Commonly referred to as “the Motown Sound,” the eclectic assembly of artists focused on a special brand of Soul music that was created with for the ears of Pop music listeners. The call-and-response technique of singing drawn from gospel music, the use of tambourines to complement the strong beats, heavy use of electric bass lines, and distinctive yet simple structures with more sophisticated melodies, are just a few staples of the Motown production. Frequent use of strings, horns, and almost always purely a four-beat drum pattern helped reinforce the mantra often stated by the band of producers “KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.” The aim was to produce a distinctive sound, perfect for the AM radio, and in order to do so, proper electronic mixing equipment was needed. Hitsville USA had modified an old photography studio into a unique recording studio, and as the company’s success grew, they expanded their headquarters by upgrading the studio and adding offices and a finance department.
The unusually strict production techniques at Hitvilles can only be described as factory-like, a remnant from Gordy’s past profession as an automotive worker at Ford. The offices of Motown would stay open, working 22 hours a day, with only a short 2-hour break for maintenance and upkeep. Often artists would return to Detroit from a long tour to dive straight into recording as many tracks as possible, before leaving to tour immediately again. Weekly meetings to discuss and critique new works were never missed, and Gordy himself would have the final veto whether a track was released or not, ensuring only the very best of their work was published. The distinctive style even began to be used by many artists outside of Motown during the time, with Dusty Springfield being the most notable one.