The Sound Of Young America captured the hearts of teenagers from coast to coast. It didn't matter if you were Black or White ... this was a brand new sound with a fresh and vibrant beat that took on a life of its own as "The Motown Sound".
Weekly, a panel of label executives would meet and listen to and critique their latest recordings, trying to determine as a group which songs would be the most successful radio hits. As such, these playbacks were often listened to through a car radio speaker ... because that is where most of the kids would be hearing these songs for the first time ... and thereafter on a regular basis.
Who would have ever thought that this much talent could grow up on the streets of Detroit ... man, what a roster ...
The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Martha and the Vandellas, The Marvelettes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Supremes, The Temptations, Jr. Walker and the All-Stars, Mary Wells, Stevie Wonder ... these acts RULED the charts during the 1960's and 1970's.
This week we'll be spotlighting that initial decade. The very first Motown release to become a hit was "Money" by Barrett Strong in 1959 ... and they just kept coming from that point on.
Founded by song writer Berry Gordy (who borrowed the money ... $800 ... to start the label), Hitsville, U.S.A. became an international success. British Artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five and others would often successfully record their own versions of Motown Hits, paying homage (and hitting pay dirt) time after time again. Even 20 years later artists like Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor kept the Motown Sound alive with remakes that charted throughout the '70's and '80's. Today ... some 55 years after that first release, "Motown: The Musical" is playing on Broadway, a virtual celebration of the music that played such an important role in our lives.
This week we salute Motown - The '60's ... as we count down The Top 100 Motown Hits of the '60's. Stay tuned!