Motortown Revue UK Tour, 1965

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published on 12 March 2017, by ; latest edit: 24 May 2018

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1965 Motortown Revue UK Tour

 

tamla-motown-uk-tour-detroit-departure-1a

(above) This photograph of members of the Motortown Revue UK Tour (aka the Tamla-Motown UK Tour) of March-April 1965 includes the Supremes, the Miracles, Martha and the Vandellas, and the Earl Van Dyke Sextet. Berry Gordy stands in the front row at left center, and his father at the far right. I’m guessing that the photo was taken upon arrival at London Airport on 15 March 1965 (see photos below). Notice the Tamla Motown and BOAC carry on bags, and the fact that most of the tour members appear to be dressed as they were when disembarking at London Airport that day, minus the overcoats. Martha Reeves is an exception in that she is wearing the fur coat and floppy hat seen in a couple of disembarking photos. Alternatively, the photo might have been taken at the airport in the US just prior to departure.

(above) Diana Ross and Martha Reeves at the Finsbury Park Astoria, 20 March 1965, from the article “Five London spots for Motown fans,” by Adam White, published on 7 March 2016 at TimeOut.com

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Excerpts from the post “Motown in our town: the 1965 Motortown Revue hits the UK,” by Rocknrollroutemaster, published on 8 April 2015:

It was 50 years ago today: The Motortown Revue landed at the Finsbury Park Astoria on Saturday 20 March 1965, on the first night of a package tour that took them around the UK. A 24 day trip visiting 21 theatres for two shows a night – plus a live TV special.

[T]he real reason for the tour was to launch the Tamla Motown label. Up to March 1965, there were no Tamla Motown releases in the UK because Tamla Motown didn’t exist. All those classic records from Mary Wells, Martha and the Vandellas and the Supremes came out on Stateside. The tour then was an important milestone in Motown’s international expansion and crucial in Motown breaking the UK, an ambitious label from Detroit, a booming city. And you would imagine there was a rabid audience for the music as this is 1964/5 and we were Mod-mad. Not to mention Motown’s huge influence on our own groups. The Stones did “Can I Get A Witness” and The Beatles sang three  Motown songs on With The Beatles – “Please Mr Postman,” “Money” and “You Really Got A Hold On Me.”

The first night of the tour was 20 March and two shows 6.40 and 9.10 at the Finsbury Park Astoria at 232 Seven Sisters Road N4, followed the next night with two at the Odeon Hammersmith [at] 6pm and 8pm. It then went off round England, Scotland and Wales to places like Bristol and Cardiff, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Newcastle, Wolverhampton, 21 towns in 24 days. They all travelled together in a 52 seat coach on A roads. After a long trip to Bristol on the A4 – the M4 didn’t open fully till 1971 – Berry and the three Supremes opted to rent a limo for themselves for the rest of the tour. Everyone else stayed on the bus and bonded, including the Blue Flames. The Earl van Dyke Six went on first, followed by Martha & the Vandellas, a comedy spot by Northern comedian Tony Marsh before Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames, hit from a 3 year residency at the Flamingo Club’s Allnighter at 33 Wardour Street W1 closed the first half. After an interval, Earl van Dyke kicked things off again followed by Smokey & the Miracles, Little Stevie before the headliners The Supremes closed the show. On many nights the entire revue came back on and finished with a version of ‘Mickey’s Monkey’.

[T]he Motortown tour was a mixed critical success –  and a complete commercial disaster. Outside London, theatres were half full. The whole Mod thing was very London-centric so why any promoter thought they could attract 4,000 punters to then Stockton On Tees ABC or the Gaumont Theatre, Ipswich is beyond me.

While the account by Rocknrollroutemaster and other reports suggest that attendance shrank and the enthusiastic welcome received by the Revue upon arrival in London vanished abruptly after it left the capitol following the first two dates, in the BBC Four Legends TV series episode The Motown Invasion (see below), a documentary largely about the tour, music executive and Radio Luxembourg DJ Tony Hall indicates that a half empty house greeted the Revue at the very first concert, at the Finsbury Park Astoria in London on 20 March. Recalling the night, he says:

The most depressing thing of all about the opening concert was the fact that the theater was half empty. I thought it was so sad. And those of us who were there had to cheer and clap about ten times louder than usual, just to try to make up for it.

