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  1. #1

    Marv johnson - you got what it takes (rare clip 1959)

    MARV JOHNSON - YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES (RARE CLIP 1959) PERFORMING ON THE DICK CLARK SHOW


  2. #2
    Wow, this is rare. Marv was a great guy. My mother knew him and I met him years ago in Detroit. Thanks for this one Soulpassion.

  3. #3
    What an asset Marv Johnson was to Berry Gordy and Motown. I'm thankful I got to see him perform live. Great clip.

  4. #4
    Actually,although the early hits of Marv Johnson helped Gordy and Motown, there are stories that Marv Johnson proved to be a problem .
    There is the feeling that success went to his head. The story of his insistence that Gordy should make an appointment to see him( the same Gordy who had 'made' him) is legendary.

    One of the Gordy clan is quoted as saying that Berry only had problems with two artists..and both were called "Marvin"

  5. #5
    Much to my unhappiness with the situation, I was in attendance personally at Marv Johnson's funeral in Detroit. Esther Edwards praised him when she spoke. It was a sad event.

    In the Memories of the 1972 Motown Revue by the photographer Curtis E. Woodson who published a copyrighted picture of Marv in the early days of the tours while performing, he made the following statement: "Marv Johnson was like a 'ghost' during the first few weeks of the tour. I never saw him at rehearsals, during lunch or dinner brakes[sic], or at our hotel and since he traveled in his private car, I never saw him on the road. Bill Murry would say, 'Ladies and Gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce 'Marvelous Marv Johnson,' he would appear on stage and sing a few of his songs and disappear. Maybe because he was already an established 'star' he didn't feel he should be too close to the rest of the troup[sic]."

  6. #6
    I met him after a show with the Motor City artists touting the UK. It was not long before he sadly died.
    He was very friendly, signed autographs and happy to talk with fans. In fact, he gave me, unprompted, his address or phone number in Detroit.

  7. #7
    Reading some MJ background, I came across Bobby Parker's version of "You got what it takes".
    Seems like Berry Gordy stole that and shamelessly ( as the article says) put his name on it. Parker, it says, couldn't afford a lawyer..

  8. #8
    Berry seemed to do the same things that he blamed Brunswick and their clan for doing when Berry was writing songs for Jackie Wilson.

    Bobby Parker's version came out a year earlier and the label credits Bobby Parker as the artist. But his name is not even mentioned in writing credits anymore. Credits are usually given to Tyran Carlo, Gwen Fuqua, Berry Gordy, Jr., and sometimes Marv Johnson's name is included in the credits.


  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by snakepit View Post
    Reading some MJ background, I came across Bobby Parker's version of "You got what it takes".
    Seems like Berry Gordy stole that and shamelessly ( as the article says) put his name on it. Parker, it says, couldn't afford a lawyer..
    Thanks snakepitI didn't know this !




  10. #10
    Pleasure.
    It seems that the rights must have been sold...surely Vee Jay could have afforded a lawyer to challenge this. I know it was not uncommon to find this kind of thing back in the day. In 1959, whilst wrong, it seems par for the course.
    But when Motown used it on Marvin and Tammi in 1967, and Jimmy Ruffin in 1967, it does seem cruel.
    If not financially, Bobby Parker should be credited .
    Last edited by snakepit; 10-21-2018 at 04:38 PM.

  11. #11
    Motown recorded versions by Barret Strong, Hattie Littles and Chris Clark too,
    The wonderful DFTMC does have a credit to Mr. Parker which is nice.
    Also, Volume 1 of TCMS box gives credit to Bobby Parker.
    Feeling a bit better but still sad about the deception.
    In the back of my mind, I'm sure the roots of "Money ( that's what I want) has been challenged as well.
    Last edited by snakepit; 10-21-2018 at 04:46 PM.

