Hitsville: The Making of Motown (2019) Movie Script

Hi, Mr McLean.
Uh, you're not joining the
meeting, are you?
that's what I came here for.
The door is locked at a certain time
and, you know, no-one comes in.
I didn't know that.
I heard a rumour about...
something about locking people
out, but I never...
Yeah, well, you know, I'm sorry.
I'm sorry, I'm sorry I'm late.
No, but so am I,
but you're gonna be able to stay.
I'd just like to urge you
that this is serious business,
because from these
meetings come the records
that Motown releases
to the street.
We've got to maintain
our high standards,
cos if the records are not created properly,
then we have a bad image out there.
Luckily for us we,
have one record in the top ten this week
which is always good,
which is the Marvin and Tammi record.
The artists that are wide open for
releases are Diana Ross and the Supremes,
which we're working on heavily.
We have what I consider
a smash on the Four Tops.
Stevie Wonder has a couple of
things, but he is still open.
The Temptations are still open.
They have a few things that
I have heard that were cut
that I think will
be extremely good.
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles,
Gladys Knight and The Pips.
Edwin Starr,
we're gonna release his thing.
Martha was just sort of cleared up
here, we're gonna release her thing.
Jr. Walker has a
couple of things...
And then we have this thing
on the Isley Brothers.
We will not
compromise on quality.
I hear many producers talking
about, you know,
they don't get releases
and this and that.
A person can stay here ten years
and if they don't have the
proper quality on a major artist,
they will never get a
release on a major artist.
But the opportunity,
as I said before, is here.
OK, ladies and gentlemen,
if there are no further comments,
then the meeting is
adjourned till next week.
"Get Ready" by The Temptations
One, two, three, four
In my mind,
the Motown story begins long
before we thought it began.
I never met a girl who makes
me feel the way that you do
You're alright
Whenever I'm asked who
makes my dreams real
I say that you do
You're outta sight
So fee fi fo fum Look
out, baby, cos here I come
And I'm bringing you a love that's
true So get ready, so get ready
I'm gonna try to make love to you So
get ready, so get ready, here I come
I was always the hustler,
trying to make money,
trying to better myself.
Somehow, I was fascinated by
everybody being the same, you know?
White and black,
they stubbed their toe, they hurt.
There's something
funny, they laugh.
I mean, it was, like, to me,
just almost a no-brainer.
As a kid, I would sell the Michigan
Chronicle, which was a black newspaper.
I said I could make a lot more money
if I sell it to white people, too.
One day,
I decided to go downtown,
take my little black papers
in the white neighbourhood
and I sold more papers
than I'd ever sold before.
And I took my brother
down the next week.
I said, "We're gonna get
rich, baby."
We went down to the white
neighbourhood and we sold nothing.
You know,
it was my first lesson.
One black kid is cute,
two were a threat to the neighbourhood.
You are about to witness
the very exciting story
of a city and its people.
Detroit today stands at the
threshold of a bright new future.
One rich with the
promise of fulfiiment.
In this bustling
city on the straits,
there is a resurgence of civic
pride and unfettered imagination.
The City On The
Straits welcomes you
to share that vision as
it continues to plan,
to build, and, yes, to dream.
My starting in the music
business was an evolution.
Of course,
this was over a period of years.
I was the shoeshine boy,
a boxer, I was writing songs.
But if I had just
right away made money,
I don't know what might have happened
to me, but I kept getting knocked down.
I knew I wanted to be in music,
so I had this record store.
I didn't realise the
customer was always right.
They'd come in and say,
"You got something by
Muddy Waters or BB King?"
And I was trying
to sell them jazz.
I would say, "Look, if you want
Muddy Waters, go down to Hay Street."
They sell Muddy Waters.
I ain't got it and I ain't gonna have it."
It's only 12 bars, 12 bar blues,
they all say the same thing.
"I love my baby,
but my baby don't love me."
ll mean, how many times can you say
that in how many different ways?
But the people in Detroit
who worked at the factories,
they wanted the blues, and so I realised
it was that simplicity in the music
that people understood and
people felt good about.
So, I did get the blues,
but it was too late for the change
on business because I was bankrupt.
So I had to get a real job,
and that's why I went to the Ford
Motor Company, Lincoln Mercury Plant
and when I was on
the assembly line,
I started perfecting my
skills of writing songs.
The factory had this
assembly line...
And I would see the cars start out a bare
metal frame and go around in a circle
and different stations
would put things on there
and they would go out
another door a brand new car.
I said, "My goodness,
I can do that through people."
Of course, everybody laughed at me
and said, "No, that's ridiculous."
You can't take human beings
and treat them like cars. ""
I said "No,
I'm not gonna do that."
Everybody's gonna have their own
personality, but I got this idea.
One station here,
producers over here,
arrangers over here,
dance instructors over here.
"They go from room to room and
come off a brand new star."
And eventually,
when I felt that it was right
and my sisters promised me they
could get my songs to Jackie Wilson,
I quit my job and I was ready.
The factory played
such an important part
because I saw the machine and how it
could work with the assembly line process
that I based my company on.
There are so many unsung heroes
and people that were just part of the
team, part of the effort
but there was no bond
greater than Smokey
who is still my
best friend today.
If I were doing this,
I'd call this...
just forget everything else
and say Berry and Smoke.
You know, just Berry and Smoke.
- I - always loved singing
and singing seemed like
my impossible dream,
because of where I was growing up. I
didn't think that would be available to me.
Coming back to
Detroit, you know,
getting these thoughts and
memories and reflections
is just incredible, you know?
And you know something
else I think about, man?
I used to be riding with you when they
first got the record players in the car.
Yeah, yeah.
And you'd be driving and you'd
be ducking your head under it.
"Where's that new Supremes
record, man?"
"Wait a minute. I will find the
record, man. You just drive!"
Smokey Robinson was
a member of a group
that was auditioning for
Jackie Wilson's manager.
So, we sang for them
and they rejected us.
And I walked out in the
hallway with them and I said,
"Oh, you guys were really good."
I said "Oh, thank you very
much, man," you know?
And he said, "Yeah," he
said, I'm Berry Gordy."
"The Berry Gordy who
wrote Reet Petite?"
"Reet Petite" by Jackie Wilson
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Reet petite,
the finest girl you ever want to meet
"You're Berry Gordy?"
I said, "Yeah.
The only one I know," you know?
And then he made a
mistake, because he said,
"You got any more songs, man?"
And I had a loose-leaf notebook
with about 100 songs in it.
And he said, "A song has got
to be like a short story"
with the beginning and the middle
and the ending tying together."
He said,
"You rhyme stuff really well,"
he said, "but your songs are
just rambling, you know?"
Which they were.
And so he started to mentor me.
Walked all day till
my feet were tired
The first record that we ever
recorded was a song called "Got A Job"
and Berry would produce records on us
and put 'em with other record companies
cos Berry hadn't
started Motown yet.
"Got A Job" was in the
top five of the R&B charts
so we know that he
sold some records.
1 got a job
- When it came time to pay the royalties,
this guy sent Berry a
check for $3.19 cents.
Back in those days, man,
they paid you if they wanted to.
If they didn't, they didn't pay you.
Especially if you were black.
So, Smoky said, "If this is the
kind of money you're gonna get",
you might as well be in
business for yourself."
So, shortly after that,
he started Motown, and, um...
the rest is history, man.
Every family needs a home,
and it was my then assistant
and future wife Raynoma
who found the two-storey house
at 2648 West Grand Boulevard.
And the fact that it was
in the neighbourhood,
it was on West Grand
Boulevard at 12th Street.
You don't get more
hood than that.
At Hitsville,
everything was in-house.
The offices, the studio,
the sales department.
I even lived upstairs.
And it goes back to
my great grandparents,
Berry Gordy Sr and
Bertha Ida Gordy.
They raised their children in
an entrepreneurial environment.
Well, the family grocery store
was named after Booker T. Washington,
who was a big advocate of self-sufficiency.
Growing up, I knew that was a very
important principle for our family.
My grandmother put together this family
savings club called The Burberry Co-op
and, essentially, it's their own
loaning institution within the family.
- She was tough with money.
- Yes.
I mean, I begged for $1,000.
She only OK'd $800.
How tough is that?
That was the beginning of
what we know as Motown today.
That was his first investment.
Yeah, this was the magic room.
We started off with one track.
Everything was on one track,
then we got two tracks
we thought we were the most
innovative people in the world.
We could put our lead singer in
there, have them separate.
Always looking for magic, always looking
for that magical sound, you know?
Or to be with him doing the mix.
You know, he'd mix it.
He'd do, like,
327 mixes on one tune...
and use number two.
notorious for that.
"Oh, Berry's gonna mix it."
"No, no, please!
don't let Berry mix the tune."
Sometimes you have it perfect and
you want to just get it better.
You want to get it better.
They said we want the Motown.
No-one can duplicate our sound, because
even though I didn't think it was that good
you know,
he thought it was great.
There was arguments about
that, man.
Like, man, are you kidding?
New York is trying to get our sound.
They're sending people
here to record in Detroit
thinking they're
gonna get our sound.
But they couldn't get our
sound, because our echo chamber
was the bathroom upstairs.
People would come off the
road and come to the studio
because something
was always going on.
You know, 24 hours a day, somebody
would be in that studio, recording.
Doing something. HE LAUGHS
This is it.
I remember "Shop Around," which was
the first million-seller for Motown.
Took 20 minutes to write.
It just flowed out.
So I ran to Berry's office,
I said, "I've got it, Berry."
He said, "Let me hear it, man."
So, we go down to the piano room.
Just because you've
become a young man now
There's still some things
that you don't understand now
So that's how it was, you know?
We put the record out.
The record's been out for
about two and a half weeks.
It's doing fair, it's doing OK,
it's doing pretty good, you know?
