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  1. #1

    3rd best producer at Motown?

    When discussing Motownís best producers first, foremost and undeniably is HDH

    Second seems to be Norman Whitfield (and no offense to Norman who has a ton of stone cold classics to his name but itís a distant second)

    Whoís third?

    Iím going to disqualify artists who mostly produced themselves

    So that counts out Stevie & Marvin

    Iím tempted to count out Smokey but he definitely produced a lot for other others and My Girl alone rates consideration

    So after HDH and Whitfield who would you say was the next best writer/producer?

  2. #2
    Frank Wilson.

  3. #3
    I would say Stevenson, Hunter,Moy

  4. #4
    Smokey .....

  5. #5
    Third best for me would be Norman Whitfield. Smokey is definitely number two in my book. As great as Norman was he never had any big hits on anyone but The Temptations and Marvin Gaye. Smokey's tunes have also stood the test of time better than Norman's. Not trying to take anything away from him,he was a rhythmic genius, but I wouldn't put him over Essar. Norman crafted HITS,Smokey crafted SONGS in my opinion.

  6. #6
    I would say Ashford and Simpson.

  7. #7
    Mickey for sure.

  8. #8
    A&S, Norman Whitfield, Frank Wilson. Not any of them 'distant' from another; all brilliant.

  9. #9
    1)Smokey Robinson 2)Stevenson/Hunter 3)HDH 4)Berry Gordy 5)Norman Whitfield 6)Clay McMurray 7) all the rest...They were all GREAT.

  10. #10
    For me Mickey Stevenson defined the third or fourth phase of the evolution of Motown. Combined with his A&R role his contribution to Motown's history should not be underestimated. I place him level with HDH for that contribution. Ashford and Simpson were another phase but moved Motown on somewhat. Technically I don't think they were surpassed on their abilities as songwriters and producers. But, of course, they had a very strong platform indeed as a starting point.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn View Post
    Third best for me would be Norman Whitfield. Smokey is definitely number two in my book. As great as Norman was he never had any big hits on anyone but The Temptations and Marvin Gaye. Smokey's tunes have also stood the test of time better than Norman's. Not trying to take anything away from him,he was a rhythmic genius, but I wouldn't put him over Essar. Norman crafted HITS,Smokey crafted SONGS in my opinion.
    That sums up how I feel.

  12. #12
    Frank Wilson

  13. #13
    Ivy Jo Hunter and Mickey Stevenson.

  14. #14
    If we have to assume HDH are first, I would definitely put Norman second and Smokey third. We're talking PRODUCERS here. Norman Whitfield created sprawling epics, production masterpieces. I mean, he created "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone"...

    And he did give Gladys & The Pips and The Undisputed Truth a #2 and #3 hit each respectively. Smokey was the better songwriter in my opinion. Not knocking that he produced loads of hits for loads of artists, "My Guy", "My Girl" etc, but in terms of production, Norman has to come before, if not top the list, in my opinion.

  15. #15
    Not to forget "War" by Edwin Starr

  16. #16
    As just a guy who knew how to put a track down and pull together all the pieces...they didn't come much better than Norman at Motown...
    Last edited by StuBass1; 04-06-2019 at 01:24 AM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    If we have to assume HDH are first, I would definitely put Norman second and Smokey third. We're talking PRODUCERS here. Norman Whitfield created sprawling epics, production masterpieces. I mean, he created "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone"...

    And he did give Gladys & The Pips and The Undisputed Truth a #2 and #3 hit each respectively. Smokey was the better songwriter in my opinion. Not knocking that he produced loads of hits for loads of artists, "My Guy", "My Girl" etc, but in terms of production, Norman has to come before, if not top the list, in my opinion.
    I first got into Motown about the time of "Two Lovers" when most of Motown's hits for Mary Wells, the Miracles and later the Temptations were written and PRODUCED by Smokey. His production skills on these records are indivisible from his compositional, and I therefore place him before Norman Whitfield.

  18. #18
    I'd agree that HDH were not only the most prolific producers, but I'm sure without them, the name 'Motown' would not be known the world over.

    However, I suspect that my favourite producer will be Norman Whitfield - the material he wrote (and produced) for Rare Earth and the Temptations was exceptional.

    Following behind Norman (and HDH) will be Frank Wilson. I'm sure it was a combination of Frank's work with the Supremes - and Jean's vocals - that really made me become an addict to all releases from Motown.

