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  1. #1

    The mighty ivy jo hunter

    i just heard that we lost Ivy Jo Hunter this past week. Rest in peace, Ivy, you are a legend! You won't be forgotten. Godspeed.

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    Thank you. I also saw this mentioned on the Facebook page in his honor. Through researching, I can't find any other verification that he passed.

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    Truly sorry to hear abut the passing of another Motown Legend. Rest In Power & Music Ivy Jo Hunter.

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    If this is true then I am truly both sad and dissapointed - passing time has beaten us again.....

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    Very sad news indeed! God bless you dear friend Ivy Jo RIP

    Grape

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    Very sad news indeed...as long as Motown lives so does Mr Ivy Jo Hunter...rest in peace my friend..I will miss your birthday wishes.

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    Shocked and extremely saddened by this. Loved his contribution to the Motown Sound with some absolute favourites from his catalogue. Also a lovely friend on Facebook. Such a shame.

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    He was amazing, so sad to lose such a great man who issued over a hundred records. My favourite is his VIP record however the unissued copy version from 1970 that he dueted with David Ruffin "I Can Feel The Pain" is just stunning. May he rest in peace.


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    I was afraid this would be the news when I opened this. RIP to this underrated writer and producer, as well as vocalist. I wish we would have gotten the entirety of “In This Bag” while Ivy Jo was still with us.

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    RIP Ivy Jo. A true Motown legend.

    Would still love to see In This Bag released.

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    Thank you Ivy Jo for your wonderful contribution to my favourite music. R.I.P.
    Me too Tomato Tom and the rest of his recordings.

  13. #13
    Has anyone seen official confirmation?

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    Quote Originally Posted by booty View Post
    booty, thank you for finding and posting this link.

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    Lamont Dozier. Ivy Jo Hunter

    Both gone in such a short time. The most distinctive, gifted and magnificent of all the Motown producers/ composers. Unique, irreplaceable, awesome. The names which guaranteed a thrilling record you would always treasure and remember
    Last edited by MIKEW-UK; 10-07-2022 at 02:51 PM.

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    loved all the Stevenson/Hunter records, they were among the BEST. Rest In Peace Ivy Joe Hunter.

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    I wish I could site the source; however, I've read that on the majority of the Stevenson/Hunter songwriting endeavors, it was usually Ivy Jo's work with little or no input from Stevenson. His work was indeed sophisticated, well polished, and ranks up there in greatness, at least to me, with those Motown writers/producers who had more clout.

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    I found this yesterday on Wikipedia. I guarantee it is not a complete listing; however, it is just a beginning. It is what it is. A glimpse.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catego..._Ivy_Jo_Hunter

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    He wrote at least 17 songs alone plus 70 odd others with Mickey Stevenson and others plus 50 odd with other writers so thats around 140 Motown credits!

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    My Friend Mickey Nold who worked closely with the late and much missed Bill Randle has very kindly reposted the hour long interview Bill did with Ivy Jo Hunter some years ago.
    There appears to be very little online presence of Ivy Jo, and although some were on his facebook, the world at large has little access to the thoughts and history of his career by the great man himself. I hope Ivy Jo fans enjoy it.


    https://www.mixcloud.com/billrandle1...er-25-yrs-ago/
    Last edited by MIKEW-UK; 10-08-2022 at 06:47 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jobucats View Post
    I wish I could site the source; however, I've read that on the majority of the Stevenson/Hunter songwriting endeavors, it was usually Ivy Jo's work with little or no input from Stevenson. His work was indeed sophisticated, well polished, and ranks up there in greatness, at least to me, with those Motown writers/producers who had more clout.
    jobucats

    It could be this article...copied from Soul Source
    https://www.soul-source.co.uk/articl...ob-moss-r2789/

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    Quote Originally Posted by snakepit View Post
    jobucats

    It could be this article...copied from Soul Source
    https://www.soul-source.co.uk/articl...ob-moss-r2789/
    Thank you, Snakepit. Although that article wasn't the one I recall reading, it did give some excellent insight on the working relationship between Stevenson and Hunter. It's also interesting that Ivy Jo said he was given credit [[by Stevenson) for "My Baby Loves Me', among other songs, that he didn't even have anything to do with it. It appears they both had high regard and respect for each other.

