View Full Version : Fantasy Motowner


08-26-2010, 02:37 AM
Prior to 1967 great music was just GREAT music for me, particularly rock-n-roll/Soul, but actually ALL genres. But in '67 I discovered that there was a truly special connection between MANY of my most beloved artists... they were all from One Source. And the Source was Motown. It was Marvin & Tammi who first awakened me to this wonderful new (to me) Truth.

From that point on, in my world of fantasy, no longer was I Thor, Batman or Superman with a lifelong tanning salon membership. I WAS A MOTOWNER. I was one of the Temptations, added to the group as a sixth member before Dennis even came on board. My buddies and little girlfriends were all Motown stars in my mind, firmly entrenched side-by-side with our real-world Star counterparts. Motown made us cool and in-demand.

So yes, I WAS A TEMPTATION, and now that I've spilled my fantasy Motown-flavored beans, my question is are you ready to spill yours for all the Forum to see too? Were any of you also Fantasy Motowners, either under your own name or as an alter-incarnation of an established star? What were some of your greatest superstar accomplishments? Mine included so many #1 records that I lost count. Another accomplishment was never missing a PENNY of royalties due!

Come on, spill those beans!! Can't promise I won't laugh though because I even do that to myself frequenly.

midnight johnny
08-26-2010, 08:28 AM
positivesoul...I know exactly how you feel about becoming a Motowner. For me, the transformation started in 1963-64, when Motown's music began to change...Holland Dozier Holland were writing much more potent, powerfully produced tracks...."Heatwave", "Quicksand", "Baby I Need Your Loving", "Come See About Me"...I was unknowlingly becoming captured by the "Motown Sound". But I didn't have a particular artist or group that I was taken by...it was more the SOUND. Even though I didn't understand the production that went into the Motown tracks, I was taken by them, whether it was Kim Weston's "Take Me in Your Arms", or Brenda Holloway's "Just Look What You've Done", or the Temptation's "It's Growing".
Then, and even now, despite the more complete knowledge I have of what happened behind the scenes at Motown, I feel as though the whole body of artists and writers and producers were a family...a family that I was part of...because they could allow me to feel what they were feeling. So...from the Lewis Sister's great writing and not-so great vocals (that always make me smile), to the excitement of waiting to see Diana, Mary and Flo on the Ed Sullivan Show, to falling in love with Tammi Terrell...and then losing her...to all the changes that began to occur in the groups' memberships (Flo, David, Diana)...the Motown Sound was the thing that meant...and still means the most to me.
Thanks for starting this very thoughtful thread, positivesoul!

08-26-2010, 09:24 AM
Johnny, thanks for reaffirming that I was by no means alone when it came to the magical impact of Motown in my daily consciousness as a kid growing up. I'm happy that the magic endures still in many ways and this great SDForum is one of the treasured sustainers of it all! I'm excited as a teenager over both the imminent release of Cellarful of Motown 4, and of course that of the Tammi Solo Collection.

Yes, I'm glad that I'm not the only one displaying some occasionally sloppy table manners... your beans are spilling, good friend. :)

09-16-2010, 11:30 PM
positivesoul and midnight johnny: I can identify COMPLETELY with what you two have shared about your early days as a FANTASY MOTOWNER! I am now approaching 60 years of age (it's SOOOO hard to believe!) so was a teenager during the mid-1960s. From late 1964, I grew up in Southern California in a fairly integrated area in terms of students at school and the like. Thus, Motown and Soul Music in general had a big influence on me. Although I noticed the early Motown material once I started listening to radio in the early 1960s, I didn't "catch the bug" until late 1964, early 1965 time frame. My first infatuation was with the Supremes and the Four Tops. I also could NOT WAIT to catch Diana, Mary, and Flo on the Ed Sullivan Show doing their latest and greatest releases! I was glued to the TV every time...big time!

Once I learned that there wasn't "just the Motown label" but a "family of labels" that stated "Motown Record Corporation" (Motown, Tamla, Gordy, Soul, VIP) I became an AVID collector of ANY AND ALL 45s I could afford to buy. I would beg my Mom to drive me to the nearest record stores to get the latest releases and pick up a few oldies while I was at it. I would visit Wallich's Music City in Redondo Beach and search the ENTIRE 45 record bins for ANYTHING on MOTOWN, TAMLA, GORDY, SOUL, and VIP...and much later...RARE EARTH). I collected them without even having heard them on the radio...stuff from Chris Clark, The Spinners, Shorty Long, Paul Petersen, The Monitors, etc. I would later also really dig The Marvelettes, Martha & The Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Kim Weston, Tammi Terrell, and Brenda Holloway.

I've NEVER shared the following with anybody to this day: My family had an antiquated manual typewriter that could barely type, a GERMAN make of some kind. I would listen to KFWB, KHJ, KGFJ, and KDAY radio stations and keep up with the Top 30 or 40 of each week, always seeking to discover new Motown-related releases to buy. Once I began adding to my collection of 45s, I would make up my very own Top 30and type them out on that old typewriter, creating my listings for the Motown songs that I really liked at that very moment. At first, the lists would be primarily done weekly, indicating "this week's" position vs. "last week's". After awhile, I would do updates more than weekly...almost daily. And man, when I would come home with a half-dozen or so new Motown 45s, I had to rate the records by doing an updated listing. Once in a great while, I might make an "exception" and "allow" a Motown-sounding song on "my lists"...but that was not often. A few I recall are the Four Season's "Let's Hang On" and "Working My Way Back To You"..and I think I also included Edwin Starr's Ric-Tic release of "Agent Double-O-Soul" and Darrell Banks' "Open The Door To Your Heart."

I also subscribed for a time to Cash Box to keep ahead of the Motown curve and find some releases that I otherwise would have not known about beforehand. The "lists" I collected for some time, but alas, as I got older and realized that I had been in "my own Motown world" during my school years, I must have tossed them out at some point (although I don't recall specifically doing so).

Besides maintaining the lists, I would fantasize that I was a radio DJ and introduce the list as though I was doing the Hot Top 30 for the week, doing the "weekly count down" for the "audience." I imagined that I could also meet some artists such as The Supremes. However, as a kid, my family was not well-to-do, so going to concerts and the like was not even seriously considered...it was simply a dream for me. Only much later in life did I at last see Mary Wilson in concern at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center in Cerritos, California, where she appeared with her "Supreme" background singers, and the Commodores were also on the billing. I was also fortunate enough to meet Brenda Holloway, Claudette Robinson, Betty Kelly (of the Vandellas) and Mable John at the Marvin Gaye's Hollywood Walk Star memorial several years ago. I was almost speechless to be able to meet these fine ladies, and what beauties were Brenda and Claudette! I politely asked Brenda if I could take her hand and kiss it and she so kindly obliged. Same with Claudette.

Well...enough said. I want to express that after having collected all those Motown 45s (hundreds of them)...I left them at home after moving out and my sister gave them away to a neighbor. I only found out months later after searching high and low for them. I was very disappointed to lose them that way. But, I survived. I am ABSOLUTELY ELATED to be privileged to live long enough to see the Motown Vaults made available to us Motown lovers! What a DREAM COME TRUE to witness all the CD releases these last several years. I am almost in heaven these days...but I want to hang around a wee bit longer to see the forthcoming issues that most of us are so hyped and anxious to see.

Thanks for sharing the dream, the fantasy, and the reality of Motown.