  12. #12
    I did think it was Berry who wrote it? However was corrected by someone on youtube so have updated it in description box....Thankyou for the above comments...Always learning something new

  13. #13
    Thanks for posting the clip in the first place..promotes good old fashioned Motown discussion

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by snakepit View Post
    Motown recorded versions by Barret Strong, Hattie Littles and Chris Clark too,
    The wonderful DFTMC does have a credit to Mr. Parker which is nice.
    Also, Volume 1 of TCMS box gives credit to Bobby Parker.
    Feeling a bit better but still sad about the deception.
    In the back of my mind, I'm sure the roots of "Money ( that's what I want) has been challenged as well.
    Sam Moore has said he wrote MONEY.

  15. #15
    http://www.bluesandsoul.com/feature/...r_1992_bands_c...

    A good interview with Marv Johnson from Blues and Soul magazine.

    A mystery here regarding the famous journey Gordy took to pick up copies of "Come to me" in January 1959. The story relates how Berry nearly had a crash in his car due to snow and ice ....coming off the road in dangerous conditions.
    Marv claims here it was him and Berry.
    In Berry's autobiography, he claims it was Smokey.
    Should we believe Marv?
    Is this another case of Berry revising history as he did with Miss Ray? Or just a case of failing memory?
    Last edited by snakepit; 10-25-2018 at 06:45 PM.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Sam Moore has said he wrote MONEY.
    Sam Moore is lying. He didn't write "Money".
    Last edited by marv2; 10-25-2018 at 10:29 PM.

  17. #17
    Just looked at a couple of books....confirming Berry's account, including , tellingly, Smokey's autobiography.
    Smokey says it was he and Berry..
    Was Marv embelishing his 'role' in Motown history?

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by snakepit View Post
    Pleasure.
    It seems that the rights must have been sold...surely Vee Jay could have afforded a lawyer to challenge this. I know it was not uncommon to find this kind of thing back in the day. In 1959, whilst wrong, it seems par for the course. If not financially, Bobby Parker should be credited.
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    This may forever be a muddy, unsettled issue, especially because Parker and Billy Davis, and most of the other people who knew what actually happened, are no longer with us, and Berry can say whatever he wants.

    I bought Bobby Parker's 1957 VJ record new, and because of the different genre, style, and tempo of the 2 songs, I didn't even realise that Marv Johnson's 1959 recording was the SAME song! In 1959, when Parker claimed that Gordy, Davis and Gordy plagerised his song, I believe that Berry Gordy claimed that he and Davis (AKA Ty Carlo, at that time) had written that song for Parker in 1957, and that Gwen Gordy had helped them modify the song in 1959 (changed from the version they wrote for Parker in 1957). I believe Gordy took the case to court, and won, because Parker didn't have the money to hire a lawyer. So, there is still debate about who actually wrote the song. I think that Berry Gordy claimed that VJ Records should have listed him and Ty Carlo as the writers on Parker's 1957 VJ release. I don't think Parker ever got paid any money for writing that song.


    My best guess is that Bobby Parker wrote a primitive Bluesy version of the song first, and brought it to Berry Gordy and Ty Carlo(Billy Davis) to polish up, into a better commercial song. They did that, and were paid some money to do it. Then, Parker took the song to his VJ producer, Calvin Carter, to record it. We'll probably never know whether Parker told Carter that he, alone, wrote it, or it was written by Himself, together with polishers, Gordy and "Carlo"(Davis). But VJ wanted the publishing rights, in exchange for paying for Parker's recording studio time, musicians, producing and paying to press the record up. So, VJ's Conrad Music published it, and left Gordy & Carlo off the credits.


    I have read that Gordy and Carlo sold the publishing rights to Chess Records' Arc Music in very late 1957. or early 1958. That's when they sold Arc a few other songs that were sung by Etta James, Harvey Fuqua, and Etta & Harvey, together.


