Jump to content
  • Sign Up

Margaret Little - Her Story

Margaret Little - Her Story magazine cover

Margaret Little was born in Detroit on August 7th 1945. She was the oldest of 3 children. Her parents divorced when she was very young and her father, a member of the Four Kings who recorded for Fortune Records, was absent for most of her formative years.

Her early years were no different to her peers; she attended Central High School in Detroit. Her first son was born in 1961; Margaret was only 16 years old and had to drop out of school for a year. She graduated, aged 19, in 1964.

She moved to Flint in 1965 but only stayed for a year or so before returning to Detroit in 1966.

Margaret had always been surrounded by music but had no great aspirations to make it her career. One day she was overheard singing along to some records by a guy she knew called Bobby. He asked her to do something a capella and impressed with what he heard persuaded to audition for Motown.

Bobby was friendly with some of the artists and promoters at Motown and soon arranged an audition that took place at the Graystone Ballroom. The details of what songs she sang, which Bobby chose for her, or who was there are long forgotten. She was told that vocally she wasn’t what that were looking for and was “a little plain” in the looks department. Downhearted but no defeated she returned home.

Soon after Margaret was introduced to ‘Gene’, who lived in the 6 mile area, by Bobby, she thinks they might have been relatives of some sort. Gene, who was older then her, was keen to do something with her music wise so took her to meet Richard ‘Popcorn’ Wylie. She cannot recall how they knew each other, he might have been Popcorn’s barber, but when she first met Gene he didn’t seem to have a job and she was never clear about what his normal occupation was.

She recalls meeting Popcorn on two occasions. At the first meeting Popcorn gave her the sheet music and lyrics for the two tracks he thought she should record. As Margaret couldn’t read music Popcorn ran through the songs with her and showed her how it wanted them to go. After some practice she went back, on her own, to a house on the West side that had a recording studio set up in the basement. After some further rehearsal Margaret put her vocals on the band tracks that had already been recorded. As she recalls Popcorn and her were the only people present for the majority of the night. At one point some girls dropped in to add some backing vocals but they were not there for too long.

After the session she went home and waited for Gene to let her know what would happen next. Margaret had no details of what the business arrangement between Gene and Popcorn was or any clear idea about what Gene was planning to do to launch her career.

Margaret heard nothing from Gene for a few weeks so decided to visit him. Gene had already pressed the records up and agreed to give her one copy from the stock that he had. He said he’d be in touch.

She gave that copy of the record to her mother which was the last time she saw it. After her mother died she went with her sister back to the family home to search for the record but it could not be found. Nothing seemed to be happening at all. She listened out to see if the song got any radio play but it would appear that it never did.

She went back to Gene and asked if she could have another copy of the record for herself but he wouldn’t let her have one. She recalls that he said he didn’t want any copies “getting out there” until it was promoted but that never happened. In essence nothing happened.

Sometime after Margaret left Detroit, to move once again to Flint, and lost contact with him. She has never seen him since.

When I contacted Margaret it was probably the first time she’s spoken about her ill-fated recording career for more than 40 years. Her parents, and siblings, were aware of what she’d done but she had never told her husband, who she met after leaving Detroit, or her children. In truth she really had forgotten about it to the point where she only vaguely recalled ‘Love Finds A Way’ and had no recollection of ‘I Need Some Loving’.

After my initial call she told her family who were shocked to hear her story. I sent her copies of the tracks over. She said it was wonderful to hear them again.

Margaret was really thrilled that people liked her songs. She considered it a “decent record” and reflected that the reason she didn’t do anything further was because she was not "hungry enough" to want that kind of lifestyle. She took the view that it wasn’t her time and wasn’t meant to be. She had no regrets about this whatsoever.

Margaret has worked hard all of her life and at times things have been rough but she has come through it all and has had “a happy life”. She doesn’t think that going after stardom would have been the right thing for her. She had many enjoyable years working for General Motors, has a large extended family and is happy with her lot. Knowing her work is recognised and appreciated just adds another layer of happiness.

Margaret had a small stroke a few years ago which has had some effect on her long- term memory so it has taken some time for us to work through the chronology of events. Margaret now spends time with her family and works as a Church secretary three days a week.

