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- History Behind Motown Records
- Motown’s Top 5
- Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
- Marvin Gaye
- The Temptations
- The Jackson 5
- Diana Ross & The Supremes
When discussing timeless music there are countless bands and artist that one could mention. James Brown, Little Richard, Marvin Gaye, and the list goes on. There is, however, one name that will forever be etched in the history books as one of the greatest of all time. That name is Motown Records. The Motown record company single-handedly redefined what popular rhythm and blues music were then and even now. Motown groomed and turned so many hungry artists into superstars that have in turn created some of the most memorable and recognizable music to date. Artist such as Diana Ross, The Jackson 5, and Stevie Wonder are all a product of what has affectionately become known as the “Motown Sound”.
History Behind Motown Records
Motown Records was originally founded in early 1959 by Berry Gordy. The record labels original headquarters was located in Detroit, Michigan. Berry Gordy’s initial name for the label was Tamla Records. It wasn’t until 1960 that the label became incorporated and changed the name to Motown. The Motown name is actually a clever pairing of Detroit, Michigan’s nickname “motor town”.
Motown is also one of the most successful African-American owned record labels to date. Despite the fact that Motown came about during a time of much racial tension, they still managed to have inconceivable crossover success. Their trademarked “Motown Sound” consisted of many different elements, that truly set them apart from many other artists of that time.
Motown’s Top 5
Let’s take a look at some of Motown’s best and brightest stars.
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles were one of Motown’s first breakout acts. The groups first single entitled “Shop Around” became the record labels first platinum-selling song. Robinson was also considered by Berry Gordy to be the “Soul of Motown.” As well as his work as an artist, Smokey also worked behind the scenes writing songs for many of Motown’s other acts. In 1987, Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Marvin Gaye began his career working as a drummer during recording sessions. He scored his first top 10 hit with the song “Pride and Joy”. Gaye went on to have great success throughout the years until he was tragically shot two years after the release of his album “Midnight Love.
The Temptations were a 6 member group that first burst onto the pop charts in late 1960. Their biggest hit, “My Girl” was released in 1964. Since then, The Temptations have had thirty-seven top 40 hit songs.
The Jackson 5
The Jackson 5 was an extremely popular group that was comprised of 5 brothers, including most notable lead singer Michael Jackson. After signing to Motown in 1964, the Jackson’s became the first group in history to have four No.1 singles on the Billboard top 40.
Diana Ross & The Supremes
Diana Ross and The Supremes were the most successful group within Motown by far. The trio had 12 No. 1 hits on the Billboard charts. Some of their most notable hits included “Baby Love” and “Stop in the Name of Love”. Diana Ross went on to have a successful solo career, and the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.