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  1. #1

    What were Motown's Earliest Promotional Videos For The Label's Singles .....??

    Fifty years ago, in June of 1970, The HDH team were on the Billboard's Top Forty with a couple of songs: Freda's BAND OF GOLD and The Chairman of The Board's YOU'VE GOT ME DANGLING ON A STRING.

    BAND OF GOLD went on to become a #3 monster, while STRING dangled in the Top 40 but for a couple of weeks (#40, #38).

    HDH must have had a great deal of faith in YGMDOAS's smash potential because for it, the bother of a video was created (not so for BOG) :




    Which to me seems far ahead of its time for HDH to do this. It's not simply a recording of an actual performance on a stage somewhere , it's a created mock up doing something more with unusual outdoor ambience. Who would it have been for? What would be the purpose?

    And then finally , the point of this thread :
    What were the earliest songs that Motown had done something similar for?
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 06-18-2020 at 03:18 PM.

  2. #2
    I don't know if they were the earliest but I've seen videos for Stevie Wonder's I WAS MADE TO LOVE HER and the Tops' 7 ROOMS OF GLOOM.

  3. #3
    GOOD QUESTION BOOGIE!!!!!! I WILL WATCH THE VIDEO FOR "Dangling" NOW, ONE OF MY FAVES

  4. #4
    OMG I LOVE THE VIDEO ITS JUST DANCING IN A FIELD, WISH I WAS THERE

  5. #5
    This is a pretty well-known one it must be one of the earliest.


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    This is a pretty well-known one it must be one of the earliest.

    Martha calls this the first Motown video. But it is really just an appearance from Murray the K's ITS WHAT'S HAPPENING BABY tv special.

    While there were quite a few live performances filmed at the Brooklyn Paramount, there were also many lip-synced performances taped at various locations, like Johnny Mathis on the beach, the Drifters on a roof, Mary Wells walking around a pond, etc.

  7. #7
    Maybe this was done around the same time as the Chairman of the Board's?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    I don't know if they were the earliest but I've seen videos for Stevie Wonder's I WAS MADE TO LOVE HER and the Tops' 7 ROOMS OF GLOOM.
    I never saw these until today. I was blown away. The were called promotional films...
    But apparently not to the gp.....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_t1XE9o6yr4

  9. #9
    Washington seems to be a popular place for filming promotional videos.

  10. #10
    And then there is this infamous one from early 65. Apparently no one was given permission to do this and toward the end you can see the "police" forcing the girls onto the sidewalk and out of traffic.


  11. #11
    Actually you guys in the UK were producing these with my favorite girl group to defect
    from the USA and you were so lucky to get them. The Flirtations who often took their
    cues from what was coming out of the Motor City...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72mXxaHkHnE

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Maybe this was done around the same time as the Chairman of the Board's?
    Very good and informative replies here!

    Let me start with this one because I incorrectly stated there was no promo made for BAND OF GOLD (& too late to correct that post now). I looked for one , didn't find it , but still should've added a (?) to my claim. Thank you for presenting it reese!

    Really begs the question of how it came about to have these two songs video filmed and done so in Washington DC . My guess would be Freda and Chairman were on a national tour together at the time and that's where they happened to be , perhaps it struck somebody at Invictus that DC might be a great local to shoot some film.

    Still would like to know , for what purpose ? To what end ? Maybe HDH was hoping for a TV special centered around their new labels , or were hoping to find some interest in these films to be used as a slot on a variety show?? Must be meant for TV somehow ......... otherwise ...???.....

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Washington seems to be a popular place for filming promotional videos.

    This one's curious. Was it really made to promote I WAS MADE TO LOVE HER ? Or is the song just playing over some footage of Stevie in DC which was not filmed with the song in mind. When were the two united? Right away? Years later? Purpose ? The images seem mismatched.
    Also if filmed for the song, it seems the harmonica segments could have been better correlated with his visual playing of it ....




    (most ironic for Stevie to be filmed sightseeing in Washington DC btw)

    (On another note, Its somewhat striking to me how similar I WAS MADE TO LOVE HER sounds to BAND OF GOLD when placed against it like this. The marching drumbeat , the sitars.... although I think there is no overlaying of the two .....)