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    Jobucats

    Yes a very good article.
    Ivy & Mickey had an agreement...sharing credits, either as a pair or as solo writers.
    The link to the Bill Randle mixcloud is worth listening to as well.

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    Shame the few tracks on "In My Bag" were not released as an album. In the interview with Bill Randle Ivy Jo states there are 200 unreleased tracks in the can!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEW-UK View Post
    Shame the few tracks on "In My Bag" were not released as an album. In the interview with Bill Randle Ivy Jo states there are 200 unreleased tracks in the can!
    Mike we`ve had 7 of the 11 tracks slated for this album and it was to have been released by I think it was Real Music some years back but nothing has happened since. It would be nice to get an update.

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    yes, don't know what I'm thinkin', But I thought a CD was issued several years ago.I enjoyed the links above to the audio interview & then to the article. Thanks to you guys! Motown Record Corp. of Detroit, Mi. was a major part of my life since I was 10 years old in 1961. Ivy Joe Hunter/William Stevenson are the 2 writers/producers that I really LOVED!They along with HDH & Smokey were like GODS to me. Rest In Peace, Mr. Hunter, you deserve Paradise.

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    Wow. Only 26 comments on Ivy Jo passing.

    I always considered him a giant composer for Motown. Not much interest here, sadly.

    The Guardian,a mainstream newspaper in the U.K. not the U.S.A., at least gave him the respect and recognition he absolutely deserves. Disappointing

    Ivy Jo Hunter obituary
    Motown songwriter best known for his part in Martha and the Vandellas’ worldwide hit Dancing in the Street
    Martha Reeves, the lead singer of Martha and the Vandellas, liked to nail a song in a single take, and one day in May 1964 she believed she had done a decent job first time around on a new song called Dancing in the Street. But then a voice came from the control booth in the Motown label’s Detroit studio, apologetically asking her for one more try because the tape machine had not been turned on.

    An exasperated Reeves began it again, this time with an extra edge in her voice: “Calling out around the world, are you ready for a brand-new beat? Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street …” When she finished, she saw the producers high-fiving each other. They had bluffed her into giving a more urgent performance on what would become not just a worldwide hit and one of the records that best defined the Motown Sound but, albeit unwittingly, a call to arms for civil rights protesters that summer and in those that followed.

    Ivy Jo Hunter, a Motown songwriter, was the man who had bluffed Reeves, in collaboration with the record’s producer, William “Mickey” Stevenson. He and Stevenson, the company’s head of A&R, had completed a song begun by Marvin Gaye, who had come up with the title and the idea – borrowed from Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen – of including a list of US cities in the lyric: “They’re dancing in Chicago, down in New Orleans, in New York City …” Initially conceived as a ballad, the song was remodelled to make the tempo fit the title.

    Hunter, who has died aged 82, was also partly responsible for the record’s monstrous backbeat, which sent listeners straight to the dancefloor. As well as the conventional combination of snare drum and tambourine, the beat was reinforced by the sound of Hunter hitting a set of tyre chains with a piece of wood. “His hands were bleeding when he’d finished,” Reeves remembered. Hunter also taught the backing vocals to the two Vandellas, Rosalind Ashford and Betty Kelly, and sang along with them as they overdubbed their part.


    Martha & the Vandellas, Dancing in the Street
    By October, the song was sitting at No 2 in the US pop chart, kept off the top spot by Manfred Mann’s Do Wah Diddy Diddy. [[Reissued in the UK in 1969, it reached the top five.)

    Born George Ivy Hunter in Detroit, he attended Cass Tech high school, like many others who would become professional musicians. “My mother didn’t want me to go into the music business,” he said. “She thought it was no good, so I studied commercial art at Cass but still played trumpet and baritone sax in the Detroit All City Orchestra.” While studying commercial art, Hunter also sang in amateur vocal groups.

