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  1. #1

    Gladys and wanda friction in the marvelettes

    It is well known there was friction in the marvelettes camp between both lead singers well before gladys exited t group in 67 as mentioned by Catherine in the marvelettes book and on tvone and i imagine it ran deeper when smokey stopped working with Gladys or stopped releasing a sides with her as lead. Are there any motown insiders who care to share.

  2. #2
    I don’t know personally if Gladys was upset that she wasn’t getting the A side singles. She was still recording quite a bit of tracks and they were on the albums. Frankly they weren’t doing all that much recording and so I’d assume they were thankful for just not being dropped from the label.

    According to the book Gladys was more put off by Wanda’s attitude that their early stuff wasn’t good. That change of heart and Wanda’s decline seem to have more to do w the problems. The two of them had always been sharing leads so I guess that area was less of a sore spot

  3. #3
    The marvelettes were doing quite well during the time wanda took over. As lead. Dont mess w bill. Hunter gets captured young and in love. I doubt motown would have dropped the marvelettes especially w smokey writing for them Theres s story around on fb that wanda devalued gladys contributions as lead singer and there were argments over wanda beig more significant to the group in which catherie did not agree. Things got worse after gladys left as catherne documents on tvone

  4. #4
    Well on Unsung, Wanda was pegged as the troublemaker in the group.

  5. #5
    That probably sums it up. Gladys was very significant to t marvelettes and t originator of t sound no matter how small.

  6. #6
    Every business has frictions; more seems to be made of them in a book or documentary and that’s in order to sell the product

  7. #7
    Both lead singers gave the marvelettes a beautiful body of work and neither can be devalued. I love gladys early work in particular

  8. #8
    I agree. Gladys had a soulful intensity and passion that was somewhat unusual at Motown and she really “sold” the songs.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by franjoy56 View Post
    It is well known there was friction in the marvelettes camp between both lead singers well before gladys exited t group in 67 as mentioned by Catherine in the marvelettes book and on tvone and i imagine it ran deeper when smokey stopped working with Gladys or stopped releasing a sides with her as lead. Are there any motown insiders who care to share.
    Yeah! Smokey took the lead from Gladys and gave it to Wanda when he started writing and producing for them. He said some truly rude and unmentionable things right to Gladys' face and she never got over it and I don't think she ever forgave him. In a few words....It was awful! LOL!
    Last edited by marv2; 04-16-2018 at 05:36 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by franjoy56 View Post
    The marvelettes were doing quite well during the time wanda took over. As lead. Dont mess w bill. Hunter gets captured young and in love. I doubt motown would have dropped the marvelettes especially w smokey writing for them Theres s story around on fb that wanda devalued gladys contributions as lead singer and there were argments over wanda beig more significant to the group in which catherie did not agree. Things got worse after gladys left as catherne documents on tvone
    Things really started to get worse when Smokey took over as their producer. He would not allow Gladys to sing lead on the singles, only Wanda.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by franjoy56 View Post
    That probably sums it up. Gladys was very significant to t marvelettes and t originator of t sound no matter how small.
    Gladys was significant and essential to the group. To me all of them were.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    Every business has frictions; more seems to be made of them in a book or documentary and that’s in order to sell the product
    No that's not true. They didn't even tell where source of the "frictions" came from in any book. So it was not used to sell the product. In fact, in most books about Motown (save for Miss Ray's book), they were all pretty tame and did not tell all the uglies that really went on at Motown in Detroit.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I agree. Gladys had a soulful intensity and passion that was somewhat unusual at Motown and she really “sold” the songs.
    Gladys was the sound of the Marvelettes, along with Kat, Wanda and Georgianna up to and around the mid 60s. Some of the producers did not take her seriously because she was so young and it did not help that she/they were from the burbs.......

  14. #14
    Im sorry to hear about smokeys treatment of gladys what nerve. No wonder gladys was upset in a 1991 interview when she said that smokey robinson was t very one to sell the marvelettes name over a lost bet fot payment and at that time gladys was back on the road performing and t only marvelette on the road in america. Wanda was forced bsck on t recording scene in england with gladys on the ian levine deal with many other motown acts for a small pittence

  15. #15
    I tend to prefer more of Gladys' vocals to wanda's. She was a warmth and sincerity and is quite versatile w her leads. really talented. makes you wonder how she would have done with more and broader material

    Not stunned to hear she and smokey didn't get along (assuming that rumor is true). Not that I think Smokey is a bad guy but there are always people that just don't click. perhaps they just didn't get along. given the popularity of their two groups in the early years, I'd assume they were often sharing the bill or working together at the same locations. And given their age, they could have easily done some immature or adolescent things.