Three o'clock in the morning,
one morning, my phone rings.
"Smoke?" I said, "Yeah?"
He said, "It's me, Berry, man." I said,
"I know, man. I recognised your voice."
He said, "What's happening?"
I said, "What do you think is
happening, man?" I say...
"I'm asleep.
What's happening with you?"
"Shop Around won't let me
sleep, man."
See, well, I just didn't feel
right about the record, man.
We didn't have the magic.
He said, "Well,
I'm gonna change everything about it."
I'm gonna change the beat,
I'm gonna change the sound.
"I'm gonna change the feeling.
I'm changing everything."
And I said, "OK
man, that's cool."
I said, "I'll see you tomorrow." He
said, "No, no, no. I mean right now."
o'clock in the morning.
So, we came over here and everybody
showed up, like I told you
And "Shop Around" then
went to number one.
The first million seller was his redo
of it, after the record had been out.
Now I want you to get ready.
Just because you've
become a young man now
There's still some things
that you don't understand now
Before you ask some
girl for her hand now
Keep your freedom for
as long as you can now
My mama told me,
you'd better shop around
Oh yeah,
you'd better shop around
But that's how we did stuff,
we didn't care, he didn't care
cos it had been out for two weeks.
So what? It's not too late.
No, the masses of people haven't heard
it cos it's not really a hit right now
you know what I mean?
Before you take a
girl and say I do, now
Make sure she's in
love with-a you now
My mama told me, tell 'em,
you'd better shop around
Feel alright
Oh, oh
Motown was able to accomplish
everything that they accomplished
because they were
When you can just do what you want
without somebody breathing over your neck
telling you what you
should or shouldn't do,
that's when the real
magic starts to happen.
To be successful in
the music business,
you've got to have hit records.
I'm a producer, I'm a writer,
I'm a this, I'm a that,
but really,
I feel myself as a teacher
and so I had to find
songwriters to teach.
Smokey was my first project.
Before that,
I was on the top of the totem pole.
I was, like, "the man" because I
wrote the songs, I produced 'em,
but then, Smokey,
one day he came into my office
and he wanted me
to hear a new song.
I thought it was just one of the
greatest new clever songs I'd ever known.
And this was the day I knew that I had
a little genius on my hands, you know?
/ would build you a castle
with a tower so high
It reaches the moon
"I'll Try Something
New" by The Miracles
"Give you lovin'
warm as Mama's oven.
And if that don't do,
I'll try something new."
And I was just blown away.
I had this wonderful feeling,
but also this scary feeling
that I was... my throne is...
Here's a guy that's writing a song
that I could not ever think of
and I was a songwriter,
I was the teacher.
And from that day forward,
I started slipping from my post
because he started coming
up with major hits.
I always thought maybe I
could, one day in my life
compete with him with girls,
- Oh, please!
- You know?
But that was out
of the question.
You're hearing this story
from Casanova himself.
No, no. "You're hearing this
story from Casanova himself,"
- you know? I mean...
- Exactly!
You know, Bob Dylan's called
him America's greatest poet
and he really did write poetry.
He was so honest,
so straightforward.
I mean, the lyrics don't
take a lot to decipher
but then you realise it took
a lot of genius to write them.
At the time, Smokey was doing his
thing, singing to the women.
He created so many babies with his
romance and his feeling of that
a lot of them were his.
My key writing team was Smokey
Robinson and Holland-Dozier-Holland.
We were not trained
musicians, you know?
Brian would skip school to come
there to learn to write songs.
I had no idea about writing.
I knew that Smokey, in my opinion,
was the greatest writer ever.
OK? And I still do.
So, I took two songs of Smokey's
and I wrote all the lyrics
down and I studied them.
Eddie had this idea.
He said, "Look, man, you and Brian
can do the tracks and melodies"
and come up with the ideas and
I'll be sitting there waiting.
"You know, shoot 'em to me
and I'll jump on the lyrics."
And that became
Holland-Dozier-Holland, you know,
it became a factory
within a factory.
There was somebody in
every corner writing a song
and they were young,
and these guys were coming up 17, 18, 19.
They were young,
so Berry was like a coach, you know?
With a great,
young, talented team
and everybody was trying
to play their best game.
Berry was very patient with me.
At the time,
I think I was a secretary
and that was in order to justify
the $30 a week I was getting.
Norman hung around
here for years
before he even got a chance to get
in the studio to do any records.
Playing tambourine,
that's how he started, from the bottom.
And then, finally, he was doing
that good and he got his confidence
and when he started
producing, man, he was...
- Incredible.
- Awesome.
He had electricity, magic.
And then we brought
in Nick and Val.
They were writer and producer
team out of New York.
When we landed, we
were, like, so excited.
Motown, we've arrived.
As songwriters, this is a dream come true.
And we got in a taxi.
We said "Well, take us to Motown"
and we got down to the two little
buildings on West Grand Boulevard.
I said, "Hey, look,
we want to go to the main office."
He said, "This is the only Motown I know.
- That little "Hitsville U.S.A."
But the hits were coming
out of that little building.
Norman Whitfield, Holland-Dozier-Holland,
Smokey, they were all the greatest.
They were coming up with songs that
you say... why didn't I think of that?
Because of that Motown structure
and because of the feelings of
all the producers and the writers
and the freedom that Berry
Gordy gave all of us,
it made that company
extremely prolific.
"You Keep Me Hangin'
On" by The Supremes
Being a teacher
also means finding ways to
unlock people's true potential
and at Motown,
we took that very seriously.
Berry Gordy's great ability was
to be able to sense the
talent that one had.
I always felt that Marvin Gaye was so
much more talented than even he realised.
Marvin wanted to be
another Frank Sinatra
but that really wasn't his
style, but he is so good looking.
It's a little difficult
trying to sing behind him
and look at him
at the same time.
He wanted to change his
career many times, you know?
One time he wanted to
be a football player.
A boxer, you know.
He wanted to be an astronaut...
You know, and I'm saying, "Marvin,
you know, you're a singer."
You know, I started at
Motown as a jazz singer.
I couldn't sell a bean.
I was sitting at the piano all
night in a very depressed mood.
So anyway, Berry blase-d in.
So, he stopped me, he said,
"Listen, what are you doing?
What are you singing there?" So,
I said "It's a song I'm writing."
It was a jazz
version, I would say.
You know, very jazzy, you know.
He said, "Yeah,
but that's not gonna sell any records."
I said, "Oh, well, you know,
I thought I'd give it the old try."
Berry could sense what needed
to happen to make it pop.
And I'm not saying
pop meaning pop music
but I'm saying to make
it have that thing.
So anyway, Berry said...
I said "Oh, man,
that's killing my jazz, man."
So then, he sings...
So ll said, "Oh, well,
for Heaven's sakes."
He said, "Now,
right here a group can say..."
He finished it up and I said,
"Listen, it'll never sell a thing."
And as it turned out,
it was a great big smash.
"Stubborn Kind Of
Fellow" by Marvin Gaye
Qooohhhhh, hey, hey
1 try to put my arms around you All
because I want to hold you tight
Hold you tight
Every time I reach for you,
baby Try to kiss you, you jump
Out of sight
Hey now, I've got news for you Don't
you know I've made plans for two
1 guess I'm a stubborn kind of fellow
Got my mind made up to love you
Baby, say yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Oh, yeah
Berry made us great.
I can't think of no other record
company where the head could sit down
and write a song as
well as he could.
Mmm, mm mm mm
Say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Say yeah, yeah, yeah
So, I came to Berry to be an
artist, you know?
I was saying to myself,
I'm gonna be the next Jackie Wilson.
So, Berry said,
"I heard you write songs and everything.
So I'm singing my songs and he
said, "Your songs are great",
but your voice is for shit."
I said "What?" Man, I grabbed all my music
up off the floor, put it in my briefcase.
I'm walking out of here.
I'm done with this.
He was so fast talking.
Slick, you know, from the street.
And so, I said, "Well,
Mickey, what else can you do?"
Can you do ARR?"
You know, artist and repertoire.
You handle the artists and
the music and all that.
And he says, "Whatever it
is, I can do it."
If it's anything to do with
music, man, I'm all over it, man."
I say, "I record
anybody I wanna record?"
"Anybody you wanna record."
I said,
"Can I record myself?" HE LAUGHS
Berry told Mickey he
wanted a house band.
What we're missing is a
band who can play funky.
And he said, "I've got a session coming
up." I said, "Don't worry about it."
"know guys that are so funky
they out-funk themselves."
And the best musicians
were the jazz musicians
and the brothers in Detroit,
they weren't making any money
cos they weren't getting the
respect for what they were doing
but they were still great.
It's hard to define just how
important Detroit was to Motown.
The whole migration
from the South
and the automotive industry and the
churches and the clubs that sprang up
would be a vessel
to discover talent.
I mean, between the church
and the clubs and the corner,
there was a lot going on.
The groups that we had and we grew
up with in Detroit as teenagers,
if you could not
do harmony on key,
you were lousy and they would tell
you, "Get the hell out of here."
"And get off the corner."
They were so smart.
He said something about "my
mama", that was called the Dozens.
And I said, "Wait a minute. I don't want you
talking about my mama. I don't play that."
"Oh, you don't play that?
Well, then pat your foot while I play it."
You know,
then he would do the hambone on me.
You don't do the hambone, man?
I didn't think you could hambone.
I hambone, I...
Boy, that used to be the thing,
the hambone. I'm telling you.
Yeah, and I'd do that and then
I would make up a song, yeah.
"Me and your momma." THEY LAUGH
So, music existed
in the community
but it took a place
like Hitsville
to sort of give those people a
place to come to collaborate.
So, I would pick 'em.
I finally put together
a great unit of guys.
And they became the Funk Brothers
and they became our house band.
We hired the jazz musicians cos they
were smarter than normal musicians.
