Our Motown Heritage (Part 10)
Successful Home Recording In Motown

by Robert Dennis

This issue's spotlight is on Jerry Gore who managed to turn a Michigan basement 4 track recording studio into a successful independent record company.

In the late 70's Jerry would skip school to go to the Powerhouse Gym and practice his chosen sport - boxing! He met his friend Jack at the Gym. Jerry & Jack hit it off because they both had the same passions in life - Boxing & Music.

Jack would pursue boxing more seriously than Jerry, going on to get a Golden Glove award. Jerry would pursue music more feverishly, largely because his mother found out he skipped school to go to the Gym.

Jerry would sort of bounce around for the ten years following high school by trying to open a Jazz record shop (which failed), working for his father in a plastering business and even getting a factory job at Ford. Jerry was working the dull, no mind factory job at the Wixom Mazda plant. But Jerry maintained his friendship with Jack who was a singer and performed cover tunes in local bars on the weekends. Each day at 4PM Jerry would bang on the family piano trying to write songs with his friend Jack singing the creations. As things unfolded Jerry, performing the "originals" on the gig, attracted an independent label who would record and release a tune on Jack that was written by Jerry. The record was a mild Detroit hit but did well enough to warrant another release. The third release on Jack, written by Jerry, was a national hit record.

By 1988 Jerry would be going into recording studios "producing" a singer (Marvin) and selling the productions to labels. By 1989 Jerry borrowed money from his family and put in his own 4 track recording studio - first in the garage, then in the basement and finally, in 1991, moving it to a garage-like addition to the back of the house. The first "gold record" that Jerry made in his own studio was a million seller called "Shop Around."

Sounds like a fantasy story - right? It isn't - but a few facts were changed to make it interesting. In actuality, this is the story of Motown. The dates were made 30 years later. "Jerry" is Berry Gordy. "Jack" is Jackie Wilson and "Marvin" is Marv Johnson. The first "hit" record on Jackie Wilson was "Lonely Teardrops." The first gold record was "Shop Around" by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. The basement studio was not a 4 track but a 3 track As a point of factual correctness, it was actually Jackie Wilson who skipped school, lying about his age, to get a golden gloves award at the tender age of 16.

It is remarkable how the circumstances and even the equipment and studio used to establish the largest 1960's independent record company in the world (Motown) is similar to the equipment and studio facilities available to today's home recordist.

Is there another success story out there?


Copyright 1998, 2006 Robert Dennis - All Rights Reserved USE OF THIS ARTICLE SUBJECT TO USER AGREEMENT