Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Mr. Gordy, I Think You and I Need To Talk. Alone."

Michael was concerned about the business side of their relationship with Motown Records, particularly with Berry Gordy. None of the other brothers seem to have the backbone to confront Gordy with the plain truth about their value to the company. Michael called Gordy to have a meeting at Gordy's mansion on May 14,1975. "It was one of the most difficult things I've ever done," Michael would say later.

" We're all unhappy, Mr. Gordy. Do you really want is to leave Motown , or what?" Michael asked courageously. Berry's response was the kind of response many artists from Motown would have gotten from Gordy when confronted like this. "Someone as smart like you should know that without Motown, The Jackson 5 would still be in Gary, Indiana, today."

"That does not exactly answer my question, Mr. Gordy," Michael responded. Michael laid the facts on the table. Motown never let the brothers write or produced their own music, or have publishing rights. Their royalty rate was only 2.7 percent. If Gordy had only allowed them one song an album, it would restore their faith in the company. But this is something that Gordy heard before from other artists in the past. He mentioned Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross as examples of him working out some sort of agreement. "I don't want you fellows to leave Motown. How can you do that? After all we've done for you. If you feel you can get a better deal somewhere else, then you have to go somewhere else."

Michael recalls Berry asking him, "Let me ask you a question. What makes you think you can write and produce your own hit?"

"I just know it, " Michael answered. Berry replied, "I don't think that that is good enough."

"What made you think you could build Motown into a giant company?" Michael asked. After receiving no response, Michael said, "You just knew it, right?"

"He just nodded at me as if to say,' You're going places, kid, '" Michael would remember.

Thank you, J. Randy Taraborrelli "Michael Jackson - The Magic and the Madness" pages147-149.

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