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  1. #1

    How Did Motown Feel About TSOP

    I've come across many instances where G&H gave credit to what Motown was able to accomplish but I have never come across anything from Barry, Smokey or anyone else at Motown as to what they thought of the rise of Philly Soul back then. I'm sure someone here can shed some light on this for me. I remember seeing a quote in a book that said "TSOP was to the 70's what Motown was to the 60's. And also "TSOP was pop musics last hit machine." This is not a who was better thread. I am just curiouls what Motown people have said about Philly. Thanks.

  2. #2
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_Aitken_Waterman

    Always thought they were pop musics last hit machine

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by mr_june View Post
    I've come across many instances where G&H gave credit to what Motown was able to accomplish but I have never come across anything from Barry, Smokey or anyone else at Motown as to what they thought of the rise of Philly Soul back then. I'm sure someone here can shed some light on this for me. I remember seeing a quote in a book that said "TSOP was to the 70's what Motown was to the 60's. And also "TSOP was pop musics last hit machine." This is not a who was better thread. I am just curiouls what Motown people have said about Philly. Thanks.
    While there wasn't any direct quotes from the Motown Brass about Philly Soul but they did acknowledge the sound by recording Thelma Houston's "Don't Leave Me This Way", Eddie Kendricks' He's A Friend & Goin' Up In Smoke (produced by Philly's Norman Harris) and The Temptations self-tiled LP from 1981 (produced by Thom Bell). There may have been some jealousy on BG's part since TSOP took over the mantle of Pop Flavored Soul Music from Motown during the mid '70s.
    Last edited by Motown Eddie; 02-03-2019 at 07:21 AM.

  4. #4

  5. #5
    To credit Berry & Smokey, they loved the philly sound and particularly Gamble & Huff. There was a great relationship because it revolved around inspiration not competition. While most people may compare them what they don't know is that G&H wanted to join Motown. But all the work to make a move from Philly to Detroit stilled their plans. They decided to start their own label and create a distinctive sound just as Motown did.

    They loved those guys and the sound that was created by all. I've even heard Smokey call G&H his brothers and Berry talk about how humble they were. Being a powerful force in the music industry he maybe could've made it hard for Philly International as he did many companies. But since there was no direct competition and him losing interest in the record business anyway he didn't think about it. Things change and the Motown Sound was wearing thin on the public so Philly just picked up where Detroit left off. It was all love and they remain friends and fans of each other right till this day. Hope this helped somewhat.

  6. #6
    According to all I have the opportunity to read about this question, I think there have been a great mutual respect and admiration betwen Gordy and G & H and all the people involved on both "hits factories". I think on people as Bobby Taylor who recorded for Thom Bell's Tommy Records and for PIR as BT & TB (Bobby Taylor and Thom Bell); or the "Wonder Love" lady Shirley Weaver who appears as session voclist on MFSB album "Universal Love", and Carolyn Crawford recording for PIR or Jerry Butler who signed to this label after leaving Motown or all the outside productions by Thom Bell and H-B-Y for The Four Tops, Temptations, Eddie Kendricks or Jimmy Ruffin directly for Motown, for ABC or Atlantic... or directly for PIR as The Jacksons., Monk Montgomery, Jean Carn and Phyllis Hyman also recorded for both labels... and Roland Chambers was the musical director for Marvin & Tammie!

    Motown invented and developed a great sound ("The Sound of Young America") and G & H put it in another level when it seems "all was previously invented and almost impossible to made something innovator enough"; obviously, this is IMHO).

    Cheers to all phillysound, chi sound, memphis sound and detroit sound lovers.

  7. #7
    First, this should have been placed in the Motown Forum as it would gain more attention than it does in this section. Just my two cents.

    I just want to make two comment about the Motown/TSOP relationship.

    First and foremost, Weldon McDougal III. Weldon remained at Motown into the mid-1970's, when he was unceremoniously let go by then-president Ewart Abner. He then hooked up with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff of the Philadelphia International empire in a promotional capacity as he performed at Motown.