They could do all this stuff.
But Jamerson, who was always doing up
beats and down beats and jazzy things,
he would get off the beat.
I'd look around,
I'd be walking over to him,
and he'd be up and then he'd catch himself
and he'd do a whole arpeggio and stuff.
Da da da da da da da da!
Doom, doom, doom, doom-doom.
You know, and he was right on the...
and I would get him and I'd get there
and he was sounding so good,
I said, "That's pretty good."
Can you do that riff again?"
When I think of Benny
Benjamin and James Jamerson,
and Robert White and Earl Van Dyke,
Thomasina and on and on and on,
you've got to know that I was picking
up from all those various musicians,
trying to figure
out how to do it.
Paul Riser, when he came to do an
arrangement, he was only 18 years old.
One of the greatest arrangers ever.
Just out of high school.
I was classically trained,
and enjoyed nothing but classical.
I thought that R&B music
was just the worst, OK?
You also have, in Detroit,
a big investment in public education.
They had an incredible public music
programme in these high schools,
and Motown artists came
from these communities.
Back when I was in school,
Ford Motor Company would give the class
tickets to go see the Detroit Symphony.
I saw them playing violins,
French horns and oboes and bassoons...
I thought that was the greatest sound
ever, you know what I mean?
So that's what got me going.
Was something about what was in
that soil in Detroit, you know,
that just sort of...
folks came up.
I've been in some, you know,
really cool company in the studio,
but having that group of creative people
in the same room, it's just incredible.
And they were actually playing
real instruments back then too,
like, they actually could play
the piano and play the drums
and no machines needed.
I didn't know much about Hitsville U.S.A.
because I lived on the east side.
Anyway, I dared take that coach and
go to 2648 West Grand Boulevard,
and what a world I walked into.
She came to audition
a few times.
I would find nice ways of saying,
"Martha, you know, come back later."
And I must have looked like
I was gonna cry or something,
cos he said, "Answer this phone.
I'll be right back."
This "right back"
was four hours.
I walk in my office,
and before I could speak, she says,
"You've got an important call
from such and such and so and so,
and this one right here, and I think you
ought to answer this line right here."
So I said, "Martha, how would you
like to work as my secretary?"
She says, "OK."
It was just everybody
working in the same spirit,
everybody with one accord, making hit
records, and it was great to be there.
We were recording sometimes
tracks without the singer,
and according to the Union,
you had to have a singer singing it live.
You couldn't do
tracks in those days.
And I was doing pretty
good in the office,
but when the Union man
made a surprise visit...
Everybody went crazy, saying,
"Well, you're doing a session in
there and the Union guy is coming."
You know,
"The Union guy is coming!"
We told Mickey, "Man,
we've got to put somebody on the mic."
His secretary overheard it.
"I'll do it!"
That was the chance she was
waiting for all this time.
"Dancing In The Street"
by Martha & The Vandellas
Then she grabbed the mic and started
singing it, and she was Martha.
Calling out around the world,
are you ready for a brand new beat?
Summer's here and the time is
right for dancing in the street
They're dancing in Chicago
What happened was,
you have a preacher.
He was standing in front of the pulpit
with his arms open wide, saying,
"The door to the church is now
open," and everybody came in.
All kind of people doing all kind of
things and getting fulfilled with spirit.
And records playing
Dancing in the street
Oh, it doesn't matter what you
wear Just as long as you are there
So come on, every guy,
grab a girl Everywhere around the world
There'll be dancing...
And these were exciting times
because it's the first time you're
hearing, you know, rock and roll
in our city and
people that we knew.
Across the nation
- I - witnessed Stevie Wonder
coming to Hitsville.
I was, what,
11 years old when I went to Motown.
That particular day, Smokey was at
Motown, and he said, you know,
"I heard you can sing." I said, "Yeah,
I can sing even better than you."
I was like, you know,
a little smart-mouthed kid.
Everything Stevie
played looked genius.
But we didn't know what a genius
was, right?
For me, it was like
going into a candy shop.
A place where all these
instruments were around.
So, he sat down at that
big, long grand piano
and he played it as if he
had known Liberace himself.
I said, "My,
this baby's talented."
He went to the full set of drums.
He was so good.
When he jumped on the
organ, played the organ.
Sat him on a stool and
gave him the bongos.
Next, he stood up and he took a
little harmonica out of his pocket.
He could play everything.
And we were like, OK,
that's what a genius is.
Berry Gordy said,
"This kid is a wonder."
I probably was paying very
little attention to people
and I'd say, "Oh," you know,
I'm glad to meet you. OK."
I think until I got to Diana Ross and I heard
that voice. It was like, OK, I'm in love.
You know, goodbye instruments.
How about it, ladies and gentlemen?
A cheer for the young man, Stevie Wonder.
- He even wrote a song at the Apollo.
- Yeah.
Called "Fingertips," which
went to number one, I believe.
Because he wanted to
get more excitement,
so he came out for his bow.
Instead of taking a bow,
he told the audience,
"Clap your hands just a little bit louder.
Clap your hands just
a little bit louder!"
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Clap your hands just
a little bit louder
Clap your hands
just a little...
You know, and everybody started
getting up going and everything
and it got good to him,
and the people was clapping
their hands and he wrote a song.
- Everybody say yeah!
- Yeah!
- Say yeah! - Yeah!
- Yeah - Yeah!
Yeah, yeah, yeah
That particular night
was an amazing night.
The girls were screaming
and all this kind of stuff.
That was probably the really first
time that I understood the power of,
you know, when you do a
performance a certain way,
you get the kind of
reaction that you get.
We blew the house out.
Now goodbye, goodbye,
goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
Motown, in the earlier days,
was like going to Disneyland, you
know, but it was a musical Disneyland.
I mean, you could walk
through the halls of Motown
and see Marvin Gaye playing
the piano over in the corner.
You would see the Holland Brothers
running down with their music
saying, "Man,
I think it should be like this."
It was upstairs in the
hallway of the house
and I was just banging...
I said, man, that's really funky, man.
What's the name of that?
He looked at me and
said, "I don't know yet."
I said, "Man,
what you gonna do with that?"
Is somebody gonna sing it or what?" I
said, "You want it?"
- I said yeah!
- By the following Monday,
we had everybody come in
and putting background.
coming into the reception area,
I think the Supremes
were sitting there too.
And he said, "I want everybody
to come in the studio!"
Just like that,
in his pretty voice.
He said, "Repeat after me."
"Come on, is everybody ready?
- Alright, is everybody ready?
- Yeah!
"Mickey's Monkey," singing on
that, of course, is the Miracles.
Martha and the Vandellas.
- Two of the Temptations.
- The Marvelettes.
Mary Wilson.
Probably had more artists on it than
any other song that I could remember.
He said "OK,
start the music, come on!"
SHE SINGS Lum di lum di lie
"Mickey's Monkey" by The
Miracles Lum di lum di lie
Oh, oh, oh
This cat named Mickey came
from out of town, yeah
He was spreading a
new dance all around
In just a matter of a few
days, yeah
It was the young people making
music, getting our feet wet.
I think that the way we had Motown was
a once in a lifetime musical event.
You can never get
the amount of talent
that was in one room in Motown.
Stevland, Marvin Gaye,
Diana Ross, the Supremes.
Oh, all these people
who are Juggernauts...
and you look at a
young Michael Jackson.
You know,
and Smokey Robinson talks about
seeing Michael Jackson for the first time
and just going, like, "What is that?"
Baby, baby,
baby Give me baby, baby
Give me baby,
baby Give me baby
I got a telephone call
from Mr Gordy one night.
"Listen, we just signed this
group called the Jackson Five.
You're gonna be their manager,
so you better come down."
He said, "This is Shelly Berger.
Show him what you can do."
They started doing this Smokey
Robinson, "Who's Loving You."
There is talent
and there is talent
and there is talent,
and then there's a genius.
And then he said...
When I...
When I had you
[ Treated you bad
And wrong, my dear
And ever since
you've been away
Don't ya know [ sit around
with my head hanging down
And I wonder
Who's loving you
And the only songs we learned back
in those days was the Motown songs,
cos they were the biggest
songs on the radio
and actually, you know, we were in
the recording studio after that.
There was Marvin Gaye,
there was Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson.
And we had to sing their
songs in front of them.
I was so nervous.
You know,
whenever I sing "Who's Loving You,"
especially young people, they go to me,
"Why'd you sing Michael Jackson's song?"
"Oh, Michael Jackson's song? I wrote this
song before Michael Jackson was born."
THEY LAUGH He has...
That's his song now.
"Who's Loving You" is
Michael Jackson's song
and all the people that you hear
singing it now, sing it like him.
As the company grew,
so did the challenges of managing a team.
I realised that I needed to not
only give them direction in music,
but whatever I had learned about
life, I could use that in some way,
pushing people, but not making
them feel they were being pushed
so I created competition.
You know, "Beat me if you can."
Have a better record than I have."
And, of course, many of them did.
The competition grew and developed,
one feeding off the other.
And it made you
sharpen your tools.
You know,
it made you dig a little deeper,
to come up with something
that would stand apart.
Competition breeds champions.
But remember, you can't let the
competition get in the way of the love.
If you were producing an
artist, say Stevie,
you would want him to have a hit,
and if I see you working with him,
I want him to have a hit as well,
because if they become successful,
everybody has an opportunity to
work with that artist as well.
So, artists would love that.
You take love out the
picture - it's ego, jealousy.
Stuff that can kill
any organisation.
I always asked...
But he couldn't, he was writing material
for the Miracles and for Mary Wells.
The best thing that
happened for the Temptations
was when Mary Wells
left the company.
That opened him up for us.
The Temptations,
we were trying to get some hits on them.
We couldn't get any hits
until, finally,
I got a hit on them with "The
Way You Do The Things You Do"
using Eddie Kendricks'
voice to sing lead vocal.
