Mike Terry (saxophonist)

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Mike Terry
Mike Terry-saxophonist.jpg
Background information
Birth nameAndrew Alexander Terry
Born(1940-07-18)July 18, 1940
Hempstead, Texas, U.S.
DiedOctober 30, 2008(2008-10-30) (aged 68)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation(s)saxophonist, songwriter, arranger, producer
InstrumentsBaritone saxophone
Years active1959 - 1977
LabelsMotown, Giant, Ric-Tic, Okeh

Andrew Alexander "Mike" Terry (July 18, 1940 – October 30, 2008) was an American saxophonist, songwriter, arranger, producer and musical director. His baritone sax solos feature on the breakthrough hits of Martha and the Vandellas ("Heat Wave", 1963), and The Supremes ("Where Did Our Love Go", 1964).[1] As a member of the Funk Brothers[2] he performed on thousands of Motown recordings from 1960-1967, including at least seven US #1 hits. As was Motown's policy at the time, none of the studio musicians were credited by name. Terry was the musical arranger of the 1966 hit "Cool Jerk" by The Capitols, and later became a record producer, with partners including George Clinton, Sidney Barnes, and Jack Ashford.[3]

Early life[edit]

Terry was born in Hempstead, Texas, a suburb of Houston, where his father ran a music store. His mother also played piano, and when he was 8 the family moved to Detroit, Michigan. At Cass Technical High School he took up the baritone saxophone, and also met future Motown trombonist/arranger Paul Riser. Terry’s early musical influences included saxophonists Charlie Parker, Illinois Jacquet, King Curtis, and Bill Doggett.[1][4]


By the late 1950s, as a teen, Terry joined the group Popcorn and the Mohawks, which included future Motown staff musicians and producers Popcorn Wylie, Eddie Willis, James Jamerson, Lamont Dozier, and Norman Whitfield. The group recorded for Motown Records founder Berry Gordy with their first single, 1959's "Custer's Last Man/Shimmy Gully".

By 1960 Terry was a member of the Joe Hunter Band with Benny Benjamin, James Jamerson, Larry Veeder, and Hank Cosby, forming the basis of the ever-growing group of studio musicians contracted to Motown. Terry played in the horn section on Motown's first million-selling single, 1960's "Shop Around" by The Miracles. In 1961 he toured in Jackie Wilson's backing band, and in 1962 toured in Motown's first Motortown Revue,[1][5] performing on the album Motor Town Revue Vol. 1: Recorded Live At The Apollo.[4] Terry also played on John Lee Hooker's 1962 single "Boom Boom", on Vee-Jay Records.[6]

In 1963 his baritone saxophone solos and instrumental interludes were featured on hit Motown productions by Holland/Dozier/Holland including Martha and the Vandellas' breakthrough hit "Heat Wave" and Mary Wells' "You Lost the Sweetest Boy". In 1964 he soloed on the Supremes' breakthrough hit "Where Did Our Love Go", and their follow up "Baby Love". As a member of the group of studio musicians known as the Funk Brothers, he made thousands of recordings, usually in the horn section, with tenor saxophonist Hank Cosby. Motown's practice at the time was to not credit the names of the studio musicians.[7]

Jason Ankeny of Allmusic.com wrote:

[Terry's baritone sax] remains an indelible component of the famed Motown sound - his grunting, gutbucket solos electrified dozens of the most memorable hits... What Terry lacked in technical finesse he made up for in sheer rhythmic propulsion, maximizing the brief windows of opportunity afforded him by the Motown assembly-line production process.[5]

Funk Brother, James Jamerson called him "Lil' Funk",[4] (bandleader Earl Van Dyke was nicknamed "Big Funk").[8]

Frustrated with a lack of opportunities to arrange or produce records at Motown, by the mid-1960s Terry enrolled at the Detroit Institute of Performing Arts to develop his musical skills. In 1966, he was the credited arranger and conductor of US#7 hit "Cool Jerk" by The Capitols, secretly recorded with the Funk Brothers for the Karen Records label.

By 1966, he and fellow Funk Brother Jack Ashford were planning a future collaboration as songwriters and producers, after playing sessions together for Ed Wingate at Golden World Records. In the mid-60s Terry worked with Wingate at Ric-Tic Records recording Edwin Starr, J. J. Barnes, Rose Batiste,[9] and other artists. In 1966 Terry joined with George Clinton and Sidney Barnes to form the Geo-Si-Mik production team. Geo-Si-Mik produced records by acts including Clinton's group The Parliaments, Laura Lee, and The Adorables.