    Did smokey ever produce much on the girls prior to the mid-60s and Don't Mess With Bill? maybe part of the reason for that is he and Gladys didn't like each other. totally speculating

  16. #16
    Smokey wrote & produced "As Long As I Know He's Mine" which featured both Gladys(with most of the lead) and Wanda # 3 R&B 1963. It was the follow up to "Locking Up My Heart". Then Smokey wrote & produced "You're My Remedy" which Wanda sang lead, 1964.Wanda sang lead on both "I'll Keep Holding On" and "Danger,Heartbreak Dead Ahead" which Mickey Stevenson produced BEFORE "Don't Mess With Bill" . I don't think Gladys had a problem with Wanda being on those leads.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by motony View Post
    Smokey wrote & produced "As Long As I Know He's Mine" which featured both Gladys(with most of the lead) and Wanda # 3 R&B 1963. It was the follow up to "Locking Up My Heart". Then Smokey wrote & produced "You're My Remedy" which Wanda sang lead, 1964.Wanda sang lead on both "I'll Keep Holding On" and "Danger,Heartbreak Dead Ahead" which Mickey Stevenson produced BEFORE "Don't Mess With Bill" . I don't think Gladys had a problem with Wanda being on those leads.
    Smokey also wrote and produced HE'S A GOOD GUY (YES HE IS) with Gladys on lead, which was the follow-up to AS LONG AS I KNOW HE'S MINE, and hit #18 R&B.

    He also wrote and produced the album track I THINK I CAN CHANGE YOU, with Gladys on lead.
    Last edited by reese; 04-16-2018 at 09:27 PM.

  18. #18
    that's right!! I forgot about Remedy!

  19. #19
    Wait, was Smoke's treatment of Gladys confirmed by any of the Marvelettes members???

    I'm sure Smoke produced songs featuring Gladys on lead so I don't think that's true at all.

  20. #20
    In a 1991 interview with bill randhl gladys said smokey sold the marvelettes name in a crap game as payment and that caused her problems when larry marshak tried to stop her from performing because he owned t name.

  21. #21
    No singles featuring gladys wete released after too many fish in the sea that was her last a side. And i believe keep off no trespasing would made a great single with plenty of pop airplay

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Wait, was Smoke's treatment of Gladys confirmed by any of the Marvelettes members???

    I'm sure Smoke produced songs featuring Gladys on lead so I don't think that's true at all.
    Well that's too bad because it is true! At the time, everyone thought he was just showing favoritism towards Wanda because she was married to Bobby, his group mate and friend. That wasn't it. The stuff he said to Gladys would have gotten him put in the hospital under different circumstances and with a different type of person. Gladys just wanted to sing so she asked him why was he taking more leads from her and giving them to Wanda.

    Now if you think the folks in Detroit were going to write down everything they did and said on paper you're umm......mistaken LOL!!!!

    It really does not matter if you believe it or not because it is the truth and it did happen years ago. Fran is right about the interview in the 90s. There were other interviews Gladys did along with Miss Ray and I am not getting into all of that.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by franjoy56 View Post
    In a 1991 interview with bill randhl gladys said smokey sold the marvelettes name in a crap game as payment and that caused her problems when larry marshak tried to stop her from performing because he owned t name.
    Yep Fran! That also happened, but he's not going to believe you! LOL!!!

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by franjoy56 View Post
    No singles featuring gladys wete released after too many fish in the sea that was her last a side. And i believe keep off no trespasing would made a great single with plenty of pop airplay
    They did not give that song a chance. Remember, Smokey was a Vice President at Motown at that time.

  25. #25
    Check it out:


  26. #26
    Thanks marv for posting and that track was recorded after too many fish. And that was a great track featured on t pink 1966 album

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by franjoy56 View Post
    Thanks marv for posting and that track was recorded after too many fish. And that was a great track featured on t pink 1966 album
    You're most welcome Fran. I have the pink album in my collection, a great album. I wonder much it is worth now. LOL!

