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  1. #1

    Discrepancies: Motown: Music Money and Power

    Hey guys--
    I was wanting a new book to read and even though I pride myself on reading every Motown book that's come out, Posner's book Motown: Music Money and Power completely passed me by somehow. I bought it this weekend and I'm about halfway through it and I am seeing some diversions on certain stories that I've read in other books. Here they are:

    1. Berry was not happy with Baby Love as a follow up single to Where Did Our Love Go. Posner states that after WDOLG hit big, the follow up, Baby Love, was heard by Berry and he did not like it. I'm reporting this off memory--Berry thought it was too slow and didn't think the intro was strong enough. So HDH brought the girls back into the studio to re-record it. Apparently that Ooooh ooooh was added, and the tempo was sped up (hard to imagine it was any slower but that's what Posner says). I have never heard this before to the best of my recollection.

    2. Posner reports that Berry and Marvin Gaye got into a "fist fight," which turned out to be more like a shoving match. I never heard this before either. Marvin was complaining about royalty "discrepancies" and was cussing out the sales people, which Berry explained was not doing him (Marvin) any favors.

    3. Posner says that the reunion of the Supremes at Motown 25 was "not rehearsed." Maybe it was just unclear wording on Posner's part, but he made it sound like even Someday We'll be Together was just off the cuff, unplanned. Now I know they had planned a medley of hits prior to the show, which DR vetoed without bothering to run it by Mary and Cindy, but Someday was hardly impromptu. Again, maybe he just worded this poorly.

    4. Posner claims that the infamous telegram from the Temptations to Mary Wilson urged her to quit the Supremes in protest of Florence's dismissal. From all I've read in the past, including from Mary herself, The telegram stated "Stick by Florence. It could happen to you. Think about it." That is a far cry from suggesting she quit the group. Mary knew the self-inflicted problems with Florence and knew she had to go, so what would Mary quitting do for anybody? I think the Tempts meant for her not to turn her back on her old friend, and she didn't.

    Comments? After the abomination that was Ribowsky's Motown book, I have come to the conclusion that there isn't much left to say about Motown that hasn't already been said. I'm cool with that.

  2. #2
    It's been years since I read it - but it was one of the weaker Motown books.

    Berry was smart - at the time, that opening ooh, ooh, ooh, Baby Love - was magical. It really sold the Supremes.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Hey guys--
    I was wanting a new book to read and even though I pride myself on reading every Motown book that's come out, Posner's book Motown: Music Money and Power completely passed me by somehow. I bought it this weekend and I'm about halfway through it and I am seeing some diversions on certain stories that I've read in other books. Here they are:

    1. Berry was not happy with Baby Love as a follow up single to Where Did Our Love Go. Posner states that after WDOLG hit big, the follow up, Baby Love, was heard by Berry and he did not like it. I'm reporting this off memory--Berry thought it was too slow and didn't think the intro was strong enough. So HDH brought the girls back into the studio to re-record it. Apparently that Ooooh ooooh was added, and the tempo was sped up (hard to imagine it was any slower but that's what Posner says). I have never heard this before to the best of my recollection.

    2. Posner reports that Berry and Marvin Gaye got into a "fist fight," which turned out to be more like a shoving match. I never heard this before either. Marvin was complaining about royalty "discrepancies" and was cussing out the sales people, which Berry explained was not doing him (Marvin) any favors.

    3. Posner says that the reunion of the Supremes at Motown 25 was "not rehearsed." Maybe it was just unclear wording on Posner's part, but he made it sound like even Someday We'll be Together was just off the cuff, unplanned. Now I know they had planned a medley of hits prior to the show, which DR vetoed without bothering to run it by Mary and Cindy, but Someday was hardly impromptu. Again, maybe he just worded this poorly.

    4. Posner claims that the infamous telegram from the Temptations to Mary Wilson urged her to quit the Supremes in protest of Florence's dismissal. From all I've read in the past, including from Mary herself, The telegram stated "Stick by Florence. It could happen to you. Think about it." That is a far cry from suggesting she quit the group. Mary knew the self-inflicted problems with Florence and knew she had to go, so what would Mary quitting do for anybody? I think the Tempts meant for her not to turn her back on her old friend, and she didn't.