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Fifty years ago, in June of 1970, The HDH team were on the Billboard's Top Forty with a couple of songs: Freda's BAND OF GOLD and The Chairman of The Board's YOU'VE GOT ME DANGLING ON A STRING.

    BAND OF GOLD went on to become a #3 monster, while STRING dangled in the Top 40 but for a couple of weeks (#40, #38).

    HDH must have had a great deal of faith in YGMDOAS's smash potential because for it, the bother of a video was created (not so for BOG) :




    Which to me seems far ahead of its time for HDH to do this. It's not simply a recording of an actual performance on a stage somewhere , it's a created mock up doing something more with unusual outdoor ambience. Who would it have been for? What would be the purpose?

    And then finally , the point of this thread :
    What were the earliest songs that Motown had done something similar for?
    This is not a video, this clip is from a show called "Something Else" that aired from 1970-71. It was a weekly music series we use to watch. Freda's clip below is also from this same program.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Very good and informative replies here!

    Let me start with this one because I incorrectly stated there was no promo made for BAND OF GOLD (& too late to correct that post now). I looked for one , didn't find it , but still should've added a (?) to my claim. Thank you for presenting it reese!

    Really begs the question of how it came about to have these two songs video filmed and done so in Washington DC . My guess would be Freda and Chairman were on a national tour together at the time and that's where they happened to be , perhaps it struck somebody at Invictus that DC might be a great local to shoot some film.

    Still would like to know , for what purpose ? To what end ? Maybe HDH was hoping for a TV special centered around their new labels , or were hoping to find some interest in these films to be used as a slot on a variety show?? Must be meant for TV somehow ......... otherwise ...???.....
    Since they were promoting records, these films were probably made to send out to markets where possibly the artists couldn't appear in person. I don't think there were any music video shows then so they could have been sent to local or overseas television programs.

    I've seen similar films of the Staple Singers and Nina Simone. Barbara Mason also recalls making such a film and wishing to see it again.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    This is not a video, this clip is from a show called "Something Else" that aired from 1970-71. It was a weekly music series we use to watch. Freda's clip below is also from this same program.
    Very good Marv !!! Thanks !! This explains A LOT !!


    hey reese, check this out :

    https://www.thevideobeat.com/rock-roll-tv/something-else-1970-71.htm


    and this :

    http://www.retrovideo.com/footage_library/something-else/




    from Catalina Island









    Last edited by Boogiedown; 06-20-2020 at 08:04 PM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    This one's curious. Was it really made to promote I WAS MADE TO LOVE HER ? Or is the song just playing over some footage of Stevie in DC which was not filmed with the song in mind. When were the two united? Right away? Years later? Purpose ? The images seem mismatched.
    Also if filmed for the song, it seems the harmonica segments could have been better correlated with his visual playing of it ....




    (most ironic for Stevie to be filmed sightseeing in Washington DC btw)

    (On another note, Its somewhat striking to me how similar I WAS MADE TO LOVE HER sounds to BAND OF GOLD when placed against it like this. The marching drumbeat , the sitars.... although I think there is no overlaying of the two .....)
    This also is not a promotional video. This is from "Something Else" TV show. They film one like this in D.C. for the Staple Singers. The show ran from 1970-71.

  18. #18
    I had this for many years. I use to think it was a promo video, but it is actually from "Where the Action Is"


  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post

    hey reese, check this out :

    [URL="https://www.thevideobeat.com/rock-roll-tv/something-else-1970-71.html"]https://www.thevideobeat.com/rock-roll-tv/something-else-1970-71.htm
    If I'm not mistaken, I bought the episode with Carla Thomas many years ago. I believe she sang one of her later singles, I LOVED YOU LIKE I LOVE MY VERY LIFE.

  20. #20


    probably this ^


    well now we're back to square one concerning this topic ..... I noticed at about this same time no such videos for The Jackson Five !!???

    how did that not happen??

