Berry Gordy, Paul McCartney to play Motown piano
In this Oct. 31, 2011 photo, an 1877 Steinway grand piano used by Motown artists is seen in a Motown recording studio in Detroit. Now that an 1877 Steinway grand piano used by Motown artists has been restored, it's time for the historic instrument to be played. And who better to do that than ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, who orchestrated the piano's refurbishment, and Berry Gordy, the architect of the Motown music label. (AP Photo/Detroit News, David Coates) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT ; MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
DETROIT (AP) — In town for a concert last summer, Paul McCartney made his first-ever visit to Detroit's Motown Museum, the legendary two-story "Hitsville USA" building where a generation's worth of musical gems were created.
McCartney, a contemporary of Motown stars such as Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, "was just thrilled to be in the space," said Lina Stephens, the museum's curator, who gave McCartney and his bandmates a guided tour that day.
McCartney was also excited to come across a pair of pianos.
"He came to the first piano — even though there's a sign on it that says, 'Please do not touch' — he went up and played the piano," Stephens said. "He said, 'I'm sorry I have to,' and he played."
When the group arrived at Studio A — the famed Motown recording studio — McCartney found piano No. 3. This one, though, had a cover over the keys.
He was told it couldn't be played due to deterioration, and McCartney moved on.
The next day, he called with an offer to have the damaged 1877 Steinway grand fully restored.
More than a year later, that process has been completed.
The restored 9-foot Victorian rosewood will have its coming-out party at a Sept. 18 charity event in New York City before returning to its home on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit.
McCartney and Motown founder Berry Gordy will play the piano at the New York event, dubbed "Project: Harmony," said Motown Museum Board of Trustees Chairwoman Robin Terry, Gordy's grandniece. The event will benefit the Motown Museum.
"We'll unveil the piano and then the two of them will play the piano, and we'll have some fun and leave it to them to make of that what they will," Terry said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday.
The piano will eventually go back on display at Studio A, where it has been housed since the museum's opening in 1985.
FILE - This Feb. 10, 2012 file photo shows Paul McCartney performing at the MusiCares Person of the Year gala in his honor in Los Angeles. McCartney will play on a 1877 Steinway grand piano he discovered and had refurbished at Detroit's Motown Museum. Word came down late Wednesday, Aug. 29, that the new and improved 9-foot Victorian rosewood will have its coming-out party at a Sept. 18 charity event in New York City before returning to its home on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. McCartney and Motown founder Berry Gordy will play the piano at the New York event, dubbed "Project: Harmony." (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, file)
Terry said the piano made its way to Motown when the studio acquired Golden World Records in 1967, a facility that was redubbed Motown Studio B and used by musicians and songwriters to create music by Wonder, Gaye and other Motown greats.