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First White Artist Signed To Motown?

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There is a debate as to who is the first white artist to be signed to Motown; so far we have as contenders, R Dean Taylor, Kiki Dee, Chris Clark, Debbie Dean ?????

 

Mike and the Modifiers.................. Nick and the Jaguars?????????

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There is a debate as to who is the first white artist to be signed to Motown; so far we have as contenders, R Dean Taylor, Kiki Dee, Chris Clark, Debbie Dean ?????

 

Mike and the Modifiers.................. Nick and the Jaguars?????????

 

 

This topic has been done on here at least once before 

 

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Nick & the Jaguars was a one off deal for a pre recorded song rather than a signed contract as Motown artists.  Debbie Dean was I think the first contracted white Motown Artist to record, I think :)

Nick & The Jaguars (AKA The Biscaynes on Ridge Records) were three local, Detroit high school kids in a garage band, with Nick Ferro on drums, his brother Mike and a friend on guitars.  Nick and Mike's father had answered Berry and Raynoma Gordy's advert from Rayber Music Co. for services for recording artists, including: songwriting/recording/producong a demo record/shopping it and getting it placed with a record company to press and distribute their record.  Gordy either made up a new label of his own (Ridge Records), or placed it with that label (owned by someone else), or co-owned that label with a financial backer.  The only other release on the label was by Don mckenzie, who later recorded for Berry's and Motown's Miracle Records.  I've tried for many years to trace the owner of Ridge Records, and any releases by non-Gordy-related artists, to no avail.  So, I end up believing that odds are that Ridge Records was just another Gordy label arm of RayBer Music Co,. as was RayBer Recotds (for the most promising Wade Jones release), Penny records for Bryan Brent and the Cut-Outs, and Zelman Records for Mike Powers' cheesy Tin Pan alley type cuts.

 

The Ferros returned to Berry Gordy for release of their 2nd record, after he had a going concern with his Tamla Records.

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The Swingin' Tigers was really Bean Bowles and his band so the first white artist

would be Debbie Dean with "Don't Let Him Shop Around " on Motown #1007.

The Swingin' Tigers were Joe Hunter's Band, which had been taken into Motown as their main house band.  We know for sure, that on that 1959 Y+Tamla release, at least James Jamerson was playing upright bass, Benny Benjamin was on drums, and Beans Bowles played sax.  Not sure about the guitarists.

 

So, Nick and The Jaguars were the first "Caucasian" recording artists that appeared on a Motown label.  Wade jones was, indeed, an African American.  Debby Dean seems to have been the first "Caucasian" artist who got a recording contract from a Motown label.

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