Also in 1966, Terry and Ashford formed Pied Piper Productions, writing,[10] arranging, and producing records by acts including September Jones, Nancy Wilcox, Lorraine Chandler, Mikki Farrow, and Willie Kendrick.

In 1967, Terry left Motown and played on soul recordings in Philadelphia and Chicago. In December 1967, he became a staff arranger and producer for Epic Records, and the Okeh Records imprint, where he worked on records by artists including Johnny Robinson, Sandra Phillips, The Little Foxes, and Maxine Brown.

From the late 1960s to the late 1970s, he arranged or produced or worked as a musical director in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. He was the arranger and orchestrator for the 1969 Broadway musical Buck White, featuring Muhammad Ali,[11] and for Bill Cosby in Las Vegas. He also worked closely with Jo Armstead at both Giant Records, and Bill Cosby’s label Tetragrammaton Records.

In 1975, he was a member of the Atlanta Disco Band with Dave Crawford, Earl Young, Robert Popwell and others. They released three dance singles that charted, plus one album on Ariola Records.[12][13]

Terry worked on two blaxploitation films directed by Fred Williamson. He orchestrated music for Boss Nigger (1975),[14] and wrote and produced music for No Way Back (1976), including songs by The Dells.[15]

In the late 1970s he moved out of the music industry. Terry did not perform in the Funk Brothers reunion which led to the 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown,[16] (though he is listed under Honorable Mentions on a two disc DVD edition of the film).[17]

Private life[edit]

At one time Terry was married to singer and songwriter Mikki Farrow. He later married Liz, who predeceased him. He died in Detroit in 2008.[16] He is survived by his children Bridgette, Michael, Matthew, and his step-children.


  • In 2010 Mike Terry, as a member of the Funk Brothers, was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[18]
  • In 2014 Mike Terry was inducted into the Northern Soul Hall of Fame.[3]

Note: Though Terry was a Motown studio musician, He is not personally listed in the following honours, which were mostly awarded to the 13 Funk Brothers who took part in the 2002 reunion.

Selective discography[edit]


Year Title Artist Chart Mike Terry’s role
1960 Shop Around The Miracles US#2 Baritone sax[4]
1962 Boom Boom John Lee Hooker US#60,[24] UK#16 Baritone sax[6]
1963 Heat Wave Martha & the Vandellas US#4[25] Baritone sax solo[1][26]
1963 Quicksand Martha & the Vandellas US#8[27] Baritone sax solo[1]
1963 You Lost the Sweetest Boy Mary Wells US#22 Baritone sax solo[1]
1964 Where Did Our Love Go The Supremes US#1, CAN#1, UK#3 Baritone sax solo[1]
1964 Baby Love The Supremes US#1, UK#1 Baritone sax feature[28][29]
1964 Come See About Me The Supremes US#1, CAN#1 Baritone sax
1964 (Just Like) Romeo and Juliet The Reflections US#6 Baritone sax solo
1964 In My Lonely Room Martha & the Vandellas US#6 Baritone sax solo[3]
1965 Nowhere to Run Martha & the Vandellas US#2, UK#26 Baritone sax
1965 I Can’t Help Myself The Four Tops US#1, UK#10 Baritone sax feature[1]
1965 It's the Same Old Song The Four Tops US#5 Baritone sax feature[30]
1965 Stop! In the Name of Love The Supremes US#1, CAN#3, UK#7 Baritone sax[31]
1965 Back in My Arms Again The Supremes US#1, CAN#1 Baritone sax feature[32][33]
1965 I Hear a Symphony The Supremes US#1 Baritone sax solo[34]
1966 Cool Jerk The Capitols US#7, CAN#9 Arranger[35]
1966 Stop Her On Sight (S.O.S.) Edwin Starr US#48, UK#11 Baritone Sax feature[36]
1966 Headline News Edwin Starr US#84, UK#39 Arranger[37]
1966 Open the Door to Your Heart
/ Our Love (Is in the Pocket)
Darrell Banks US#27 A-side: Baritone sax
B-side: Arranger & sax solo[1]
1966 This Old Heart of Mine The Isley Brothers US#12, UK#3 Baritone sax feature[1]
1966 Love Is Like an Itching In My Heart The Supremes US#9 Baritone sax feature[3]
1966 Don't Mess with Bill The Marvelettes US#7[38] Baritone sax[34]
1966 (I'm a) Road Runner Junior Walker & the Allstars US#20,[39] UK#12 Baritone sax feature[3]
1967 (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher Jackie Wilson US#6, CAN#2 Baritone sax[40]
1967 Ain't Nothin' But A House Party The Show Stoppers US#118, UK#11 Baritone sax[1]
1967 Girls Are Out to Get You The Fascinations US#92, UK#32 Baritone sax feature[1]
1967 (I Wanna) Testify The Parliaments US#20 Arranger[41]
1967 Baby Please Come Back Home J. J. Barnes US#61 Arranger[42]
1968 The Horse Cliff Nobles & Co US#2 Baritone sax[1]
1968 Light My Fire Rhetta Hughes - Co-Producer, arranger[43]
1969 Jealous Kind of Fella Garland Green US#20[44] Arranger[45]


