Forty-year music industry veteran Miller London is a Motown Records living legend. London received his start in the music industry in the 1960s while working at a Detroit car dealership. He was a night service representative when he met Motown rep Joe Lewis (not the fighter). Six months later, London was hired as a Regional Sales Manager at Motown.
“It was one of the most incredible experiences in my life. When you consider you go to a company, and you work with some of the top recording artists in the industry, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, The Originals, The Temptations…it was magical,” said London. He admired the fact that Motown was created and owned by a black man, Berry Gordy, Jr. “And all of its artists (Motown) looked like me. And we appealed to the world,” said London.
Making Music Industry History
“I didn’t know it at the time that my coming to Motown Records was historical…not only was I the first black man to work in Berry Gordy’s sales department, I was the first black man to work at any major label’s sales department in my capacity.”
While at Motown, London created new inventory systems that were used at both Motown and other record companies throughout the industry. “I stayed with Motown for twenty-one years. When I left Motown in 1990, I was Executive Vice President and General Manager of the company. The ride was incredible,” said London.
After Motown, London held positions at RCA in New York as Vice President of Product Development and Vice President of Marketing. He made history again as the first African American to head up the label’s sales division over all genres of music.
London worked at A&M Records as Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Urban Music Division. According to London, he turned the label into the industry’s number three label. He worked with top producers and artists at A&M, including Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, CeCe Peniston and Barry White.
After A&M Records, London said he worked with Ice Cube to develop Cube’s Lench Mob Records. Next, he became the president of The Urban Network, an industry trade publication. Within a year he turned the publication into a profitable entity. London became an executive vice president of Clear Channel Entertainment when it purchased the magazine. He later purchased the magazine from Clear Channel Communications. According to London, the magazine has produced many successful conferences for over twenty-five years
London on Broadway
“The crowning glory for me and my career at Urban Network was that I was able to retire the company and retire myself and leave it to a great staff. But the crowning glory for my career (overall) was that Berry Gory wrote a book…where I was mentioned in the book…having been his first African American salesman. And the things that I went through. And now there’s a play on Broadway called “Motown: The Musical,” and my character is in the play. And that has been the crown for my musical history and my journey of over forty years in the music business is that everyday on Broadway, six days a week, twice on the matinees, somebody watching the Motown musical will be introduced to Miller London.”