Memories From the Soundtrack of Your Life
“AINT NO PLACE LIKE MOTOWN . . . ”
A brief note on the photographs presented here. I was on my way home having completed my shift, Christmas Day (overnights) at the Detroit Medical Center. Going west on W. Grand Boulevard off the Lodge Fwy., I was drawn immediately to the beautifully decorated window at the Motown Museum. Its golden radiance stood out lit brightly from the boulevard under intense grey, wintry skies, much evident that very morning. WOW! I had to stop. Cut a quick U-turn around the center medium. Parked the car. Jumped out with my LG4 in hand to capture the view standing there right before me. Eerily silent, traffic, nowhere in sight. Nobody around but I. After all this was Christmas morning. “Not a creature was stirring . . . ” . . . a most beautiful sight.
I thought I would share a few of these Motown Museum 2016 holiday images I captured with you here today. As did I, hope you’ll enjoy the view.
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AIN’T NO PLACE LIKE MOTOWN * A Cellar Full Of Motown * THE VELVELETTES
At Motown ‘Quality Control’ Opportunities Granted as Artists Critique Talents, Projects Inside Gordy’s Stables
LOS ANGELES — At Motown Records one can be an executive and an artist at the same time. Smokey Robinson and his three associates who work as the Miracles outside the environments of Motown s Detroit headquarters, are three such executive/artists.
Robinson is a producer and vice-president with the company. Bobby Rodgers and Pete Moore work in quality control. Checking sound quality, and Ronny White spends his “white collar” time with Jobette Music, auditioning tunes and distributing songs among the firm’s own talent.
The Miracles have been with Motown since its inception. Because they are salaried employees with important posts, the quartet limits itself to three – week personal appearance junkets. The major change in the Miracles act is that Robinson’s wife Claudette doesn’t travel with the group anymore.
Robinson classifies the company as a “family affair” in which many people work on projects. While he has auditioned and recorded sessions by a number of the
label’s top acts, he says it’s not unusual for several producers to work on an album project.
On the first Saturday of each month, Motown holds open auditions. A number of producers are assigned to attend the sessions and select the top representatives.
At Motown, Robinson contends, everyone listens to everyone. Martha of Martha and the Vandellas was a former company secretary, given an opportunity to perform. The company maintains its own artists’ development school where state presence and presentation are taught. For two years Lon Fontaine ran the operation; now Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol handle the “kick, turn, and smile” school. END
(Information and news source: Billboard; February 11, 1967)
“PLEASE, PLEASE ME” * The Beatles * FEBRUARY 01, 1964
THE BEATLES first U.S. single debuts (#68) on the Billboard Hot 100, this month, 02/01/1964 on Vee-Jay Records. “Please, Please Me,” also noted, was released initially (and bombed due to dismal sales) by the Chicago-based label, coincidentally, one year earlier exactly to the date of the Beatles’ (1964) first visit to America, February 7, 1963. Re-released a year later due to the band’s surging popularity, the Beatles Vee-Jay 498 (misspelled Beattles) was introduced by Dick Biondi on its first U.S. radio airplay, WLS, Chicago, 02/08/1964.
THIS MONTH IN POP MUSIC HISTORY
THE NO. 1 HOTTEST R&B SINGLE IN AMERICA ’67 * FREDDY SCOTT
THE NO. 2 HOTTEST R&B SINGLE IN AMERICA ’67 * AARON NEVILLE
THE NO. 3 HOTTEST R&B SINGLE IN AMERICA ’67 * SPYDER TURNER
THE NO. 4 HOTTEST R&B SINGLE IN AMERICA ’67 * CANNONBALL ADDERLEY
THE NO. 5 HOTTEST R&B SINGLE IN AMERICA ’67 * THE FOUR TOPS
WCHB / WJLB ‘TOP 5’ DETROIT
The ‘Top 5’ soul records also were the most popular radio plays heard on Detroit’s two R&B stations 1440 WCHB and 1400 WJLB on the AM dial at the time, as well as other record selections off this chart, as tabulated nationally, week-ending 02/11/67.
Wednesday, March 31, 1965
A DETROIT RADIO BACK-PAGE AD
DETROIT FREE PRESS: “Who? Swingin’ Sweeney That’s Who!”
(Above WKNR ad courtesy freep.com newspapers archive. Copyright 2017; Newspapers.com).
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