The second pair of shows, at the Hammersmith Odeon on 21 March, might not have done much better in terms of audience size. In her accounts of the tour, Mary Wilson suggests that audience sizes were small throughout the duration of the tour, and names the Hammersmith Odeon specifically. In the documentary, Mary Wilson says (bold added):

No one came. We were so excited — we’d come to the Hammersmith, or wherever we were, and the audience was like half-filled. No one was out there. So that’s why we called it the ghost tour.

From Dreamgirl and Supreme Faith: My Life as a Supreme, by Mary Wilson (2000), pp. 160-161:

Though the Supremes had made a real splash in England just six months before, the [1965 UK] Revue as a whole didn’t fare quite so well…There were avid Motown fans all over England and the Continent, but it was clear that reporters in the smaller towns really didn’t understand what the music was all about. And, for the first time in as long as many of us could remember, we were playing to half-filled houses.

The final word, by Wilson, on the small audiences encountered during tour, from the documentary:

We just thought it was going to be a sell out, you know, and this and that, and each time, we would go to a different town and a different theater and it was the same. It really never got better. But night after night, looking out into the audience and seeing a half empty house, England was a big disappointment (laughs).

(above) Front page advertisement in the 5 March 1965 issue of the New Musical Express for the 1965 Motortown (Tamla-Motown) UK Tour

Adam White, a former Billboard editor-in-chief, co-authored the book Motown: The Sound of Young America (2016) with former Motown sales chief Barney Ales. In an article titled “Dancing in the streets of Britain,” by White, published in The Independent (Independent.co.uk), on 31 March 2005, the author says that the performers and musicians sang and played their hearts out during the 1965 Motown Revue UK Tour, “while striving valiantly not to be dispirited by a low audience turnout, the inclement weather and the difference in food (and toilet paper) that came with the territory.” The first tour date outside of London, at Colston Hall in Bristol, happened to be in White’s home city. He attended the first of the two shows at a cost of £4.

White also appears in The Motown Invasion. In the documentary, he praises the thrilling and consummate artistry of the acts in the Revue, and recalls that the opportunity to see the Motortown Revue in the provinces in early 1965 was such an improbable and extraordinary event that it was for him a “religious experience.” However, with respect to the attendance at the first Colston Hall show, in gauging the proportion of occupied seats, White says:

I just remember looking behind me in back and seeing row and row of empty seats, so…I would have said, if Colston Hall’s capacity was 2,000, there were three or four hundred people, at most, in that hall.

BBC Four Legends TV series episode The Motown Invasion — airdate: 20 February 2009

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(below) Motortown Revue arrival at London Airport (later Heathrow Airport), 15 March 1965

The Supremes

  • (below, clockwise)
    • 1. and 2. — The Miracles, Berry Gordy, two children (Gordy’s?), Earl Van Dyke and (presumably) members of his Sextet
    • 3. and 4. — Martha and the Vandellas, with Berry Gordy’s father behind them

Motortown Revue, London, group photo on steps beside Marble Arch (1a)

Motortown Revue, London, group photo on steps beside Marble Arch (4)

(above and below) Group photos of three of the major acts in the 1965 Motortown Revue UK Tour, plus the Temptations, at the London landmark Marble Arch, and on steps beside the landmark, taken on 15 March 1965, shortly after the Revue’s arrival in London that day. In the above two photos, the artists stand in the following order:

top row – The Miracles: Smokey Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Ronnie White, Pete Moore (In some photos Moore has moved a couple of steps down and stands beside Eddie Kendricks at the far right of the second row.)
second row – The Temptations: David Ruffin (shades), Melvin Franklin, Otis Williams, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks
bottom row – The Supremes: Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diana Ross; Martha and The Vandellas: Betty Kelly, Rosalind Ashford, Martha Reeves

Marble Arch in London, Spring 2013, with raised area at right

(above) In this 2013 photo of Marble Arch, you can see the raised rest area to the right, with its benches and sets of four steps, where the group had posed 48 years earlier for the series of photos above.

