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Mickey Stevenson

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Information about Mickey Stevenson

Profile image of Mickey Stevenson

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray
Favorite Food:
Jamaican Fish, Goat
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
Learn All You Can, Can All You Learn.

Birthplace

Born:
1/4/1937
Birth Location:
Detroit, Michigan

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray
Favorite Food:
Jamaican Fish, Goat
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
Learn All You Can, Can All You Learn.

Birthplace

Born:
1/4/1937
Birth Location:
Detroit
See how Mickey Stevenson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Music executive Mickey Stevenson was born on January 4, 1937, in Detroit, Michigan, and raised by his mother, blues singer Kitty “Brown Gal” Stevenson, and stepfather Ted Moore. From the age of eight, Stevenson performed in a singing trio with his younger brothers. In 1950, the group won first place at Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater in New York City. However, Stevenson’s musical career halted in 1953 when his mother, the group’s coach and producer, passed away from cancer. Stevenson attended Detroit’s Northeastern High School.

Stevenson joined the U.S. Air Force in 1956, where he was part of a special unit that organized entertainment for the troops. While on furlough in 1958, Stevenson saw a performance by the Four Aims—later known as the Four Tops—which inspired him to leave the military and pursue a career in music. Stevenson joined the Hamptones, touring with famed bandleader Lionel Hampton. Upon his return to Detroit, Stevenson met Berry Gordy, who told him of his plans to start a record label. Stevenson briefly worked as a producer and songwriter for Carmen Carver Murphy’s gospel label, HOB Records, until 1959, when Gordy hired him to head the artists and repertoire department at Motown Records. As Motown’s A&R executive, Stevenson was responsible for talent scouting, auditions, and managing the artistic development of recording artists and songwriters. Stevenson was also responsible for organizing and establishing the company's in-house studio band, known as the Funk Brothers. Stevenson worked on Motown’s first number one hit: the 1961 song “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes, and went on to work with such classic Motown acts as Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, the Contours, Martha and the Vandellas, and Gladys Knight and the Pips. Stevenson toured the country with the Motortown Revue, and created the Motown Orchestra to play during the shows, while also serving as the orchestra’s conductor at the suggestion of Smokey Robinson. In 1968, Stevenson was replaced by Eddie Holland of Holland-Dozier-Holland, Motown’s top production team, as head of artists and repertoire. He then worked briefly as head of MGM’s Venture Records, and recorded his only album, Here I Am in 1972. Stevenson later began producing stage musicals.

Stevenson was honored during the opening of Detroit’s Motown Museum in 2003.

Mickey Stevenson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 17, 2016.

See how Mickey Stevenson is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mickey Stevenson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mickey Stevenson lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mickey Stevenson describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mickey Stevenson remembers visiting Alabama with his maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mickey Stevenson talks about his mother's performances at the Flame Show Bar in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mickey Stevenson describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mickey Stevenson describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mickey Stevenson remembers his neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mickey Stevenson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Mickey Stevenson remembers The Stevenson Trio
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Mickey Stevenson talks about his early exposure to music
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Mickey Stevenson remembers winning the amateur competition at the Apollo Theater
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mickey Stevenson reflects upon the success of The Stevenson Trio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mickey Stevenson remembers the riot of 1943 in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mickey Stevenson talks about the working conditions for African Americans in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mickey Stevenson describes his home life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mickey Stevenson describes his experiences in the Detroit Public Schools
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mickey Stevenson talks about singing with the Meadowlarks
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mickey Stevenson remembers Chadsey High School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mickey Stevenson talks about his criminal activity
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mickey Stevenson talks about the working conditions for African Americans in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mickey Stevenson remembers his stepfather
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mickey Stevenson recalls his experiences at church and in the Boy Scouts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mickey Stevenson remembers joining the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mickey Stevenson describes his experiences in the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mickey Stevenson remembers his decision to pursue a career in show business
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mickey Stevenson talks about his early work as a producer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mickey Stevenson remembers his first marriage
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mickey Stevenson remembers singing with the Hamptones
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Mickey Stevenson remembers joining Bobby Day and the Satellites
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mickey Stevenson talks about discrimination in the music business
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mickey Stevenson remembers performing on the Chitlin' Circuit
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mickey Stevenson talks about the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mickey Stevenson talks about his divorce
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mickey Stevenson remembers managing black acts at white clubs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mickey Stevenson talks about negotiations in the music business
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mickey Stevenson recalls the discriminatory conditions at factories in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Mickey Stevenson remembers the Paradise Valley district of Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Mickey Stevenson remembers meeting Berry Gordy at Benny Mullins' barbershop
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Mickey Stevenson remembers becoming the head of artists and repertoire at Motown Records
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mickey Stevenson talks about his role at Motown Records
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mickey Stevenson remembers assembling The Funk Brothers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Mickey Stevenson describes the Motown Records recording studio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Mickey Stevenson talks about his rapport with Berry Gordy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Mickey Stevenson remembers James Jamerson
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Mickey Stevenson remembers Benny Benjamin
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Mickey Stevenson remembers meeting Marvin Gaye
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Mickey Stevenson remembers working with Marvin Gaye
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Mickey Stevenson talks about marketing the Motown sound
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Mickey Stevenson talks about Marvin Gaye's interest in jazz music
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Mickey Stevenson talks about The Funk Brothers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Mickey Stevenson remembers Earl Van Dyke