not all those who wander are lost

(Marvin Gayes handwritten notations)

Okay – heres some reposts and additional Motown documents that were recovered from the demolition of the Donovan/Sanders Motown Headquarters Complex. These are what I saved after the building had been open to looters and vandals for several decades – no telling what left that building before I came along.

What I was able to recover didnt look like much at first, but with a good working knowledge of Motown and what goes on in the recording process, I was able to find documents that are simply invaluable. Whats represented here is merely the tip of the iceberg as far as how much data was recovered.

Currently I do not own nor do I possess ANY of this data. None was sold on eBay or the like. Every bit of the documents and blueprints were entrusted to the Burton Historical Collection right here in Detroit within the protection and expertise of the Detroit Public Library system.

I was paid nothing, although the Director bought me a nice lunch.

These things belong to history, not people.


[click on image to enlarge]

One collection of papers were hand written Producers notes from recording session in Studio A, aka “The Snakepit”. The month that was found happened to contain the 10 day time period that Marvin Gaye created one of the most important pieces of popular music ever recorded, the album “Whats Goin On”. (March 1971)

The most stunning aspect of this document is that Marvin was actually the producer, and it is written in his own hand. The list of musicians alone gave me chills down my spine when I first saw it, including the greatest bass player in popular music – James Jamerson.


[click on image to enlarge]

Famous Motown producer Norman Whitfield working on music for The Temptations. Just look at the list of Funks on this – Bob Babbit, Pistol Allen, Joe Messina, Eddie Willis, Jack Ashford – it goes on and on !



[click on image to enlarge]

The late Earl Van Dyke, leader of the Funk Brothers, doing overdubs of piano and Hammond B3 for producer William Robinson Jr., aka Smokey Robinson. Written in the Smokes hand.



[click on image to enlarge]

Again, in Marvin Gayes handwriting, doing overdub work with the great James Jamerson.



[click on image to enlarge]

A fascinating collection of Road Manager records of Diana Ross and the Supremes. This pile of records spanned from the mid sixties, until the supremes broke up in the early seventies.

Ever wonder how much Motown got paid for the Supremes singing on The Tonight Show in 1969 ?

$1,500.00



[click on image to enlarge]

Okay, how about – how much did Motown get paid for the Supremes singing on Ed Sullivan in 1970 ?

$7,500.00 before disbursements.



[click on image to enlarge]

Payroll check made out to Diana Ross for $1,000.57 in 1969.



[click on image to enlarge]

Now onto some blueprints of the Donovan/Sanders building(s). The property was/is owned by Cherrylawn properties, Berry Gordys property management company. These blueprints are from the 1968 acquisition of the buildings, and the subsequent remodeling to use for Motown Headquarters.

This is the first floor plan. Note that the front of the Donovan is listed as a “bank”. Beyond that is Motown Center entry/reception etc.



[click on image to enlarge]

The basement level of the complex – note that one portion of Sanders is made into “echo chambers” for recording
remixing. Remixing of albums was in fact done on site here – Marvin Gaye mixed the first version of the ‘Whats Goin On” album here, before going out to LA for what became the album mix.



[click on image to enlarge]

7th floor blueprints



[click on image to enlarge]

Side view of Motown Headquarters Complex with “donovan” on the right, and “sanders” on the left.

11 Responses to Motown Lowdown