(below) Motortown Revue members on the sidewalks of London, and possibly elsewhere in the UK, during the 1965 UK tour (l. to r.):

  • 1.-2. The Supremes with members of the Temptations Melvin Franklin and Eddie Kendricks, in London, probably on 15 March 1965
  • 3. Martha and the Vandellas
  • 4. The Supremes

(below) Images from the set of the Ready Steady Go! television special The Sound of Motown, taped at Rediffusion Studios on 18 March 1965, and aired on 28 April 1965

(below) Members of the 1965 Motortown Revue UK Tour, plus the Temptations, appear at EMI House to celebrate the 19 March 1965 launching of the UK Tamla Motown label. It is my understanding that the date of the launching and, therefore, of the photos is 19 March 1965, the day before the opening show of the tour. However, the two b&w photos from Alamy.com included below are dated 24 March 1964 there. The Revue performed two shows at Cardiff on 24 March 1965, and two shows each in Bristol and Birmingham on the 23rd and 25th, respectively. It’s unlikely that they made a quick side trip to London on the 24th. The fifth photo, the one from Getty Images, is dated 19 March 1965. I’ll try to find other supportive documentation regarding the date of these photos.

Embed from Getty Images

 

The Motown Encyclopedia (2014) by Graham Betts, contains the following itinerary on page 408*:

20 March – Astoria, Finsbury Park (6.40 & 9.10)
21 March – Odeon, Hammersmith (6.00 & 8.00)
22 March – Day off
23 March – Colston Hall, Bristol (6.30 & 8.45)
24 March – Capital, Cardiff (6.00 & 8.30)
25 March – Odeon, Birmingham (6.45 & 9.00)
26 March – ABC, Kingston (6.45 & 9.00)
27 March – Winter Gardens, Bournemouth (6.00 & 8.30)
28 March – Odeon, Leicester (5.40 & 8.00)
29 March – Day off
30 March – Odeon, Manchester (6.15 & 8.45)
31 March – Odeon, Leeds (6.20 & 8.40)
1 April – Odeon, Glasgow (6.40 & 9.00)
2 April – ABC, Stockton (6.15 & 8.30)
3 April – City Hall, Newcastle (6.30 & 8.45)
4 April – Empire, Liverpool (5.40 & 8.00)
5 April – Day off
6 April – ABC, Luton (6.30 & 8.45)
7 April – ABC, Chester (6.15 & 8.30)
8 April – City Hall, Sheffield (6.20 & 8.50)
9 April – ABC, Wigan (6.20 & 8.35)
10 April – Gaumont, Wolverhampton (6.30 & 8.40)
11 April – Gaumont, Ipswich (5.30 & 8.00)
12 April – Guildhall, Portsmouth (6.30 & 8.30)

(below) posters, or signs, advertising the following shows:

  • 23 March – Colston Hall, Bristol (6.30 & 8.45)
  • 27 March – Winter Gardens, Bournemouth (6.00 & 8.30)
  • 31 March – Odeon, Leeds (6.20 & 8.40)
  • 12 April – Guildhall, Portsmouth (6.30 & 8.30)

Martha and the Vandellas at an autograph session during the 1965 Motortown UK Tour

Timeline

In addition to the above itinerary of the UK tour, I’ve assembled the following timeline, with some dates still being tentative:

  • 12-14 March 1965(?) — According to @blue_whippet, citing the book Motown: The History by Sharon Davis, in the soulfuldetroit.com forum thread Tamla Motown European Revue March/April 1965 – A Question, Stevie Wonder arrived three days earlier the rest of the Motortown Revue UK Tour party. In a comment on this page dated Jun 20, 2017 @ 11:40:03, @blue_whippet confirms my question regarding the title of the cited book, and then adds that both Stevie Wonder and the Temptations arrived in London on 12 April 1965, three days before the others, citing another source. He says:

    Yes I can confirm the book cited is correct – Motown: The History by Sharon Davis. In fact that early arrival date is corroborated in the excellent book Hitsville! The Birth Of Tamla Motown, by Keith Rylatt. On page 114, it states ‘both the Tempations and Stevie Wonder arrived on 12 March for pre-tour promotional visits’.

