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  1. #1

    Berry Gordy’s predictions

    As far as I know he said Where did our love go top 20 but no further and What’s going on...bomb. I’m sure he predicted smash for many recordings. Any other surprises?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    As far as I know he said Where did our love go top 20 but no further and What’s going on...bomb. I’m sure he predicted smash for many recordings. Any other surprises?
    Yeah, that he hated "Stoned Love" upon hearing it! He didn't even want to release it.

  3. #3
    What's Going On was his greatest "near blunder"...not wanting to release a song with a political message from a company known as a boy meets girl love song operation... One guy who doesn't get the credit he deserves in convincing Gordy to go forward with Marvin's controversial concept is Harry Balk who was quite instrumental in urging Gordy to green light the project...

  4. #4
    Absolutely correct Stu. I was disappointed that Harry's name wasn't mentioned in the movie.

  5. #5
    What’s going on was so different but Stoned Love was superb classic Motown. Don’t get it.

  6. #6
    Marvin's 'GRAPEVINE'.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    What’s going on was so different but Stoned Love was superb classic Motown. Don’t get it.
    I can't think of anyone hearing that record and thinking that it was not worthy of release.

  8. #8
    He hated "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" in general. Told Norman and Barrett to "come with something better than that!"

    Hated it with the Miracles, hated it with Marvin, tolerated a little with Gladys Knight (though Gladys claim she and the Pips had to use their old radio connections to get the song played) and then when Norman wanted Marvin's version out, he felt the song wouldn't be a hit again.

    "What's Going On" was the one song where he was totally wrong about though. He went harder against that song than "Grapevine" and it ended up being one of the greatest songs ever released.

    If I'm not mistaken, he didn't think one of the Jackson 5's songs was gonna be number one. Probably "ABC". I need to re-read the Jackson biographies on that one.

  9. #9
    Didn’t djs/fans demand Grapevine’s release from his album?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Marvin's 'GRAPEVINE'.
    I was about to mention that... I'm sure he wasnt overly keen on Gladys' version either

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    He hated "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" in general. Told Norman and Barrett to "come with something better than

    If I'm not mistaken, he didn't think one of the Jackson 5's songs was gonna be number one. Probably "ABC". I need to re-read the Jackson biographies on that one.
    Nah he said their first three hits would be No.1... (he was part of the writing team the corporation remember)
    I think BG wasnt sure with I'll be there... I dont think he thought J5 were ready for a ballad as a single yet

  12. #12
    I read somewhere that he didn`t think that "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" would make it because it didn`t have a bridge! Written by staff writer Jimmy Webb or was he at the time?

  13. #13
    Was Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson pulled at the last minute by BG?

    It may not have had the potential to go to the top but I'm sure it would have charted.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Didn’t djs/fans demand Grapevine’s release from his album?
    Yes! Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" was first released on the In The Groove album. DJs started playing the song off the LP, fans requested it heavily and that's when Motown finally released it as a single.

    I also feel that it was a good thing for Gladys Knight & The Pips that Marvin's version of the song was held up since their version of "Grapevine" would be their first blockbuster smash for Motown.
    Last edited by Motown Eddie; 08-28-2019 at 11:19 AM.

  15. #15
    Berry Gordy recalls Chris Clark's "I Want To Go Back There Again" as a song that "didn't get too big, but it is a song that meant a lot to me".

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    What's Going On was his greatest "near blunder"...not wanting to release a song with a political message from a company known as a boy meets girl love song operation... One guy who doesn't get the credit he deserves in convincing Gordy to go forward with Marvin's controversial concept is Harry Balk who was quite instrumental in urging Gordy to green light the project...
    According to Ben Edmond's book, The Making of What's Going On, "What's Going On" was only released as a single when Berry Gordy was away from Detroit on business. With the other heads at the company admiring the song (Harry Balk, Smokey, etc.) and Marvin making good on his vow not to record anything unless he got to make the protest album he wanted, the song came out. BG was very upset to have the single released without his consent until he saw that "WGO" was selling like hotcakes.


  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    Berry Gordy recalls Chris Clark's "I Want To Go Back There Again" as a song that "didn't get too big, but it is a song that meant a lot to me".
    That is one great, great record. Perfect all around.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    According to Ben Edmond's book, The Making of What's Going On, "What's Going On" was only released as a single when Berry Gordy was away from Detroit on business. With the other heads at the company admiring the song (Harry Balk, Smokey, etc.) and Marvin making good on his vow not to record anything unless he got to make the protest album he wanted, the song came out. BG was very upset to have the single released without his consent until he saw that "WGO" was selling like hotcakes.