    Comments? After the abomination that was Ribowsky's Motown book, I have come to the conclusion that there isn't much left to say about Motown that hasn't already been said. I'm cool with that.
    I haven't read Posner's book in a while but I remember it being full of errors. I think I might have even written an Amazon review saying that the author and I probably read the same books and I could have done a similar job as he. Only I wouldn't have passed mine off as a new work. I think the only true new info that I recall was something shady happening with album cut-outs. But again, it has been years since I read it.

    I also remember hearing that when Posner had an appearance in Detroit during his book tour, Martha Reeves and Maxine Powell attended and objected publicly to some of his comments.

    I had heard stories 1-3 in other books.

    The original version of BABY LOVE traded hands amongst fans for years before it was released on the WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO expanded edition. Listening to it, I agree with Berry. It needed to be reworked and HDH came through.

    I remember reading that the scuffle with Marvin might occurred around the time of Kennedy's assassination and nerves were raw or when Berry told Marvin "be a good boy," and he objected.

    Re SOMEDAY at MOTOWN 25, from what I've read, the women got together shortly before the audience was due to be let in to the auditorium. Because they had such short time, they didn't get to rehearse the medley and Diana decided they should just do SOMEDAY.

    Re Mary's telegram from the Tempts, he probably just got the story wrong.
    Last edited by reese; 11-25-2020 at 09:32 AM.

  4. #4
    I like the title of the book, Music, Money, Sex and Power. Having literally just finished reading Ribowsky’s book on the Temptations, it certainly underscores just what a smart move Diana signing with RCA really was.
    Last edited by Ollie9; 11-25-2020 at 08:41 AM.

  5. #5
    One of the worst books ever.

    Anything Supremes related is a watered down version of "All That Glittered" which was a watered down version of "Dreamgirl".

    It's like the game telephone. When you tell the same story 100 times, it eventually shapeshifts.

  6. #6
    Yes, exactly MaryBrewster. I can't believe he was featured in Diana's E True Hollywood Story, talking like he's some Motown historian. They just called him up because he was the 'soup du jour'. Next.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    I haven't read Posner's book in a while but I remember it being full of errors. I think I might have even written an Amazon review saying that the author and I probably read the same books and I could have done a similar job as he. Only I wouldn't have passed mine off as a new work. I think the only true new info that I recall was something shady happening with album cut-outs. But again, it has been years since I read it.

    I also remember hearing that when Posner had an appearance in Detroit during his book tour, Martha Reeves and Maxine Powell attended and objected publicly to some of his comments.

    I had heard stories 1-3 in other books.

    The original version of BABY LOVE traded hands amongst fans for years before it was released on the WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO expanded edition. Listening to it, I agree with Berry. It needed to be reworked and HDH came through.

    I remember reading that the scuffle with Marvin might occurred around the time of Kennedy's assassination and nerves were raw or when Berry told Marvin "be a good boy," and he objected.

    Re SOMEDAY at MOTOWN 25, from what I've read, the women got together shortly before the audience was due to be let in to the auditorium. Because they had such short time, they didn't get to rehearse the medley and Diana decided they should just do SOMEDAY.

    Re Mary's telegram from the Tempts, he probably just got the story wrong.
    I do not recall Martha Reeves and Maxine Powell as having attended the book tour appearance, however, I remember reading in the Michigan Chronicle that Esther Gordy Edwards was in attendance and gave some strong rebuttals to things that were divulged. She was very upset as I recall.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by woodward View Post
    I do not recall Martha Reeves and Maxine Powell as having attended the book tour appearance, however, I remember reading in the Michigan Chronicle that Esther Gordy Edwards was in attendance and gave some strong rebuttals to things that were divulged. She was very upset as I recall.
    There's a very old thread on the book here. https://soulfuldetroit.com/archives/...tml?1046689516

    I guess the appearance to which I was referring occurred at the Detroit Public Library and Mrs. Edwards, as well as Martha and Miss Powell were in attendance. A poster in the thread named "Sue" wrote an article about the appearance in the Detroit News. Unfortunately, the link to her article is no longer valid.

  9. #9
    I doubt any book on Motown will ever completely reveal all the supposed machinations until the key players have passed away.

