Thursday, January 15, 2009

Barney Ales....The Master Of Motown!

During my career in the music industry, I have had the opportunity of meeting some great people; both men and women. However; it was not until I met Barney Ales, that I really had the chance to see one of the most powerful men in the music industry in action. Since I was promoting product for Motown Records at the time (1964), I had an excellent insider's view.

He sat in a humble office located upstairs at Hitsville on West Grand Boulevard in the Motor City....Detroit, Michigan. From there Barney controlled the flow of Motown Records' product all over the world.

For years, many people speculated that Barney owned Motown, not Berry Gordy. Berry was an astute businessman and knew he needed a white man to front Motown in order to collect monies from the (mostly white) distributors and rack jobbers. Berry could have made no better choice than Barney Ales.

Knowing the potential of the Motown machine; discerning the machine's many talents (including his own) and knowing how to collect the rewards....was Barney's talent.

This interview with Mr. Ales was recorded at his home in Malibu several months ago on a mini-cassette recorder. I have been holding back the interview because I couldn't figure how I wanted to produce it. I have decided to run the interview alone (sans music cuts) as the discussion is quite informative (and humorous) by itself. The interview is totally un-edited.

There are four parts to this interview. Anyone remotely interested in the music business of the Motown era and of that time period will want to tune in to a talk with one of the most fascinating men to ever work the music industry.

Let's put it this way....Barney Ales has an incredible sense of business acumen and used it to grow one of the most prestigious and profitable entertainment companies of all time; Motown Records.

John Rhys/BluePower.com

Listen to Barney Ales....The Master Of Motown (Part One)
Listen to Barney Ales....The Master Of Motown (Part Two)
Listen to Barney Ales....The Master Of Motown (Part Three)
Listen to Barney Ales....The Master Of Motown (Part Four)


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello From Michael Goyette,

A note for Mr.Ales:

You were my football coach at age 12 in Farmington, Michigan. Your son Steve was on the team. I mostly remember "bull in the ring".
That was rough. My father was Gordon Goyette, worked for Parke-Davis as Public Relations Director. I remember hearing you worked for Motown at the time, but had no idea what that meant:)
It's good to know about all that now and hear about what you did back then. Hope you and your family are well.



4/13/2009 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger James Kobielus said...

Dear Mr. Ales:

You lived down the street from us in Livonia, Michigan for a couple of years in the early 60s. I didn't know anything about you. I just remember your sons, who were around my age. Anyway, good to hear that you did well for yourself. Apparently, this "Motown" thing worked out.

Jim Kobielus
Alexandria VA

2/15/2010 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Barnyard Bernie said...

Dear Barney,
I was so thrilled to find this page, you have no idea. It's Bernie Yeszin here, I was but a 20 year old when joining MT. Those album covers defined my life for the next 50. To see my logo design still viable! Well it makes for good cocktail hour chit-chat.
Sitting right next to me at those Friday meeting, know it or not you have been a continuing reminder of "the cool head",that you were. Not enough space here to express my love. got a minute my e-mail yez_2001@yahoo.com

5/27/2012 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Billy Wilson said...

You are absolutely right about Barney.
Billy Wilson
Motown Alumni Association

4/11/2014 04:19:00 AM  
Blogger Billy Wilson said...

You are absolutely right about Barney!
Billy Wilson
Motown Alumni Association

4/11/2014 04:20:00 AM  
Blogger Cars Cars said...

A note for Mr. Ales: I

I remember your son Steve when you had the home on Wellington Street in Farmington. That was a nice home. I knew you were with Motown. I think that was in 1973-74. Thanks for sharing those interesting stories with us.

Michael Barson
Palm Beach Florida

10/12/2014 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your office was right down the hall from Esther's, at the end, next to Smokey's. Good times, at least for me.

11/27/2014 08:56:00 PM  

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