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Thread: Gwen Gordy

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    Gwen Gordy

    We recently had a thread on Anna Gordy but [[at present) I am more interested in her sister Gwen's activities.
    She was the first entrepreneur of the Gordy children having started out as the operator of a photo concession at Detroit's Flame Show Bar. She went on to help start several record labels and played a major role in the development of Motown.
    She died of cancer, aged 71, almost exactly 11 years ago.
    With her [[then) husband Harvey Fuqua, Gwen formed the Harvey and Tri-Phi labels.
    She also helped found Anna Records & after her labels were merged with Motown, she went on to be very influential in Motown's Artist Development Dept.
    She was [[at various times) a manager, record company executive, songwriter and producer [[she helped steer the careers of the likes of the Spinners & Tammi Terrell).

    ....... AND THEN ..... just when you would have thought that she'd have been putting her feet up & taking life easy [[career wise) she burst back onto the Motown scene in 1977 for a few years with Gwen Glenn Productions, Derglenn Publishing Co. and Old Brompton Road Publishing Co.
    Gwen Glenn was responsible for the recordings made by High Inergy, Major Lance, Jamal Trice & others and as such put Motown back into the charts a number of times [[5) through to 1979.
    By 1979 [[& High Inergy's 'Frenzy' album), Gwen Glenn seemed to be less interested [[with Stone Diamond & Brown Sugar Productions getting involved) but Derglenn Publishing & Old Brompton Road Publishing still handled 8 of the 9 songs on the album.

    Anone know what brought Gwen back to such a 'hands on' position in 1977 ??
    How did Gwen Glenn get its name [[who was Glenn ?).

    A photo of Gwen in the Motown studios with Jamal Trice .........
    Attachment 1898

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    In the early days, Gwen wrote songs with her [[then) boyfriend Roquel Billy Davis. Gwen and Billy formed Anna Records [[named after Anna Gordy, a limited partner). The label was distributed by Chess and initially, everything was fine. When Berry produced "Money," by Barrett Strong, it was released locally on Tamla but he struck a deal with Gwen and Billy for national distribution on their label & it went on to become Anna's biggest ever selling record. Problems however developed between Gwen and Billy as Davis was on the road a lot promoting Anna recordings. In his absence Gwen struck up a relationship with Harvey Fuqua [[who Chess had sent to Detroit to help out at Anna). Harvey & Gwen fell in love, prompting Davis to leave to form Checkmate Records [[also Chess distributed). Gwen and Harvey forged on at Anna but Harvey had broken with Etta James to marry Gwen & this caused some friction with Chess. Davis moved to Chicago to become an A&R Director for Chess.

    Of course, Glenn in the Gwen Glenn set-up has to be Glenn Gordy, Gwen’s son.
    Attachment 1901
    Gwen [[middle) with Anna [[Gaye) and Joyce Fuller.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsmith View Post
    In the early days, Gwen wrote songs with her [[then) boyfriend Roquel Billy Davis. Gwen and Billy formed Anna Records [[named after Anna Gordy, a limited partner). The label was distributed by Chess and initially, everything was fine. When Berry produced "Money," by Barrett Strong, it was released locally on Tamla but he struck a deal with Gwen and Billy for national distribution on their label & it went on to become Anna's biggest ever selling record. Problems however developed between Gwen and Billy as Davis was on the road a lot promoting Anna recordings. In his absence Gwen struck up a relationship with Harvey Fuqua [[who Chess had sent to Detroit to help out at Anna). Harvey & Gwen fell in love, prompting Davis to leave to form Checkmate Records [[also Chess distributed). Gwen and Harvey forged on at Anna but Harvey had broken with Etta James to marry Gwen & this caused some friction with Chess. Davis moved to Chicago to become an A&R Director for Chess.

    Of course, Glenn in the Gwen Glenn set-up has to be Glenn Gordy, Gwen’s son.
    Attachment 1901
    Gwen [[middle) with Anna [[Gaye) and Joyce Fuller.
    Anna Records was initially distributed by George Goldner's End/Gone/Mark-X Records out of New York. Anna had a pressing/distribution deal with End from their inception in late 1958 through spring 1959, when they changed their distribution/pressing deal to Chess Records.

    Roquel [[Billy) Davis, upon leaving the Anna Records partnership, formed Check-Mate Records in Detroit, as a subsidiary of Chess Records. He operated Check-Mate as A&R man for Chess. Chess liked how he was doing, and hired him to perform that function in Chicago, for the parent company. Davis brought unreleased masters from Check-Mate and Anna Records [[he'd owned from the settlement), as well as signed artists [[Tony Clarke, Jackie Beavers, Ty Hunter, Ruben Fort, David Ruffin?, Willie Kendricks? to Chess Records.
    Last edited by robb_k; 11-17-2010 at 02:33 AM.

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    Didn't Gwen co-write Jackie Wilson's hits with Billy and Berry? I think she also co-wrote Etta James' hit "All I Could Do Was Cry" right after they left Chess. I forget when "All I Could Do Was Cry" was recorded. I know it was released in 1960 though. I give Gwen props on co-writing all those hits [[including Marvin's "Distant Lover").

    She's definitely overlooked in Motown's, Detroit music's and rock music's history.

  5. #5
    topdiva1 Guest
    Gwen Gordy id a lot and gave a lot for Berry Gordy's Motown and is often over looked.

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    Wow, this was very informative!

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    My brother met Gwen along with High Energy in Orlando on their first promotion tour.He really liked Gwen.

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    I would love to see the photo of Gwen with Jamal Trice, attachment 1898, but after a dozen attempts to open it, I did not succeed.

    Do you have any other trick up your sleeve to make it available? I'd appreciate it.

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