    After a spell in the US Army, he returned home and took a day job at an electrical company while attempting to launch a career as a performer at clubs such as the 20 Grand and Phelps Lounge. There, amid a Detroit music scene he described as “buzzing”, he became friendly with Hank Cosby, a saxophonist who worked for Motown. Through Cosby, Hunter met Stevenson, who signed him to contract with the company as an artist, songwriter, producer and manager.

    Hunter was born in Detroit and was signed to Motown as an artist, songwriter, producer and manager.
    Hunter was born in Detroit and was signed to Motown as an artist, songwriter, producer and manager. Photograph: Paul Roque/Sygma/Getty Images
    His change of professional name to Ivy Jo Hunter would be the cause of multiple confusions. In the 1950s a Texan singer and pianist named Ivory Joe Hunter had enjoyed national hits with I Almost Lost My Mind and Since I Met You Baby. And Motown’s first staff musician was a Tennessee-born pianist named Joe Hunter, who recruited and ran the label’s studio band between 1959 and 1963. The name Ivy Jo – sometimes appearing just as Ivy – also deceived the sort of fans who studied the credits on record labels and album jackets into assuming he was a woman.

    Berry Gordy Jr, the label’s founder, encouraged his young songwriters and producers to work together in an environment that mixed collaboration with competition. At first Hunter felt like an outsider, but his partnership with Stevenson eventually brought success in 1964 with Dancing in the Street and a dance-craze song called Can You Jerk Like Me with the Contours, followed by a majestic and much-loved ballad called Ask the Lonely with the Four Tops the following year. He collaborated with Stevie Wonder, then 15 years old, on the pounding Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever, recorded by the Four Tops in 1966 and later covered by the Band, Nick Kamen and others.

    Motown’s A-list stars, such as the Supremes and the Temptations, were generally considered to be the “property” of the songwriter/producer teams who provided them with strings of hits, which restricted Hunter’s scope and mostly limited him to working with the label’s second-tier acts. But among the records to which he contributed were several still cherished by aficionados of the Motown Sound, among them I’ll Keep Holding On and Danger Heartbreak Ahead by the Marvelettes, Behind a Painted Smile by the Isley Brothers and Truly Yours by the Spinners.

    Motown’s failure to promote him as an artist was a disappointment unassuaged by the barely noticed release in 1970 of a single, I Remember When, while an album remained unreleased.

    Gordy’s decision to move his operations to Los Angeles that same year left Hunter among the many suddenly stranded in Detroit, disillusioned, resentful and contemplating legal action. He continued working as a session man with the Dells and Funkadelic, among others, while occasionally recording under his own name. A songwriting collaboration in 1990 with Ian Levine, the British disc jockey who recorded old Motown stars on his Motorcity label, led to Running Through My Fingers, which became popular on the beach music scene in South Carolina.

    In 2012 the rapper Trick Daddy had a hit with The Children’s Song, a version of Hold On [[to Your Dream), written by Hunter and Vernon Bullock in the late 70s for Wee Gee, the former lead singer of the Dramatics, which became a popular track for graduation ceremonies. “God sure gave me one with that song,” Hunter said. In 2009, despite previous acrimony, he took part in Motown’s 50th anniversary celebrations in Detroit.

    • Ivy Jo Hunter [[George Ivy Hunter), songwriter and singer, born 28 August 1940; died 6 October 2022

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    Many thanks Mike a fitting tribute to a wonderful but very underrated artist.At least we have what it seems to be a very small portion of his legacy. Here`s hoping for "Ivy Jo is In This Bag" and much, much more.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEW-UK View Post
    Wow. Only 26 comments on Ivy Jo passing.

    I always considered him a giant composer for Motown. Not much interest here, sadly.

    The Guardian,a mainstream newspaper in the U.K. not the U.S.A., at least gave him the respect and recognition he absolutely deserves. Disappointing

    Ivy Jo Hunter obituary
    Motown songwriter best known for his part in Martha and the Vandellas’ worldwide hit Dancing in the Street
    Martha Reeves, the lead singer of Martha and the Vandellas, liked to nail a song in a single take, and one day in May 1964 she believed she had done a decent job first time around on a new song called Dancing in the Street. But then a voice came from the control booth in the Motown label’s Detroit studio, apologetically asking her for one more try because the tape machine had not been turned on.