  10. #10
    Well I'm almost done with the book. This Posner guy contradicts himself a lot, I couldn't help but notice. For instance he says Marvin's Grapevine sold more copies than any other Motown single, 4 million copies, but just a few pages later he says the Jackson 5's I'll Be There sold 3 million copies and was Motown's biggest single. It's stuff like that that kind of annoys me because it's so easy to get right. He also says Mary Wilson threatened to quit the Supremes over when Berry changed his mind early on about Jean Terrell. I'm pretty sure that never happened. Another thing he asserts was that Berry thought that Mary wanted to be the Supreme's lead singer instead of DR but I never heard that before. Mary always said although she wanted some solos every now and then, especially on albums, but wasn't ready to be a full lead singer. Seems like Mary was self aware and realistic about how things were back then. But according to Posner, Mary's wanting to be lead singer, supposedly, caused the Supreme's issues. I recall Berry writing in his memoirs that Mary "wanted to be the one, but DR had the magic and Mary Wilson didn't." Maybe that's where Posner got that from. If that was how Mary felt, allegedly, why didn't she demand to take DR's place, rather than back up Jean Terrell as the new lead?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Well I'm almost done with the book. This Posner guy contradicts himself a lot, I couldn't help but notice. For instance he says Marvin's Grapevine sold more copies than any other Motown single, 4 million copies, but just a few pages later he says the Jackson 5's I'll Be There sold 3 million copies and was Motown's biggest single. It's stuff like that that kind of annoys me because it's so easy to get right. He also says Mary Wilson threatened to quit the Supremes over when Berry changed his mind early on about Jean Terrell. I'm pretty sure that never happened. Another thing he asserts was that Berry thought that Mary wanted to be the Supreme's lead singer instead of DR but I never heard that before. Mary always said although she wanted some solos every now and then, especially on albums, but wasn't ready to be a full lead singer. Seems like Mary was self aware and realistic about how things were back then. But according to Posner, Mary's wanting to be lead singer, supposedly, caused the Supreme's issues. I recall Berry writing in his memoirs that Mary "wanted to be the one, but DR had the magic and Mary Wilson didn't." Maybe that's where Posner got that from. If that was how Mary felt, allegedly, why didn't she demand to take DR's place, rather than back up Jean Terrell as the new lead?
    I recall reading an interview with Mary Wilson where she claimed one of her biggest regrets was that she did not take over as lead vocalist when Diana left. I didn't really believe what she was saying. If this was true then surely she would have wanted to do the leads when Jean missed a couple of shows when she was said to be sick rather than newcomer Lynda in 1973. It just does not make sense for her to claim she wanted to be lead singer if she didn't feel she was good enough to cover for Jean.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebrock View Post
    I recall reading an interview with Mary Wilson where she claimed one of her biggest regrets was that she did not take over as lead vocalist when Diana left. I didn't really believe what she was saying. If this was true then surely she would have wanted to do the leads when Jean missed a couple of shows when she was said to be sick rather than newcomer Lynda in 1973. It just does not make sense for her to claim she wanted to be lead singer if she didn't feel she was good enough to cover for Jean.
    Mary Wilson seems to have said a lot of things at least once, many of which are contradictory.

    You guys are reminding me of how bad this book was; I remember kind of dismissing it and thinking that I knew more than him, lol

  13. #13
    It would be interesting to know what books on Motown fans consider to be the best. I have read everything there is regarding Diana/Supremes but not Motown.
    Any recommendations would be appreciated.

  14. #14
    Hi everybody--just forgot to tell you all that Posner claimed that Gordy wrote the song Power for El Debarge, which ended up, of course, with the Temptations. I laughed when I read that! I can't even begin to imagine DeBarge singing that song! Dennis Edwards was perfect for it!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Hi everybody--just forgot to tell you all that Posner claimed that Gordy wrote the song Power for El Debarge, which ended up, of course, with the Temptations. I laughed when I read that! I can't even begin to imagine DeBarge singing that song! Dennis Edwards was perfect for it!
    Otis Williams of the Tempts told the same story in his book.

  16. #16
    Really? I read his book years ago and forgot about that, I guess. Still can't see DeBarge's voice on that one!

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