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  1. #1

    Background on the Donovan Building [former MT Headquarters].

    I was wondering if any members have any knowledge of the Donovan Building which was the headquarters downtown of Motown Records from 1968-1972.
    I read where the main building had a basement, ten floors, and a penthouse on the top. Attached was a side building known as the Sanders Building. Allegedly the basement of the Sanders building had another recording studio and the only song ever recorded in it was What's Going On by Marvin.

    Does anyone know what was on each floor of the building? I assume that Berry's office was in the penthouse, but I don't know for certain. Logic would dictate that, but that might not be correct. The building was owned by Cherrylawn Realty which was Berry's company.

    Have any members of the Motown Forum ever been in the building or was security that tight?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Surely Berry's office was in LA LOL
    That's what everybody seemed to be thinking.

  3. #3
    I walked past the derelict building on Woodward. Thinking back , I'm sorry I didn't attempt a sneak look to see if anything Motown related was there. Very doubtful...1992

  4. #4
    Cherrylawn Realty was likely named after where one of Berry's family members or associates lived...There was a series of residential streets in Northwest Detroit in succession Greenlawn (Where Stevie Wonder grew up), Roselawn, Northlawn, and Cherrylawn, in order from east to west...I (and Smokey and Claudette) lived on Santa Barbara, two streets to the east of the "lawns"...
    Last edited by StuBass1; 01-16-2020 at 03:34 PM.

  5. #5
    I guess "Cherrylawn Records" wouldn't have made the same impact.

  6. #6
    snakepit, quite the contrary. The building was still full of Motown memorabilia to the day it was (VERY SADLY!) torn down. I've read many accounts of the Motown paperwork blowing all over as they tore it down. There is a cool blog I read a while back from an "urban archaeologist" that toured the building just before the demo and took lots of photos of the piles if memorabilia and recording equipment strewn about. I can't find it right now, but here's an interesting thread from a Detroit forum at the time. If you read through it you will read about documents being found signed by Smokey and Marvin......crazy!
    Darin

    https://www.atdetroit.net/forum/mess...tml?1138589389
    Last edited by DWSheffer; 01-16-2020 at 04:03 PM.

  7. #7
    DW
    Thanks ...I think.
    Seems like I made a big mistake.
    We did stick our heads into the Fox but as I recall it was a Sunday and not much action..just got into Lobby area I think.
    Then we went looking for the Museum where The Thinker statue is. Surely HDH's inspiration for Invictus label?

  8. #8
    Here's an interesting read:

    https://detroitfunk.com/back-to-motown/

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Cherrylawn Realty was likely named after where one of Berry's family members or associates lived...There was a series of residential streets in Northwest Detroit in succession Greenlawn (Where Stevie Wonder grew up), Roselawn, Northlawn, and Cherrylawn, in order from east to west...I (and Smokey and Claudette) lived on Santa Barbara, two streets to the east of the "lawns"...
    I remember that neighborhood. There was also a "Violetlawn" and an "Orangelawn," I believe.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by snakepit View Post
    DW
    Thanks ...I think.
    Seems like I made a big mistake.
    We did stick our heads into the Fox but as I recall it was a Sunday and not much action..just got into Lobby area I think.
    Then we went looking for the Museum where The Thinker statue is. Surely HDH's inspiration for Invictus label?

    "The Thinker" was always outside the Detroit Institute of Art, and I believe still is. There are many copies of this famous sculpture, however, which Rodin made during his lifetime. So this is certainly not the only one.

    Name:  411c730e847a8bea4c7ef7b38a00520a--rodin-the-thinker-auguste-rodin.jpg
Views: 224
Size:  12.3 KB
    Last edited by kenneth; 01-16-2020 at 05:27 PM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by lockhartgary View Post
    Here's an interesting read:

    https://detroitfunk.com/back-to-motown/
    Very interesting article. Thanks for posting.

  12. #12
    Around about 1970, The Sunday Times (UK), ran a feature on Motown (I guess it was a 10 year anniversary thing). There was a photo of many of the Motown staff taken outside the Donovan.
    At this time I was learning as much Motown detail as I could find. The picture intriqued me, and walking up Wooward in 1992, I recognised it immediately, even though it was derelict.

  13. #13
    Woodward, my office was on the 5th floor. Mixing rooms were on 9th and 10th floors.If there was a penthouse on 10, I never saw it. I didn't know of any recording studio in the Sanders Building, but WGO was recorded in Motown Studio A.






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