  28. #28
    I had it once now i have both forever the compkete albums vol 1 and 2

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by franjoy56 View Post
    I had it once now i have both forever the compkete albums vol 1 and 2
    I have to get back to my collecting. It's been a while

  30. #30
    What was t a side of this. I love gladys range with wandas falsetto reminds me of going down for third time diana and flo

  31. #31
    Lol @ Marv...

    So defensive, chile.

    What was with that "it doesn't matter" situation? LOL

    But yeah, Smoke should've gave Gladys more leads on singles. It's what made the Marvelettes sizzle. And before you say "but not everyone appears the way they are" in regards to Smokey, yes I know that, but him dissing Gladys like he's a jock at high school just seems... out of character lol

    Like I've never seen any other Motown act being dragged by Smokey like that...

    Then again, the Marvelettes always thought Motown dissed them as outsiders because they weren't from the streets of Detroit, but in some "country" town like Inkster.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Lol @ Marv...

    So defensive, chile.

    What was with that "it doesn't matter" situation? LOL

    But yeah, Smoke should've gave Gladys more leads on singles. It's what made the Marvelettes sizzle. And before you say "but not everyone appears the way they are" in regards to Smokey, yes I know that, but him dissing Gladys like he's a jock at high school just seems... out of character lol

    Like I've never seen any other Motown act being dragged by Smokey like that...

    Then again, the Marvelettes always thought Motown dissed them as outsiders because they weren't from the streets of Detroit, but in some "country" town like Inkster.
    I'm reminded of some very wise words that it seems like so many people refuse to hold their hands up and receive: believe half of what you see and none of what you hear. This story of Smokey gambling the name away is untrue. Marshak was a dirty, lowdown piece of trash in the industry who managed to steal what he wanted. The reason Kat and Gladys' estate were able to retain the right to the name is because Motown never surrendered the name. It was always legally Motown's and the surviving members of the Marvelettes. Marshak was arguing that because there was a period of time in which the Marvelettes were no longer a group, that he could trademark the name and put together his own Marvelettes. The law said "no way Jose" and that's why his ass lost the case. Had Smokey or anyone else signed the name over to Marshak, he would have had a legal right to the name. Motown nor it's representatives- including Smokey- ever did such a thing. Again, that's why Larry Marshak lost his suit.
    Last edited by RanRan79; 04-17-2018 at 01:43 AM.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Wait, was Smoke's treatment of Gladys confirmed by any of the Marvelettes members???

    I'm sure Smoke produced songs featuring Gladys on lead so I don't think that's true at all.
    You have to ask for receipts around here. Some folks will tell you everybody at Motown greeted each other by sniffing each other's asses the way dogs do, and you're supposed to believe it because they said so. Bullshit.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I'm reminded of some very wise words that it seems like so many people refuse to hold their hands up and receive: believe half of what you see and none of what you hear. This story of Smokey gambling the name away is untrue. Marshak was a dirty, lowdown piece of trash in the industry who managed to steal what he wanted. The reason Kat and Gladys' estate were able to retain the right to the name is because Motown never surrendered the name. It was always legally Motown's and the surviving members of the Marvelettes. Marshak was arguing that because there was a period of time in which the Marvelettes were no longer a group, that he could trademark the name and put together his own Marvelettes. The law said "no way Jose" and that's why his ass lost the case. Had Smokey or anyone else signed the name over to Marshak, he would have had a legal right to the name. Motown nor it's representatives- including Smokey- ever did such a thing. Again, that's why Larry Marshak lost his suit.
    I knew it. Shame on Marv shaming Smokey this way...

    I can't believe I used to believe the story about Smokey. Glad to know he wasn't that sh***y.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    You have to ask for receipts around here. Some folks will tell you everybody at Motown greeted each other by sniffing each other's asses the way dogs do, and you're supposed to believe it because they said so. Bullshit.
    Basically! I don't get how some folks claim they love Motown and then sh*t on the artists who helped to make Motown what it was!

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    I knew it. Shame on Marv shaming Smokey this way...