    This explains why neither Wonder nor the Temptations are found among those members of the tour seen in photographs disembarking at London Airport on 15 March, or in the group photo with the “Tamla-Motown UK Tour” banner evidently taken at London Airport that day. The Temptations are not part of the UK tour, though they are present with members of the touring party for the following events during the period 15-19 March, prior to the start of the road tour: photo session at Marble Arch, evidently on 15 March; taping of the Ready Steady Go! television special The Sound of Motown, 18 March; launch of Tamla Motown label at EMI House, probably 19 March (see above).

  • Does the Revue perform shows in Rotterdam and Hamburg during this period, or perhaps later on 16-17 March, prior to the taping of the TV special? I’ve yet to answer these questions*, or determined whether the Supremes visited Amsterdam during March-April 1965 as suggested by some sources and photographic evidence. See the soulfuldetroit.com forum thread Tamla Motown European Revue March/April 1965 – A Question for a discussion of these and related questions. See also the following, from the article titled Motortown Revue In Paris: Complete concert on 3LP or 2CD, by Justyn Barnes, published on 18 January 2016 at superdeluxeedition.com:
    • The European Tour during March-April 1965 was the first time Berry Gordy Jr.’s roadshow had ventured outside of the United States. After dates in Hamburg and Rotterdam, the Revue hit the UK, playing every night bar three from 20 March until 12 April at venues all around England, plus Cardiff and Glasgow, finishing at Portsmouth Guild Hall.
  • In the soulfuldetroit.com “A Question” thread cited above, @bobkayli provides a possible scenario regarding the timing of uncertain European visits, before, during, or after the UK tour:
    • Could be that the whole Revue except for the Temps went to Rotterdam/Hamburg to begin with and the Temps coming to London first and were joined by the rest in London later. I need to dig out my old music magazines from the era to see if they add anything (for example concert dates for the Temps). The Temps were certainly only present for the first part of the UK Tour as Otis Williams mentions in his book The Temptations. The UK tour dates didn’t leave a lot of time to travel to Rotterdam and Hamburg. The Rotterdam date could not have followed on from Paris. Berry Gordy mentions in his book that the entourage split after Paris when he and Diana stayed on in Paris to cement their relationship so to speak.
  • 15 March — The Motortown Revue arrives in London, according to the following Getty Images photos, all dated 15 March 1965, of members disembarking at London Airport from a BOAC aircraft:
  • 15 March — Group photos of the Supremes, Miracles, Temptations and Martha and the Vendellas are taken at Marble Arch, London, and on steps beside the landmark (see above).
  • 16-17 March (?) — see 12-14 March above
  • 18 March — The Ready Steady Go! television special The Sound of Motown is taped at Rediffusion Studios on 18 March 1965, according to various sites.
  • 19 March
    • launch of the Tamla Motown UK label, according to the following:
    • Members of the 1965 Motortown Revue UK Tour, plus the Temptations, appear at EMI House to celebrate launching of the UK Tamla Motown label. I’ve tentatively dated the photos presumably taken at the launching, and displayed above, 19 March 1965, though the two b&w Alamy.com photos included indicate that the date was 24 March 1964. I suspect that Alamy.com has incorrectly dated the photos. The Revue performed two shows at Cardiff on 24 March 1965, and two shows each in Bristol and Birmingham on the 23rd and 25th, respectively. It’s unlikely that they made a quick side trip to London on the 24th.
      • 23 March – Colston Hall, Bristol (6.30 & 8.45)
        24 March – Capital, Cardiff (6.00 & 8.30)
        25 March – Odeon, Birmingham (6.45 & 9.00)
  • 20 March – 12 April — duration of the UK coach tour (see itinerary above)
  • 5 April — A performance by the Supremes on the German TV show Musik aus Studio B (Google translation: English) of the song “Thank You Darling” is broadcast on 5 April 1965. Thanks for this information are due to @blue_whippet, who provided a pair of relevant and helpful links in a comment dated June 18, 2017. “Thank You Darling” (Busch, Scharfenberger) was recorded by the Supremes in German and released in April 1965 on the single (Germany) CBS 1839, b/w “Jonny und Joe,” the B-side being a German-lyric version of “Come See About Me” with words by Kurt Feltz. I’ve yet to determine whether the appearance by the Supremes on the show was a live or taped performance — and, if taped, on which date the taping took place — so it’s still not clear whether the Supremes visited Germany before or during the 1965 Motor Revue UK Tour for that televised performance. One of the links provided by @blue_whippet leads to an article in the April 17, 1965 issue of Billboard magazine, where on pp. 14 and 18 we read the following:

    The Supremes are making their first tour of Germany. The U.S. group is appearing under auspices of CBS Schallplatten and Aberbach Musikverlage. They have appeared on North German Television’s “Music From Studio B,” Germany’s most prestigious music show….