    Angry that they were left off the credits of Parker's issued VJ record, 2 years later, Berry Gordy and Davis, together with Berry's sister, Gwen, polished the song even more, changing its tempo, making the melody sweeter, to better fit Marv Johnson's style, and recorded it with their Motown crew, per their working agreement with United Artists Records. The three writers published the new version through their own, Fidelity Music, and registered this new version, as a different song, with BMI. So, technically, they are two different published songs, - BOTH registered with BMI.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by robb_k View Post
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    This may forever be a muddy, unsettled issue, especially because Parker and Billy Davis, and most of the other people who knew what actually happened, are no longer with us, and Berry can say whatever he wants.

    I bought Bobby Parker's 1957 VJ record new, and because of the different genre, style, and tempo of the 2 songs, I didn't even realise that Marv Johnson's 1959 recording was the SAME song! In 1959, when Parker claimed that Gordy, Davis and Gordy plagerised his song, I believe that Berry Gordy claimed that he and Davis (AKA Ty Carlo, at that time) had written that song for Parker in 1957, and that Gwen Gordy had helped them modify the song in 1959 (changed from the version they wrote for Parker in 1957). I believe Gordy took the case to court, and won, because Parker didn't have the money to hire a lawyer. So, there is still debate about who actually wrote the song. I think that Berry Gordy claimed that VJ Records should have listed him and Ty Carlo as the writers on Parker's 1957 VJ release. I don't think Parker ever got paid any money for writing that song.


    My best guess is that Bobby Parker wrote a primitive Bluesy version of the song first, and brought it to Berry Gordy and Ty Carlo(Billy Davis) to polish up, into a better commercial song. They did that, and were paid some money to do it. Then, Parker took the song to his VJ producer, Calvin Carter, to record it. We'll probably never know whether Parker told Carter that he, alone, wrote it, or it was written by Himself, together with polishers, Gordy and "Carlo"(Davis). But VJ wanted the publishing rights, in exchange for paying for Parker's recording studio time, musicians, producing and paying to press the record up. So, VJ's Conrad Music published it, and left Gordy & Carlo off the credits.


    I have read that Gordy and Carlo sold the publishing rights to Chess Records' Arc Music in very late 1957. or early 1958. That's when they sold Arc a few other songs that were sung by Etta James, Harvey Fuqua, and Etta & Harvey, together.


    Angry that they were left off the credits of Parker's issued VJ record, 2 years later, Berry Gordy and Davis, together with Berry's sister, Gwen, polished the song even more, changing its tempo, making the melody sweeter, to better fit Marv Johnson's style, and recorded it with their Motown crew, per their working agreement with United Artists Records. The three writers published the new version through their own, Fidelity Music, and registered this new version, as a different song, with BMI. So, technically, they are two different published songs, - BOTH registered with BMI.
    Robb, Berry and Co. may have been angry about what happened to them and the Bobby Parker version of the song, but he's been known to do similar things to other songwriters.

  20. #20
    Robb,
    Thanks for that.
    In Berry's book, he claims it was Davis who wrote it and he and Gwen added to it. He makes no mention of Parker, but then again, would we expect more?

    Any views on the car ride? If, as I suspect, Gordy and Johnson had fallen out, is this Gordy and Smokey airbrushing Marv out of the story. Maybe all 3 made the journey and BG and Smokey conveniently forgot.

    This thread has been interesting ( to me at least). I'm trying to get an idea as to Marv's story.
    Of course, it is dependant on the views of lots of people, and often reports of a story are handed down, copied, altered etc.

    Of the various things I have found, the general feeling is that Success went to his head somewhat. There are several mentions of his 'ego'. These are from different sources. Mild comments that he was cold. The story of the appointment is well known.
    Apparently he liked to play the "star"...stories that flashed cash around.
    One story compares him to Jackie Wilson, who kissed ALL the girls....Marv only kissed the pretty ones....a sign of his nature..cold, calculating. Who knows?
    It looks like Gordy fell out with him. Perhaps he refused to record Marv.Maybe Johnson thought he was 'above' the small Detroit label...now mixing with New York high life?
    Books refer to his bitterness with Motown and Gordy.
    Why did Gordy bring him back in 1964. ? I wonder if Gordy was coerced by family members , perhaps a sentimental move. He only had 1 45 in 5 years...and was found work as a clerk at Motown.
    There is feeling that Mrs Gordy ( BG's mother?) Was his friend but the Gordy clan did not have time for him.
    Last edited by snakepit; 10-26-2018 at 05:22 AM.

