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Come To Me - Marv Johnson

From the songwriting proceeds of "Lonely Teardrops" and other Jackie Wilson hits Berry Gordy was able to set up the first record label in the group of his labels which later became collectively known as Motown and which included Tamla, Motown, Gordy, Soul and V.I.P. amongst others. These were later conveniently all collectively marketed on the one Tamla Motown label in all other countries including the UK.

The first Motown release ever, in 1959 on the Tamla label, was "Come To Me" by Marv Johnson, co-written by Johnson and Berry Gordy. Right from the start some of those who would become household names in the most successful independent record company ever were involved: James Jamerson is on bass, Benjamin on the drums, and Brian Holland, one third of Motown's most successful songwriting team, is among the backing vocalists.

The song was a terrific success, racking up enormous local sales in Detroit and the surrounding states, and getting a good amount of radio plays way beyond that. Without the resources to cash in on the first swell of its popularity, Gordy had to move quickly to take full advantage of the situation before the initial buzz subsided so he sold the rights of the recording to the United Artists label who had the national marketing potential he needed. "Come To Me" subsequently reached number 30 on the Hot 100. United Artists wanted more of the same, so in order to ensure more seed money for the setting up of the required nationwide distribution capacity for his new label, Gordy effectively sold Johnson to the bigger company on a five year contract along with a promise of a supply of songs. Shrewd and ruthless right from the start, Gordy was able to be sure of further income to invest in Motown's set up from his songwriting credits on Johnson's hits. Two years later, his company was up and away and having plenty of success of its own so Gordy stopped supplying the songs and Johnson's hits dried up.

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