    An exasperated Reeves began it again, this time with an extra edge in her voice: “Calling out around the world, are you ready for a brand-new beat? Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street …” When she finished, she saw the producers high-fiving each other. They had bluffed her into giving a more urgent performance on what would become not just a worldwide hit and one of the records that best defined the Motown Sound but, albeit unwittingly, a call to arms for civil rights protesters that summer and in those that followed.

    Ivy Jo Hunter, a Motown songwriter, was the man who had bluffed Reeves, in collaboration with the record’s producer, William “Mickey” Stevenson. He and Stevenson, the company’s head of A&R, had completed a song begun by Marvin Gaye, who had come up with the title and the idea – borrowed from Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen – of including a list of US cities in the lyric: “They’re dancing in Chicago, down in New Orleans, in New York City …” Initially conceived as a ballad, the song was remodelled to make the tempo fit the title.

    Hunter, who has died aged 82, was also partly responsible for the record’s monstrous backbeat, which sent listeners straight to the dancefloor. As well as the conventional combination of snare drum and tambourine, the beat was reinforced by the sound of Hunter hitting a set of tyre chains with a piece of wood. “His hands were bleeding when he’d finished,” Reeves remembered. Hunter also taught the backing vocals to the two Vandellas, Rosalind Ashford and Betty Kelly, and sang along with them as they overdubbed their part.


    Martha & the Vandellas, Dancing in the Street
    By October, the song was sitting at No 2 in the US pop chart, kept off the top spot by Manfred Mann’s Do Wah Diddy Diddy. [[Reissued in the UK in 1969, it reached the top five.)

    Born George Ivy Hunter in Detroit, he attended Cass Tech high school, like many others who would become professional musicians. “My mother didn’t want me to go into the music business,” he said. “She thought it was no good, so I studied commercial art at Cass but still played trumpet and baritone sax in the Detroit All City Orchestra.” While studying commercial art, Hunter also sang in amateur vocal groups.

    After a spell in the US Army, he returned home and took a day job at an electrical company while attempting to launch a career as a performer at clubs such as the 20 Grand and Phelps Lounge. There, amid a Detroit music scene he described as “buzzing”, he became friendly with Hank Cosby, a saxophonist who worked for Motown. Through Cosby, Hunter met Stevenson, who signed him to contract with the company as an artist, songwriter, producer and manager.

    Hunter was born in Detroit and was signed to Motown as an artist, songwriter, producer and manager.
    Hunter was born in Detroit and was signed to Motown as an artist, songwriter, producer and manager. Photograph: Paul Roque/Sygma/Getty Images
    His change of professional name to Ivy Jo Hunter would be the cause of multiple confusions. In the 1950s a Texan singer and pianist named Ivory Joe Hunter had enjoyed national hits with I Almost Lost My Mind and Since I Met You Baby. And Motown’s first staff musician was a Tennessee-born pianist named Joe Hunter, who recruited and ran the label’s studio band between 1959 and 1963. The name Ivy Jo – sometimes appearing just as Ivy – also deceived the sort of fans who studied the credits on record labels and album jackets into assuming he was a woman.

    Berry Gordy Jr, the label’s founder, encouraged his young songwriters and producers to work together in an environment that mixed collaboration with competition. At first Hunter felt like an outsider, but his partnership with Stevenson eventually brought success in 1964 with Dancing in the Street and a dance-craze song called Can You Jerk Like Me with the Contours, followed by a majestic and much-loved ballad called Ask the Lonely with the Four Tops the following year. He collaborated with Stevie Wonder, then 15 years old, on the pounding Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever, recorded by the Four Tops in 1966 and later covered by the Band, Nick Kamen and others.

    Motown’s A-list stars, such as the Supremes and the Temptations, were generally considered to be the “property” of the songwriter/producer teams who provided them with strings of hits, which restricted Hunter’s scope and mostly limited him to working with the label’s second-tier acts. But among the records to which he contributed were several still cherished by aficionados of the Motown Sound, among them I’ll Keep Holding On and Danger Heartbreak Ahead by the Marvelettes, Behind a Painted Smile by the Isley Brothers and Truly Yours by the Spinners.