    I can't believe I used to believe the story about Smokey. Glad to know he wasn't that sh***y.
    And I always thought it was Gordy who supposedly gambled the name away, which would make more sense considering that (a) he was a notorious gambler, and (b) only he would have had any power to give the name away.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Basically! I don't get how some folks claim they love Motown and then sh*t on the artists who helped to make Motown what it was!
    Some folks get off on gossip. And that's not singling out anyone in this forum, that's life in the real world. The rumor mill really starts churning in middle school, it gets worse in high school, and then when folks are grown you expect it to subside but it seems to get even worse. I know some old 75, 80, 85 year old women who make Marv look like Little Orphan Annie. Them heifers can gos-sip!! Tell you all about who was doing what and when. They didn't see none of it, of course. Just what they heard. But they'll tell you what it was, just like if they saw it themselves...even though they didn't. Go figure.

    The history of Motown is important. And you can't tell it's history without sometimes getting into the personal conflicts that arise between the people involved, especially when it directly affects the Motown story. And surely any conflict between Smoke and Gladys could have had an effect on the music and the business. And as someone pointed out earlier, conflicts do happen. I'm seeing people repeating this Gladys vs Smokey anecdote from Gladys' perspective but not Smokey's. Lets say he did say something "rude and unmentionable". Did he wake up that morning and decide today is the day he's going to say something "rude and unmentionable" to Gladys Horton today? Or was he provoked? It's hard for me to imagine Gladys Horton provoking someone in that manner, of course, but she was human just like anyone else. She was young just like everyone else. When you're young you say stupid shit, you speak without thinking. Keeping it real can sometimes go real wrong.

    But until someone produces a source for Gladys' claim that Smokey was mean to her and bumped her from lead singer status, once again I'm filing this story under "rumor" and returning to the music.

  38. #38
    As for the two women as lead singers, I prefer Gladys as lead until about 1965 when Wanda really found her footing as a vocalist. Still loved Gladys' voice, but I think I love Wanda's more at that point. Marketing wise, I think Wanda had the more ear catching voice at that point. And it had matured in a way that I don't think Gladys' had, and thus Wanda's voice was better suited for the more adult themed cuts that Smokey was crafting.

    I still think it's a shame that Gladys didn't pursue a solo career in the 70s. We really missed out on hearing more great music with her voice.

  39. #39
    I know what i heard from gladys voice and when i get time i am going to post word for word what she had to say about smokey robinson. I dont make up gossip. And gladys horton did not deserve the garbage she had to deal with.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Lol @ Marv...

    So defensive, chile.

    What was with that "it doesn't matter" situation? LOL

    But yeah, Smoke should've gave Gladys more leads on singles. It's what made the Marvelettes sizzle. And before you say "but not everyone appears the way they are" in regards to Smokey, yes I know that, but him dissing Gladys like he's a jock at high school just seems... out of character lol

    Like I've never seen any other Motown act being dragged by Smokey like that...

    Then again, the Marvelettes always thought Motown dissed them as outsiders because they weren't from the streets of Detroit, but in some "country" town like Inkster.
    Be honest with yourself and admit you don't know Smokey's character. I just post facts and if you choose to not believe the truth, that is your business.

  41. #41
    Smokey did a lot of great things for the music of motown and nothing against him as an artist and two sides to a story.

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by franjoy56 View Post
    What was t a side of this. I love gladys range with wandas falsetto reminds me of going down for third time diana and flo
    I will try to find out for you.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by franjoy56 View Post
    Smokey did a lot of great things for the music of motown and nothing against him as an artist and two sides to a story.
    Exactly. I love Smokey, I love all of them, but like me they were not perfect!

  44. #44
    exactly!!!!!!

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I just post facts and if you choose to not believe the truth, that is your business.
    Ahhh Marv, it's like your a caricature of yourself...

  46. #46
    "Two sides to a story".

    Sure if there's a source...

    You know what? I'm starting to think most of the stuff we get from Motown books about supposed drama was only halfway true. You know what it reminds me of? There is this YouTuber called Karceno and he has a channel called Karceno4Life.

    If you look at his channel, some of his videos remind you of what has been spewed here on Soulful Detroit the last 16 years!!!

    And mainly on many Motown forums since 2002 at least.

    Gladys Horton, AFAIK, has never talked smack about Smokey in public. When the Marvelettes' name came into play, she blamed not Gordy or Smokey but LARRY MARSHAK!

    That's the only guilty party. Any attempt to shame BG and Smokey for it is really lame, honestly.