You got a smile so bright
You know you could've
been a candle
So I looked at the
lyrics, I said,
"Got a smile so bright,
you could've been a candle.
That's some hokey sh... Mm, yeah,
Smokey would just laugh and say, "Yeah."
Swept me off my feet
My greatest competitor
for getting music out on the
Temptations was Normal Whitfield.
They had a contest to see who could break
the Beatles' command on the top five.
It was that kind of a contest.
I was hurt many times
by not having releases.
That made me stronger,
enough to get the public
and Mr Gordy to get away from
that Smokey Robinson sound.
Norman Whitfield came
to me and he said,
"If he will write the lyric for me,
then get this, the release on them."
I said, "Man,
leave the Temptations alone."
Now you know darn well, trying to
beat Smokey out, you've got problems."
He said, "Ed, Ed.
I think this is it."
"Girl, Why You Wanna Make
Me Blue" by The Temptations
Norman Whitfield came up
and he kinda knocked
Smokey out of that release,
so Smokey was not
happy about that.
I love you, girl,
with all my heart and soul
And they were all using Eddie
Kendricks to sing the lead
cos that was the first
hit they ever had.
Heck, I knew Paul Williams and David
Ruff in were in that group, man,
who were awesome singers,
so I wanted to write something for them.
Girl, girl, girl
Everybody was bragging about
Norman knocking him out,
so when he said, "I've got a new record
on the Temptations to follow up My Guy..."
Nothing you can say could
tear me away from my guy
That would settle the score.
He said, "I'm coming up
with a new record, My Girl."
And so, of course, we thought that was
the most ridiculous thing we ever heard.
Il mean, you come up with "My Guy,
you can't come up with "My Girl.
What you gonna do,
"My Mother-in-Law" you know, "My Wife"?
I was actually writing "My Girl"
because I thought that David
Ruff in had such a great voice.
He had this unique voice and I just
wanted it to be kind of, like, isolated.
So, we were recording it,
you know, we were running it
down and I had Jamerson play...
So, we were just
still running it down.
We hadn't even started to
record it yet and Robert White,
you know, he was the lead
guitarist for the Funk Brothers,
Robert stood up and started walking
around the studio with his guitar
and he was just playing, bom,
bom-bom bom-bom bom, bom,
just walking around.
And he started laughing, "Oh no,
no, no, no, man. No, no, no."
And I said "No, no, no, no?
Are you kidding?"
BERRY LAUGHS - That's in the record!
That's on the thing.
And it became one of the
most famous guitar riffs ever
and he was just kidding around.
"My Girl" by The Temptations
We were appearing
at the 20 Grand...
place went crazy,
and Smokey came by and he came
backstage, and he said,
"Man, I got a song for you guys
that I think will be a smash."
So, us being young and cocky, "Man,
bring it on. We'll sing anything."
I've got sunshine
on a cloudy day
When it's cold outside
I've got the month of May
I guess you'd say What
can make me feel this way?
My girl
Talking about my girl
When Paul Riser added the
strings and the horns,
"My Girl" took on a whole
'nother kind of life.
So I took my classical
training and put it to use
and we came up with "My
Girl" as you hear it today.
"My Girl" by the Temptations
My girl
Talking about my girl
Smokey Robinson sent a record
up there called "My Girl."
I refused to go in the studio.
I was just totally wiped out.
February 1965, Mr Gordy sent
us a congratulation telegram.
It said that we had sold over a
million records and we were number one,
and also the Beatles sent us
a telegram congratulating us.
I have it hanging
up in my house.
I don't need no
money, fortune or fame
I've got all the riches,
baby One man can claim
People have asked
me a thousand times
"Hey man, aren't you sorry you
didn't keep My Girl for yourself?"
Had it not been for the Temptations
and David Ruff in and Norman Whitfield,
I probably would have never
even written "My Girl."
Berry wanted us
to be competitive.
We were fiercely competitive against
each other, but we helped each other.
The Motown family.
Quality control was
something that I picked up
from the Ford Motor Company.
After the assembly line was done,
it still had to go to quality control,
to make sure that the
quality was there.
You bring your record in on said artist
and you play it and then you get a vote.
The main thing,
it was to get hits.
So, if somebody's record
was better than yours,
you're looking at the
company as a whole.
Those quality control meetings were
beautiful and loving, but vicious.
OK, can we finish our meeting here?
It's afternoon now.
We're getting to the
conclusions of assignments,
a decision will be made on the
Temptations record, which side is it?
- "My Girl."
- "My Girl"?
How many think that's not a hit?
How many think it is a hit?
How many's undecided?
OK, what are your comments?
No, you can't pass.
That's not fair!
You think it's a hit record?
To be in there with a bunch of
guys that you're competing with
and yet they're constructively
giving you some information
that they think will
make your product better.
You could tell that the
writers had been sit down
and talked to and trained.
The beat was solid.
Old Jamerson had that base out
there, you understand me?
It was way out there.
They didn't just throw a record out.
You could tell that record was docked
on, it was nourished, it was beat.
You're talking about some whoop, you know?
It was whooped.
"Tracks Of My Tears"
was one of those songs.
The first time I took it in there, you
know, they listened to it and they said,
"Oh yeah, man,
that's a good song.
That's really good, man,
but you ended it up wrong."
"The Tracks of my Tears" So
take a good look at my face
You'll see my smile..
Cos I didn't end it
up with the chorus.
It wasn't ending up with "Take a good look
at my face," it wasn't ending with that.
I was ending it up with that lil
groove thing, "I need you, need you"
and they all looked at me and
say, "Are you crazy?"
As strong as the chorus is,
you're gonna end that with that?"
ll need you
"You've got to back and
change that," so I did.
Yeah, just look closer
and it's easy to trace
Oh, the tracks of my tears
Baby, baby, baby, baby
Take a good look at...
Oh yeah, you'll see my
smile looks out of place
Look a little bit closer
And so, they were cutthroat,
but they were constructive.
There was nothing like it.
Berry had a great ear.
He was always saying if you don't get
'em in the first four to eight bars,
you've got to go back
to the drawing board.
He used to say
that all the time.
"We've got to get 'em in
the first ten seconds."
We used to try and go for
these fabulous intros.
You know, something that would
catch your attention immediately.
And that's...
Sugar pie, honey bunch
"I Can't Help Myself" by Four
Tops You know that I love you
"Get Ready" by the Temptations
I know you want to leave me
"Ain't Too Proud To
Beg" by the Temptations
I know you want to leave me
But I refuse to let you go
We stopped the record, probably.
Because sometimes I would stop.
"OK, OK, you win.
It's coming out next week."
Cos you mean that much to me
Ain't too proud to
beg and you know it
Please don't leave me, girl
Everybody had to speak their
truth, what their truths were.
You were free in here.
Whatever you say,
it will never be held against you.
I challenge anybody,
including me.
They save that for when Smokey
had a song up against mine
and we had two songs, yeah?
This is true, I speak the truth.
Not that it was actually their opinion,
they just did that to get at you.
Oh no, no. Because they
want to test me, always.
But when I had a record
called "Temptations"...
"Dream Come True." - "Dream
Come True," that was it.
Dream come true, da da da
da, dream come true
- ll mean, it was phenomenal.
- It's a great record.
You know, his song was,
compared to mine, you know, mediocre.
That was, you know...
When I said, "How many people liked my
song" and there was no hands went up
and Smokey, I saw him looking at
people, you know?
SMOKEY LAUGHS - I mean, it was all a coup.
It was a coup.
But because the company was such a democratic
situation in this quality control,
stuff like that happens, you know?
So, that was it.
The first step would be the writing
of the song, the creative part.
Then we had to deal with the selling
part, with the distributors.
Create, sell, collect.
It's nice to get the talent picture
of what goes on behind the company,
there could be none better than
Berry, naturally, who started it out.
And, of course,
from the sales picture,
on what makes a record company tick in sales,
the dollars and cents, which is very vital,
Mr Barney Ales, Vice
President, in charge of sales.
He was a strong Italian who
I convinced to work for me,
but it was not easy getting him
to give up his great position
where he was at the
top of his game.
Him and I used to
hang out together
and one night,
I saw they got a great new restaurant
I'd just been going to the last
month called the Chop House.
We came in and they
saw me with him
and they said, "I'm sorry,
we don't serve black people here."
I said, "Easy, that's
fantastic, cos I don't eat 'em."
And they looked at him and said,
you know... and he... you know.
Then I got a little Sicilian.
And we sat down and, of course,
people were staring at us and all that,
but the point is that Barney didn't care.
Berry and I had a
great relationship
and Berry was great in the studio and
I was great with the distributors.
My whole dream was to
make the world understand,
hear our music, and they could
either like it or not like it.
But when we couldn't get music
played on the white stations,
"What makes you think white
people won't like your music?"
You know,
I said "I want all the people."
It's not black music.
It's music by a black artist.
I can remember when they
were promoting my records
and Barney Ales took me to the station,
CKLW, which was the powerhouse station,
and the guy looked at
me, he said,
"I'm gonna tell you
something, Eddie,
I'm playing this record
because of Barney Ales."
He made that happen.
Berry was most interested in where
the records were going in the charts
and was he getting
paid, which I collected.
One of the stories
when I came to Motown
was that the Mafia owned Motown and
it kinda lent to the folklore of it
and, yeah, Barney looked like
that Italian Mafioso guy.
I mean,
he got me in so much trouble.
"He's being run by the Mafia.
You see that guy in there?
He can't even leave Detroit."
Remember when I told you that?
You know, I said,
"Barney, you know",
you look like you could be
the Mafia or something."
He said, "Yeah, well,
that's served me well."
Many times it gets your records
played, you know?
And I was criticised by a lot of black
people for having the white people there.
"He's a traitor!
He won't hire black people."
It's like, "What do you mean?