    Motown’s failure to promote him as an artist was a disappointment unassuaged by the barely noticed release in 1970 of a single, I Remember When, while an album remained unreleased.

    Gordy’s decision to move his operations to Los Angeles that same year left Hunter among the many suddenly stranded in Detroit, disillusioned, resentful and contemplating legal action. He continued working as a session man with the Dells and Funkadelic, among others, while occasionally recording under his own name. A songwriting collaboration in 1990 with Ian Levine, the British disc jockey who recorded old Motown stars on his Motorcity label, led to Running Through My Fingers, which became popular on the beach music scene in South Carolina.

    In 2012 the rapper Trick Daddy had a hit with The Children’s Song, a version of Hold On [[to Your Dream), written by Hunter and Vernon Bullock in the late 70s for Wee Gee, the former lead singer of the Dramatics, which became a popular track for graduation ceremonies. “God sure gave me one with that song,” Hunter said. In 2009, despite previous acrimony, he took part in Motown’s 50th anniversary celebrations in Detroit.

    • Ivy Jo Hunter [[George Ivy Hunter), songwriter and singer, born 28 August 1940; died 6 October 2022
    I think there is more interest in Ivy than the number of comments indicates. Ivy was like so many others in the Motown machine who contributed far more than the most casual fan would ever know. I always make mention of him in videos and have even featured his name in the title of a couple recent ones. There is always a response whenever Ivy Jo is mentioned. Unfortunately, the write-ups seen online only tell a very small portion of Ivy's story. A few facts and the same couple of anecdotes about "Dancing In The Street." With Ivy, the fuller picture has to be gathered from the full array of songs he wrote, and the way he produced them. There definitely seemed to be themes of love lost and nearly unbearable heartbreak in many of his song- and they seemed to come from a very personal place within himself. Like Marvin Gaye, I remember getting the impression Ivy was sometimes working out his personal life in some of those songs he wrote.

    I loved his work with the Marvelettes and the Isley Brothers in particular. With the Marvelettes I had the feeling he was trying very hard to move them into more intricate and complex material: "The Stranger" "Rainy Mourning," "Just One More Kiss [[Before You Leave)". I had the great honor to be able to ask him about some of these on Facebook and he gave some great background on what he was doing. With The Isley Brothers, I feel like they were to Ivy Jo what the Four Tops were to HDH.

    Then consider how he liked to utilize some fairly "odd" drum patterns on his material; drums accenting the 1's or the 3's or the 4's. I'm sure Quality Control must have been challenged by THAT. I recall a comment Ivy made [[rather caustically) about working with The Spinners and trying to "funnel them into that so-called Motown Sound." I think that comment stemmed from some frustration with always having to churn out material with Motown's signature 4-on-the-floor drum/rhythm material. Truly, I don't think we'll ever really fully get a great handle on the fascinating way that man's mind worked or the way he was constantly trying to expand the musical landscape of how a Motown record could sound.
    Last edited by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance; 10-18-2022 at 12:49 AM.

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    Roger, thank-you. WaitingWatching, your assessment is a really good insight. Thanks

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    Yes a very good post. I too believe that his sad songs seem to come from deep inside.
    He statedd on a several occasions that he thought HDH repeated their formula , perhaps a bit of envy, as he couldn't get a shot at the A list very often. He wanted to offer something different and as a result, we were treated to so many great tracks.
    Let's hope somebody gets the go ahead for a collection of his recordings.
    But in re

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    Name:  av-5.jpg
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    Sorry to hear this sad news. Ivy was my favourite writer, as he was the driving force in the Stevenson-Hunter writing team, and then were my favourite songwriting team. Their music brought a lot of joy and pleasure into our lives. I don't think you can gauge popularity or remembrance from the number of posts on this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    I think there is more interest in Ivy than the number of comments indicates. Ivy was like so many others in the Motown machine who contributed far more than the most casual fan would ever know. I always make mention of him in videos and have even featured his name in the title of a couple recent ones. There is always a response whenever Ivy Jo is mentioned. Unfortunately, the write-ups seen online only tell a very small portion of Ivy's story. A few facts and the same couple of anecdotes about "Dancing In The Street." With Ivy, the fuller picture has to be gathered from the full array of songs he wrote, and the way he produced them. There definitely seemed to be themes of love lost and nearly unbearable heartbreak in many of his song- and they seemed to come from a very personal place within himself. Like Marvin Gaye, I remember getting the impression Ivy was sometimes working out his personal life in some of those songs he wrote.