  21. #21
    Interesting stuff, snake. I always thought Marv's account of events was pretty plausible, the idea of Berry and Marv going round Detroit with copies of "Come To Me". Then again it could have been Smokey. Would Marv lie? I mean, he already has a place in history as recorder of the first ever Motown record.

    Would Berry deliberately change the story though? Why airbrush Marv out of history like that? And if he did fall out with Marv, why did he bring him back in 1964, as you say? Marv needed Motown more than Motown needed Marv. Just to keep him satisfied?
    Last edited by TomatoTom123; 10-26-2018 at 09:10 PM.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by snakepit View Post
    Robb,
    Thanks for that.
    In Berry's book, he claims it was Davis who wrote it and he and Gwen added to it. He makes no mention of Parker, but then again, would we expect more?

    Any views on the car ride? If, as I suspect, Gordy and Johnson had fallen out, is this Gordy and Smokey airbrushing Marv out of the story. Maybe all 3 made the journey and BG and Smokey conveniently forgot.

    This thread has been interesting ( to me at least). I'm trying to get an idea as to Marv's story.
    Of course, it is dependant on the views of lots of people, and often reports of a story are handed down, copied, altered etc.

    Of the various things I have found, the general feeling is that Success went to his head somewhat. There are several mentions of his 'ego'. These are from different sources. Mild comments that he was cold. The story of the appointment is well known.
    Apparently he liked to play the "star"...stories that flashed cash around.
    One story compares him to Jackie Wilson, who kissed ALL the girls....Marv only kissed the pretty ones....a sign of his nature..cold, calculating. Who knows?
    It looks like Gordy fell out with him. Perhaps he refused to record Marv.Maybe Johnson thought he was 'above' the small Detroit label...now mixing with New York high life?
    Books refer to his bitterness with Motown and Gordy.
    Why did Gordy bring him back in 1964. ? I wonder if Gordy was coerced by family members , perhaps a sentimental move. He only had 1 45 in 5 years...and was found work as a clerk at Motown.
    There is feeling that Mrs Gordy ( BG's mother?) Was his friend but the Gordy clan did not have time for him.
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    Any views on the car ride?
    I heard that the car ride was Berry and Smokey (as it was for ALL their early "local distribution from 1958 (Wade Jones) through early 1960 ("Money"), ("Bye Bye Baby"), etc. I heard that as early as the mid 1960s, and that story from several inside sources, while working with Motowners and ex-Motowners while at Motown, Airwave and just talking to people. I heard Berry and Smokey many, many times, and NEVER Berry and Marv.
    The general feeling at Motown was that Success went to Marv's head somewhat.
    I heard that very same opinion from just about everybody that had been at Motown from 1959-65, directly from them, or from public interviews they had about their time with Motown. EVERYONE said that. Most of them said that, in 1964, after UA dropped him, not renewing his 2nd contract with them, and his not having had a hit record for almost 4 years, and not having a charted record for 2 years, he was pretty much humbled, and begging, and that Berry felt sorry for him, and took him back out of pity, and that he couldn't let the "symbol" of the beginning of his company live in poverty, because it would reflect badly upon himself, and his company. And it is also true that Ma and Pops Gordy had always liked the youngsters who Berry "discovered" early in his pre-Motown days, and at the very beginning of Motown. He brought them to his home to meet his folks, they had meals there. They often worked for Pops with his construction firm (Marv, David R., Eddie & Brian, & others) or for Berry and George in 3-D Record Mart (Marv). They, and Smokey were treated like family. So, even if Berry still was angry at Marv for getting too swelled-headed, and forgetting to be grateful to Berry for having given him his start, and music, and exposure towards whatever level of stardom he reached, he HAD to take him back into Motown and not desert him in his time of need, because his own parents would never have let him hear the end of that, had he not.