Come and look and see."
I've got a lot of black people,
but I also got white people.
It's not about whether you're
black or white. I want to win.
In some cases the best person was white,
other cases the best person was a woman.
The fact that there were women
in key positions at Motown
seemed natural to me.
We drove her crazy.
We got on her nerves.
I didn't realise,
she was only 21.
But at an early age she was
very, very smart.
I didn't realise how
forward thinking it was
until I saw many
other organisations
where there was not a
reciprocal kind of picture.
All of Berry's sisters worked in
the company at one point or another.
They did jobs that men would
do and did them better.
Most companies that
we would visit,
Tsch, no woman in no key
position making no decisions,
but he had 'em at Motown and he had
black, white and Jews working at Motown,
so he wasn't stuck on a thing
of, you know,
well, this is a black company,
it's got to be all black.
The colour of business is green.
You know,
I got a lot of credit for all that
and sure, I put it together,
but these people grew on their own
and at some point,
you know, it was not me,
it was magic,
and it became a brand.
Thanks to the teenager, the record
business is a big, big business.
They marketed Motown as "The
Sound Of Young America."
Children who had
been born after WW? 2
were coming into their teen
years by the early '60s
and they were aware of the importance
of that market for selling records.
You saw the Motown label,
you were gonna buy it whether
you knew what it was or not.
The Motown label and brand
became that important.
If it's on Motown,
that's the shit, you know?
You know, I'm buying it.
I got to listen to it.
Artist development was a key
station on the production line.
My sisters really persuaded me
to bring in the charm school,
so I had no idea that was going
to be as important as it was.
All of us were just, if an idea
sounded good, we'd try it, you know?
It was a critical
part of the equation,
that you not only create great
talent, great songs,
but now you've got to
present those songs.
Ford never saw that kind of
thing on the assembly line.
They were grooming their
artists for the long run.
Then we had signed with Motown
and so we had to go through what
everybody else at Motown went through,
which was,
we had our pictures taken
and then we learned how to
move, choreography.
You learn how to move as a band.
Go through the whole thing.
And we did that and we
knew we were a challenge.
I don't care who you became,
who you were, whatever.
Two days a week,
when you were in Detroit,
you had to go down to this
building, so we'd go over there.
You used to do stuff,
and then sometimes you'd try to dance,
but you couldn't
dance that well.
Wait a minute. What do you mean, man?
I taught Michael, man.
"I Want You Back" by Jackson 5
Charlie Atkins was
our choreographer
and he would stop and say, "Boy,
I am so glad you're the lead singer,"
so I don't really have to
try to show you these steps.
"You just stand over there
and sing." THEY LAUGH
People like Maxine Powell
taught them how to walk and talk
and do things gracefully.
This department would
groom and polish them
so that they could appear in number
one places around the country,
and even before
the King and Queen.
You know,
they came from humble beginning,
but I told them where
they would be appearing
and they laughed and said
that I was out of my mind.
But with me, it isn't where you come
from, it's where you're going.
And she said, "I don't teach you
how to use a spoon or a fork."
You've got to
learn that at home.
You know,
I'll teach you how to be proud
"and to walk and hold yourself from
a higher standard, from inside."
We start with body language.
Your body language
tells so much about you.
You do not protrude
the buttocks.
She was making us
have self-confidence
and building our self-esteem.
Letting us know that we have to be
socially accepted in order to do this.
To represent not only a kind of music,
but the culture and spirit of a people.
Now, some black
folks would be like,
"Man, why I got to do that?"
You know what I'm saying?
"Why I got to act white in front of
these white folks? I wanna be me.
I wanna be black. They calling me nigger
anyway, why don't I just own that?"
And Berry was like,
"Yeah, you could own that, but then
what happens? What happens to the art?"
Because Berry was like,
the art is colourless.
The music has no colour. It just
has a feeling. It has a pulse to it.
Some people didn't get
it, but they get it now.
No-one spent longer in artist
development than the Supremes.
My mother had parents who had worked
in the cotton fields in the South
and many of them had
not gone to school.
Our parents wanted us to get an
education, go to college.
By the time we got to Motown,
I didn't want to go to college,
you know, I'm like,
"I want to make records."
I remember, with the Supremes,
they were singing and I
thought it was making faces.
I said, "What are you doing?"
And they said, "What are we doing?
We're singing."
I said, "Well, it looks like
you're making faces to me."
Who in the hell
would have thought
all those different artists,
the Supremes and people...
Oh my God, you should have seen those
girls when they first came there!
You would have
never believed it.
The fabulous Supremes.
How about it, yeah?
So, they were waiting around
and they were being called
the no-hit Supremes.
Stop hurting me Hurting me
Ooooh Now don't you
think you're all...
I would tell the producers,
whatever it takes to get them a
hit, we just have to keep trying.
If they don't get a hit,
it's our fault, not theirs.
I cut about three records on them
and, you know, nothing happened.
And then Berry cut about three
records on them, nothing happened.
But my heart can't
take it no more
And then finally,
who had actually written "Where Did
Our Love Go" for the Marvelettes.
Oh yes, wait a
minute, Mr Postman
Wait, Mr Postman
The Marvelettes didn't like it.
They didn't wanna sing it.
I was talking to Gladys
Horton and when she said,
"No, baby.
We don't do stuff like that,"
I said,
"What did you say?" HE LAUGHS
You'd better wait a
minute, wait a minute
That was a first for me,
and so I said, "Man, I've got to
find somebody to do this song."
I saw Mary Wilson one day.
I said, "Mary, Mary, baby",
I've got this song I just
finished for you guys!"
And she was like, "Yeah.
Is this the song that you gave to Gladys?"
I said...
"What are you talking about?"
I told Eddie Holland, I
said, "Eddie, we need a hit",
cos if we don't get a hit, our parents
are gonna make us go to college,
"and that song is not a hit."
Got them in the studio and
they did the song, you know.
"Where Did Our Love
Go" by the Supremes
I can't forget that name.
It's like a nightmare.
Ooh, man, Diana was upset and everything.
She was gonna talk to Berry about it.
Berry came down and
listened and he said,
"Well, wait a minute. This sounds
like it could be something, you know?"
Baby, baby
Baby, don't leave me
Ooh, please don't
leave me All by myself
You came into my heart
When the record came out,
they were actually opening the
show, the Dick Clark tour,
and by the time the tour was
over, they were closing,
because "Where Did Our
Love Go" had taken over.
Number one before you could
say Jackie Robinson, you know?
You were a perfect guy
Then everybody at
Motown was at our feet.
Now, we were no longer
the no-hit Supremes.
And I was standing
outside Motown,
Berry Gordy said to me, "Listen,
concentrate on the girls."
This group will
carry the company.
I think we were
the only girl group
to have five
consecutive number ones.
Of course, Holland-Dozier-Holland
did all these songs.
were the gods at Motown.
They were, like, right under
Berry as far as I was concerned,
you know,
in terms of their importance.
There was that quality and those kinds
of songs that resonated with America,
and they didn't know what
they were even feeling.
That was them.
That was the genius.
From New York City,
the Apollo Theatre proudly
presents the Motortown Revue!
We had written a song, we'd produced
it, and we're now selling it.
We got this idea of taking the
artist on the road with our own band.
Smokey always closed the
shows, as he was the star
and the one everybody respected.
But everybody was trying
to get to that ending spot,
and so they'd do all kind of
stuff to move back in the show.
Whoever went on first would
just do the best they could be.
You know, like, make the stage so
hot, then it was, like, OK beat that.
How do we really get
the people screaming?
How do we get Marvin Gaye?
How do we get him, you know?
We loved the Temps,
we loved the Miracles,
but I swear on the Bible
when it comes to singing,
we tried to out-sing
them suckers every time.
We loved the Tops,
but when they would go out there
they'd talk about trying to kick our
ass, so... pshh, "Brer, please."
You'd better back up before we act
up, you know?"
When we brought that and started
going through all that choreography
and throwing the microphone up and all
that razzmatazz they was doing, please!
We baptised that ass in fire.
It's like chickens
come out fighting.
The Tops made it hard for
us because Levi Stubbs...
"Reach Out I'll Be There" by Four Tops
- Levi Stubbs was no joke.
Now if you feel that you can't go
on Because all of your hope is gone
And your life is filled
with much confusion
Until happiness is
just an illusion
And your world around is
falling down Darling...
Reach on out to me
I'll be there,
to love and shelter you
I'll be there,
to always see you through
When you feel lost
and about to give up
Now one thing we couldn't do,
we couldn't outdance nobody
but we had a way of doing our own that
looked like we was doing a whole lot.
We weren't doing shit.
We took off so big
in the Detroit area,
Berry decided he had
to get us on the road
and that opened up a
whole new world for us.
Our first Motown Revue
was 94 one-nighters.
Berry waved to us
as we left Detroit
in this broken down Trailway
that didn't have a toilet.
That's three months
of travelling.
Two hotel visits in
the whole three months,
so most of the time, we were sleeping
with our head up against the window
or against a seating partner.
Travelling was really hard,
but I think working
together, also being young
made a great deal of difference.
Every day it was
a new adventure.
When we first started going,
especially to the Deep South,
Mississippi and all round in there,
the gigs were very separated, man.
Living in Detroit,
we had ethnic neighbourhoods,
but we didn't call it segregated cos it
didn't have that same feeling as the South.
We weren't allowed
to stay in hotels,
we weren't allowed to use
the bathroom on the highway,
and to actually see a water fountain
that only black people could use,
it was like... hmm.
There was a fear in me
where I wanted to go home.
I was ready to go back home.
I remember the first
time we went to Atlanta.
So, I got off the bus first
and went into the waiting room.
As soon as I walked in the waiting
room, I felt this thing against my head.
I looked up. The sheriff had
put a gun to my head and said,
"Nigger, get out of here."
