Powell, Motown Records’ chief of charm, dies at 98
Maxine Powell, who was responsible for developing the charm, grace and style of Motown Records’ artists during the Detroit label’s 1960s heyday, died Monday at age 98.
Motown Historical Museum CEO Allen Rawls said Powell died of natural causes at a hospital in Southfield, Mich.
She didn’t sing or write songs, but those associated with Motown say Powell was as essential to the label’s operations as any performer or producer.
She directed the label’s Artists Development Department, also known as “Motown’s Finishing School.” Through it, she emphasized to many artists — including Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Jackson Five and the Supremes — how they should carry themselves, treat people and dress.
Motown founder Berry Gordy said the training school was the only one of its kind offered at any record label.
“She brought something to Motown that no other record company had,” Gordy said in a statement Monday. “She was a star in her own right — an original. She will always be remembered for her style and class, and she instilled that into the Motown artists by teaching them how to walk, talk and even think with class.”
Powell’s passing comes less than two months after she was honored at the museum by Robinson and others.
“She was such an important, integral part of what we were doing here at Motown,” Robinson said at the Aug. 26 event at the famed Hitsville, U.S.A, building.
Gordy paid tribute to Powell via videotape during the celebration, joking that he still remembered many of Powell’s sayings, such as, “Do not protrude the buttocks,” and “Do not confuse me with your parents — they’re stuck with you. I’m not.”
Lady Antebellum postpones concert tour
Lady Antebellum is postponing the start of its 60-date concert tour.
The Nashville, Tenn.-based country music trio says on its website it will begin the 60-plus city tour Jan. 10 in Peoria, Ill. Lady A had been scheduled to start the tour Nov. 8 in Omaha, Neb., and more than a dozen shows will be rescheduled.
The group’s website says the postponement is due in part to events surrounding the Nov. 12 release of a deluxe version of its latest album, “Golden.”
Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley have been on hiatus since Scott gave birth to a daughter earlier this summer.