Our Motown Heritage (Part 35)
Motown Success Formula: Diversity
MOTOWN COMPANY PRIDE STORY

by Robert Dennis

Motown is often heralded as one of the most successful Black companies of the 1960s, yet country music was coming out of the control room on my first day on the job. A big part of Motown's Success was in it's diversity.   

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Direct Pickups
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Engineering Lead Vocals

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The front of almost any production is the lead vocal and it can make or break the song. Bob gives tips on doing it right for a professional production.
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The Wonderful Dangerous World Of Multiband Compression

By: Bob Dennis
Multiband compression splits the audio frequencies into different bands and then compresses these bands independently. Is it a compressor, an equalizer or a mixer? In a way it's all three.

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Present Day Motown Diversity

It's the summer of 2006 and The Tigers, my favorite Motown team, is going to post season.  I remember 1968, while I was working for Motown Records, and the tigers took the World Championship while the city went nuts.  It's happening again and it's just as exciting.

The Tigers success and the success of any sports team in today's world depends a lot on a thing called Diversity.  In baseball you can be white, black, Latin, Japanese, Korean, or from an igloo near the north pole.  If you get the RBIs, the hits and the gold gloves you work and get rich beyond your wildest dreams.  Race or ethnic background never excludes you from a roster slot or membership in a team. How well you play the game and, perhaps, how good you are being a team member are the only factors, except for salary disputes.

How It Was Then

The whole scene is remarkably close to what Dr. Martin Luther King described in his "I Have A Dream" speech.  I'm quite familiar with the speech because Motown Records recorded and released that speech, when Dr. King gave it in Detroit, Michigan. This was just before I was hired in. The ideal scene described by Mr. King is one where no one is excluded from opportunities because of race.

The whole scene is remarkably close to Motown Records in the 1960s.  At Motown you got the job, retained the job and advanced because of two factors.  One was how well you did the job. The second was how good of a team member you were. 

The Berry Gordy Viewpoint

I know that BG believed in Dr, King and what he stood for and practiced his philosophy in business.  Berry was in the record company business and the "Pop Music" business, not the black music business.  The kind of music that Motown is known for didn't sound like traditional "R&B" music but a fusion of R&B into Rock, Top 40 music.  Motown made constant efforts to sell any kind of music that would sell and which they could possibly provide.  This is why I heard "North To Alaska" coming out of the control room on my first day, it was a country production for Motown's Country Music label, Mel-o-dy. Company Pride, rather than Racial Pride prevailed at Motown in the 1960s.

Some Artist Diversity Facts

Mel-o-dy Records: Established in 1962 it focused on white country music artists. Notable Mel-o-dy artists include Dorsey Burnette. The label was dissolved in 1965.

Michael McDonald (Dobbie Brothers) actually recorded an album for Motown http://www.onlineseats.com/michael-mcdonald-tickets/index.asp

Chris Clark, a Canadian signer got her first release on the Motown label in 1967 http://www.sixtiesmotown.co.uk/chris%20clark%20collection.html

In the Seventies Motown released albums by T.G. Sheppard and Pat Boone and also, again, signed Dorsey Bernette. http://www.iconnect.net/home/bsnpubs/melodyville.html 

In 1961, Berry Gordy released a single on the Valadiers called "Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam)" http://www.iconnect.net/home/bsnpubs/gordystory.html

The Four Seasons were signed to Motown in 1970. http://www.onlineseats.com/the-four-seasons-tickets/index.asp

The Rare Earth got several hit records for Motown, starting in 1968.
http://www.rockinthehills.com/rareearth.html

Actually I could go on and on, but some of the above was a bit surprising to me.

 
 

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