Now, I didn't know I was
in a white waiting room.
I didn't know nothing about that, then.
It scared the hell out of me, man.
I still feel that. Put that cold steel against
my head, he scared the hell out of me.
It was rough out there, man.
I mean, we've been shot at for
wanting to go to the toilet.
You know, it's just crazy stuff.
We had a major problem in
Northfork, Virginia.
We did a gig there and the whites
were trying to start some crap.
The Temps was on the stage.
Tops and their crew were
standing on the side of the stage
and then, when the Tops would go on,
the Temps would re-position ourselves.
Even in our competition and
trying to be flash and all that,
when push come to shove,
we're still just working together.
So, we finished the show,
loading up the bus,
cos we have to go to the next city,
and the next thing I
heard, pow, pow, pow!
I dived on the floor,
cos I know gunshots when I hear 'em.
They missed the
gas tank by inches.
Scary stuff. At that point,
I was really ready to go home.
We had assassinations, murders,
race riots, kids being burned.
Burnt... kids being burnt.
I mean, how do you...
You know, schools burned up.
Where is this coming from?
Where are these people coming from?
The places that we played during the
'60s, oh yeah, it was rough.
We played Columbia,
South Carolina.
The first time we went there, there was a
rope right down the centre of the theatre.
Blacks on one side,
whites sitting on the other.
And all that's going on,
and yet the music of Motown was
growing in the hearts of everyone.
At one of the concerts, actually,
Smokey had said... we were on tour,
and he told the promoter we
were not going to perform
if they kept that
rope down the middle.
After a while, man,
we started going back to those same places
and all the kids were dancing together,
they were mingling and having fun.
Blacks and whites, side-by-side,
enjoying the music.
Ll can remember when
I was at Motown,
Berry was in the studio and
Martin Luther King walked in.
Man, that was the shock of my life.
Honest to goodness!
I mean, you know,
it was just like God walking in.
The time I met Dr
King when he came,
um, when he realised our music
was helping him and his movement,
this guy who I admired so much and who
was doing so much and out there fighting
was saying that I was bringing emotional
integration to a lot of people.
He was seeing them dancing to our
music and it was, like, positive,
and he said, you know, "I would like to
be connected with your company, you know?"
And I'm saying, "Oh my God!"
A whole lot of stuff that they were
trying to do legally or spiritually
or how they were
trying to do it,
we were just doing
it with music.
Good evening,
ladies and gentlemen.
Tonight, live from New
York, the Ed Sullivan Show.
Growing up, everyone would surround
the TV and watch the Ed Sullivan Show.
So for us to be on it
the first time was big.
It was December 27th
1964, I was ten years old,
and it was a moment
that changed my life.
"Come See About Me" as sung by
these girls here, the Supremes.
Three youngsters from Detroit.
Let's hear it for them.
"Come See About
Me" by The Supremes
I've been crying
Because I'm lonely, for you
To do the Ed Sullivan Show
meant that you had arrived.
Of course,
we ended up being on there 14 times.
That you're never ever gonna return
To ease this fire that within me burns
It keeps crying, baby, for you It
keeps me sighing, baby, for you
So won't you hurry, come
on, boy And see about me
Come see about me See about
you, baby
Come see about me
When I saw the Supremes
on TV that night,
it was magical to me, because I had
never seen black women on television,
although we were called
"coloured" at the time,
or anywhere for that matter,
who conveyed such glamour and such grace.
And nobody was used to seeing us
portrayed the way I saw the Supremes.
That's why I missed most of the first
song, calling everybody I knew
saying, "Coloured people on!
Coloured people! Coloured people on TV!"
Have a fine welcome
for the Supremes.
"You Can't Hurry Love" I need
love, love to ease my mind
You put her on
those white shows,
they could see this black girl
coming into white folks' TV screens
when that wasn't happening.
Any time you really
saw black people
there was something terrible going
on, you know?
We were in an era now
where TV has opened up
the borders of the world
and now they were looking at
glamorous, beautiful black faces.
You know, we were able to understand a
culture that had never been seen before
and Mr Gordy put that fairy dust on it
that made it palatable to white America.
He made black chic.
That keeps me hanging on
When I feel my strength,
yeah, it's almost gone
I remember Mama said
- Are you the Supremes?
Step into 15,000 watts of lights
wearing $6,000 worth of silk and sequins
and their sound sets the world on fire.
That's why Diana Ross and the
Supremes count on this new deodorant.
Arrid Extra Dry.
The impact that their image had on
the black community was profound,
and that was everything
from how they dressed,
how they performed, to where they
were allowed to do these things.
Those doors that they
were able to get into.
It forced white people and black
people to look at each other and say,
there's a little bit of you in
me and a little bit of me in you.
It was so exciting to hear people talk
about their hopes, wishes and dreams
and to actually
see it come true.
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
Ain't no mountain high
Ain't no valley low
Ain't no river wide
enough, baby
We had come from poverty,
and now we bought our parents homes.
This is like, "My daughter is
a Supreme." So happy, so proud.
There were so many artists
made famous at Motown.
All of the talented people would line up
and wanted to be a part of Hitsville U.S.A.
The energy at the one
building was just so great.
They would buy one
building, then buy another.
They went from marketing and sales,
artist development. It was a win-win.
To keep from getting to
you, babe
And the brand got
bigger and bigger,
and the business got bigger and bigger,
and then it went around the world.
I was 16 years old and
there are the Supremes,
and Martha and the Vandellas and Stevie
and the Miracles on stage in front of you.
You'd die and go to heaven.
Motown represented the next
generation of American music
in the way the Beatles did it in Britain
and then fed into the mainstream.
Tamla Motown artists
are our favourites.
- The Miracles, Marvin Gaye...
- And Mary Wells.
To name but 80.
As the '60s unfolded,
that generation realised they potentially
had the power to change everything.
Baby, baby,
where did our love go?
Ooh, don't...
I spoke to one of our
accountants in Atlanta
and he says, "You know, we don't
sell any nigger records down here."
And I said, "Excuse me?
Did you sell Diana Ross and the Supremes?"
they're a big song for us."
"You sell Smokey Robinson
and the Miracles?"
"Yeah, we sell a lot of that."
"What about Stevie Wonder?"
"Yeah." I says, "Well, surprise!
You're selling nigger records.
And Diana,
I just thought set a pathway
for women like me to walk
through, you know? I do.
Berry Gordy did inspire me,
especially when I decided I wanted to
start a record company with my friends.
We just took that model and
did our own thing with it.
Now, could it ever be as big? No.
But this is who we looked up to.
I'm a 25 year-old
white, gay Londoner
and Motown music has
affected me so hugely
and I couldn't be any further
from Detroit. HE LAUGHS
When our production line really
started working, it was phenomenal.
In 1968, we had five records out of
the top ten on the Billboard charts
with the number one record being
"I Heard It Through The Grapevine."
I knew if we recorded
songs over and over again
on different artists,
then they would always be hits.
The first people to ever record
" Heard It Through The Grapevine"
was the Miracles and me.
However, the sales department
felt it was too bluesy for us.
They didn't want us to sing that
kind of song, so we said, "OK, fine."
And then he cut it on
Gladys Knight and the Pips.
And it was a smash hit.
Even after that.
No, no. He cut it on Marvin.
- No, Marvin was last.
He recorded it on Marvin after it had been
a huge hit on Gladys Knight and the Pips.
No, no, no. No, that's not true.
- Want a bet?
- Yeah.
How much? - 1007
1007 It's a bet.
Have you guys got this on tape?
What happened is, Marvin had recorded it.
It had been turned down.
No. No, not before Gladys
Knight and the Pips.
OK. Where's the phone?
Who's got the phone?
Yeah, not before Gladys
Knight and the Pips.
OK. I need to make a
long-distance call.
I recorded this song
on Marvin Gaye first.
Like, I brought it in the
meeting and I submitted it,
when, consequently, I lost out.
But this particular song,
I would not let die.
I went to many clubs with Berry,
even though I wasn't invited,
and I hounded him until he was
very, very angry with me.
So ll said...
So he says...
I bet you're wonderin' how I knew
Baby, baby, baby
'Bout your plans to make me blue
With some other girl you knew before
Between the two of us girls
You know I love you more
It took me by surprise I must
say When I found out yesterday
Don't you know that I heard
it through the grapevine
[ Heard it through
the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Not much longer would you be mine
Don't you know that I heard
it through the grapevine
[ Heard it through
the grapevine
Because I'm just about, just
about, just about to lose my mind
Oh, yes [ am
Oh, yes, oh, yes
Baby, won't you listen to me?
It went to number
one on the pop charts
and Berry looked at me and says,
"I don't know what you've got son, but..."
Now, it was time to put
out a Marvin Gaye album,
so I, in fact,
started my campaign once again.
They said, "Well, I guess he's right. We'll
just go ahead and put it in the album."
And lo and behold,
this record was picked out of the album
and it went on to be the largest
song in the history of Motown.
Ooh, I bet you're
wonderin' how I knew
About your plans
to make me blue
With some other
guy you knew before
Between the two of us guys
You know I love you more
It took me by surprise I must
say When I found out yesterday
Don't you know that I heard
it through the grapevine
Not much longer
would you be mine
Two bona fide different
versions of the same song.
It was, like, clever production
work as far as I'm concerned,
because good is good,
and great is even better.
Alright, look,
I'm here with Smokey.
Tell me, "The Grapevine" record and who
recorded it first and what happened?
I mean, Marvin recorded it after Gladys.
That's what I said.
Hey, that's a drag like a dog.
That's really a drag, I mean, I hate that.
I know. OK, Brenda, thank you.
No, I don't thank you nothing.
Get off the phone! THEY LAUGH
"Reach Out" by Four Tops
It's very hard for anybody to
go through the cycle of success.
People treat you differently.
You treat people differently.
