now, so I don't have any details to share.
Best regards
Heikki

Top of pageBottom of page   By Heikki (62.71.79.239) on Monday, August 04, 2003 - 09:55 am:

Hi!
Now I have Dennis Edwards' cd at hand:

Talk To Me (3-Gems) from 1993; prod. by Roy C. Hammond, Dennis Edwards -

Talk To Me (written by Roy C)/Circles/Going Through The Motions (Roy C)/Temps Medley (= My Girl & Just My Imagination)/Two Is Better Than One/You Bring Me Up/You Want It, You Got It/Mothers Song (by Dennis Edwards)

Dennis' opinion (Soul Express, # 2/95): "I like the album, a couple of things on it. The ballads were nice, a song about my mother, but Roy C did hastily a couple of things. He also ran out of money and couldn't promote it."

Roy's opinion (# 1/97): "I didn't have total control. I think I could've got a hit record, had I had the power to do what I wanted to do; too many people were involved."

Best regards
Heikki

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.228.178) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 08:21 am:

Heikki, Roy C told me about that Dennis Edwards album about three years ago. I didn't know he released it. Roy C handles all his promotion and distribution himself, plus I believe he works a fulltime job. He told me he deals with over 300 record stores individually to place his product. This may be an exxageration.

I suspect Bobby Massey has some tracks by Dennis too. The two worked together at Massey's now defunct Devaki Records for awhile in Cleveland. Edwards and Margaret Foxworth were actually members of Truth but the LP cover only depicted Larry Hancock and Leo Green the two who sung all the leads. Truth's "Coming Home" written by Edwards, Massey and some other Clevelanders later appeared on the Temptations' Power album as "I'm Coming Home" with the then current Temptations credited as the writers.(?)Dennis may have also done some recording in Dayton and possible St. Louis. He married a Dayton woman and lived there awhile and he visits his mom in St. Louis often. He seems to record whereever he lays his hat.

Sue, I wasn't just talking about Motown when I made that comment you referred to, I was talking about African American music and culture in general. And I don't don't know what feelings being out in the open you're talking about. BTW, That book with the ex Motown writer (who was born and raised in Cleveland)is about Cleveland recording artists primary from the '60s and '70s (including the group he was involved with). Only about a chapter or two will be devoted to his stint at Motown and all that is positive and informative.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Heikki (62.71.79.239) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 08:54 am:

Hi RD!
That Edwards connection with Truth is interesting. I didn't know that.
Do you happen to know, who is this "lawyer" (as I was told), who's writing the book about the O'Jays ?
Best regards
Heikki

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.150.228.178) on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 09:17 am:

Yea, I know the guy, but can't call his name offhand, I'll get back with you on that one. If a book about the O'Jays was done right with no holds barred it would be a smash; but we know that's not going to happen.

Heikki, if you notice on the Truth LP Edwards is credited with co-writing three or four of the six songs. The Truth concept was originally supposed to be a mini New Birth affair but something happened along the way and the recording project turned into a revisit of an obscure Cleveland duo who cut one record in Detroit name Taurus and Leo. However, live, Foxworth toured with Truth as a member and Edwards might have hit a few gigs with them as well or may have been on his way back to the Temptations, which probably messed up the project more than anything.


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