    I loved his work with the Marvelettes and the Isley Brothers in particular. With the Marvelettes I had the feeling he was trying very hard to move them into more intricate and complex material: "The Stranger" "Rainy Mourning," "Just One More Kiss [[Before You Leave)". I had the great honor to be able to ask him about some of these on Facebook and he gave some great background on what he was doing. With The Isley Brothers, I feel like they were to Ivy Jo what the Four Tops were to HDH.

    Then consider how he liked to utilize some fairly "odd" drum patterns on his material; drums accenting the 1's or the 3's or the 4's. I'm sure Quality Control must have been challenged by THAT. I recall a comment Ivy made [[rather caustically) about working with The Spinners and trying to "funnel them into that so-called Motown Sound." I think that comment stemmed from some frustration with always having to churn out material with Motown's signature 4-on-the-floor drum/rhythm material. Truly, I don't think we'll ever really fully get a great handle on the fascinating way that man's mind worked or the way he was constantly trying to expand the musical landscape of how a Motown record could sound.
    Not to mention that fuzz guitar he liked - Why when love is gone/Only your love can save me

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    The Guardian obituary quoted above has it right about his professional name. The number of times I’ve seen the two names/guys confused has really got me riled!

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    Although I've been an avid Motown fan and collector since 1964, I knew very little about Ivy Jo Hunter. I would see his name and songwriter/producer credits on several Motown singles which I loved [[Martha & The Vandellas, The Marvelettes, The Four Tops, etc.) along with Mickey Stevenson credits; but, other than that, Motown didn't promote Ivy Jo at all here in the U.S.. In fact, I was somewhat surprised to learn of his near-hero reputation that he's earned over the years -- especially across "the pond" with his loyal Northern Soul U.K. following. I've learned of Ivy Jo's underground popularity here on the Motown Forum. Like everyone else who commented, I, too, would welcome a CD [[or, better yet, a 2-CD) release of his "In The Bag" tracks as well as other previously-unreleased Motown recordings. In the meantime, may Ivy Jo Hunter rest in peace with his fellow Heavenly Motown artists.
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 10-19-2022 at 04:37 AM.

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    Here's a Very Interesting article about Ivy Jo Hunter from Adam White's West Grand Blog.

    A Lonesome Hunter — Adam White [adampwhite.com]

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    Many thanks Motown Eddie. It looks as though Ivy`s cd. was very close to release. Why would it be withheld ? it just doesn`t make any sense at all. The longer it is left then there will be fewer of us fans alive to buy it.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by soulwally View Post
    Not to mention that fuzz guitar he liked - Why when love is gone/Only your love can save me
    Definitely another one of his signatures. I'd say his influences may have been pretty broad, maybe including some of the harder Rock bands of the day. First time I heard "Why When Love Is Gone" it kinda startled me! I thought they had brought Jimi Hendrix or someone into Motown [[I was really young at the time!) I really liked it though and if you look at the grooves in my "Doin' Their Thing" album, you'll see the grooves are several shades lighter for that intro than the rest of the album, cuz I kept putting the needle back there over and over.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEW-UK View Post
    Roger, thank-you. WaitingWatching, your assessment is a really good insight. Thanks
    I appreciate that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Polhill View Post
    Many thanks Motown Eddie. It looks as though Ivy`s cd. was very close to release. Why would it be withheld ? it just doesn`t make any sense at all. The longer it is left then there will be fewer of us fans alive to buy it.
    I hear ya! It seems to me that since Universal Music acquired Capitol Records years ago, they've only been interested in releasing physical product on their rock catalog [The Beatles, Beach Boys, The Who and others]. Anyway, a lot of fans of Classic Motown would snap up an Ivy Jo Hunter collection in a heartbeat [especially now since the news of his passing].

