Creativity, ingenuity and perseverance were the qualities of the early pioneers of The Motown Sound. Janie Bradford is one of those people. Some would call it fate, but those who know this dynamo well say that fate had nothing to do with it. Who else would tell record mogul Berry Gordy, "If you can write a song, so can I."
With that unusual initiation into the Motown family, Ms. Bradford has become a prominent part of the company's legendary history. First, two songs which she co-authored with Gordy, were included on Jackie Wilson's album "Lonely Teardrops." Then came another collaboration co-authored with Berry Gordy, the mega-smash "Money (That's What I Want), a song that has been recorded over 200 times.
The hits kept coming: "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby," on Marvin Gaye and also recorded by Phil Collins. "Your Old Standby" for Mary Wells; "All The Love I've Got" - The Marvelettes; "Time Changes Things" - The Supremes; "Contract On Love" - Stevie Wonder; "Hip City Pt. II" on Junior Walker; and so many others.
Janie has been honored by BMI with a certificate of Achievement for "Money" and "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby." The late Jack the Rapper presented her with the Vivian Carter Award to recognize her contributions and longevity in Black Radio. And most recently she was honored at the 'Motown Fifty' celebration by the Motown Museum as one of "Motown's First Five".
Within the confines of her Beverly Hills office, she still writes, as well as founding and producing the Heroes And Legends Awards (aka HAL Awards which is in its 21st consecutive year), an organization that was created to aid young people in the community achieve their dreams of a career in the performing arts.
Marilyn McLeod was born in Detroit, Michigan, in a very musical and happy family of six siblings, which included two boys and four girls. Both parents sang in the church choir. In addition, Marilyn's mother played piano and composed music. Her older brother Ernie Farrow played upright bass with the well-known jazz musician Yusef Lateff. One of McLeod's sisters' music history is world-renowned, being the late-great Alice Coltrane who was married to the legendary saxophone player John Coltrane.
At an early age, Marilyn started to play piano and, like her sister Alice, Marilyn's piano playing turned into personal compositions which eventually led her to Motown Records.
McLeod started at Motown in 1970, relocated with the company to California in 1972, and stayed with Jobete (Motown's in-house publishing) until 1985. During her career at Motown, she wrote and co-wrote hits for many artists, including her biggest top-of-the-charts hit and Grammy Nominated song "Love Hangover" by Diana Ross (co-written with Pam Sawyer). Also: "Pops We Love You" by Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder; "Same Ole Love" - Anita Baker," "I Get High" by Freda Payne, also in the movie "Soul Plane"; "Not the First Night" by Monica; "Freaking It" by Will Smith; "You Can't Turn Me Off" by High Inergy; "Walk In The Night" by Jr.Walker; "The World Situation Should Be Rated X" by Marvin Gaye; "Body and Soul" by The Four Tops; "Love Twins" and "Include Me In Your Life" by Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye together on their duet album; and many more... and more to come!
She is now performing her own compositions co-written with long-time Motown associate and friend, as well as Twinn Records partner, Janie Bradford. They are ready to repeat history all over again making music.