What an awesome voice that fit in perfectly with the Motown sound but sadly just another artist totally ignored and overlooked by Berry Gordy.
Crawford debuted her first single with Motown that she wrote in 1963, “Forget About Me” then with “My Smile Is Just a Frown (Turned Upside Down)” Written by Smokey Robinson soon following and charting at #39 on the R&B chart. When her next in 64′ “When Someone’s Good To You” didn’t set Gordy’s own world that was strictly in his mind ablaze she wasn’t resigned and as the same story with a lot of other talented artists that came through the doors of Hitsville nobody ended up being good to her.
At the age of 15 her career with Motown was over. In 1963 Crawford won a singing contest with Detroit’s WCHB, the prize was a recording contract with Gordy’s label. I’m just wondering how many shots the others who started out singing background for everyone else got?
Like Mary Wells, Kim Weston, Brenda Holloway, The Andantes, The Velvelettes and many more who all had charted hits but in more ways than one most were just held back. Carolyn Crawford’s obvious writing and vocal talents were just thrown away and she was prevented from gaining what should have been a deserving career. Wells, Weston & Holloway all left the label within years of signing with Gordy with some suing and winning their dues.
The Andantes could have been as great a group as any instead they were held back as total backup singers only allowed a couple of released singles as well as The Velvelettes. In reality nobody gave a very young Crawford much of a chance. But you can hear for yourself what a great style her voice had and how she could have grown into something much bigger.
The Temptations song “I want A Love I Can See” with Paul Williams on lead never charted either yet to me that was or should have been their very first hit. And you can see where they soared too.
A Damn Shame. She did record a few others but they were never released until the last decade. The last video “Until You Came Along” was absolutely outstanding. Gordy was selfish who stomped on a lot of other people’s dreams.
They certainly appreciated her in the UK.
My Smile Is Just A Frown Turned Upside Down depicted what happened to this hopeful. But the Artist was Still a Motown Hit in my book.
Instrumentation: The Funk Brothers