Smokey Honors Maxine Powell

Smokey Honors Maxine Powell

*The following is an excerpt from an article on Maxine Powell written by Jeff Karoub of the Associated Press. Thanks to Ron Brewington of the Motown Alumni Association for making us aware.

Maxine Powell was director of Motown’s Artist Development Department that polished all the Motown acts like Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Martha and The Vandellas, The Temptations, The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, and all the others.

She didn’t sing a note or write a lick of a lyric, but Smokey Robinson contends that Maxine Powell was as essential to Motown Records’ operation as the legendary label’s songwriters, producers and musicians.

Powell was in charge of the artists’ personal development. And Robinson, a bard of the American romantic songbook and one of the chief architects of “the Motown sound” produced in Detroit from the late 1950s to the early `70s, paid tribute to Powell on Monday night during an invitation-only event at the former Hitsville, U.S.A., studio in Detroit that now serves as the Motown Historical Museum.

“She was such an important, integral part of what we were doing here at Motown,” said Robinson, who has upcoming Michigan gigs in the Detroit area and Grand Rapids and is working on an album of duets with various artists due out next year.

Powell directed the label’s Artists Development Department, also known as “Motown’s Finishing School.” She guided many, including Robinson’s Miracles, the Jackson Five and the Supremes.

Read the full story by Jeff Karoub at CBS Detroit.