    No dates regarding the Supremes tour of Germany are provided, but the phrase “are making their first tour of Germany” suggests that the tour was ongoing either at the time the article was written or on 17 April 1965 when the issue was published. Did the Supremes begin a tour of Germany within a few days of the end of the Motortown Revue UK Tour?

  • 13 April — The Motortown Revue appears at the Olympia, Paris. According to the itinerary provided above, and to most sources, this is the last show of the tour.
  • 13-15 April(?)– additional events in Paris involving the Motortown Revue members, according to bobkayli in the soulfuldetroit.com thread cited above, who says:
    • On 13th/14th/15th April besides the concert there were a number of promotional events around Paris besides the Motortown Revue show at Olympia including a press launch of the French Tamla Motown label, Supremes photo sessions on the Champs Elysees, Trocadero and Bois de Boulogne as well as a Vandellas photo shoot at the Louvre as well as the Supremes almost being arrested for blocking the traffic on the Champs Elysees.
  • 14-17 April (?)
    • After departure of most members of the Tamla Motown Revue touring party, according to The Supremes: A Saga of Motown Dreams, Success, and Betrayal, by Mark Ribowsky (2010), p. 204, Berry Gordy and Diana Ross stay behind in Paris for an additional couple of days, though it’s not precisely clear on which day the others depart and Gordy and Ross are left alone.
    • Ribowsky, p. 203, gives the wrong date, 15 April, for the show at the Olympia, by all accounts the last show of the tour. The Olympia show is dated 13 April everywhere else.
  • 28 April 1965 — The Ready Steady Go! television special The Sound of Motown is broadcast, after the Motortown Revue touring party has returned to the U.S. Ribowsky incorrectly claims that it was broadcast during the third week of the tour.

Motortown Revue marquee at Olympia, Paris, 13 April 1965

(below) The Supremes risk life and limb dancing in stop and go traffic on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris as they lip sync to “Where Did Our Love Go.” Diana Ross is very nearly struck in the right leg by a vehicle at 1:16. Toward the end of the clip a policeman instructs them to get off the street, finally pushing Mary Wilson by the shoulder, forcing her over the curb and into a pedestrian area, before grabbing her arm as if to arrest her.

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more Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images.
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Embed from Getty Images.Embed from Getty Images

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* There are only three days off in the UK tour itinerary from the Motown Encyclopedia, and the last date of the tour is one day after the Guildhall, Portsmouth shows, at the Olympia in Paris on 13 April. However, some sites refer to this tour as the Motortown or Tamla Motown European Tour of 1965, and various sources suggest that the revue also did shows in Rotterdam and Hamburg, Germany as well as in Holland. Did the Germany and Holland appearances occur during those three days off during the UK tour, before the UK tour commenced, or (less likely) after the 13 April Paris show? There are photographic images online purporting to show the revue onstage in Rotterdam in April 1965, and various photos of the Supremes supposedly taken in Hamburg in March 1965.

On undated and questionably dated photographs reportedly taken in Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Amsterdam, March-April 1965:

  • Alamy.com has two different edits of what appear to be the same photograph, supposedly taken in Rotterdam in April 1965, that shows the Supremes, the Miracles, Martha and the Vandellas, and Stevie Wonder performing on stage in an ensemble number, probably the show’s finale.
  • Alamy.com has several photographs which, they claim, show the Supremes in Hamburg in 1965. Here are four: (1), (2), (3), (4). In the four I’ve linked to, Diana Ross appears to be wearing the same dress that she wore at Marble Arch on 15 March 1965 (but a different fur; see images from the Marble Arch photo session above), though the other two members of the Supremes wear different dresses than they did at Marble Arch.
  • One photograph, said to be taken in Amsterdam, that I’ve found appears to have Diana Ross wearing the same blouse she wore in the “Where Did Our Love Go” taping in Paris, where they danced between traffic on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and nearly got arrested. The date of the taping on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is usually given as 13 April, the same date as the show at the Olympia, but I haven’t verified that date. Ribowsky, p. 203, says the taping of “Where Did Our Love Go” on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées occurred on the afternoon of 15 April, but incorrectly says that the Olympia show occurred on that date.

