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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Rep Power

    1972 Motown Forever article on departure from Detroit to Los Angeles

    I came across this interesting Free Press article from 1972. Some unknown details about the move.

    Motown Exiting City A Little At A Time

    Motown exiting city a little at a time
    June 9, 1972

    Free Press Staff Writer

    Half of Motown Records, Detroit's rock musical pride and joy, has already left town and if the present trend continues, there won't be more than a handful of people left tending the local store by the end of the summer -- if there are any at all.

    The announcement Thursday that Barney Ales, vice-president and general manager of the rock-platter titan, has retired added weight to the rumors that a serious organizational shake-up is in the works.

    Ales had once said that he had no intention of moving to California where Berry Gordy Jr., founder and president of the corporation, has been based for several years.

    Bit by bit in recent years, Motown has been moving to the coast while denying reports that it was moving. The superstars, with the exception of the Surpemes, have all relocated, leaving the lesser stars, tape library, publishing facilities, one personnel office and part of the creative division, finance section and shipping department in Detroit.

    At its peak, Motown employed 300 persons in Detroit. By July 15, there will be fewer than 100 employees left here, according to a Motown official who wished to remain unidentified.

    Ales, according to a Motown spokesman, retired "to devote full time to his investment portfolio."

    Still in his Motown office, Ales said Thursday that his separation is amicable and that Gordy has asked him to stay on in Detroit and commute to the coast as he has been doing for the last year. But with the shrinking of Motown's local operation, this would mean more time away from home.

    "My roots are here and my friends are in and around Detroit," Ales said. "My kids are in Little League and I have to spend more time with them."

    Within the last two weeks, five persons in promotion and sales positions, including former national promotion director Al Valenti, have been laid off in Detroit.

    The entire sales department is moving out in a diversification program to offices in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Chicago an Philadelphia.

    John Britton, public relations manager, has already moved to Los Angeles.

    Fuller Gordy, Berry's brother, head of administrative services, and one of Berry's sisters, Esther Edwards, remain in Detroit.

    The exodus of the divisions and personnel in the current movement is expected to be completed by July 15.

    No one at Motown knows, or is willing to guess, how much of Motown, if any, will still be here after October.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Rep Power
    Thanks Woodward, interesting to read the spin Motown was putting on the move to the DFP, but it didn't sound rosy anyway one looked at it.


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Ralph Terrana

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