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    Definitely another one of his signatures. I'd say his influences may have been pretty broad, maybe including some of the harder Rock bands of the day. First time I heard "Why When Love Is Gone" it kinda startled me! I thought they had brought Jimi Hendrix or someone into Motown [[I was really young at the time!) I really liked it though and if you look at the grooves in my "Doin' Their Thing" album, you'll see the grooves are several shades lighter for that intro than the rest of the album, cuz I kept putting the needle back there over and over.
    Yes indeed; the intros to The Isley's "Why When Love Is Gone" & The Marvelettes' "Your Love Can Save Me" did feature a fuzz guitar prominently in the mix. To me it was part of the Motown Sound in the '60s to keep up with the trends in popular music [while keeping the Sound of Motown at the forefront of Soul & Pop]. This included using harpsichords on a lot of their hits during '67, incorporating funkier grooves during '68 & '69, and the influence of psychedelia on songs like "Reflections" & "Cloud Nine". Rock guitars including fuzztone, wah-wahs and wailing solos was another trend that Motown's producers had jumped on during that time.

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    I regret never getting to know Ivy Joe. Periodically, I would see him walking the halls of the fifth floor Donovan Building, where the writers rooms were. He was always alone, usually dressed in buckskin like a Mountain Man. For some reason I felt sorry for him. He always seemed to be alone. My secretary, Lynn Alan, would tell me he was on the outs with the company for some reason. I never knew what was going on with him at the time and I feel badly for not reaching out to him in some way.

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    From The Times of London today, another fitting tribute to the wonderful talent of Ivy Jo Hunter. A shame he would not live to enjoy the wonderful tributes which underscored how meaningful his contributions to Motown and to music are.




    Tuesday November 22 2022
    OBITUARY
    Ivy Jo Hunter obituary
    Songwriter best known for the hit Dancing in the Street, an anthem that would soundtrack the civil rights protests of the 1960s


    Tuesday November 22 2022, 12.01am, The Times
    When Ivy Jo Hunter wrote the melody for Dancing in the Street, he had no idea it was going to be a hit, let alone become an anthem that would soundtrack the civil rights protests of the 1960s.

    “I’d got the melody but I hated it,” he said of the tune, which at the time had no title and which he had initially conceived as a slow, melancholic ballad. However, when he played it to Marvin Gaye, the singer suggested that if they gave it a faster beat it would cause “dancing in the street”.

    Hunter adopted Gaye’s suggestion and knew instantly that he also now had the title for his song. In a smartly commercial move, his writing partner William “Mickey” Stevenson suggested that the lyric should namecheck the main urban centres of black America — “they’re dancing in Chicago, down in New Orleans, in New York City . . . Philadelphia, PA, Baltimore and DC”.

    The following day Hunter and Stevenson went into the Motown studio in Detroit with Martha and the Vandellas. Martha Reeves prided herself on nailing a song in a single take, but after the first pass, Hunter told her from the control booth that she would have to do it again because the tape machine had not been turned on.

    In fact, Hunter was bluffing. The producer’s role, he said, was to “play the players and singers” and he had calculated that by riling Reeves, he could coax an even more urgent vocal out of her. She duly obliged and added a new intensity to the song’s opening line, “Calling out around the world/ Are you ready for a brand new beat/ Summer’s here and the time is right/ For dancing in the street.”


    Hunter added his own backing vocals together with the Vandellas, Rosalind Ashford and Betty Kelly, and contributed to the song’s irresistible four-to-the-floor beat in unorthodox fashion, complementing the drums and bass by hitting a set of tyre chains with a piece of wood. “His hands were bleeding when he’d finished,” Reeves remembered.

    He had pledged not to get a haircut until he had a hit record and had been waiting for months. “You can imagine what he looked like,” Stevenson recalled. “But when I heard that record I turned to him and said ‘you go get a haircut’.”

