January 12, 2009

Motown at 50: An American Musical Institution

Today, 50 years ago, one of the greatest musical labels ever was born. In so many ways, Motown has no peer. It's story is fascinating, and it is ongoing. And the tale continues far beyond the race and heritage perspective. The legends endure, and the artists and musicians associated with it have a right to be justifiably proud of their acheivements.

Instead of rehashing the story, go here to the source: Motown's official site. As for this blog, I'll let the numbers prove my point.

The Supremes: Twelve Number One Songs
Classics Hits include You Can't Hurry Love; Someday We'll Be Together; Where Did Our Love Go; Stop! In the Name of Love

Diana Ross: Six Number One Songs
Classic Hits include Ain't No Mountain High Enough; Love Hangover; Theme from "Mahogany"
Odds and Ends: "The Bodyguard" movie was originally planned for Diana Ross and Ryan O'Neil.

The Temptations: Four Number One Songs
Classic Hits include My Girl; Just My Imagination; Papa Was a Rolling Stone; The Way You Do the Things You Do
Odds and Ends: The classic Frank Sinatra hit "Night and Day" is one of the Temptations best love songs. Much better than the original.

Stevie Wonder: Nine Number One Hits
Classic Hits include Superstition; Sir Duke;You are the Sunshine of My Life; I Wish; My Cherie Amour; Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Odds and Ends: Prime album cuts- "Knocks Me Off My Feet". Best remake of his song: Peter Frampton, covering "Signed Sealed Delivered"

The Miracles (and Smokey Robinson): Two Number One Hits
Classic Hits include Shop Around; Tracks of My Tears; I Second That Emotion; Tears of a Clown; Ooo Baby Baby
Odds and Ends: Best Overlooked album- "Smoke Signals"; prolific songwriter

Four Tops: Two Number One Hits
Classic Hits include I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch);Bernadette; Reach Out (I'll BeThere); It's the Same Old Song; Standing in the Shadows of Love


Gladys Knight and the Pips: One Number One Hit

Classic Hits include Neither One of Us; I Heard It Through the Grapevine; If I Were Your Woman; If Loving You is Wrong

Commodores: Two Number One Hits
Classic Hits include Brick House; Three Times a Lady; Still

Lionel Ritchie: Five Number One Hits
Classic Hits include Truly; All Night Long; Hello

Jackson Five: Four Number One Hits
Classic Hits include Never Can Say Goodbye; I'll Be There; ABC; I Want You Back
Marvin Gaye: Three Number One Hits
Classic Hits include I Heard It Through the Grapevine; Let's Get It On; How Sweet It Is to be Loved By You; What's Going On; Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)

Various Artists and Songs You Know By Heart: Mary Wells (My Guy); Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (Dancing in the Streets, Jimmy Mack, Heatwave); Rare Earth (I Just Want to Celebrate); Contours (Do You Love Me?); Marvelettes (Please Mr. Postman, Beechwood 4-5789); Boyz II Men (The End of the Road); Rick James (Superfreak), Edwin Starr (War); Jimmy Ruffin (What Becomes of the Broken Hearted); etc. etc. etc.


Thank you, Berry Gordy, for starting an American institution! Case closed.

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