Andy Rix

 

AndyRix@aol.com

 

Footnote

  • The Four Kings released 2 records on Fortune. If anybody can supply recordings Margaret would like to hear them.

 

Fortune 811 The Four Kings You Don't Mean Me Right / My Head Goes Acting Up - 1954
Fortune 517 The Four Kings Rose Of Tangier / Doo-Li-Op — 1955
  • Margaret’s 45 was pressed on Genebro, A Division of ‘A Go Go Recording Co’

 

 

Love Finds A Way (wr. R. Wylie — A. Hester) 2:45 230G
I Need Some Loving (wr. J. Brooks — R. Wylie — H. Stone) 2:20 230B
Both Ala King Music, Arranged by Mike Terry, Produced by Bandwagon Production

 

 

  • I have been unable to find any further information on the songwriters J. Brooks or H. Stone
  • The backing singers are unknown but Louvain Demps has confirmed that it is not The Andantes who did occasionally do sessions for Popcorn.
  • The mysterious Gene is possibly Eugene Brooks and there could be a connection to the aforementioned co-writer J. Brooks
  • The Margaret Little 45 has some connection to the Larry Wright 45 on A-Go-Go (AG 345) records, which was released around October 1966 (ZTSC 121125 & 121126). As indicated Genebro is a division A-Go-Go. Both 45s state they are ‘Bandwagon Productions’. I have never seen any other Popcorn related 45s with this annotation. The latter part of 1966, as the time that Margaret recorded her tracks, fits with the timeline that we established
  • In my opinion this is one of the best records to ever emerge from Detroit. The band track for ‘Love Finds A Way’ is of epic proportions with Mike Terry at the top of his game. Margaret accepts that she is not the best singer in the world and Betty Winston or Pat Lewis could have delivered a stronger performance but it is the fragility and vulnerability of Margaret’s vocal delivery that just makes it all feel right. You can hear that the girl just gave it what she had.

 

Youtube tracks

 

 

 

 

 


  1. 7 Day Lovers

  1. Article Comments

Forum Activity


Source Magazine Comments



Rob Moss's profile photo

Posted

What a fantastic story Andy. Well done.

Rob Moss's profile photo

Posted (edited)

Any chance you could get a photo of her?

Edited by Rob Moss
constellation161's profile photo

Posted

Great read Andy.

Mick Perrins.

Andy Rix's profile photo

Posted

What a fantastic story Andy. Well done.

Thanks Rob .. I do try to keep up with the competition :)

Andy

Hitsville Chalky's profile photo

Posted

Thanks Andy Great read and info :thumbsup:

diddy morgan's profile photo

Posted

wow!!!! and that is the very reason were on here every day .thanks :yes: :yes:

Pete S's profile photo

Posted

:thumbsup:
Chalky's profile photo

Posted

Well done Andy, great story. Nice to see some recognition to someone who never thought she would get it.

Eddie Hubbard's profile photo

Posted

Brilliant story ..well done Andy .....

steve thomas's profile photo

Posted

thanks for that Andy .. thanks for all the work and research you put into stuff like this un pass on to us

Andy Rix's profile photo

Posted

Any chance you could get a photo of her?

I have asked but Margaret doesn't think she has any 60s photos .. I'll ask again

Andy

southpaw's profile photo

Posted

Nice read that was.

Mick McGarry's profile photo

Posted

Excellent research and story. i love reading articles like these. Well done Andy.

Louise's profile photo

Posted

Great detective work Andy :thumbsup:

Dave

Premium Stuff's profile photo

Posted

Really enjoyed reading that Andy - what a great story

Thank you for all your determination and effort to get to the bottom of one of Detroit's more intriguing Northern secrets.

Cheers

Richard

jimmy mack's profile photo

Posted

thanks for sharing excellent

AGENTSMITH's profile photo

Posted

once again andy, you deliver, chapter & verse...that had to be a fascinating conversation with a melancholy outcome...i can imagine she must have been overwhelmed, along with her family, hearing the recordings after long decades of being without a copy let alone remembering what the songs sounded like. i think she did a great job and her attributes should be respected...you have managed to dot the i's and cross the t's..as only you can do...and yes, it is a brilliant tune, typical of the underdog, making a pitch in the shadow of motown,..one seriously rare record that slipped through the cracks but as a result of its lease of life across the pond, has effected a heartwarming story.