    Second, the loss of the Spinners (a very unappreciated Motown group) and their ultimate success with Thom Bell who was involved with PIR. The Spinners achieved far greater success in their recordings produced by Thom Bell than they did with Motown. Just think what they could have achieved had Thom Bell worked at Motown!

    These are the two important connections that I feel were not pursued by Motown.

  8. #8
    I imagine the Jackson Five departure/acquisition was not a particularly kumbaya moment .

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn View Post
    To credit Berry & Smokey, they loved the philly sound and particularly Gamble & Huff. There was a great relationship because it revolved around inspiration not competition. While most people may compare them what they don't know is that G&H wanted to join Motown. But all the work to make a move from Philly to Detroit stilled their plans. They decided to start their own label and create a distinctive sound just as Motown did.

    They loved those guys and the sound that was created by all. I've even heard Smokey call G&H his brothers and Berry talk about how humble they were. Being a powerful force in the music industry he maybe could've made it hard for Philly International as he did many companies. But since there was no direct competition and him losing interest in the record business anyway he didn't think about it. Things change and the Motown Sound was wearing thin on the public so Philly just picked up where Detroit left off. It was all love and they remain friends and fans of each other right till this day. Hope this helped somewhat.
    Okay. I didn't know this before and I stand corrected in my earlier post stating that there might've been some jealousy between Motown & TSOP. Thanks for the info Quinn.

  10. #10
    Nothing but love on their side, I think.

  11. #11
    Interesting!! Great to know there was mutual respect and love on both sides... my two favourite genres of music. I think I always assumed there would be more competition and rivalry involved. Not that there probably wasn't any.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I imagine the Jackson Five departure/acquisition was not a particularly kumbaya moment .
    When Joe refused to allow his sons to record for Motown there was at least a year left on the agreement. Michael was against this strike and felt that the family should honor what they signed. Ron Alexenburg actually made the offer on behalf of CBS, which was accepted. Ron then hired Gamble & Huff to produce them since CBS was already distributing Philly International product. That's why you see both logos on the first two Jacksons projects for them.

    G&H had wanted to sign them directly to P.I.R., but couldn't compete with CBS promises. They were given a television show, three quarters a million an album and complete autonomy as producers( Destiny:1978). G&H couldn't offer all that so they did what they could with what options they had. I'm not a great fan of those albums because things had changed as MFSB had just defected to SalSoul and G&H had reached their creative arc. Had they gotten there two or three years earlier they would've been much better.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by manny View Post
    According to all I have the opportunity to read about this question, I think there have been a great mutual respect and admiration betwen Gordy and G & H and all the people involved on both "hits factories". I think on people as Bobby Taylor who recorded for Thom Bell's Tommy Records and for PIR as BT & TB (Bobby Taylor and Thom Bell); or the "Wonder Love" lady Shirley Weaver who appears as session voclist on MFSB album "Universal Love", and Carolyn Crawford recording for PIR or Jerry Butler who signed to this label after leaving Motown or all the outside productions by Thom Bell and H-B-Y for The Four Tops, Temptations, Eddie Kendricks or Jimmy Ruffin directly for Motown, for ABC or Atlantic... or directly for PIR as The Jacksons., Monk Montgomery, Jean Carn and Phyllis Hyman also recorded for both labels... and Roland Chambers was the musical director for Marvin & Tammie!

    Motown invented and developed a great sound ("The Sound of Young America") and G & H put it in another level when it seems "all was previously invented and almost impossible to made something innovator enough"; obviously, this is IMHO).

    Cheers to all phillysound, chi sound, memphis sound and detroit sound lovers.
    Great points. You talked of Carolyn Crawford. She has an entire album in the vaults that never emerged due to a financial dispute between her and Kenny Gamble. Kenny liked to keep most of the money to himself and as a result many philly innovators died broke that dealt with him. Based on the few recordings that did see the light of day, Leon Huff seemed to be the creative force behind them.