    On its release in July 1964 Dancing in the Street rose to No 2 in the US charts and was adopted as a theme song in the race riots that hit America’s cities that summer. The song was later covered by the Mamas & the Papas, Van Halen, David Bowie and Mick Jagger, the Kinks, the Grateful Dead and Little Richard, among others.

    If it was Hunter’s most memorable contribution to the Motown sound, it was far from his only legacy and he also wrote or produced songs for the Four Tops, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Isley Brothers and the Supremes.

    Yet with some justification, he felt that his part in making Motown the most successful black music label in America was undervalued. “I always felt like an outsider, because I hadn’t been there since the inception, and I didn’t get involved in all the politics that was going on,” he said.

    Motown had its inner circle of favoured hit songwriters and producers in the likes of Smokey Robinson, Norman Whitfield and the prolific Holland-Dozier-Holland team, and it was hard to break their hold on working with the label’s top acts.

    “They tended to give me artists that hadn’t had a hit or who needed an album track,” Hunter said. “That’s how I got with the Four Tops.” He wrote no fewer than four songs for the vocal quartet’s debut album, including Ask the Lonely, a towering ballad of heartbreak that gave the group a hit in 1965 and became a much-covered standard.

    He also struggled to persuade Motown to allow him to put out his own records, even though he was signed to the label as a singer as well as a producer and songwriter. He possessed a powerful, expressive voice, and recorded several sessions for the label but they were all inexplicably shelved.


    By 1970, he had been with Motown for seven years without releasing anything under his own name and in exasperation he threatened to go on strike and asked for his contract as a writer to be cancelled. “That seemed to work. They put a couple of tunes out by me but they didn’t promote them so it fizzled out,” he said.

    George Ivy Hunter was born in 1940 in Detroit, where his father worked in one of the city’s car factories. Educated at Cass Technical High School, where Diana Ross and several other future Motown alumni were also pupils, he played trumpet and saxophone in the Detroit All City Orchestra. However, his mother was adamantly opposed to him becoming a professional musician and insisted that he train as a commercial artist.

    After serving in the US army, he returned to Detroit, working as an electrical engineer by day and singing and playing piano in the clubs by night. By 1962 he had earned a contract with the Correc-Tone label as a songwriter and session musician. A year later he defected to Motown.

    The deal he signed gave Stevenson, Motown’s A&R [artist and repertoire] director, a 50 per cent share of Hunter’s songwriting royalties, an arrangement he accepted with equanimity. “Without Mickey I would never have got into Motown at all,” he said. “He did a lot for me and I always felt indebted to him.”

    After leaving Motown he set up Probe Productions and began working with local Detroit acts, producing singles by Funkadelic and the Dells among others.

    He derived particular satisfaction from writing Hold On [[To Your Dreams), a 1979 solo hit for William “Wee Gee” Howard, the former lead singer of the Dramatics, and a hit all over again in 2012 for the rapper Trick Daddy.

    “God sure gave me one with that,” he said proudly. “I’m told it has been used at more graduation ceremonies than any other song.”


    Ivy Jo Hunter, songwriter, was born on August 28, 1940. He died of undisclosed causes on October 6, 2022 aged 82

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    Thanks for posting that great tribute article.

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    For those of you who can access BBC radio 4 by internet, 'Last Word' is a weekly program celebrating the lives of famous and worthy individuals, usually including commentary by those who knew them. Ivy Jo's life story receives recognition in the October 30th edition with comments by Motown author Graham Betts. The Times, the BBC, The Guardian, and of course the U.K.'s Motown and Soul music authority and writer Adam White have all been generous in their recognition of Ivy Jo. Ivy Jo was a very private person. I wonder what Ivy would have made of all these tributes to him in the U.K., not just on music sites, but in the U.K. mainstream media, paying tribute to his great talents and significant contributions.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001ddyh

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    Last edited by MIKEW-UK; 11-23-2022 at 11:38 AM.

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    Thanks Mike
    caught up with the Rado 4 show. Nice tribute.
    also caught the Lamont Dozier tribute.

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