Soul icon Smokey Robinson has exposed one of music’s greatest legends as a myth – he is adamant many of Motown’s biggest hits were recorded miles away from the company’s famed headquarters.
The renowned record label enjoyed an unprecedented run of 110 top 10 hits in the U.S. from 1961 to 1971, for stars including The Jackson 5 and Diana Ross.
It gave the company’s headquarters in Detroit, Michigan a reputation as an unrivaled songwriting Mecca, and the building even earned the name Hitsville U.S.A.
However, “The Tears of a Clown” hitmaker Robinson has now spoken out to reveal many of the label’s best-known tracks were recorded at other studios, often thousands of miles away or even in another country.
He tells Uncut magazine, “People used to come from all over the world to recreate that magic, as if they could capture it in the air. But I’ll let you into a secret – a lot of Motown hits weren’t recorded there! A lot of the time our artists were on the road – in New York, L.A., Chicago, Nashville, sometimes even in London – and we’d book studios in these cities. I’ll defy anyone who claims he can identify the songs we recorded outside of Detroit.”