It took a unique combination of people and events to make the legendary Motown perhaps the most iconic record label of all time, and one of those incredible people died yesterday. Al Abrams, the publicist who became the first company employee, died at age 74 after a short battle with cancer.
Abrams was just an 18 year old white, Jewish kid, when Gordy hired him at the fledgling label in 1959 to promote the label’s music to the press and radio stations. And he accomplished milestones that few before him or since did. At a time when there were tremendous hurdles in America for young, black artists to receive positive press coverage, much less radio play on pop radio, Abrams helped to establish Motown as “The Sound of Young America,” and got its stars front page coverage in some of the biggest magazines in the country, as well as into top radio stations.
Abrams left Motown a couple years before the label’s move to California, and he became a sought-after public relations executive, working with a number of R&B artists and labels, before settling in as a writer and book author, with 11 books to his credit as well as the stage musical "Memories of Motown."
The genius of Berry Gordy, Jr., was not only in the music he helped create, but in the way he brought that music to an often suspicious world. And in Al Abrams, he found a partner who played a significant role in realizing Gordy’s grand vision. (Bron: Soultracks.com)
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