Motown's Making of the Dreamgirls PR Campaign Revealed by Publicist Al Abrams in New Book

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Original Supreme Mary Wilson writes foreword for "Waking the Dreamgirls: The Complete Motown Press Releases, 1964-1966" by Al Abrams, Motown's founding publicist and first employee - to be published Jan. 2007 by Bank House Books in UK.

Waking the Dreamgirls: The Complete Motown Press Releases, 1964-1966.

Past News Releases


The innovative PR campaign that sold the world on the Motown Sound is recreated for the first time in the pages of "Waking the Dreamgirls: The Complete Motown Press Releases, 1964-1966." Compiled by Al Abrams, the Motown publicist who originally crafted the releases, the book features a foreword by Mary Wilson, one of the original Supremes.

The book chronicles the cultural transition of the Detroit-based Motown Sound from its roots in urban soul music through its breakthrough as The Sound of Young America. It is a story that closely parallels the rise and emergence of the civil rights movement in the United States. The music of Tamla-Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. broke generations of racial barriers, and every victory was eagerly reported to the media by his press man Abrams.

Any Motown fan who has wondered when the Supremes taped a Shindig TV show, or had a Number One record in Singapore or played the Copa in New York will find all the answers here - and more. It is a treasure trove of trivia - and facts, covering not only the Supremes but the entire Motown family of artists.

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Martha and the Vandellas, the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations are just some of the Motown legends whose career moves you'll find reported here in the era before the Internet and cable network shows such as E! provided celebrity news coverage to eager fans.

The book reproduces all of the original press releases as they were issued. They are copied from the only set in existence - that in the author's Motown archives held at the University of Michigan's Bentley Historical Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Typed and crudely mimeographed, they are presented un-retouched, with typos, sometimes strange syntax and even bad puns. If the news was truly breaking, the press releases went out as "Deliver, do not phone" Western Union telegrams.

Barbara Holliday, a veteran Detroit Free Press reporter, once wrote of Abrams' press releases, "This is the rhetoric of Al Abrams … the baroque but amazingly effective approach (through which) Abrams has the knack for making the unlikely possible."

Certainly there has never been another PR campaign like this one - and because the world has changed, there will never be one like it again.

The book also contains many hitherto unpublished Motown artist biographies, compiled by Abrams for the use of the media, as well as rare newspaper stories generated by the press releases.

Motown in those days was said to be a factory turning out hit records. Abrams had his own assembly line, sometimes issuing three different news releases on the same day.

The book is a useful addition to the library of anyone who practices the art of publicity.

Abrams, who became the first employee of Motown in May, 1959, is completing his Motown memoirs, to be published under the title of Hype. The planned Broadway musical, Hitsville USA, has been temporarily sidelined because the widely announced funding by a New Jersey-based businessman for the project never materialized.

Bank House Books is the world's foremost publisher of Motown-themed books.

The book sells for $30 in the US and £15 in the UK, and will be on sale in late January. You can also view the front cover at

To pre-order copies, or for all other enquiries including media and interviews, email

motownreleases (at)


Dave Randle

Bank House Books

PO Box 3 New Romney Kent TN29 9WJ UK

Tel +44 1797 322137

E bankhousebooks (at)

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