    Weird dynamics in Soulful Detroit that folks just accept gossip. Marv and Fran, y'all know better than that.

    Folks here are easily persuaded to believe the worst out of the most successful Motown acts in some attempt to "humanize" them. It reminds me of Lipstick Alley's constant defaming of Marvin Gaye for example because of rumors that were never confirmed. So why would we even believe the stuff we hear about Smokey or Berry or Michael Jackson or Diana or Marvin or whatever when they're at best exaggerated.
    Last edited by midnightman; 04-17-2018 at 11:41 AM.

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by franjoy56 View Post
    I know what i heard from gladys voice and when i get time i am going to post word for word what she had to say about smokey robinson. I dont make up gossip. And gladys horton did not deserve the garbage she had to deal with.
    When you repeat something that you weren't present for and present it as fact, it's gossip. And while I will certainly appreciate you posting word for word what Gladys supposedly said, I'd much rather have you source where this information is coming from. Is this a television program? A written article perhaps? Who, what and where would be greatly appreciated.

    With you even saying Gladys "did not deserve the garbage she had to deal with", it tells me that your entire opinion about the subject is operating from a place where only Gladys' side of things matter. You claim to have Gladys' side, but how can you make an informed opinion about the situation if you don't also have Smokey's side? This I don't understand.

    The verdict in this case still stands: rumor.

  48. #48
    Like I said, folks rely on tea no matter how unsubstantiated it is because they wanna knock an icon down a peg. Since folks tried doing it to Diana, MJ and Marvin, now Smokey is next on the list. Just pathetic.

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    "Two sides to a story".

    Sure if there's a source...

    You know what? I'm starting to think most of the stuff we get from Motown books about supposed drama was only halfway true. You know what it reminds me of? There is this YouTuber called Karceno and he has a channel called Karceno4Life.

    If you look at his channel, some of his videos remind you of what has been spewed here on Soulful Detroit the last 16 years!!!

    And mainly on many Motown forums since 2002 at least.

    Gladys Horton, AFAIK, has never talked smack about Smokey in public. When the Marvelettes' name came into play, she blamed not Gordy or Smokey but LARRY MARSHAK!

    That's the only guilty party. Any attempt to shame BG and Smokey for it is really lame, honestly.

    Weird dynamics in Soulful Detroit that folks just accept gossip. Marv and Fran, y'all know better than that.

    Folks here are easily persuaded to believe the worst out of the most successful Motown acts in some attempt to "humanize" them. It reminds me of Lipstick Alley's constant defaming of Marvin Gaye for example because of rumors that were never confirmed. So why would we even believe the stuff we hear about Smokey or Berry or Michael Jackson or Diana or Marvin or whatever when they're at best exaggerated.
    The problem for you is that it is not gossip. What I say actually happened. Unless preface something "I can imagine that...." or "In my opinion...." or" Wouldn't it be funny if that happened......." So, like I said, it is not critical that you believe anything that read here.

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    "Two sides to a story". Sure if there's a source...You know what? I'm starting to think most of the stuff we get from Motown books about supposed drama was only halfway true...Weird dynamics in Soulful Detroit that folks just accept gossip. Folks here are easily persuaded to believe the worst out of the most successful Motown acts in some attempt to "humanize" them... So why would we even believe the stuff we hear about Smokey or Berry or Michael Jackson or Diana or Marvin or whatever when they're at best exaggerated.
    This should actually be required reading for anyone first joining the forum because it is 100 percent true. But what we see in the forum is just a mirror of what goes on in the real world. This Motown gossip aint no different than church gossip, school gossip, job gossip, even family gossip. Some folks get their lives spreading stuff about other people. What's the point? Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all taking issue with this supposed Gladys admission that she and Smoke had a problem. If we're discussing the downfall of the group and friction between Smokey and Gladys is mentioned as a possible element, it has to be allowed a part of the conversation. But when people start talking about it like they actually saw and heard it all go down when they surely didn't, it gets a bit creepy. Add to that the noise about Smokey gambling the name away when he so clearly didn't. Why in the world would anyone just take someone's word for something even after they were so clearly wrong about something else? Gladys' mouth wasn't no prayer book and neither is any of ours. If it can't be backed up then it has to be placed in the gossip pile.

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