3942 Third Street


Looking back into the building we can see how small the studio must have been. Beyond the studio was the shop area

Devora’s brother didn’t have the time to devote to a full time operation and gave his part of the business back to Devora and Jack.

In 1956 the Browns purchased the building at 3942 Third Street and moved into what was to become Fortune’s permanent home.

Fortune’s top act, The Diablos, featuring lead singer Nolan Strong (who died at age 43 on February 21 1977) originally came to the Fortune Studio to record a demo. The Diablos sang a couple of well-know standard hits, and after hearing the playback on tape, they admitted that they didn’t have any money for the demo and that they had just wanted to hear themselves on tape and they were sorry about doing it. Nolan Strong’s unique high voice caught the attention of Devora and she offered the group a contract.

Fortune released twenty 45's and four albums on The Diablos

A few years later when that contract was about to expire, Berry Gordy Jr offered Nolan a $1,000 cash bonus to sign with his new Motown label. In fact, oddly enough, a couple of years earlier in 1959, Berry Gordy tried to convince Jack Brown to invest $1,000 in his new company.

Nolan is buried in Westlawn Cemetery which is close to Detroit Metropolitan Airport. On the same stretch of land, lies Jackie Wilson’s grave, approximately 75yards away.

When Motown started to become successful around 1962, I remember asking Devora how come they let Motown get ahead of them. She replied “We had all those people down here but they sure didn’t play that way for us.”



Notes thanks to Ron Murphy

Image notes David Meikle.


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