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  1. #1

    Martha and Scherrie question

    Motown released solo singles on them in UK right? Suppose they had been hits? Did Motown have any solo plans for them in US? Could Martha have stayed at Motown as a solo or were her bags packed for MCA already? Did Motown want to keep her?
    Last edited by luke; 01-17-2019 at 02:22 PM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Motown released solo singles on them in UK right? Suppose they had been hits? Did Motown have any solo plans for them in US? Could Martha have stayed at Motown as a solo or were her bags packed for MCA already? Did Motown want to keep her?
    I'm not sure if Martha would have stayed. I think she was pretty much done with the label after years of being treated like her career was thrown to the side in favor of other artists. With Motown going full throttle into the film industry, moving to LA, and neglecting the music side, I think she saw the writing on the wall and left. Plus we saw the departures of the Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Spinners, etc. I think she decided to jump ship with the others and move on.
    Last edited by bradsupremes; 01-17-2019 at 02:50 PM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Motown released solo singles on them in UK right? Suppose they had been hits? Did Motown have any solo plans for them in US? Could Martha have stayed at Motown as a solo or were her bags packed for MCA already? Did Motown want to keep her?
    I don't think so. Motown left Martha in Detroit. Martha said that one day she went over to Motown in Detroit and the place was closed. She was not even given notice.

    The only single I recall Motown released on Scherrie Payne was "Fly" from the soundtrack from some forgettable foreign film. They did not promote the single.

  4. #4
    If I have this right, according to Martha herself, she phoned Motown and was told '"Didn't you know? Everything's been moved to LA?"

    Having heard it that way, it would be hard, if not impossible for her to feel valued, and that Motown wanted to keep her.

    PS LOL. Marv and myself have posted at identical times. He may well be right, and that Martha did actually visit Hitsville. Either way, it must have felt like a slap in the face to her....
    Last edited by westgrandboulevard; 01-17-2019 at 03:03 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by westgrandboulevard View Post
    If I have this right, according to Martha herself, she phoned Motown and was told '"Didn't you know? Everything's been moved to LA?"

    Having heard it that way, it would be hard, if not impossible for her to feel valued, and that Motown wanted to keep her.

    PS LOL. Marv and myself have posted at identical times. He may well be right, and that Martha did actually visit Hitsville. Either way, it must have felt like a slap in the face to her....
    Westgrand, both situations could have occurred. She stopped by Motown and the doors were locked. She went and called and was told they had moved. I know she wasn't happy and not to even bring up the subject today.

  6. #6
    Wow.
    Why was the move to LA so shady? Was it really this abrupt? Did the Detroit Motown employees lose their jobs overnight? Compensation?

    And How could Martha be that disconnected from anyone else at Motown that she had no idea this was going on ?

    She did her final Motown sessions in LA, right?

  7. #7
    I've never understood Martha's dramatic story about not knowing about the move to L.A. She recorded 'I want you back' and 'He's good' in L.A, so it would suggest she was fully aware of Motown's transition.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by lakedistrictlad1 View Post
    I've never understood Martha's dramatic story about not knowing about the move to L.A. She recorded 'I want you back' and 'He's good' in L.A, so it would suggest she was fully aware of Motown's transition.
    Well there were quite a few people from Motown left in Detroit without notice. I know many of the Funk Brothers were not told. Some, like the Four Tops were told, but decided to stay in Detroit.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Well there were quite a few people from Motown left in Detroit without notice. I know many of the Funk Brothers were not told. Some, like the Four Tops were told, but decided to stay in Detroit.
    I can get the lower level Motown employees not being told the company was moving out to LA like the Funk Brothers. Martha was too high up on the pole not to know Motown was closing. I don't buy it. It's like how she says she was so upset with the lyrics on "I Can't Dance To That Music You're Playin'" that she refused to sing it yet there are two whole versions of her singing the entire song.

  10. #10
    Has Martha always lived in Detroit? You'd think Motown moving would be a big to-do in the city. I always thought that "she didn't" know sounds a little suspicious.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    Has Martha always lived in Detroit? You'd think Motown moving would be a big to-do in the city. I always thought that "she didn't" know sounds a little suspicious.
    That seems to be what's called an "apocryphal" story (a legend not based on the facts). How is it possible that an artist under contract to a record company could possibly have been surprised by this move? Perhaps she was blind sided in that she found out about it via the press or some other way, but in that day, Motown must have employed hundreds of people and Martha's telling would mean to say that this topic never came up in any conversation she had with anyone from the company. I just can't wrap my head around that one.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    I can get the lower level Motown employees not being told the company was moving out to LA like the Funk Brothers. Martha was too high up on the pole not to know Motown was closing. I don't buy it. It's like how she says she was so upset with the lyrics on "I Can't Dance To That Music You're Playin'" that she refused to sing it yet there are two whole versions of her singing the entire song.
    I can believe it. I remember when Diana Ross was leaving the Supremes, Mary Wilson had to read it in the newspaper or an industry magazine to find out. I don't why Motown kept it's move hush, hush from certain people. I know not everyone could afford or even wanted to move out West, but they could have atleast been told directly if even through an inter-company memo.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    Has Martha always lived in Detroit? You'd think Motown moving would be a big to-do in the city. I always thought that "she didn't" know sounds a little suspicious.
    Martha lived out in California for a while in the 70s.