    That resentment by Berry for Marv's ungratefulness, was why Marv was able to record only 3 songs, and had NO releases during his 8 months of 1964 after he returned to Motown, and only one release in 1965, one in 1966, and one in 1968. And it is also why his recording contract with Motown wasn't renewed in late 1970, and he wasn't even told. He was a clerk, gopher, and jack-of-all trades underling at Motown all those years, and they just recorded him from time to time, to keep him from complaining too much. His few recording sessions after 1970 were errors and oversights because he was so unimportant the people who produced him didn't even know his recording artist contract had lapsed and gone unrenewed. It is also why he was not told they were moving to L.A. He showed up to work one day, and no one was there (same story that The Andantes and many of the salaried musicians told).

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by snakepit View Post
    Robb,
    In Berry's book, he claims it was Davis who wrote it and he and Gwen added to it. He makes no mention of Parker, but then again, would we expect more?
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    I'm sorry, but I just can't believe that Berry Gordy blatantly stole the credits and residuals money rights from that particular song from Bobby Parker, choosing it, "out of the blue", just because he thought he could make some money from making a hit out of it with his own artist. That makes no sense. He'd have a LOT to lose, getting the reputation for stealing songs.

    Like every other situation in which he had a dispute with an artist or producer, there were two sides to the story, and there was a misunderstanding on one side or the other, or both.

    Late 1957, when Parker would have shown, played, and sung his song for Berry and Billy Davis, was before Berry's and Raynoma's RayBer Music Service (1958). BUT..... Berry's story that Parker came to him and Billy with his rough, not-so-good-quality song, asking for help in polishing it up, makes a lot of sense. There is a lot of room there for a misunderstanding of what Berry and Billy would ask and receive for giving Parker that help.

    Evidently, he and Billy got some up front cash, and thought they would also get co-writing credit and a share in the royalties. They felt cheated when in late 1957, Bobby took his new, improved song to VJ, pretending it was all his own, and left them out of the credits, and allowed VJ to take ALL the publishing rights (instead of the industry standard of 50-50% split). So, Berry and Billy took the song to Chess in early 1958, selling half the publishing rights to Chess's Arc Music (ostensibly for Chess to have Harvey Fuqua sing it). One year later, they recorded Marv Johnson singing the polished uptempo version (they and Gwen had changed), for their production deal with United Artists. On that record, they didn't even give Arc Music publishing rights, listing only their own Fidelity Music, which did not even exist in 1957, when Parker took the song to VJ.

    As to Berry claiming it was Billy Davis' solo effort that he and Gwen polished, I have my doubts. I suppose that is a possibility. But Billy Davis was writing almost exclusively with Berry in late 1957 and early 1958, and they sold several songs to Chess' Arc Music in early 1958. I guess Billy could have asked them to improve a song he stole from Parker, so they could sell it to Chess. But that all sounds pretty far fetched. I'd rather believe that there was no premeditated plan to steal from anyone. But that there was a misunderstanding between Parker and his "polishers" as to what payment for their help would be. I was in the music business long enough to see and hear about lots of transactions and deals between individuals and companies, and how they dealt with each other.

  24. #24
    Thanks Robb
    I only have books and my own intuition about Motown's history.
    I try to read between the lines and look at the wider picture. It's too easy to read an artists 'wail' and take it as gospel. Many sides are in a story.

  25. #25
    Robb, thanks I always enjoy what you have to say and it always makes a lot of common sense.
    How I would have loved to been a fly on the wall back then listening to what went on.