See the contradictory information compiled by @blue_whippet in the soulfuldetroit.com forum thread “A Question.” Among the unanswered questions raised in that thread and elsewhere are the following:

  1. On which date did the 1965 Motortown ‘UK-European’ tour begin, and where did it begin?
  2. When members of the Motortown Revue touring party arrived at London Airport on 15 March 1965, as evidenced by the dates of Getty Images photos showing them disembarking from a BOAC aircraft at that airport, were they arriving from the US, or from a previous engagement somewhere in Europe?
  3. If the tour, or some of its members, appeared in Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Holland, as various notices and reports suggest, supported to some degree by photographic evidence, then when did these visits occur? Did the visits occur before the UK tour, during the UK tour (on days off), or following the UK tour and the 13 April Paris show at the Olympia?
  4. A performance by the Supremes on the German TV show Musik aus Studio B (Google translation: English) of the song “Thank You Darling” is broadcast on 5 April 1965. Was it performed fully live or to playback during the broadcast on 5 April, which was one of the three off days from the UK tour, taped on that date, or taped on an earlier date (see the Timeline above)?
  5. On which date or dates did the touring party depart to return to the US?
  6. Did the Supremes begin a tour of Germany shortly after the end of the 1965 Motortown Revue UK Tour (see the Timeline above)?

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Selected resources:

books:

documentary:

articles and web pages:

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. blue_whippet
    Jun 18, 2017 @ 09:37:42

    I have since found some additional interesting detail on this topic. See links:

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=lSgEAAAAMBAJ&q=supremes#v=snippet&q=supremes&f=false

    and

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musik_aus_Studio_B

    The Supremes appeared on the Hamburg TV show ‘Music from Studio B’ on Monday 5th April 1965. That was one of the days off from the UK tour. They sang ‘Thank You Darling’ and this must be the performance referred to by Flo in the May ’65 recorded interview where she referred to the backing tape breaking in a Hamburg performance.

    I also must now question whether a Rotterdam performance actually happened as the photo on Alamy claiming to be of the Rotterdam show is the same photo in the scan of Dutch newspaper article on the Paris show referred to on the Soul-Source website

    https://www.soul-source.co.uk/forums/topic/352267-tamla-motown-1965-tour/

    Like

    Reply

    • doc
      Jun 19, 2017 @ 13:09:05

      @blue_whippet,

      Hey there! Your posts in the soulfuldetroit.com forum thread have been very helpful, and much thanks for this new information with the links provided. I’ll revise the relevant content of this page accordingly, as soon as possible, citing your comment and crediting you for the assistance.

      Regards,
      doc

      Like

      Reply

    • doc
      Jun 19, 2017 @ 14:06:32

      @blue_whippet,

      Can you confirm for me that the book you’ve cited in the “Tamla Motown European Revue March/April 1965 – a Question” thread at soulfuldetriot.com regarding Stevie Wonder arriving three days before the others is Motown: The History by Sharon Davis, published in 1988? I noticed today that I had previously erred in giving the source as the Mary Wilson book Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme. This error has been corrected.

      Like

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    • doc
      Feb 23, 2018 @ 09:12:59

      @blue_whippet,

      Hi. Sorry for the very long delay in getting to the update I’d promised. Today I’ve added some information to my working timeline above regarding the appearance by the Supremes on German TV during the 1965 Motortown Revue UK Tour, crediting you for two links that support their appearance on the Musik aus Studio B show and the inclusion of their performance of a song in the 5 April 1965 episode of that series. Note that in the Wikipedia article on the show, 5 April 1965 is given as the broadcast date rather than the taping date of the Supremes’ appearance. Although it’s possible that the performance was taped and broadcast on the same date, I haven’t confirmed whether or not that was the case. Here’s what I’ve added today:

      5 April — A performance by the Supremes on the German TV show Musik aus Studio B (Google translation: English) of the song “Thank You Darling” is broadcast on 5 April 1965. Thanks for this information are due to @blue_whippet, who provided a pair of relevant and helpful links in a comment dated June 18, 2017. “Thank You Darling” (Busch, Scharfenberger) was recorded by the Supremes in German and released in April 1965 on the single (Germany) CBS 1839, b/w “Jonny und Joe,” the B-side being a German-lyric version of “Come See About Me” with words by Kurt Feltz. I’ve yet to determine whether the appearance by the Supremes on the show was a live or taped performance — and, if taped, on which date the taping took place — so it’s still not clear whether the Supremes visited Germany before or during the 1965 Motor Revue UK Tour for that televised performance.