VINCE S's profile photo

Posted

nice story cheers

Stubbsy's profile photo

Posted

Well done Andy Rix :thumbsup:

Enjoyed reading that!

Owen Conway's profile photo

Posted

senior moment coming up...did Genebro ever release it cos as i see it margaret has the only copy. good story though.

ricticman's profile photo

Posted

respect Andy

fantastic background stuff

pete lyster

Haydn's profile photo

Posted

Nice one ;)

Thanks to all involved!

KevH's profile photo

Posted

Fantastic stuff.!!

jumpinjoan's profile photo

Posted (edited)

Someone should write a book of stories like this, would be fantastic reading

Nice work!

Edited by jumpinjoan
back street blue's profile photo

Posted

Thanks for sharing the info'......real detective work!

soulman's profile photo

Posted

senior moment coming up...did Genebro ever release it cos as i see it margaret has the only copy. good story though.

Eh ?

Steve L's profile photo

Posted

Great stuff!!!

Russ Vickers's profile photo

Posted

The Rix meister does it again...absolutely fantastic, Andy, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the time & effort you put in to these projects & for sharing with us mere mortals, its because of people like you Andy, that these people can eventually gain the proper respect they deserve for thier work & hopefully realise what pleasure they have given....

Just brilliant, thank you

Russ

Dave Pinch's profile photo

Posted

nice work andy

Dennisoul's profile photo

Posted

well done Andy....lovely story

Dave Abbott's profile photo

Posted

super stuff!

Gilly's profile photo

Posted

Well done me old mucker,youve again proved your worth in this music we love.Gilly and Nicola

Andy Rix's profile photo

Posted

Thank you all for the comments ... I can only apologise for the length of time it took me to write it.

Still got the Shirley Turner 'World Of Happiness' story to do.

I need a PA !!!

Andy

AGENTSMITH's profile photo

Posted

Thank you all for the comments ... I can only apologise for the length of time it took me to write it.

Still got the Shirley Turner 'World Of Happiness' story to do.

I need a PA !!!

Andy

andy, will you let margaret know that people on here have been reading the story and enjoying it?

johnmcc's profile photo

Posted

Great work Andy, thanks for sharing.

John

RitchieAndrew's profile photo

Posted

Top stuff Andy.............many thanks for sharig it with us all.! :thumbsup:

Val  (Chunky)'s profile photo

Posted

great work Andy, a very enjoyable read...well done

corbett80's profile photo

Posted

Amazing read thanks Andy

grant's profile photo

Posted

Nice read Andy, thanks

Duke's profile photo

Posted

Great story. Really uplifting in an understated sort of way I think.

richo991's profile photo

Posted

great story enjoyed reading it

richo!

wilxy's profile photo

Posted

Super article Mr.Rix!

Vin's profile photo

Posted

Thank You Very Much ..

Richard Bayley's profile photo

Posted

Great work - and a fantastic read!

Funky 4 Corners's profile photo

Posted

Andy, that is great detective work, well done. You obviously let her know just how much we like her record over here.

recordhound's profile photo

Posted

That is some serious research Andy and hats off to you. Very interesting reading and such a great tune. Best, Steve

Lucky One's profile photo

Posted

Brilliant story and a epic record, glad to hear Margaret knows of her record is loved by many.

SHSDave's profile photo

Posted

Wow missed this at the time but great work Andy, a great read .   :thumbsup:

billb's profile photo

Posted

Great read and thanks Andy.

 

btw, those Four Kings Tracks that you asked for in your footnotes are all on youtube.

 

 

 

mrtag's profile photo

Posted

Great Read :thumbsup:




Source Magazine - Add Your Take!

Comment on our articles via...

Join Soul Source

A free & easy soul music affair!

Get started now!
Log into Soul Source

Get full use of the magazine feature

Log in now!

Related Soul Music Links



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.