    Next will be The Corporation (which of course includes Mr Wilson).

  19. #19
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    Overall order based on my own taste:

    1) Stevenson-Hunter
    2) Smokey Robinson
    3) Bateman-B.Holland-Gorman (Brianbert)
    4) Holland-Dozier-Holland
    5) Fuqua-Bristol
    6) Whitfield-Holland
    7) Dean-Weatherspoon
    8) Cosby-Moy-Wonder
    9) Mickey Stevenson
    10) Whitfield-Strong
    11) Gordon-Wilson
    12) Clay McMurray
    13) Berry Gordy Jr.
    14) Clarence Paul
    15) Hal Davis
    16) Frank Wilson
    17) Kerr-Barnes
    18) Davis-Gordon-Pipkin

  20. #20
    My favorites.
    1. Dean/Weatherspooon (brother of actor/comedian John Witherspoon) John changed his last name for some reason.
    2. Ivy Jo Hunter/ Mickey Stevenson
    3. H-D-H
    4. Obie Benson /Lawrence Payton

  21. #21
    I can't decide if my#2 goes to Norman or Frank Wilson....I recently began wondering out
    loud here in several posts what Norman or Clarence Paul productions would have sounded like paired with Jean Terrell.

  22. #22
    Maybe not 3rd but certainly up there. Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol. They first caught my attention with Ain't no mountain high enough, by Marvin and Tammi. I thought it was sophisticated and used different instruments than typical at the time.
    After just googling them, I was amazed at the number of songs that they produced.
    I think that was what made Motown strong, they had such a wide stable of writers and producers who were all excellent.
    As has been pointed out before the quality of the product at Motown at points was so good, they couldn't get it all out. Luckily we have had these vaulted treasures released thanks to the continued work and support of Harry, Andy and George.

  23. #23
    Russ and I did this video of Norman Whitfield a while back.

    https://youtu.be/SFZmG3keN7s

  24. #24
    Smokey-hdh-norman whitfield.

  25. #25
    I guess one might need to distinguish between "the best" and "the most successful"... as in, the producer(s) that produced the most Motown hits might not actually be "the best" in terms of the quality of their productions, in your opinion.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by robb_k View Post
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    Overall order based on my own taste:

    1) Stevenson-Hunter
    2) Smokey Robinson
    3) Bateman-B.Holland-Gorman (Brianbert)
    4) Holland-Dozier-Holland
    5) Fuqua-Bristol
    6) Whitfield-Holland
    7) Dean-Weatherspoon
    8) Cosby-Moy-Wonder
    9) Mickey Stevenson
    10) Whitfield-Strong
    11) Gordon-Wilson
    12) Clay McMurray
    13) Berry Gordy Jr.
    14) Clarence Paul
    15) Hal Davis
    16) Frank Wilson
    17) Kerr-Barnes
    18) Davis-Gordon-Pipkin
    I know you're not too fond of Staunton-Walker, but I wonder what you think of the G. Gordy/Story team.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    I know you're not too fond of Staunton-Walker, but I wonder what you think of the G. Gordy/Story team.
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    I like some of Staunton and Walker's songs VERY much. "Say You" by The Monitors and The Temptations is one of my favourite songs of all time. I also like "I'll Leave It Up To You" as sung by The Artistics very, very much, as well as a couple others The Artistics sang. I also like "This Is The Night For Love" and "Little Girls Grow Up" by The Marvelettes, "How Many Times Did You Mean It" by Brenda Holloway, "All For Someone", and a few they wrote for Tommy Good, and some of their pre-Motown songs as well. Actually, they should have made my Motown list at about somewhere between #15-18.

    Is "G. Gordy", Gwen or George? I haven't heard any songs that Alan Story wrote that blew me away. List some of your favourites by them, and I'll tell you what I think of them.

    I realise that I should have George Kerr and Sidney Barnes aboveFrank Wilson (alone), and possibly, Hal Davis (alone), and Clarence Paul.

  28. #28
    George Gordy with Allen Story and usually Lawrence Brown.

    I think the nearest they came to having a hit was Martha & Vandellas' "In And Out of My Life". The earliest Gordy and Story collaboration would be The Temptations' "I Truly Truly Believe". Jimmy Ruffin's "Change Your Mind" is a good example of the team's work; it just sort of sneaks up on you.

    If there's enough material on YouTube, I'll try to find time to do a separate thread.

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