      One of the links provided by @blue_whippet leads to an article in the April 17, 1965 issue of Billboard magazine, where on pp. 14 and 18 we read the following:

      The Supremes are making their first tour of Germany. The U.S. group is appearing under auspices of CBS Schallplatten and Aberbach Musikverlage. They have appeared on North German Television’s “Music From Studio B,” Germany’s most prestigious music show….

      No dates regarding the Supremes tour of Germany are provided, but the phrase “are making their first tour of Germany” suggests that the tour was ongoing either at the time the article was written or on 17 April 1965 when the issue was published. Did the Supremes begin a tour of Germany within a few days of the end of the Motortown Revue UK Tour?

      I may make additional edits to the page in accordance with this modification. Thanks again!

      Regards,
      doc

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      Reply

      • Anonymous
        Feb 25, 2018 @ 13:28:19

        Hi,
        Thank you and it’s good to see the itinerary updated with the latest information. Re: broadcasting date of Musik aus Studio B. Yes 5th April was the broadcast date but in the German Wikipedia translated page, it is stated that ‘the program was live or as a recording’. So there remains the possibility that the 5th April date was aired live. From the Supremes recorded interview where Florence was asked about any unusual events that she can remember, she stated that the backing tape broke in a performance in Hamburg. This suggests they were singing live over a pre-recording backing track. Indeed, the Wikipedia page says that the appearing artists sang playback, almost exclusively German. Exceptions were (among others) The Supremes. With that in mind and the possibility that the show was aired live, it would make sense that the backing track fault could not be immediately repaired and they continued a capella in order to finish the segment. If the show was pre-recorded, they could have fixed the problem and re-taped the segment. Speculative I know. What could help with this search would be to track down newspaper reports from the following day of the event. In the same Supremes interview, the interviewer did state that the event was reported in the press the following day and they were praised for their showmanship and professionalism. That could have been in the German press and eventually the US press. I have found nothing reported in Billboard Magazine on this event. As additional information, Musik aus Studio B is detailed on the IMDb website.
        A related issue where I have been able to find some information relates to the hotel where the Supremes stayed while in Hamburg. The photos on the hotel balcony with the balustrading is the Hotel Atlantic Kempinsky. If you Google an Image of the hotel, the balcony can be picked out together with other features of the hotel’s surroundings. Further, in a Wikipedia entry on the hotel, a list of notable guests includes the Supremes, but dated March 1965. If this date is correct, the 5th April date would no longer be valid. It depends on the accuracy of information posted.
        Re: suggested ongoing tour of Germany – I haven’t found any solid evidence to indicate that this tour went ahead, but I’ll keep looking.

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        • doc
          Feb 25, 2018 @ 17:50:09

          Anonymous,

          I had read the English translation of the part in the Wikipedia page on Musik aus Studio B, which says [punctuation normalized]:

          The program was live or as a recording and began with the theme song Melody Fair by Robert Farnon. The appearing artists sang playback, almost exclusively German. Exceptions were Sonny and Cher, The Lords, The Supreme[s], The Bee Gees , Golden Gate Quartet and Nancy Sinatra.

          and I agree that it leaves open the possibility that the Supremes performed live on the show. This is why I said in my 23 February comment (~2 days ago):

          Although it’s possible that the performance was taped and broadcast on the same date, I haven’t confirmed whether or not that was the case.

          and in my summary of unanswered questions near the bottom of the page, said:

          A performance by the Supremes on the German TV show Musik aus Studio B (Google translation: English) of the song “Thank You Darling” is broadcast on 5 April 1965. Was it taped or performed live on that date, which was one of the three off days from the UK tour, or taped on an earlier date (see the Timeline above)?