  21. #21
    I'm old enough to remember 'videos' that accompanied juke box selections.
    I remember seeing a film of "Walk on By" by Dionne Warwick on a juke box..that would be 1964?

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by snakepit View Post
    I'm old enough to remember 'videos' that accompanied juke box selections.
    I remember seeing a film of "Walk on By" by Dionne Warwick on a juke box..that would be 1964?
    Are those what they called the Scopitone films? I've seen the one from Dionne, as well as TELL HIM by the Exciters, and some others by Brook Benton and Della Reese.

  23. #23
    Reese
    not sure what they were called...but I remember the juke box, situated in a hamburger stall on a Butlin's Holiday Camp. I'd be about 9 then. Made an impression...and the burgers were good too.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by snakepit View Post
    I'm old enough to remember 'videos' that accompanied juke box selections.
    I remember seeing a film of "Walk on By" by Dionne Warwick on a juke box..that would be 1964?
    Weren't most of those produced by the French company,Scopitone Video Jukebox?

  25. #25
    Here's a good example of a Scopitone:


  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    I don't know if they were the earliest but I've seen videos for Stevie Wonder's I WAS MADE TO LOVE HER and the Tops' 7 ROOMS OF GLOOM.
    OK then Marv, or who ever?......what's the story behind this one ??? Reason? Source?


  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    And then there is this infamous one from early 65. Apparently no one was given permission to do this and toward the end you can see the "police" forcing the girls onto the sidewalk and out of traffic.

    And wow ! This one ! Remarkable!!

    Story???

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    This is a pretty well-known one it must be one of the earliest.

    Zowie.
    Can't imagine them ever getting permission to be anywhere near this assembly line in action. Motown personified.

    How in the world???

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    And wow ! This one ! Remarkable!!

    Story???
    The Supremes were in Paris with the Motown Revue. Someone decided to have the girls run down the Champs-Elysees while lipsyncing to one of their recordings. They didn't have permission to do it and after a while, they had traffic blocked up. At the end of this clips, you can see the policemen making them stop.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Zowie.
    Can't imagine them ever getting permission to be anywhere near this assembly line in action. Motown personified.

    How in the world???
    I'm sure they got permission to film as this had to have taken a few takes to complete. It is taken from Murray the K's tv special ITS WHAT'S HAPPENING BABY.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    OMG I LOVE THE VIDEO ITS JUST DANCING IN A FIELD, WISH I WAS THERE
    me too !

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    I'm sure they got permission to film as this had to have taken a few takes to complete. It is taken from Murray the K's tv special ITS WHAT'S HAPPENING BABY.
    I'm amazed they did! That is a classic piece of Motortown memorabilia . Thanks for the info, reese.

    Further research , (wiki!!), indicates that song videos didn't blossom until the early eighties , especially with the arrival of MTV.

    Tony Bennett claims to have created the first concept film around a song ,STRANGER IN PARADISE in the fifties , but can't confirm.


    Ozzie Nelson enhanced a song by his son Ricky, his TRAVELIN' MAN, that was shown on their TV show:


  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I'm amazed they did! That is a classic piece of Motortown memorabilia . Thanks for the info, reese.

    Further research , (wiki!!), indicates that song videos didn't blossom until the early eighties , especially with the arrival of MTV.

    Tony Bennett claims to have created the first concept film around a song ,STRANGER IN PARADISE in the fifties , but can't confirm.


    Ozzie Nelson enhanced a song by his son Ricky, his TRAVELIN' MAN, that was shown on their TV show:

    No, the Beatles started the popular music or song videos in the 60s with most notably "Strawberry Fields" and "Penny Lane" which were both shown on The Ed Sullivan Show in lieu of a live performance by the band. Other promotional music videos followed througout the 60s and 70s. Remember the one for Elton John and KiKi Dee, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in 1976?

  34. #34
    This one was from 1971-72:

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    song videos didn't blossom until the early eighties , especially with the arrival of MTV.
    In Australia, music video shows started to become popular in the mid-70s, though many videos shown were from UK or European artists.

    The only early videos I can remember for an American artist were for Cher (doing 'Dark Lady' or 'Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves') but artists like Abba, Suzi Quatro, The Sweet seemed to have music videos for every song they released from about 1973 onwards.