    Jerry Butler's "Nothing Says I Love You..." album was very exceptional. I love how G&H were album to recreate the sound they established with him in the sixties and modernize it. They sounded very excited to be working with him again after many years and pulled out some magic being past their creative prime at the time in my opinion. Good stuff.

  14. #14
    Thanks for all the information. I see there was a lot of cross over between the two companies. I have some catching up to do as I've not heard many of the albums and songs mentioned in the above post. I'm glad to hear that their was no bitter competition also. I'm very proud of both Motown and Philly and can't imagine what music would be like without either company being around. I went to the Motown Museum a couple of summers ago and was so awed. It was a very emotional time for me. It reminded me of how great God is in giving people the talent to create such wonderful music.
    Last edited by mr_june; 02-04-2019 at 01:18 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn View Post
    When Joe refused to allow his sons to record for Motown there was at least a year left on the agreement. Michael was against this strike and felt that the family should honor what they signed. Ron Alexenburg actually made the offer on behalf of CBS, which was accepted. Ron then hired Gamble & Huff to produce them since CBS was already distributing Philly International product. That's why you see both logos on the first two Jacksons projects for them.

    G&H had wanted to sign them directly to P.I.R., but couldn't compete with CBS promises. They were given a television show, three quarters a million an album and complete autonomy as producers( Destiny:1978). G&H couldn't offer all that so they did what they could with what options they had. I'm not a great fan of those albums because things had changed as MFSB had just defected to SalSoul and G&H had reached their creative arc. Had they gotten there two or three years earlier they would've been much better.
    Interesting . I'm sure Berry wasn't none too happy with CBS/PI especially if they still owed an album? How did they resolve that?

    Maybe Berry felt they got the better of the deal , "Oh well , at least we've still got Jermaine." LOL!

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Interesting . I'm sure Berry wasn't none too happy with CBS/PI especially if they still owed an album? How did they resolve that?

    Maybe Berry felt they got the better of the deal , "Oh well , at least we've still got Jermaine." LOL!
    I would Berry was none unhappy with Ewart Abner,who was President at the time. He made so many poor choices:letting The Tops leave,not making J5 happy,bringing Jerry Butler to the company with dismal sales and worst not promoting Motown as desired. In fact around 1976 he took control again,rehired Barney Ales and things got a little better. "Songs In The Key Of Life" was supposed to spearhead a return of the old days, but it didn't happen.

    Motown wasn't very specific when it came to albums. Their way was to record songs loosely and pick the best ones that sounded great together. So as opposed to the group going in MoWest to do an "LP", they would just commit to tape what was presented to them by the production staff and B.G. and A&R would take it from there. That's why Motown has/had more unissued tunes than maybe any other record company from that time. Timeline was nonexistent, if you have a song(s) then get it to the artist and record it...period.

    The Jacksons had to pay Motown with future royalties due to breach of contract. I forgot the particulars, but I believe it took them a few years to pay them,as late as 1980 I think it was. As far as Jermaine is concerned I don't think B.G. respected him for choosing The Gordy's over his own family. He's never said it and never will, but I think he was disgusted secretly. Look at the disappointing numbers and chart positions of his solo albums. Listen to the material on many of them...REALLY. Berry never intended on making him a superstar, he just wanted to control him through his daughter. As he had with Marvin Gaye,Harvey Fuqua,Johnny Bristol and G.C. Cameron. Marrying into his family was a business opportunity for him.

  17. #17
    Good stuff Quinn.
    I can't remember if the J5 transition to Epic made a lot of press or not at the time ? Likely not anything like the attention Diana Ross got when she switched to RCA, the J5 were no longer the hot property they had been in the early seventies. Likely they were considered a passing fad sort of like the Osmonds, The Partidge family.

    And Motown acts jumping ship had become common , almost expected.

    I imagine Berry Gordy found some solace in the poor performance of their first couple of CBS albums ; their not doing much better (no better?) than the last Motown ones.
    Must not have been too strong of hard feelings, soon Berry would have Michael and Diana working side by side on The Wiz.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 02-06-2019 at 02:45 PM.

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