    That sounds about right, although I don't know all the details other than Harry who was in charge of a lot of things wanted the song released. I'm not sure anything would have been released without Berry's ultimate blessing, but the record did get out and yes, it caught a niche in the market right away...

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by alexstassi View Post
    Nah he said their first three hits would be No.1... (he was part of the writing team the corporation remember)
    I think BG wasnt sure with I'll be there... I dont think he thought J5 were ready for a ballad as a single yet
    Yeah! You're right. I forgot he did have issues with that song.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by rovereab View Post
    Was Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson pulled at the last minute by BG?

    It may not have had the potential to go to the top but I'm sure it would have charted.
    Only because Berry asked Frank if he'd rather be a writer & producer and work behind the scenes .. than actually be an artist... Frank chose the former

  21. #21
    Berry was more than "away on business" during the WGO controversy, he was living in LA at that time. The onus was on Harry Balk to convince Berry that this particular record had "monster hit " written all over it. Which he did. Even putting his job on the line for the release.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by ralpht View Post
    Berry was more than "away on business" during the WGO controversy, he was living in LA at that time. The onus was on Harry Balk to convince Berry that this particular record had "monster hit " written all over it. Which he did. Even putting his job on the line for the release.
    We all owe thanks to Harry Balk for making this decision -

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    We all owe thanks to Harry Balk for making this decision -
    Harry is a G just for doing that. He changed music history!

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    What's Going On was his greatest "near blunder"...not wanting to release a song with a political message from a company known as a boy meets girl love song operation... One guy who doesn't get the credit he deserves in convincing Gordy to go forward with Marvin's controversial concept is Harry Balk who was quite instrumental in urging Gordy to green light the project...
    Makes me wonder how "Ball of Confusion" got released.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    Makes me wonder how "Ball of Confusion" got released.
    According to Gordy...Cloud Nine Was first and then came War by Edwin Starr, the Temptations/Whitfield continued releasing psychedelic stuff, then What's Going On opened the floodgates... Gordy by that time was ensconced in Los Angeles focusing on movies and moving his company and ultimately ignored the company's exclusivity on Boy meets Girl type material...

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    Berry Gordy recalls Chris Clark's "I Want To Go Back There Again" as a song that "didn't get too big, but it is a song that meant a lot to me".
    “I Want To Go Back There Again” was ahead of it’s time. To me it sounds like something more ubiquitous with the 90s rather than the then present 60s. I can easily hear someone like No Doubt or Sheryl Crow cutting their teeth on that one.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post

    If I'm not mistaken, he didn't think one of the Jackson 5's songs was gonna be number one. Probably "ABC". I need to re-read the Jackson biographies on that one.
    Berry thought the chorus of ABC was wrong. He thought it should have been "123, easy as ABC" and had them re-record it.



    Then once he heard it he admitted he was wrong and told I think Deke Richards (I haven't read the book in a while) that The Jackson 5 would have to go back into the studio to re-record it the original way and Deke said no, he had never erased the first version as he knew Berry would come around eventually.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    Berry Gordy recalls Chris Clark's "I Want To Go Back There Again" as a song that "didn't get too big, but it is a song that meant a lot to me".
    I can definitely see (hear) that.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Thatkliqkid View Post
    Berry thought the chorus of ABC was wrong. He thought it should have been "123, easy as ABC" and had them re-record it.



    Then once he heard it he admitted he was wrong and told I think Deke Richards (I haven't read the book in a while) that The Jackson 5 would have to go back into the studio to re-record it the original way and Deke said no, he had never erased the first version as he knew Berry would come around eventually.
    I never knew that! Its a fascinating listen because its exactly the same apart from the chorus, which doesnt work as well as in the hit version, IMO. Berry was a genius but he was human too.

  30. #30
    He also hated Diana's version of 'Aint No Mountain High Enough' didn't he?

  31. #31
    I saw the Motown documentary a few weeks ago. Surprisingly, I learned a few things I didn’t know. One of them was the fact that QC wasn’t that impressed with “My Girl”, which was revealed with archive recordings of one of the meetings! But they chose to send it out anyway because they thought the public “might like it”. I bet they were quite shocked when it sold a million.

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