The Mike Hanks Story
Carmen Murphy and Star Maker

 Carmen Murphy - pictured - funded the label. The Taylor Tones included Sherri Taylor, who went on to record for Motown & Gloreco. Harry Gates was the lead singer of The Caravelles.

Mike also persuaded Carmen to bankroll the Star Maker label in 1962 and the label's first 45 should have been a profit maker. It's a latter-day-doo-wop number titled "Pink Lips" which has Harry Gates leading The Caravelles with panache; and with Mike's fine arrangement the disc deserved to sell much better than it did. It was a popular record in Detroit and Carmen remembers having around 5,000 copies pressed, but for some unknown reason these weren't distributed and the disc died an expensive death.

Two other Star Maker gems are Freddy Butler's Chuck-Jackson-sounding song, "I Told You So," and The Deans' "Lady of the Caravan" - both of which are now sought-after collectors' items.

Mike had a hand in writing or arranging practically all six Star Maker 45s. Most were recorded at United Sound during 1962 and '63, although "Lady of the Caravan" was cut at Mike's studio at the corner of Lawton and McGraw.

Even though he was working at Ford's he became more and more engrossed in music, almost simultaneously releasing records on the Spin, Spartan, Soul, Serock, Star Maker, Katron, Becco, MRC, Exit, and MAH'S labels.                

Notes thanks to Graham Finch

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photograph credits at end of webisode




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