by Keith Hughes

Don't Forget The Motor City is, broadly speaking, a guide to all the recordings made by Berry Gordy, or companies that he owned or acquired, up until the end of 1972. Its scope also includes recordings of songs written or published by Berry Gordy, or companies that he owned or acquired in the same period.

 

It's not a complete list of such recordings - that would be enormous. It contains only released recordings: songs and recordings that have never been issued on vinyl, CD or as digital downloads do not appear.

 

And it's not a complete discography of such releases. All releases on labels owned or acquired by Berry Gordy in the period are shown, but for recordings that never appeared on a Gordy-owned label in that period only the first such release is shown. Additionally, we've tried to show at least the first digital release of each recording (if there's been one).

 

We ignore releases that were not officially sanctioned by the Universal Music Group, the owners of the Motown recorded legacy, whether these be "bootlegs" or releases that take advantage of European copyright law to avoid paying fees to the artists concerned.


SONGS

This listing contains all titles published by Jobete and Myto (the Golden World publishing company) up to the end of 1972 for which recordings have appeared on vinyl or CD. In addition, it contains all titles known to have been released for all of the following labels, before the end of 1972, and that were not published by Jobete:

Anna
Black Forum
Checkmate
Chisa
Divinity
Ecology
Golden World
Gordy

Harvey
HPC
Inferno
J&W
Maltese
Melody
Message
Miracle

Motown
MoWest
Natural Resources
Penny
Rare Earth
Rayber
Ric-Tic
Ridge

Soul
Tamla
Tri-Phi
Vega
VIP
Volkano
Weed
Wingate
Workshop Jazz

The listing also contains all titles that were written by, or had recordings produced or arranged by, Berry Gordy, before the end of 1972, and released on labels other than those listed above.

RECORDINGS

For each song, all known US recordings up until the end of 1972 are shown. This limit has been extended for songs recorded at The Motown Detroit studios, up to the final sessions held in September 1974. Where the first known recording of a song was not until 1973 or later, this recording only is shown.

RELEASES

All known US releases up until the end of 1972 of recordings described above are shown. Where the first release of a recording was not until 1973 or later, this release only is shown. Where the only known release of a recording was outside the US, this release is shown. A large number of CD releases also appear, but by no means all; a somewhat subjective choice of which have been “significant” has been made, but this is intended at least to cover all CDs where previously unreleased material was included.

SONG TITLES

Titles are shown as indicated in the original paperwork: where sources disagree, the title has been taken where possible from independent sources such as BMI and ASCAP. A particular problem is posed by recordings known only from acetate labels, or discographies: in some cases, a guess has been made about the identity of a particular title, and future research, or release of the material in question, may prove these guesses wrong.

SONG WRITERS

Much standardisation has taken place: in general, a writer's first and last names are shown, in the most commonly known form; combination names (e.g. Brianbert, Janard) are expanded to full names; other aliases are in general preserved. The correct writers of Motown/Golden World songs have been taken where possible from the earliest possible source, despite the fact that some titles have “changed ownership” over the years, for varying reasons. Writers of non Motown/Golden World songs have been checked where possible with BMI and ASCAP.

PUBLISHERS

Two publishers separated by comma (e.g. Jobete, Jansumar) indicate shared publishing rights. Two publishers separated by slashes (e.g. Birdsong/Jobete) indicate publishing rights acquired by the second publisher from the first. The publishers listed are the publishers of the title at the time; no attempt has been made to indicate who owns the titles now.

ARTIST NAMES

Again, much standardisation has taken place: the Miracles and the Supremes are always shown under those names, and Martha (Reeves) & the Vandellas always appear as the Vandellas: no attempt is made to show which records were issued under which version of their names. Otherwise, we have tried to indicate where aliases or alternate names for artists appeared on a particular record.

RECORDING LOCATIONS

Information about recording locations has been summarised: up until around 1964, recordings were often completed in a single session, but later recordings were often built over several sessions, sometimes held at different locations. Locations for non-Detroit recordings are derived either from the tape cards or from the tape boxes.

RECORDING DATES

Where the date is annotated as “recording completed”, if it’s a Motown recording, the date shown is is taken from the Session Logs, which relate mostly to Hitsville/Golden World recordings. There is no comparable information for most recordings made at other locations, particularly those made on the West Coast: “recorded before” indicates the date when a particular recording was added to the Detroit tape library, the source being the tape boxes themselves. Recording dates for non-Motown recordings are taken from a variety of published sources.

VERSIONS

Different versions of the same song by the same artist are listed only when there are significant audible differences, usually due to different recordings (takes) being used, or to substantially different track durations, or to the use of overdubbing. Stereo/mono mixes have not normally been treated as different versions. Where it has not been possible to listen to a recording, a guess has sometimes been made about whether it is the same as or different from other known recordings of the song by the artist in question: future research or release of the material in question may prove these guesses wrong.

PRODUCERS

Standardisation of names as for writers. Wherever possible, producers have been taken from the session logs or tape filing cards, otherwise producers listed on single-play records have been preferred to those listed on albums, as the latter are not always accurate. Some producers (or chief producers) have been inferred from master numbers where they are otherwise unknown (this is usually possible with Motown master numbers from August 1964 on).

ARRANGERS

Standardisation of names as for writers. Arrangers’ names only appeared on record labels, and only from about 1969 as far as Motown recordings are concerned: there is no other source for this information.

ACCOMPANISTS

Standardisation of names as for writers. Additional information not shown on record labels has been acquired from a variety of sources (including listening to the recordings). There is no information in the Motown Archives about who played on which recordings: where such information is shown, it’s mostly derived from the work of the late Kurt Mohr, who was given access back in the 1960s to sources that are no longer available.

TYPE OF RELEASE

Where records with a particular catalogue number are known to have been pressed, a date is shown in front of the catalogue number. Where it is thought no copies were pressed, "unreleased" is used in place of the date. Some acetates have dates on the label, and these are shown here.

MODE OF RELEASE

(M) indicates mono, (S) stereo and (E) electronically reprocessed stereo.

RELEASE DATES

Where possible, dates of release have been taken from internal Motown paperwork. Otherwise dates have been taken from published discographies; where these disagree, a "best guess" has been taken.

COUNTRY OF RELEASE

Unless otherwise shown, all releases were issued in the USA.

HOME