  26. #26
    Robb, thanks from me too. Very interesting and informative posts. Love the music and love the history behind the music. Thank you

  27. #27
    ditto. good stuff Robb!

  28. #28
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    I have experienced an analogous situation related to artist credits and resulting pay and royalties in my own field of storywriting/and accompanying artwork. Many years ago, I agreed with a friend of mine that we should write a story together for Dutch Disney publications. At that time, I had been a professional storywriter for that firm for the preceding 8 years, while my friend was an amateur blogger and comic book story critic, who felt he knew how to improve stories, and wanted to try his hand at writing.

    As my friend had no connection with the editorship, and was thus dependent upon me for an entry, he told me that he didn't care if he would get any pay, or not, as long as he would get storywriting credit, if we were to create a saleable story. I agreed. We worked three days in brainstorming. I came up with virtually all the storyline, and almost all the usable ideas. He came up several ideas, but only one was usable. But, I must admit that it was very useful, as it was the ending gag for the comedy story. However, it was the obvious ending based on the direction of story I had crafted. And that logic would have led me to that same conclusion, only he had blurted it out first. To submit the story, I had to draw up the storyboards (which was required along with the narratives and dialogues in balloons - for payment of the storywriting fees).

    When I was ready to submit the story, I told my friend that as the story ending gag was important to the story, but it was his only usable contribution, I felt it was more than fair that he receive one-fourth of the storywriting fee, and his name be listed in the storywriting credits as having "contributed the story-ending gag", considering that I wrote the entire remainder of the story, and drew all the storyboard pages.

    He disagreed vehemently, arguing that several scenes in the story should remain in the submitted story just the way HE suggested (rather than my suggestions), and that his name should be listed together with mine, simply as co-writers. He felt he contributed enough to share half the writing credit. I disagreed. We had entered the handshake, verbal agreement in good faith, with nothing in writing. We disagreed about the value of each of our contributions.

    I contend that something similar happened between Bobby Parker, on the one side, and Berry and Billy Davis on the other. I really have a hard time believing that either Berry or Billy planned to "steal" Bobby's song.

    Bobby Parker was a Blues and bluesy-R&B/jump Blues singer. He didn't sing the sweet R&B style that Gordy and Davis wrote for Marv Johnson and Berry's other early artists. Even the bluesier version of "You Got What It Takes" that Parker submitted to VJ Records, was much, much sweeter, and less bluesy than all the songs Bobby had written previously. That forces me to believe that Parker submitted the version of his own, original song, only after it WAS polished up by Gordy and Davis. Yet, he didn't tell VJ that they were co-writers of the song. I doubt that he consciously decided to "cheat" them out of credits and royalties. He just felt that their contributions were only making HIS song a little better, but not improving it enough for them to get one-third each of the royalty payments. Nothing had been in writing, and he felt that it was HIS song. Not only that, but, as his released version is so much blusier than Marv's, and closer to Parker's own normal style, I suspect that Parker thought he was using his original version. But, he had been practising the new version with Gordy and Davis so much, he couldn't go back to his original, and their influence crept in. After time and outside influences anyone's memory can get foggy. I doubt that he planned to cheat the people who helped him with his song. Furthermore, he probably paid them some cash for the help, and felt that was enough compensation for them.

    Berry and Billy felt that Parker's song wasn't very marketable in its original state, and that their polishing made it marketable. So, THEY deserved to get songwriting credit. Seeing that Parker got full credit for the song for his VJ release, they felt within their rights to each get half credit selling their polished up version to Chess some months later, hoping to cash in on a release by Harvey Fuqua. One year later, they again felt fully within their rights to release their polished version of the song on Berry's own artist. They felt within their rights to publish the song using their own publishing company, but WERE negligent in not listing Chess' Arc Music as co-publisher (IF they had actually sold half those rights to Arc the year before, as has been stated by several sources).

