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  1. #1
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    What new book on Motown artists would you like to see?

    As most people know, there have been dozens of books written in the past on the various Motown artists. Here are the ones that have been written [may not be 100% complete]. Supremes; Stevie Wonder; Temptations; Mary Wells; Florence Ballard; Mary Wilson; Marvin Gaye; Holland-Dozier-Holland; Jackson Five; Martha Reeves; Marvelettes; and Smokey Robinson & Miracles; Rick James; and Tammi Terrell. I am not counting books entirely on Motown --- only groups/artists.

    Just wondering. It is highly doubtful that any future books will be published due to the passage of time, but, who would you like to see a book written about who has not been covered previously?

    My lifetime goal has been to see one on the Four Tops and I have consulted with two famous book writers with no success.

    Input appreciated. Thanks.
    Last edited by woodward; 10-17-2020 at 10:29 AM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by woodward View Post
    As most people know, there have been dozens of books written in the past on the various Motown artists. Here are the ones that have been written [may not be 100% complete]. Supremes; Stevie Wonder; Temptations; Mary Wells; Florence Ballard; Mary Wilson; Marvin Gaye; Holland-Dozier-Holland; Jackson Five; Martha Reeves; Marvelettes; and Smokey Robinson & Miracles. I am not counting books entirely on Motown --- only groups/artists.

    Just wondering. It is highly doubtful that any future books will be published due to the passage of time, but, who would you like to see a book written about who has not been covered previously?

    My lifetime goal has been to see one on the Four Tops and I have consulted with two famous book writers with no success.

    Input appreciated. Thanks.
    It does seem strange that the Four Tops haven't been given that privilege. From my point of view, and slightly modifying your parameters, it would be nice to see in print something about three or four of the female singers. Chris Clark, Blinky and Brenda Holloway immediately spring to mind, but there are several others I could add. Maybe not sufficient information to have a complete book about each of them individually, but too many to fit into a single book. Perhaps a series each containing two or three?

  3. #3
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    I'd like to to see books about Edwin Starr, Jr. Walker & The All Stars, The Velvelettes & Kim Weston [[just to add to the names already mentioned).

  4. #4
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    All the real stars....i.e. song writers, producers, arrangers and musicians in the period 59.to 72..Detroit Years.

  5. #5
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    It's not often I join in but I wanted to make a comment about a Four Tops' book. Some years ago I was in dialogue with Levi's daughter Deborah about writing one. She needed to run it past the only surviving group member Duke, and as far as I know, it wasn't given the green light. So our proposed book didn't happen which was a huge pity. About Chris Clark, Brenda, Blinky and Thelma, Chris and I were toying around with the idea of writing a book under the title The LA Girls. It's a time thing - basically having the time get the ladies together as they've got their own lives to lead. So it hasn't happened yet; still simmering away on back burner. Anyway, just thought I'd mention it......thanks for reading...

  6. #6
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    Good to see you on here again Sharon.
    I was using your Motown the History's extremely useful discography earlier today.

    EX- Four Tops FC/ Motown AdAstra.

  7. #7
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    Years [[and I mean YEARS) ago, there was talk that Cindy Birdsong was writing a book. She even at one point had a website that eluded to the fact.

    I'd love to know if anything was ever started, or if it was wishful thinking.

    I'd love her angle on the Supremes, and of course, the Bluebelles.

    Sadly, that train has left the station.

  8. #8
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    Great to see Sharon here, saddens me we have never had a book on The Four Tops, my all time favourite group and Levu Singer! I experienced the same knock back with the Four Tops 1999 album, when I was approached to ask UK Record Companies, there was great interest, but it was knocked back exactly the same?

  9. #9
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    Four Top movie

    Would love to see this, I know it would not have the same bang as the Temptation movie, due to the extreme characters of the Tempts. but could be a love story to the fellows. There would be some great moments, i.e. the complete success with England and working with Brian Epstein, Levi in his Little Shop of Horror moment and of course end it with the 50 year anniversary with Levi and Aretha singing I Believe in You and Me.

  10. #10
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    Always thought Edwin Starr's Manager would have written a book on him, after his sad passing, what a larger than life person Edwin was, such talent and so genuine down to earth.

    The Radio Station I worked for used Edwin a lot, he was such an attraction right to the end. One major show, known as The Largest Free Show in Europe, instead of having older artists on our Roadshow 90ft Unit and Stage, we decided to have a Major Tent and stage, Edwin appeared first and he brought the House down, not the tent! the main act was stuck on the motorway due to a road closure after a major accident, the interval was dragging on, and in his usual nature he came up to me, is there a problem, I told him, without even thinking he said let me get the band back from the beer tent lol and they went on until the top artist arrived, what a complete Showman and Person!

