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The Marvelettes Motown 78 RPM Discovered

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By Angelo Alexander

Once about 5 years ago when I was again gazing at one of The Beatles 78 rpm images, a musical revelation hit me with full force, a theory: if The Beatles had 78s during this period in the Philippines and India, would there not be other "late 78s" by important, chart-making rock and roll/soul artists during The Fab Four's hit making era?

I began to think of what other groups were doing battle with The Beatles on the pop charts during the early to middle 60's. I made a list, which included several Motown artists, including The Supremes, Mary Wells, The Miracles, and the group that gave Motown their first #1 single, The Marvelettes. The Beatles had recorded Motown songs like The Miracles' "You've Really Got A Hold On Me," while Motown artists had recorded Beatles's material, including the album "A Bit of Liverpool" by The Supremes (released in the UK under the title "From Us With Love").

I came to the strong conclusion that Motown 78s---post 1960 era--had to exist.

However, in over 35 years of collecting records, including everything I could on the various Motown labels, I had never seen anything remotely connected to a Motown 78, other than the immortal 1960 pre-Motown single "Money, That's What I Want" by Barrett Strong on the Anna label, manufactured and distributed by Chess Records. This rare 78 is believed to be one of the very last 78 pressings in the U.S. The record was later issued on Motown's Tamla label.

And, of course, everyone knows The Beatles covered this Motown song, too.

I did find a copy of The Miracles-"Got A Job" on End Records from the late 50's; this was a pre-Motown production, the "answer record" to the Silhouettes hit "Get A Job" on Ember Records. (Interesting to note that The Miracles-"Got A Job" sparked indie rival Roulette Records to release an "answer record" of their own with the 78 and 45 rpm issue
of "Found A Job" by The Heartbeats). However, as Motown was not officially set up as an official label at the time, I am discounted both the Strong/Anna and Miracles/End 78s as being authentic Motown 78s. (Sorry, Berry; sorry, Smokey)

I had put out my feelers to different international collectors and sellers. Just this month, my wildest dream came true: I have found a true Motown 78---a 1963-1964 release---issued by Dyna Products in the Philippines on Tamla Records (see image attached)

The Marvelettes - Silly Boy
The Marvelettes "Silly Boy" on Dyna Records.

While I had previously found 2 other Marvelettes 78s of "(The Mashed Potato) Playboy" issued in the Philippines on the generic, white label Grand Records and Hi-Fi Records, it is this Tamla/Dyna 78 of The Marvelettes' "Way Over There" (featured on the film soundtrack "Nothin' But A Man" and originally recorded by label mates The Miracles) that finally proved my theory of the existence of Motown 78s.

The Marvelettes - Way Over There
The Marvelettes "Way Over There" on Dyna Records.

According to the single master number of #9016, there is the possibility that up to 16 Motown 78s were issued by Dyna in the early to late 60's. (Note: this theory has proven true for the Philippine 78 issues of both Cameo and Parkway singles, which not only copies the American label copy but also listed the full album catalogue number the 78 single was taken from; in the case of the Cameo label alone, there were about 50-70 78rpm singles reportedly pressed in the Philippines by Dyna Products).

Notice the positioning of the Dyna logo on the left and the Tamla logo on the right. If this arrangement, with the black background on top and bottom for song title and artist name on the bottom looks familiar to you, it should be: Dyna copied this logo arrangement from the American Decca Records and Decca's label subsidiary Coral Records, also from the early to middle 60's.

In closing with The Beatles vs. Motown 78s, It is ironic though that while The Beatles had several hits with Motown songs, no Motown artists ever had a hit by recording any Beatles songs.

Angelo Alexander

© 2005 Angelo Alexander

“Angelo Alexander Sings Bessie Smith”
(Trip Jazz/Andromeda International Records” (TRI-100)
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