  14. #14
    Martha lived in Los Angeles during the '70s. It's funny how she claims she didn't want Motown to move to L.A. but when she left Motown, she signed with MCA and recorded the contents of her debut album there at L.A. Plus she got deep into the drug parties (her claims) there. I just think she wanted to leave Motown in the first place no matter if they moved out of Detroit or not.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Martha lived in Los Angeles during the '70s. It's funny how she claims she didn't want Motown to move to L.A. but when she left Motown, she signed with MCA and recorded the contents of her debut album there at L.A. Plus she got deep into the drug parties (her claims) there. I just think she wanted to leave Motown in the first place no matter if they moved out of Detroit or not.
    I think she is telling the truth. I remember that no one, none of us wanted Motown to leave. It pissed a lot of people in Detroit off. Martha probably had to go where the industry was at that time if she wanted to continue to record. She had the talent and proven it prior to Motown leaving.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I think she is telling the truth. I remember that no one, none of us wanted Motown to leave. It pissed a lot of people in Detroit off. Martha probably had to go where the industry was at that time if she wanted to continue to record. She had the talent and proven it prior to Motown leaving.
    Well yeah I believe she didn't want Motown to leave Detroit. But then again, she felt abandoned by the label - and probably rightfully so considering she was one of the label's early stars, but yeah maybe she signed with MCA because of the Motown situation. I don't think she was lying either.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I can believe it. I remember when Diana Ross was leaving the Supremes, Mary Wilson had to read it in the newspaper or an industry magazine to find out. I don't why Motown kept it's move hush, hush from certain people. I know not everyone could afford or even wanted to move out West, but they could have atleast been told directly if even through an inter-company memo.
    Yes, but Mary knew Diana leaving. It wasnít a secret to her. She had known for several years Diana was leaving. And with Jean being signed and beginning to record in the summer of 1969, I find it hard that Mary was totally blindsided it. Martha didnít just show up one day and hear for the first time Motown was leaving for LA. You canít tell me she didnít hear word from other artists, producers, songwriters, executives, etc. They knew. They just didnít know the date.

  18. #18
    Life is not always black and white. I knew a family member was close to dying but still shocked when person died. The impact hits when the actual even occurs.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    Yes, but Mary knew Diana leaving. It wasnít a secret to her. She had known for several years Diana was leaving. And with Jean being signed and beginning to record in the summer of 1969, I find it hard that Mary was totally blindsided it. Martha didnít just show up one day and hear for the first time Motown was leaving for LA. You canít tell me she didnít hear word from other artists, producers, songwriters, executives, etc. They knew. They just didnít know the date.
    Mary knew Diane was leaving, but was probably never told of the specifics. Just a thought.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by detmotownguy View Post
    Mary knew Diane was leaving, but was probably never told of the specifics. Just a thought.
    She might have seen it coming (obviously) for a long time but likely wasn't sure exactly when it would happen. I imagine the timing of when it would happen was somewhat fungible until they actually had just the right moment. Berry wanted that last hit too and the DR-led group did go out with quite a flourish.

  21. #21
    Seems odd to me that Motown would just cast aside a talent like Martha.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    Yes, but Mary knew Diana leaving. It wasn’t a secret to her. She had known for several years Diana was leaving. And with Jean being signed and beginning to record in the summer of 1969, I find it hard that Mary was totally blindsided it. Martha didn’t just show up one day and hear for the first time Motown was leaving for LA. You can’t tell me she didn’t hear word from other artists, producers, songwriters, executives, etc. They knew. They just didn’t know the date.
    actually I can see them not telling Mary. I wouldn’t put it past them . But Mary knew sooner or later she was going.

  23. #23
    Slightly OT, but the story of Marthaís later move back to Detroit is fascinating. I rediscovered it in her book recently when we were discussing that mysterious Rainbow/Danciní In The Street album, which must have been recorded in the midst of all this, or just after. I offer a synopsis:


    íTwas 1981/1982 (the timeline is kind of vague), Marthaís disco LPs had come and gone and she was having financial problems.


    One day she was on the patio potting plants when, ďas loud as the defense drill blows its sirenĒ, a disembodied voice called to her, ďMartha, go home.Ē Her friend Paul was present, but he didnít hear anything. Moments later, her friend Perry arrived. While recently apartment-sitting for her, Perry used her place to give professional massages, and wanted to pay her a percentage of his profits. It was just enough to purchase air fare to Detroit, and she was on a plane the next day!


    In Detroit, she found both of her parents were ill, and in the hospital. After several weeks there, both parents had recovered and returned home, and she knew she wanted to move back permanently. That is an expensive move, however, and she was cash-strapped.


    Martha was about to lose her L.A. apartment, so she headed back. Her friend had an aunt in Long Beach with a guest house in the back where Martha could stay temporarily while she figured out a plan to relocate. Martha felt uneasy about the neighborhood, though, so she put bars on the windows. Nevertheless, one night she came home to find the bars pried off a window. The house had been ransacked and the burglars had taken jewellery, furs, appliances, and mementos from her career. The owner of the house convinced Martha not to call the police because she feared the attention would invite further burglary. The burglars returned on the next three consecutive nights to get anything they had overlooked previously. Martha finally summoned the police and they told her they would ask around to see if anybody saw anything. (Um, did they ask the lady in the main house?) At this point, Martha was ready to go. She packed what was left of her stuff into a few trunks and took a Greyhound bus to Detroit.

  24. #24
    The Andantes tell a similar story when they went to the Motown offices to collect their checks.

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