Maurice King

Real Name:Clarence King

Born Clarence King in 1911, the youngest of six in a Mississippi Delta family, but he said he never liked the name and later changed it to Maurice. He was inspired to play clarinet after hearing a minstrel band while in grammar school, and after switching to alto sax and graduating from high school he moved to Nashville in the early 1930s to study music at Tennessee A&I State College (now Tennessee State University).
With his Wolverines, King took charge of the bandstand in April 1950, and remained for 11 years.
By 1963, Berry Gordy had established Motown Records as a major entertainment force, and had hired him.
He was the musical director of artist development. He taught them [the vocal groups] how to phrase. He arranged their music; He arranged songs for them. He taught them how to blend.
“Maurice brought sophistication and class to Motown,” said Trudell, who King brought to the company.
King was known as Motown’s music troubleshooter and a company father figure. Maurice was a stickler for appointment times; no group or singer would dare arrive late for a session with Mr. King. His lessons were taken seriously and appreciated.
After Motown left Detroit, King continued his association with Gladys Knight, and the Spinners. The Spinners, who had their greatest success after leaving Motown, hired King on as full-time music director.
In the ’80s, King began cutting back his activities, but stayed busy with the Spinners. He mentored popular local rock band DC Drive.
When his wife, Eddie Mae, died in 1988, King floundered. Mr King passed in 1992

In Groups:Maurice King & His Wolverines
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