Paul to Restore Motown Museum’s Grand Piano

2 November 2011

Paul Unites with Steinway & Sons to Bring Legendary Instrument to Original Performance Quality

Played by Motown Record Company’s world renowned musicians from 1960 through 1972, and admired by over a million visitors to the Motown Museum’s iconic Studio A since 1985, this 1877 Steinway grand piano was in need of some tender, lovin’ care.  And former Beatle and legendary musician, Paul has committed, along with Steinway & Sons, to having the piano restored to its original performance quality because, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.”

When you hear popular Motown songs such as “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” “What’s Going On,” and “Tracks of My Tears,” chances are that Stevie, Marvin and Smokey, no last names needed, recorded those hits on the Steinway piano you will find at the Motown Museum in Detroit.  The last recording work on the piano was by the Commodores in 1972 on the “Machine Gun” album.  Both the titled song and “I Feel Sanctified,” were big R&B hits in 1974.

“When I visited the Motown Museum, I remembered listening to records as a kid in Liverpool, learning the songs ‘You Really Got a Hold on Me’ (by the Miracles) and ‘Money’ (by Barrett Strong),” said McCartney, who was first inspired to spearhead the restoration during his visit to the Motown Museum last July while in town for his sold out show at Detroit’s Comerica Park “I said to myself, 'Wow! This [the Motown Museum] is the Holy Grail!’”

Audley Smith Jr., CEO of the Motown Museum, which is located on the original site of Motown Record Company, said, “Motown has had, and continues to have, a global impact on popular culture and we all have a responsibility to preserve this great music legacy. The commitment from Paul McCartney and Steinway & Sons to restore this piano, one of the Museum’s most important artifacts, is a wonderful acknowledgement of that global responsibility…indeed, a donation of a perfect pitch.”

Steinway Sons will pick up the piano on Monday, October 31, 2011 and ship it to their New York headquarters.  It is anticipated that it will take four to five months for the instrument to be professionally restored by the Steinway Restoration Center – the only place where a Steinway piano can be restored to guarantee Steinway authenticity, using 100% genuine Steinway parts. By early spring 2012, the piano will be returned fine tuned, “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” to Motown Museum’s Studio A.

"Steinway Sons is honored to restore the historic Steinway piano that was used by such legends as Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder¬ - and to do so in the very same New York factory where it was originally built in 1877,” said Ron Losby, President - Americas, Steinway & Sons.  “We're especially proud, as an American company, to help the Motown Museum in preserving the legacy of the Motown Record Company, whose artists and albums played such a vital role in one of the great eras of American music."

Once returned to the Motown Museum, visitors will be able to appreciate the awe Paul felt when he first saw the piano and it will make those visitors say, “You Really Got a Hold on Me!”

About the Motown Museum

Motown Museum is one of Detroit’s most popular tourist destinations. Each year, the Museum attracts thousands of visitors from across the nation and around the globe. Founded in 1985 by Esther Gordy Edwards, former Vice President of Motown and sister to Berry Gordy, the Museum’s mission is to preserve the legacy of Motown Record Company and to educate and motivate people, especially youth, through exhibitions and programs that promote the values of vision, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Museum exhibits trace the roots of Motown’s remarkable story and chronicle its impact on 20th century popular culture and musical styles. The exhibitions include a fascinating collection of historical photographs, artwork, music, costumes and other memorabilia from this booming musical era. Each item tells a story, from the $800 Promissory Loan document Berry Gordy signed for the loan he received from the Gordy family’s savings club (the Ber-Berry Co-op) to start a record company, to photos and other artifacts that chronicle the incredible popularity of Motown’s artists throughout the world.