My problem was, as their manager,
I had to tell them the truth,
and that was not always easy,
and love means building other people
even when they don't know
they need to be built
and it's the most thankless
task that one can endure.
We had an interesting
relationship, Berry and I,
because I think we were
so very much alike.
I was much younger,
and I needed to have my
independence and to spread my wings.
I had figured out...
that I wanted the Supremes to move
from the pop R&B class to standards,
and I wanted them to be in the
class of Lena Horne, Sammy Davis Jr
and all those people.
when she went to Manchester,
it's when she tried the first time,
"You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You."
You're nobody till
somebody loves you
You're nobody til
somebody cares
And she did it,
and I thought it was good, you know?
The crowd didn't like it
like they did "Baby Love,"
but they gave nice applause.
And so, I came back,
she said, "I'm not doing it anymore.
The audience hated it and so did ll."
I said, "But I loved it.
It was the first time."
"Well, I hated it and I'm not
doing it on the second show."
Oh, man,
now that was a big deal.
"I'm not doing it.
I'm defying you on the second show."
So, I'm saying all the stuff that
I'd built up with her to this point.
It crumbled, because I knew me,
and I knew that I could
never work with her again
if she violated our
agreement after one show.
And then when she said, "I'm not gonna
let you ruin my career. You or nobody."
What? Me?
She said, "I'm just not doing it."
I said, "OK.
You decide who you want to satisfy",
me or those 700
people out there.
"Just make up your mind."
I was very strong and
I was proud of myself.
"You make up your mind."
She looked at me and said,
"OK" and I walked out.
When I got outside, it hit me.
All of a sudden, I don't have this star.
It's my biggest star in the world.
What am I gonna do with
the rest of my life?
What am I gonna do with
the rest of my life?
And now, ladies and
gentlemen, the Supremes.
And as she goes out in the
unique Diana Ross style,
she went through most of
the show and I was there,
and all of a sudden, I hear something
that sounds like the middle of the song,
and I think I'm dreaming.
Till somebody loves you
You're nobody...
I'm looking and I'm saying, "Oh,
that's what I'd like for her to say."
ll mean, it was just this
kind of surreal feeling,
and then she was singing
it in full blast.
Whilst you're growing old
The world is still the same
You'll never change it
And then, you know,
my life was back.
my life had left.
You're nobody till
somebody loves you
So, find yourself
somebody to love
You're nobody...
And as she came
out of the thing,
the other girls went by
and I congratulated them,
but Diana just kept walking.
I said, "But Diana,
I'm really so happy"
because I know she had
to do some thinking too,
and she just stopped for a moment and
said, "I did it for you."
And she walked on
and, you know...
The world is still is the
same You'll never change it
Never never change it
I was stuck there,
and she did it for me.
Golly, you know,
she did it for me.
It was in that moment
that I realised
our relationship had changed
to something... different.
To love
The world's the same, we'll always
remain And you'll never change it
Qoooh, find yourself...
When people say
Motown was a family,
they have no idea that
Motown was really a family.
You know,
we had close relationships.
You know, Diana and I had a love affair.
Marvin married my sister.
The love and family atmosphere
at Motown defined the company,
but it made things, at
times, very complicated.
When you first start,
it's a passion thing, right?
And then, once you start having
some success or you get famous,
then all this other
stuff comes with it.
Sharks is coming all the
time, you know?
They're coming from
everywhere, man.
There's a lot of
smoke being blown.
It's wild, because this is a
very wild business, you know?
It's like the wild, wild west.
Now, Holland and
Dozier leaving Motown
was not a major surprise to me.
I saw it coming, because they were
so great, they had so many hits.
The friction with
Holland-Dozier-Holland was personal.
Berry always found himself trying
to give me that which I wanted.
I wanted more of this,
I wanted a higher royalty.
"OK, give him that."
So, when I came to him with,
I don't know what it was,
some label or
something, whatever.
He told it this way.
"If I give you that label,
you'll stop working for Motown"
and start working on that label
cos that's the way that you are.
I said, "No, we won't." He said,
"Yes, you will. I know you."
You know, and sometimes
it's just about principle.
It's wrong and I can't deal with
it, you know?
I may lose money, I may lose this and
that, but I can't deal with the principle.
Berry told me,
"You go look and check it out and
see if you're more valuable to me"
than you would be
to another company.
What the other company did end up
offering me, I knew he couldn't meet.
It's easy to make anybody feel that
they deserve more than they're getting.
we made $4 million last year.
That was great.
You should have made ten.
And then the lawyers get involved,
you might as well forget it.
We lost three of our best writers
at the peak of their success,
and many people thought we would not
make it without Holland-Dozier-Holland.
We were worried,
because we had only really worked with
Holland-Dozier-Holland at that point.
So it was a big loss for us.
That was like breaking
up with your old lady.
I mean, that's the way we felt.
What happens is when
you depend so much
upon a particular writer
or writers of a company,
you begin to get a particular
thing just from these writers.
And when the writers split and feel
they can do better somewhere else,
I think that, then, you have to
realise the talents of the artist.
On Stevie's 21st birthday,
I had this big party for him.
Everything was so great.
And the next day, I got this letter from
his attorney saying that he had turned 21
and he wanted to re-organise
his whole deal with me.
"All In Love Is Fair"
by Stevie Wonder
All is fair in love
He was saying, like, "Why,
why did you do this?"
And I said, "You know, I want to do it
the way I want to, I'm gonna do it,"
and I felt, musically, I didn't want
to stay in a particular kind of box.
And I said,
"Oh my goodness," you know?
Other artists had left.
I was petrified.
There comes a time in life
when you've got to do
what you've got to do.
All is fair in love
1 had to go away
A writer takes his pen
We'd gone to a few
different companies,
but I think because of the love and
the respect that we had for each other,
meaning Berry and myself,
that it felt home.
But when I talked to Stevie,
he wanted changes and he wanted
full control of everything.
I felt that he had grown and he was
one of the greatest artists around
and so I was forced to
relent to his demands.
There was a lot of
decisions that I've made,
I can't say that was the best,
but it was certainly up there.
"Superstition" by Stevie Wonder
He came out under
these new arrangements
with some of the most brilliant
music of his whole career,
and I was extremely
proud of Stevie,
his loyalty and his ability to take
Motown to even greater heights.
Very superstitious,
writing's on the wall
Very superstitious...
- Stevie Wonder!
about to fall
Stevie Wonder, Stevie Wonder!
Stevie Wonder.
I believe that Stevie is the
greatest solo artist of all time.
In any genre, I think Stevie is the one.
He's the greatest.
If you listen to his music,
it's jazz, it's gospel, it's pop.
It's everything.
Stevie Wonder is one of the most talented
people ever, and I mean for all of life.
That you don't understand
Then you suffer
Superstition ain't the way
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Berry wanted the
best for the artist.
You know, the challenge is...
obviously is in proving himself
right or us proving him wrong.
But at the end of the
day, we all win.
"You Keep Me Hanging
On" by The Supremes
I always had the feeling if you
don't keep up with the times,
if you don't innovate,
you stagnate.
There was always, in him,
the appreciation of the next step.
Wait! Wait!
Boys, I want to sign you up.
"Want You Back" by Jackson 5
oh-oh Let me tell you now
Uh huh
When I had you to myself
I didn't want you around
Those pretty faces always
made you Stand out in a crowd
I remember signing with Motown
and all the kids around our
neighbourhood in Gary, Indiana,
they didn't believe us, cos it took a
while for us to make our first record.
When it came out,
it was like a machine. Boom!
Oh, darling, all I need is one more
chance To show you that I love you
Won't you please let
me Back in your heart
Oh, darling, I was blind to
let you go Let you go, baby
But now since I see you
It was the first
time that black kids
had a young group that was
fabulous, you know?
They had, you know, screaming
little girls in pigtails and afros.
Just when we thought
we understood something
with the Supremes
and the Temptations,
Mr Gordy took us to another
level with the Jackson Five.
Can you think of a black group
who had their own cartoon series?
That's mind boggling.
Following the girl
I think he saw the power
of television early.
Berry Gordy realised if he wanted his
artists to become global superstars,
then television was
the way to do that.
We wanted movies,
television, Broadway.
I wanted everything for the
artist that they could do.
Now that they're as big as they can be in
Detroit, I want to take them to Hollywood.
He always was pushing
that envelope.
I mean, soon after that it was "Lady
Sings The Blues" with Diana Ross.
I moved out of Detroit,
because I wanted to be
in the movie business
and I wanted to make strides in
areas that Detroit couldn't offer me.
My creative talents could be wide open,
there was nothing that I couldn't do.
So, we became a totally
different company.
We went from a record company to
an entertainment conglomerate.
I was the biggest protestor
about moving to LA, man.
I told Berry, "No, we cannot move to
LA, man. Detroit is our home."
There was no in-house
studio anymore.
That was the big factor.
Heck, man, I started sending Berry
books on earthquakes and smog.
I did. I really did!
You know what? But we did.
We moved out there cos he's innovative,
and he saw what I didn't see.
It was a dream,
a dream has no limits, you know?
And we used to always say,
"The sky is not the limit,
the sky is the first stop," you know?
The world was changing,
the music business was changing,
the artists were changing,
they all had their own ideas,
and then you have to make a decision
as to how you want to deal with it.
We came from this time of,
"Wow, black is beautiful."
We can go out and be on
stage and look fabulous,
and then you got into that
social climate change.
You know what we came up with...
- Cloud nine.
- Cloud nine,
and I said, wait a minute. "I'm getting
high. I mean, I'm doing fine..."
Up here on cloud nine."
- Up here on cloud nine.
You thought it was promoting drugs.
- Yeah.
I'm doing fine
Up here on cloud nine
Listen one more
time I'm doin' fine
I said, "No, we can't be a company that
promotes drugs. We can't have that."