  11. #11
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    Four Tops, period

    As far as Jr Walker, thereís a book about him. Written by his son. Great reading in that it helps you to know the man better. Well, if you want to read about his dark sides, which were numerous, itís a fabulous read. Disturbing but a book to get

  12. #12
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    I Tried worldwide to find a copy of this book, wrote to the publishers, his son, and never received a response, these days books especially paperbacks can be printed in quite low numbers, it deserves to be still available.

  13. #13
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    I take the opportunity of this thread to introduce myself. I've just joined this forum - thanks for letting me in! The knowledge shared here is quite fascinating. I'm currently writing a book about Andre Williams, and I would be delighted to discuss some details of his career with anyone willing to do so. There's so much to tell about him!

  14. #14
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    There is a 'book' ...already written ...about the stories behind all the Motown 45 releases A & B sides ...recorded 1959 to 1972 ...in 14 volumes ...with over 100 pages per volume ...of fascinating well researched descriptions of every recording ...and the most amazing photos of the artists ...some available nowhere else ...it was 'published' over 9 years ...2005-2013 ...and is still available online ...at some very high prices...!

    Grape

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by grapevine View Post
    There is a 'book' ...already written ...about the stories behind all the Motown 45 releases A & B sides ...recorded 1959 to 1972 ...in 14 volumes ...with over 100 pages per volume ...of fascinating well researched descriptions of every recording ...and the most amazing photos of the artists ...some available nowhere else ...it was 'published' over 9 years ...2005-2013 ...and is still available online ...at some very high prices...!

    Grape
    ...and similarly with the Hip-O Select volumes of the Four Tops, Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, Diana Ross and the Supremes, plus the two volume sets of the Supremes post-Diana. I was disappointed that the series came to an end, as I would have liked there to be more, maybe by the Miracles, Marvin Gaye [[and a whole lot of others!) Who cares about the bank balance, they are such lovely items to have.

  16. #16
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    Thank you!

  17. #17
    Iíd like to know more about the Velvelettes and Brenda Holloway.

  18. #18
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    I agree I'd love to see a book on the Tops, Jr. Walker, Norman Whitfield and other writers and producers, Martha & the Vandellas

    As far as Motown themed books I want a book on Motown and Hollywood, not their musical appearances [[American Bandstand, Ed Sullivan) But more on the movies and TV shows, from Lady Sings the Blues, the Wiz, Last Dragon and the Jackson 5 and Tempts miniseries

    A whole book on Motown 25, from the earliest idea, Was Richard Pryor always going to host or were their other contenders?, the feelings of the artists about the idea both still on and off Motown's roster, The lineup, who was there vs not [[No David Ruffin or Eddie Kendricks, Gladys Knight, Funk Brothers) Stage time [[Mary Wells & Jr. Walker getting the briefest of cameos) as well as the impact of the special afterwards

    I was in grade school at the time and didn't see it for years afterwards but i remember the teachers talking about it, especially Michael Jackson

    I'd also love to see a book on the Gordys with little Berry. The family was very entrepreneurial and pretty successful before Motown. And i think all the family was involved with Motown to some degree but all I know about Loucye was she died young and all I know about Anna was her relationship with Marvin and Gwen was married to Harvey Fuqua

    I think the non-Berry Gordys deserve a deep dive

    I'd also like to see a book on the sale of Motown. When did Berry first entertain the thought, who knew early on that he was thinking of selling, what was the mood and reactions, both in and out of Motown, Who were the serious bidders, how did the negotiations go, how was the winner chosen [[was it purely the most money offered?) and maybe more on the first year on Motown under new ownership, Did Berry ever regret selling, when he did or to who he did?

    Barney Ales and his sales team deserve more credit for Motown's success than they've gotten, I'd like to learn more about them

    And even though there are quite a few Marvin Gaye books out there and they all talk about it, I'd like to see a whole book on the Marvin/Tammi relationship & music. Did they have physical relationship [[I've read yes, I've read no), Did Marvin and David Ruffin get along, how did Marvin feel about how David treated Tammi?
    Last edited by Optimal Saint; 12-07-2020 at 04:04 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Optimal Saint View Post
    I agree I'd love to see a book on the Tops, Jr. Walker, Norman Whitfield and other writers and producers, Martha & the Vandellas