Year Title Artist Chart Mike Terry’s role
1963 Motor-Town Revue Vol. 1: Recorded Live At The Apollo Various Artists US#47 Baritone saxophone[4]
1964 Where Did Our Love Go The Supremes US#2 Baritone saxophone[46]
1965 More Hits by The Supremes The Supremes US#6 Baritone saxophone
1965 Four Tops Second Album The Four Tops US#20 Baritone saxophone
1966 I Hear a Symphony The Supremes US#8 Baritone saxophone
1966 The Supremes A' Go-Go The Supremes US#1, UK#15 Baritone saxophone[47]
1968 Out of Sight Maxine Brown Producer, Arranger[48]
1968 Workin' On A Groovy Thing Barbara Lewis Arranger[49]
1969 The Many Grooves of Barbara Lewis Barbara Lewis Arranger[50]
1969 Jealous Kind Of Fella Garland Green Arranger[51]
1969 Re-Light My Fire Rhetta Hughes Co-Producer, arranger[52]
1973 Loleatta Loleatta Holloway Arranger[53]
1975 Loneliness & Temptation Clarence Carter Arranger[54]
1975 Kickin' The Mighty Clouds of Joy Arranger[55]
1975 Bad Luck Atlanta Disco Band Writer, Arranger, Musician[56]
1976 No Way Back The Dells US R&B#47 Writer, Arranger, Producer[57]
1977 Here Am I Dave Crawford Arranger[58]


  • Flory, Andrew. I Hear a Symphony: Motown and crossover R&B, University of Michigan Press, 2017, USA
  • Moore, Dave. 'HOF: Mike Terry - Pre Production Inductee', Soul Source magazine, November 7, 2014
  • Moss, Robb. 'Mike Terry, Sax God', Manifesto magazine, Issue 85, July 2007, UK
  • Randle, Bill. 'Bill Randle in conversation with Mike Terry', Soulful Kinda Music magazine, June 1994
  • Rylatt, Keith, Groovesville USA: The Detroit Soul & R&B Index, Stuart Russell, 2010, UK
  • Thornton, Jason H. 'The Andrew "Mike" Terry Story', There's That Beat! The Rare Soul Magazine, Issue 4, 2007, UK
  • White, Adam, and Bronson, Fred. The Billboard Book of Number One Rhythm and Blues Hits, BPI Communications, 1993
  • Williams, Richard. 'Mike Terry Obituary', The Guardian, December 1, 2008, UK