And so I said, you know,
"How many say it's not a hit?"
You know, and I was the
only one to raise my hand.
It was the first Grammy.
Got a gold record for it,
and then we go on "Psychedelic Soul."
It's like culture shock.
Wait, what the hell are the
Temps doing now, you know?
And that also told me something,
well, society is going in
a very strange direction.
I don't want to
glamourise getting high,
but obviously the public wanted
it and they made me seem wrong.
But I didn't like compromising my
values on that particular record.
Things were moving fast and changing,
and so maybe he had a kind of vision.
It was a safe one, but the talent of these
different artists and the songs they wrote,
they were looking
at what was going on
and they felt it was time to move forward
and encourage the world to be better.
Do you feel that
entertainers such as yourself
should become more involved in
the black man's problems today?
Well, we are involved
because we're black men,
so we're involved automatically, whether
or not we want to be, we're involved,
and I think that it's a good thing if
you get in that position to speak out...
- This is what I was gonna say.
- And just say what you think of it.
The Black Power organisations
were proud of me,
but yet against me, because I was
this company that only did love songs
and songs of faith
and hope and duty.
So, we didn't cross the
line, in my opinion.
The songs just changed because
the world was changing.
We changed.
We had a different understanding
of what was really going on.
We wanted somebody to
tell us about that.
Coming from "The Sound of Young
America" to "Psychedelic Soul,"
it was indicative of the
times that we were living
and we were just singing about
what was happening in the world.
"Ball of Confusion"
by The Temptations
Well, the only person talking about
love my brother is the preacher
It was a horrific time.
Detroit was on fire.
Nobody's interested in
learning but the teacher
Ll remember a line of tanks
coming down West Grand Boulevard,
it was like I was in a different country.
Aggravation, humiliation,
obligation to our nation
Ball of confusion
That's what the
world is today
That's a hard time for
people who's doing music
when there's blood on the streets,
when there's civil unrest.
When you believe in
something very strongly
and you feel in your soul that
it's time for that to be said,
how can you not want to break
through and make that happen?
And so, you realise
the power of your voice
and what it means to the world.
Not just to blacks, but to whites and
to anybody that's listening to you.
I think it was
around 1969 or 1970
when I stopped thinking so
much about my erotic fantasies
and I just started to think about
the war in Vietnam and my brother.
I became quite affected by it
and, at the same time,
there was a great deal
of unrest in America.
Marvin was a good-looking
guy, he was a ladies' man.
Being a protest singer was not Berry's
idea of a good thing for Marvin.
We created stuff in Motown
where we would, say, you have
freedom within restriction, you know?
I mean, I'm not gonna tell you anything
that you're gonna do between here and here,
but when you get past
there, I've got to stop you.
I had to fight for
my creative freedom,
you know, my artistic freedom,
my right to produce, my right to write.
Marvin was working on something.
I didn't know what he was working on.
I talk with him in the understanding
that there were boundaries,
but he said, "No.
I'm gonna do this the way that I see it."
Him doing all of those vocals and
the layering and the sound of it,
he had found the
place in himself.
"What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye
Oh, mother, mother
There's too many
of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too
many of you dying
You know we've
got to find a way
To bring some
loving here today
Yeah, father, father
We don't need to escalate
See, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've
got to find a way
To bring some loving here
today, oh
Picket lines
and picket signs
Don't punish me
with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what's going on
What's going on
What's going on
What's going on
Hell, what's going on, what's going on
Oh, what's going on, what's going on
Right on, baby
Yeah, yeah, yeah,
yeah, yeah, yeah
Right on, baby, right on
Yeah, yeah, yeah,
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Bip, bip, bip, boop
The value of what he was
writing was so artistic.
His production was brilliant
and he would sing with himself
and we recorded Marvin on top
of Marvin on top of Marvin,
but I was against him writing
about trigger happy police
and stuff about the world,
Vietnam and this and that and so forth.
I said, "Well,
we can't do that."
I couldn't believe
that sat on a shelf
because Motown was
kind of afraid of it.
They didn't think people could deal
with all those issues, you know?
They wanted to keep it light and
fluffy, but he had hit the vein.
He had hit the real thing.
I was just concerned
about getting off track
with the Motown brand
and I was not always right,
and this is one case where Marvin
came back and threw it in my face,
you know, that, "Hey,
you taught us this."
You told us, you know,
look at what's happening.
Write what you feel.
And I got a brother in Vietnam,
man, you don't understand.
And the pollution out
there, you know,
and that's the truth and
you've always said to do that,
"so what are you talking about?"
So I'm saying, "Well, you know... yeah, well,
I can't really disagree with you on that."
Mother, mother,
everybody thinks we're wrong, they do
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long
People you, you,
you know We've got to find a way
To bring some
understanding here today
Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me, talk to me,
talk to me So you can see
What's going on
What's going on
Hell, what's going on I
want to know what's going on
I could not possibly tell you
what my favourite song is.
My favourite album is "What's Going On."
It's my favourite album of all time.
I haven't heard anything
before that or since then
that takes the place of that
being my favourite album.
Marvin was correct.
God did write it. His prophesy.
It's more poignant today
than it was when it came out.
Well, you could play
that here on the streets
when we're having
all of the shootings.
You could play that song right
now, it's needed.
You know, maybe that'll make
us, like, you know,
take a couple of steps back and
treat people a little better.
Mr Gordy had a very
specific vision.
We weren't gonna talk politics cos
we were gonna keep it commercial
and then it becomes
out of your control.
These artists that he created were
developing and growing his company
into places that he didn't even
think that he could take it.
You can have the greatest
assembly line in the world,
but people are not cars,
and eventually, they are going to
express themselves outside of the system.
They saw, say,
my career or Marvin's career
in a certain kind of way and we
said, "No, we don't see that."
We want to do it differently.
And as far as me and my life,
it was just evolving from one
step to the next and learning,
and not being stuck on any
idea that didn't make sense.
I now have felt that the idea of reflecting
the world was not a bad idea at all.
When we were in prison,
we appreciated and avidly listened
to the sound of Detroit Motortown.
Today, in a time where things are
sort of turbulent in the world,
the challenge is to again be the
loudest bell that you hear ringing
that will encourage people
to do and be better.
Can't seem to agree on what
we all want to hear anymore,
and we don't realise that we need
music that speaks to our hearts,
SO we can say, "Ah yeah,
that's the way I feel."
Now, over the years,
this room has hosted some of the
most talented musicians in the world,
from classical to country.
But Motown is different.
Born at a time of so much
struggle, so much strife,
it taught us that what unites us will
always be stronger than what divides us.
So today, more than 50 years
later, that's the Motown legacy.
You could start
something with nothing
that ends up being
internationally something.
Yes, it's... Motown is a great
example of the American dream.
I think the Motown legacy
is just the culture.
It's part of the culture
of the United States.
It's not just black culture.
It's the country, it's everybody.
It was all a divine
movement for a purpose,
to let other kinds of people know you
don't have to suffer under the system,
create for yourself,
and so Motown became a model.
People come from
all over this planet
to visit this little house,
Hitsville U.S.A. in Detroit,
because this music made
its way across the globe
and this music represented
the fabric of their lives
in the same way it did for
those of us in Detroit.
- I - celebrate a time in space
as a little kid who didn't
really understand it,
but the older I got,
the more I can appreciate
how it is a stamp on society that
will never ever be forgotten.
I can't sum up Motown, but I sure
am glad to have been a part of it.
To produce music that can endure
past my lifetime is special.
I would never change it in a million years.
I would have done one thing.
I would have done it a little slower
so I would have enjoyed it more.
The more and more
I think about it,
I don't know how the hell it
happened in the first place.
It was magnetic. All that stuff
there in one city called Detroit.
Every city, every town,
every place probably on Earth,
ratio-wise, with the talent that we
had, has that same amount of talent,
they just don't
have a Berry Gordy.
They don't have somebody
who could pull that off.
Yeah, I think the secret, you know...
- You're the secret, brother.
Oh, thank you. That's great.
That's wonderful, man.
But I'm just saying, my thing was to
bring the best out of other people,
cos I couldn't do what you did.
I couldn't write as well as
you or sing as well as you,
but if I make them the
best they could be,
then I could reach my
potential in some way,
but all I wanted to do in those
days is to make some money,
make some music
and get some girls.
And you did all that.
Ain't no mountain high enough
Ain't no valley low enough
Ain't no river wide
enough To keep me from you
Ain't no mountain high enough
Ain't no valley low enough
Ain't no river wide
enough To keep me for you
Ain't no mountain
high enough
Nothing can keep
me, keep me from you
One of the key points that,
kind of, pulled us together,
which was very unusual,
is we had a company song.
Don't ask me to sing it.
HE LAUGHS I wasn't
too good with the...
Cos we used to watch their mouths
and see if they could remember it.
And they would
say, "No, that..."
You know, "We are..."
No, I'm not gonna sing it.
We are a very
swinging company
We are a very famous company
We're a very happy family
Oh, we are...
We are a happy singing company
That's all I know.
Swinging company?
Working hard from day-to-day
Though-I won't do this.
I will not do it! SHE LAUGHS
Now you've got me all mixed up.
I've known that song really well.
No one has more energy
No one...
can you find more unity
Than at Hitsville, U.S.A.
You... I can see it,
I can see the lyrics.
Our employees must
be neat and clean
And really have something
on the ball Dun dun dun
Honesty is our only policy
We're all for one
and one for all
We have a very swinging company
Working hard from day-to-day
Nowhere will you
find more unity
Than at Hitsville
- Bang!
I said Hitsville
- Bang!
[ Sard Hitsville, U.S. Al
THEY LAUGH - And then we'd
say, "One more time!"
Yeah, one more...!
- I said Hitsville
Bang! - I said Hitsville
- Than at Hitsville, U.S.A!