Alan E. Abrams Papers

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Alan E. Abrams papers

The materials in this online repository form part of a larger Alan E. Abrams papers record group held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the materials, please consult the collection's online finding aid.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

Alan Abrams is a Detroit-based press agent/public relations consultant in the music business; publicist for Motown Record Corporation, 1964-1966, later with Stax Records, 1967-1968. The collection consists of press releases, clippings, publicity material, scrapbooks containing press coverage of the recording artists that he represented, including the Supremes, photographs, and his writings about Motown, Otis Redding, and Florence Ballard.

Al Abrams was a press agent/public relations consultant for Motown records during its early formative period, roughly 1964 to 1966. In 1959, having worked as a trainee in the mailroom of Detroit's McCann-Erickson Advertising Agency, Abrams signed on as the first employee of Berry Gordy's Rayber Music Writing and Recording Company. Abrams, though a young man at the time, here began developing skills needed to be a publicist within the music business. He knew that for a record to succeed it must be played on the radio. Abrams got to know all of the important Detroit area DJs and participated in publicity stunts to make known artists and their records.

Abrams stayed with Rayber for a time then left to follow other opportunities. In 1964, he returned to Gordy and his Motown company which was still a small struggling firm. He stayed with Motown for two years handling the press relations first for singer Mary Wells then for the Supremes. During this period, Motown and its stable of singers and musical groups, such as the Supremes, began its string of great successes. In 1966 Abrams left Motown to form his own public relations firm - Al Abrams Associates - where he worked as public relations consultant for the Stax Record Company, a Memphis-based firm, and Stax-Volt recording artists such as Otis Redding. Following Redding's tragic death, Abrams ended his association with Stax-Volt in 1968 to work independently. Florence Ballard who had left the Supremes and was no longer working for Motown became his biggest client. He also did press work for Invictus Records based in Detroit and worked with James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and many other artists.

Please note:

Copyright has been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan.

Access to digitized sound recordings may be limited to the reading room of the Bentley Historical Library, located on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan.

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