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Williams, Richard (December 1, 2008). "Mike Terry Obituary". The Guardian.
  2. ^ "Funk Brothers - Motown Sound Featured Artist - Motown Museum Home of Hitsville U.S.A". Motownmuseum.org. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  3. ^ a b c d e Moore, Dave (November 7, 2014). "HOF: Mike Terry - Pre Production Inductee". =Soul-source.co.uk.
  4. ^ a b c d e Thornton, Jason H. (2007). "The Andrew "Mike" Terry Story". There's That Beat! The Rare Soul Magazine, Issue #4. UK.
  5. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason. "Andrew "Mike" Terry Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Murray, Charles Shaar (2002). Boogie Man: The Adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American Twentieth Century. New York City: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 237–240. ISBN 978-0-312-27006-3.
  7. ^ "The Funk Brothers". Classic.motown.com. 1930-07-08. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  8. ^ "Funk Brothers Come Out Of Motown's Shadows at Last". The Washington Post. 2002-11-15. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  9. ^ McGonigal, Mike (2015-03-31). "Enjoy this mini-playlist to Stuart Cosgrove's 'Detroit 67' | City Slang". Metrotimes.com. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  10. ^ "BMI | Repertoire Search". Repertoire.bmi.com.
  11. ^ "Buck White – Broadway Musical – Original". IBDb.com. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  12. ^ "The Atlanta Disco Band Songs • Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography • Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Musicvf.com. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  13. ^ "The Atlanta Disco Band - Bad Luck (1976, Vinyl)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  14. ^ "Mike Terry". IMDb.
  15. ^ "No Way Back - The Dells | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  16. ^ a b Moss, Rob (October 31, 2008). "Sad News Mike Terry - SAX GOD". Soul-source.co.uk.
  17. ^ Standing in the Shadows of Motown, DVD, Lions Gate, 2003, USA
  18. ^ "Funk Brothers". Michiganrockandrolllegends.com. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  19. ^ "The Funk Brothers | Artist". Grammy.com. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  20. ^ "Musicians Hall of Fame Inducts First Class". Vintagevinylnews.com.
  21. ^ "Funk Brothers - Hollywood Star Walk - Los Angeles Times". Projects.latimes.com. 2013-03-25. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  22. ^ "The Funk Brothers - Hollywood Walk of Fame". Walkoffame.com. 2013-03-21. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  23. ^ "The Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame Inducts Thirteen New Members". Vintagevinylnews.com.
  24. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 194. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
  25. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 378.
  26. ^ Sexton, Paul (July 10, 2019). "Martha & The Vandellas Turn Up The Heat". Udiscovermusic.com.
  27. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 398.
  28. ^ Flory, Andrew. I Hear a Symphony: Motown and crossover R&B, University of Michigan Press, 2017, USA, p222
  29. ^ Simpson, Dave (July 15, 2014). "The Supremes: How we made Baby Love". The Guardian.
  30. ^ Flory, Andrew. I Hear a Symphony: Motown and crossover R&B, University of Michigan Press, 2017, USA, p56
  31. ^ Sullivan, Steve (2017). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Vol. 3. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 383.
  32. ^ "More Hits By The Supremes (1965) | THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT". Dianarossproject.wordpress.com. 2015-10-03. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  33. ^ Songfacts. "Back in My Arms Again by The Supremes". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  34. ^ a b Liner notes. The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 5: 1965, Hip-O Select – B0006775-02, USA, 04 Aug 2006
  35. ^ Label credit, "Cool Jerk", The Capitols, Karen Records 1524, 1966, USA
  36. ^ Kent, Al (2017). Custodians of the Hummingbird. pp. 374. Rosedog Books. ISBN 978-1480966505
  37. ^ Label credit, "Headline News", Edwin Starr, Ric-Tic RT-114, 1966, USA
  38. ^ "The Marvelettes Chart History | Billboard". 18 May 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-05-18. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  39. ^ "Jr. Walker & The All Stars". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  40. ^ "inter2". Soulfulkindamusic.net. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  41. ^ "Groove Times : George Clinton - I Wanna Testify". Ejnord.com. 2007-03-17. Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  42. ^ Label credit, "Baby Please Come Back Home", J.J. Barnes, Groovesville GV 1006, USA, 1967
  43. ^ Label credits, "Light My Fire", Rhetta Hughes, Tetragrammaton Records T-1513, USA, 1968
  44. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 259. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  45. ^ LP Album credits, Jealous Kind of Fella, Garland Green, Uni Records 73073, 1969, USA
  46. ^ "The Supremes". Warr.org. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  47. ^ Refer to credits for the lead single "Love Is Like an Itching In My Heart"
  48. ^ LP album credits, Out of Sight, Maxine Brown, Epic Records BN 26395, 1968, USA
  49. ^ LP album credits, Workin' On A Groovy Thing, Barbara Lewis, Atlantic SD 8173, USA, 1968
  50. ^ "Many Grooves of Barbara Lewis - Barbara Lewis | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  51. ^ LP album credits, Jealous Kind Of Fella, Garland Green, Uni Records 73073, USA, 1969
  52. ^ LP album credits, Re-Light My Fire, Rhetta Hughes, Tetragrammaton Records T-111, USA, 1969
  53. ^ LP album credits, Loleatta, Loleatta Holloway, Aware AA 20033, USA, 1973
  54. ^ "Loneliness & Temptation/A Heart Full of Song - Clarence Carter | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  55. ^ LP album credits, Kickin, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, ABC Records ABCD-899, USA, 1975
  56. ^ LP Album credits, Bad Luck, The Atlanta Disco Band, Ariola Records ST-50004, 1975, USA
  57. ^ LP Album credits, No Way Back, The Dells, Mercury Records SRM-1-1084, 1976, USA
  58. ^ LP Album credits, Here Am I , Dave Crawford, LA Records LA-1909, 1977, USA