          However, I failed to make clear the possibility of a live performance by the Supremes in either the 5 April entry of the timeline, nor consequently in the bulk of the 23 February comment, which is quoted from that entry. Part of the confusion stems from my presumption that even an episode, or a segment of an episode, that was performed live would have been taped during the live broadcast, though this isn’t necessarily true. Secondly, if it wasn’t performed fully live or to playback on 5 April during the broadcast then it was taped either on that date or on an earlier date, but I only made this point in the unanswered questions section. Some editing will be forthcoming.

          Getting back to the Google translation into English of the Wikipedia article on the show Musik aus Studio B, I think you’ll agree that those few sentences are rather ambiguous, even if we presume that the translation hasn’t mangled the meaning of the original German. Questions that arise from my reading of the three sentences quoted at the top of this comment:

          1. The statement in the article that “The program was live or as a recording” leaves open the possibilities that a particular episode was broadcast live as the performances were taking place, or that it was recorded on the same date that it was broadcast, but also allows that it might have been recorded earlier, on one date or several. This statement gives us no information as to whether the Supremes, or any other act, were present in the studio on the date that this particular episode was broadcast, other than indicating that they might have been.
          2. The statement “The appearing artists sang playback” would presumably apply whether or not a particular segment was performed live during the broadcast of an episode, or was taped earlier. If an episode was taped prior to broadcast, then the date or dates of any performance in the episode is undetermined by the information in the article.
          3. What were the cited groups exceptions to? Exceptions to rule of singing in “almost exclusively” in German, or exceptions to the rule of performing to playback?
          4. If an exception to the rule of performing to playback occurred, would that necessarily mean that the artist(s) involved in the exception performed live during the broadcast, or could it also mean that their segment of the broadcast was a previously taped “live” studio performance? In other words, if we infer an exception where some acts (artists, groups, etc.) performed “live” rather than to playback on some episodes, this doesn’t necessarily mean that an exception performed live during the broadcast of an episode. It might refer instead to how an act performed as it was taped. Accordingly, a performance by an act that appeared in an episode might have been either broadcast live as it was performed fully live or while miming to playback, or taped as performed fully live or while miming to playback.
          5. If the Supremes were an exception to the rule of singing “almost exclusively” in German in the episode, and “Thank You Darling” is entirely in German except for the words “Thank you darling, thank you baby” (and “baby, baby” in the backing vocals), then did they also perform one or more other songs in English? I think it’s reasonable to question whether “Thank You Darling” was the only song performed by the Supremes on the show, given that they were riding a string of #1 hits at the time (though I’ve yet to see any relevant German chart performances for this period, 1964-65).

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  2. blue_whippet
    Jun 20, 2017 @ 11:40:03

    Glad to be able to help and thank you for crediting my assistance. Yes I can confirm the book cited is correct – Motown: The History by Sharon Davis. In fact that early arrival date is corroborated in the excellent book Hitsville! The Birth Of Tamla Motown, by Keith Rylatt. On page 114, it states ‘both the Tempations and Stevie Wonder arrived on 12 March for pre-tour promotional visits’.

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    • doc
      Jun 20, 2017 @ 15:53:26

      Excellent! I’ll incorporate this info also into the page ASAP, and add those two books to the resources at the bottom of the page. Thanks again. :D

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    • doc
      Feb 24, 2018 @ 02:37:15

      @blue_whippet,

      Hello again! Today I’ve updated my information regarding the arrival in the UK of both the Temptations and Stevie Wonder on 12 March 1965, three days before the others, citing this comment by you as well as the “Tamla Motown European Revue March/April 1965 – a Question” thread. For clarification, did Wonder and the Temptations arrive in London on 12 March 1965, or is the arrival point unspecified in your sources?

      Regards,
      do

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  3. doc
    Jun 26, 2017 @ 15:16:24

    @blue_whippet,

    I’m enjoying a summer break at this time, so it might be a few weeks before I get to these updates.

    Regards,
    doc(-̮̮̃-̃)

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  4. Mike Whitton
    Mar 22, 2018 @ 11:17:36

    BOAC only flew international routes, BEA flew the European routes so it is safe to assume that the Motortown Revue flew direct from the States to Heathrow.

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