Almost universally billed during his time at Motown as “Mickey Woods”, this singer’s real name is in fact Mickey Wood, and he was the first white male artist ever to sign for Motown. Rather than me try to write a lengthy biography, here’s the man himself very graciously commenting here on Motown Junkies, after I’d panned one of his records. Sorry Mickey!
“I fronted a group while at Redford High School, and we auditioned at Motown in the spring of 1959. Mr. Gordy said he would take the whole group or me as a solo act, and since we were all heading off to different colleges in the fall, I was signed as a single. I soon found out that the only way to be noticed at Hitsville was to be there all day, every day, as organization wasn’t the strong suit in those early days. If I was there, I had a chance to do a session. If I wasn’t there, they simply worked with other artists.
By the same token, the record distribution worked much the same way. I was attending classes at Butler University in Indianapolis at the time They Rode Through the Valley was released, and I did personal appearances and worked with local DJ’s, who claimed people were trying to get the record, but were unable to purchase it in local stores. When They Call Me Cupid and Please Mister Kennedy met with the same fate, it became apparent to me that Berry was “putting his bucks where he was sure to get the bang” (behind his red-hot African-American artists). The rest of us were just, more or less, tossed into the market, and if we had some success,it was gravy. They Call Me Cupid, for instance, started out with great early reports from all over the country, only to fade quickly into obscurity.
That discouraged me, and I simply stopped showing up at Hitsville after that. I did extensive nightclub work, and recorded for local Detroit labels in the following 13 years. Then, in 1975, I moved my wife and two sons to Alaska, where I did limited performing over the years. Though I never became a star at Motown, I was never bitter about it. I met many wonderful people there… among them, Smokey Robinson, Popcorn Wylie, Robert Bateman and of course, Berry himself.
Review Archive: Mickey WOODS (4 items)