    Having a music video which was played on Aussie TV often used to result in the artist 'breaking out' downunder before they had achieved chart success in the rest of the world. This was the case with artists like ABBA (who weren't even going to release Mamma Mia as a single until it was played on a national music show and public demand forced the record company to beg Bjorn & Benny for permission to release it), Blondie & Meatloaf among others.

    Motown really missed the boat with videos (but they made sooooo many bad business decisions in the 70s).

    I do remember seeing some performances from Soul Train on our music video shows. These must have been licensed by record companies to promote the songs overseas, but can't distinctly remember any Motown artists. I can remember Stevie's 'Superstition' and Thelma's 'Don't Leave Me' being played but those videos may have come from a concert or TV-show performance licensed similarly.
    Last edited by Levi Stubbs Tears; 06-23-2020 at 02:38 AM.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    No, the Beatles started the popular music or song videos in the 60s with most notably "Strawberry Fields" and "Penny Lane" which were both shown on The Ed Sullivan Show in lieu of a live performance by the band. Other promotional music videos followed througout the 60s and 70s. Remember the one for Elton John and KiKi Dee, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in 1976?
    here is STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER


  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Levi Stubbs Tears View Post
    In Australia, music video shows started to become popular in the mid-70s, though many videos shown were from UK or European artists.

    The only early videos I can remember for an American artist were for Cher (doing 'Dark Lady' or 'Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves') but artists like Abba, Suzi Quatro, The Sweet seemed to have music videos for every song they released from about 1973 onwards.

    Having a music video which was played on Aussie TV often used to result in the artist 'breaking out' downunder before they had achieved chart success in the rest of the world. This was the case with artists like ABBA (who weren't even going to release Mamma Mia as a single until it was played on a national music show and public demand forced the record company to beg Bjorn & Benny for permission to release it), Blondie & Meatloaf among others.

    Motown really missed the boat with videos (but they made sooooo many bad business decisions in the 70s).

    I do remember seeing some performances from Soul Train on our music video shows. These must have been licensed by record companies to promote the songs overseas, but can't distinctly remember any Motown artists. I can remember Stevie's 'Superstition' and Thelma's 'Don't Leave Me' being played but those videos may have come from a concert or TV-show performance licensed similarly.
    Most interesting Levi. So you are in Australia?
    Makes sense to try to penetrate other markets that you aren't otherwise likely to reach in person with filmed versions.

    DANCING QUEEN:


  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    here is STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER

    Yes! I remember they showed both this one and one for "Penny Lane" the same night on the Ed Sullivan Show.

  39. #39
    WHITER SHADE OF PALE 1967:



    Procol Harum

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    OK then Marv, or who ever?......what's the story behind this one ??? Reason? Source?

    HA! That cost about $2 to make. They filmed that at a house in Detroit (looks like on Outer Drive btw......). This is a promotional video that was perhaps sent out around the country to local dance/entertainment shows to promote the record. The Beatles get credit for starting this practice in my opinion.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    HA! That cost about $2 to make. They filmed that at a house in Detroit (looks like on Outer Drive btw......). This is a promotional video that was perhaps sent out around the country to local dance/entertainment shows to promote the record. The Beatles get credit for starting this practice in my opinion.
    Interesting ...sent to local regional stations...great idea... makes me wonder why it was done just this once ? Or maybe there were more of them that are now lost .....

    Watching Levi in both of these clips (KEEPER OF THE CASTLE, SEVEN ROOMS), I'm picking up on a goofier (for lack of better word) side of him I'd not noticed before. Playful. I like it!

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Interesting ...sent to local regional stations...great idea... makes me wonder why it was done just this once ? Or maybe there were more of them that are now lost .....

    Watching Levi in both of these clips (KEEPER OF THE CASTLE, SEVEN ROOMS), I'm picking up on a goofier (for lack of better word) side of him I'd not noticed before. Playful. I like it!
    Oh Levi was a trip in person. He could make you laugh till you cried just by the normal things he would say to you. He did it to me several times......LOL!

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