    As far as Motown themed books I want a book on Motown and Hollywood, not their musical appearances [[American Bandstand, Ed Sullivan) But more on the movies and TV shows, from Lady Sings the Blues, the Wiz, Last Dragon and the Jackson 5 and Tempts miniseries

    A whole book on Motown 25, from the earliest idea, Was Richard Pryor always going to host or were their other contenders?, the feelings of the artists about the idea both still on and off Motown's roster, The lineup, who was there vs not [[No David Ruffin or Eddie Kendricks, Gladys Knight, Funk Brothers) Stage time [[Mary Wells & Jr. Walker getting the briefest of cameos) as well as the impact of the special afterwards

    I was in grade school at the time and didn't see it for years afterwards but i remember the teachers talking about it, especially Michael Jackson

    I'd also love to see a book on the Gordys with little Berry. The family was very entrepreneurial and pretty successful before Motown. And i think all the family was involved with Motown to some degree but all I know about Loucye was she died young and all I know about Anna was her relationship with Marvin and Gwen was married to Harvey Fuqua

    I think the non-Berry Gordys deserve a deep dive

    I'd also like to see a book on the sale of Motown. When did Berry first entertain the thought, who knew early on that he was thinking of selling, what was the mood and reactions, both in and out of Motown, Who were the serious bidders, how was the winner chosen [[was it purely the most money offered?) and maybe more on the first year on Motown under new ownership, Did Berry ever regret selling, when he did or to who he did?

    Barney Ales and his sales team deserve more credit for Motown's success than they've gotten, I'd like to learn more about them

    And even though there are quite a few Marvin Gaye books out there and they all talk about it, I'd like to see a whole book on the Marvin/Tammi relationship
    These are all capital suggestions that I would pounce upon, especially your Motown/Hollywood notion. Bingo Long, Scott Joplin, Lonesome Dove...a huge story waiting to be told.

  20. #20
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    Nothing, really. I hate to be a Debby Downer, but it's all been said [[true or untrue) about the individual artists. BUT ... as I've said 3,637 times before, a documentary about the label in general, similar to the Beatles multi-part Anthology doc could be good.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    Nothing, really. I hate to be a Debby Downer, but it's all been said [[true or untrue) about the individual artists. BUT ... as I've said 3,637 times before, a documentary about the label in general, similar to the Beatles multi-part Anthology doc could be good.
    I made the suggestion back when The Making of Motown first aired, but a Ken Burns led multi-part documentary on Motown would be wonderful. There's just so much to tell. But I believe that he's done one on jazz and country music.

  22. #22
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    My vote for a chapter - Frances Nero the first female artist to the "Soul" label and one kick-ass cha-cha "Keep On Loving Me".

  23. #23
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    Hi!

    Frances Nero: https://www.soulexpress.net/deep110.htm#francesnero

    Best regards
    Heikki

  24. #24
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    Moving away from the idea of a book featuring a single act, or a handful of similar acts, I would like a daily diary of Motown. Basically dates of births, deaths, releases and key moments in the history of Motown, the acts, writers, producers, etc... I know a lot of this info is available in books and online, but I am interested in a Day by Day format...
    I present a regular Motown radio show and have tried to feature events and releases from the week in history.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey1961 View Post
    ...I would like a daily diary of Motown....in a Day by Day format...[[for my) regular Motown radio show ...!
    Try this Mikey ...with daily historical Motown milestones ...from the Classic Motown website...

    https://www.motown.today/

    Grape

  26. #26
    Years ago, I had a conversation with Levi, and the topic of writing a book came up. He said that the guys had all decided that their private lives were their own and no one was interested in a book. After Levi's death, Duke has talked publicly about a book, but what I hear is, privately he is against it.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey1961 View Post
    Moving away from the idea of a book featuring a single act, or a handful of similar acts, I would like a daily diary of Motown. Basically dates of births, deaths, releases and key moments in the history of Motown, the acts, writers, producers, etc... I know a lot of this info is available in books and online, but I am interested in a Day by Day format...
    I present a regular Motown radio show and have tried to feature events and releases from the week in history.
    This would be my choice as well - a coffee-table book that reproduces the recording sessions information from the logs [[sort of like a paper version of the DFTMC site) with a load of photos from Hitsville would be my dream book!

  28. #28
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    [QUOTE=fourtopsjim;601184]Years ago, I had a conversation with Levi, and the topic of writing a book came up. He said that the guys had all decided that their private lives were their own and no one was interested in a book. After Levi's death, Duke has talked publicly about a book, but what I hear is, privately he is against it.[/QUOTE

    A Four Tops book is my top choice for a new Motown book, by far.

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