    This is what happens when casual friends enter into handshake verbal business deals. or even written contracts in which ALL possible outcomes in ALL possible circumstances are not spelled out in great detail. That is why we have courts and judges.
    Last edited by robb_k; 10-27-2018 at 04:11 PM.

  29. #29
    I dug out my Marv Johnson Marginal CD...many Berry Gordy tunes and productions. I forgot it included his UK LP too.
    Also his Kent/ Ace Motown comp.
    Enjoyed both...I never really bothered with his UA stuff but now realize that the BG stuff is really Motown/ Detroit tracks. I'll make amends for that.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by snakepit View Post
    I dug out my Marv Johnson Marginal CD...many Berry Gordy tunes and productions. I forgot it included his UK LP too.
    Also his Kent/ Ace Motown comp.
    Enjoyed both...I never really bothered with his UA stuff but now realize that the BG stuff is really Motown/ Detroit tracks. I'll make amends for that.
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    All Marv's UA recordings were made in Detroit from 1959 through to fall 1963. In early to mid 1959, they were recorded at United Sound Studio, as were the other early Motown recordings. Then, in late 1959, Robert Bateman started recording them in "The Snakepit". Brian Holland and Bateman (sometimes along with Freddie Gorman), as well as Smokey, and Mickey Stevenson, produced his sessions. So, they were 100% Motown productions. It was only when New York producers like Bert Berns and Lockie Edwards started being listed, that the productions started being made in New York (9/63-3/64). Even after that point, a couple sounded very Motownish (e.g. "The Man Who Don't Believe In Love" - written earlier in Detroit by Marv (published by Jobete Music) and arranged by Richard Tee, and played by his band - all of whom were Motown's New York Jobete Music Office's session players on Motown records during that period).
    Last edited by robb_k; 10-28-2018 at 04:52 PM.

  31. #31
    Yes Robb,
    I've been picking up on this because of this thread. Going through my books for all Marv Johnson references, although annoyingly, I can' t find the qoute about the two Marvin's.
    CDs of all his UA can be obtained for a decent price, so I may chase them
    Down.

  32. #32
    I love these discussions,as i've always wondered why marv wasn't a bigger motown artist,i too have read the[car]story and i tend to believe smokey.

  33. #33
    There is a very good recollection of the car story by Smokey in Sharon Davis' book.
    There can be no doubt Smokey was in the car and survived a dangerous situation alongside Berry.
    Marv Johnson's account in the B&S article doesn't tally with ALL other accounts I've read.
    Perhaps there were occasions where Marv/Berry and or Smokey drove to various radio stations, DJs etc but he actually refers to the same pressing plant....so he made it up or Berry/Smokey overlook his role in that particular journey.

    There is no doubt he was bitter and felt Motown/Berry should have rewarded him for his role in Motown's initial success ( as he sees it). There is a feeling of "look what I did for Motown"
    His hits defineltly helped but it was Gordy who was taking all the responsibility ....Marv could have set up on his own with $800 dollars and created a recording giant...or perhaps not...

  34. #34
    Here's a seemingly well researched and interesting account of Marv and his career.... Seems he missed the boat when he opted to stay with United Artists when Berry first offered him a move to fledgling Motown and he demurred

    https://www.michiganrockandrolllegen...9-marv-johnson

  35. #35
    Thank you Mike. Very interesting and it covers a lot the above discussion.

  36. #36
    Hi Snakepit;
    I believe the "two Marvins" quote was attributed to Ester Edwards, who, to the best of my memory stated that the two Marvins were the most challenging to deal with. I don't remember her stating the two Marvin's last names, it was up to the listeners to try to figure out who they were.

  37. #37
    Hi Stingbee
    I thought it was one of his sisters...thanks for that.
    Doesn't take a genius to work out who they were.

  38. #38
    Ha! Snakepit; no it does not take a genius! At first I wondered why she wouldn't name them wholly, but as I thought about it, years later, that was just like Ms. Ester, always diplomatic!

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