Soul Tracks - Tracking the World's Greatest Soul Music

Everything Motown!

     

Motown logoOne of the truly great stories of the 20th Century was the rise and world domination of Motown Records.  From its humble origins in a small house on Grand Boulevard in Detroit, the label founded by Berry Gordy, Jr. went on to become "The Sound of Young America" and the source of the most loved music of its era.

In a truly American story of success, a group of young, inner city African American men and women -- many still in their teens -- overcame their youth, the overt and covert racism of the times, payola scandals of the day and countless other obstacles to become international icons, still revered a half century after they broke through.

So as we celebrate the seminal Sound of Detroit and all that it has meant to three generations of music lovers, we take a look back at the artists who made it happen.  Below are links to our profiles of some of the biggest artists of the Motown labels, including updates on where they are now.  The profiles also include links to their greatest albums and videos of several performances.  We hope you like it.

PLEASE LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW ON WHAT THE MOTOWN SOUND HAS MEANT TO YOU!

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50th Anniversary Collection

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Links to Artist Profiles 

Gerald Alston 
Ashford and Simpson 
Erykah Badu
Boyz II Men
G C Cameron 
Dennis Coffey
The Commodores
The Contours
The Dazz Band
DeBarge
The Four Tops 
Marvin Gaye
Johnny Gill
Berry Gordy, Jr
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Billy Griffin
 High Inergy
Holland-Dozier-Holland
Thelma Houston
 India.Arie
Isley Brothers
The Jackson 5
Michael Jackson
Rick James
Kem
Gladys Knight and the Pips
Teena Marie
The Originals
Martha Reeves & the Vandellas
The Marvelettes
Rare Earth 
Lionel Richie
Shanice
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
Diana Ross 
David Ruffin
Jimmy Ruffin
Remy Shand
The Spinners
The Supremes
The Temptations
Junior Walker
Leon Ware
Norman Whitfield
Stevie Wonder

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Comments

Thanks for putting up this

Thanks for putting up this page. Man, growing up, Motown's music meant EVERYTHING to me. The Four Tops were my favorite, but the Temptations were close behind. And I was in love with Mary Wilson of the Supremes.

Until I saw this page I had forgotten a lot of the other singers who were on Motown.

I remember seeing the

I remember seeing the Temptations and the Spinners in concert. The first concert of my life and a night I will never forget.

Steve Singer It is hard to

Steve Singer

It is hard to believe that so many years have passed since the birth of the Motown Sound. I consider myself fortunate to have lived during the time that such great music was performed. It is a sound that is truly timeless. Thanks to all of these wonderful artists, writers and producers whose music has been in the hearts and minds of so many for so long. May the memories of those who have passed, live on forever and for those still with us, keep on keepin on!

With much appreciation and thanks for all of the wonderful memories.

Chris, I have been a

Chris,
I have been a SoulTracker for some time now. This is one of your best features yet...I am a product of Motown during the 70's and 80's...You did a great review of my 2006 CD Share My Love...I must tell you, you did your home work...You named just about every artist signed to Motown...There was another side of the Berry Gordy impire...Jobet and Stone Diamond Publishing Company...Mr.Gordy signed some of the most creative and talented writers and producers in the business at that time, I was one of them...I love the way you layed the story out...I only wish you would have talk a little about Berry's sister's, Gwen,Anna,Ester and his brothers Robert and Fuller. They played a very important roll in helping Berry build the greatest record company of all time...Thank you Chris for doing the Motown 50th story...May 2009 bring you happiness and continued success....

Jimmy Levine
CEO/President
Mo-Philly Music Group

What Motown means to me?

What Motown means to me? Where to start?

A starter for five:

I guess first off it means Diana Ross. First singer I ever noticed as a woman. I was about 15 at the time, a white kid living in a very middle class area in England. At that time I’d never seen a live black person! (1975)

Secondly, it means a feeling that I can't describe; its partly great music & artists but it’s more than that. I think it’s about something so good that no amount of racists could hold it back or stop white people recognising what black people could do. (not just the music but run successful business too.)

Thirdly, it’s about collecting (in England) singles (45s) with a label with a black background & the words Tamla Motown in silver. How I loved that label!

Fourthly it’s about the Temptations - surely the best group in the world. Ever. My wife & I have seen them 3 times in Birmingham, England, over the last 5 years - with Abdul Fakir all that's left from the original group - & each time they were fantastic! Love Ron Tyson & new boy Bruce Williamson!

Fifthly, it’s about Jnr. Walker, the Supremes & Marvin Gaye, not to mention Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves etc etc.

tenscottie@yahoo.com I love

tenscottie@yahoo.com
I love this , but where are Kim Weston and Brenda Holloway? ...whoops? And, for heavens sake...how could you not cover Mary Wells? lordhammercy!! :)

Nice Chris! Kudos. What a

Nice Chris!
Kudos.

What a tremendous year 2009 will be for American history, indeed. How appropriate that such a force as Motown would celebrate its 50th the same year Barack Obama is elected President, wow.

Now if only we could get Detroiters to recognize this proud, proud heritage and OWN it! To carry on its legacy... to keep the torch burning... to feed and nurture those that are STILL pushing the envelope in music innovation on the WORLDSTAGE... and unknown to their very next-door neighbors.

Thank you for contributing to spreading the knowledge of this soul music.

Peace & Beats,
J

- Jocelyne Ninneman
jocelyne@fusicology.com
http://www.fusicology.com

...oh! and PS: where are

...oh!
and PS: where are Erykah Badu & Anthony David in this list?!

You got Boyz II Men & India.Arie... don't forget the other contemporary Motown artists making HUGE waves! :)

- Jocelyne Ninneman
jocelyne@fusicology.com
http://www.fusicology.com

Good catch on Badu. We have

Good catch on Badu. We have a page on her but forgot to add her to the list. We also have a page on Anthony David (www.soultracks.com/anthony_david.htm) but I don't think he's on Motown -- just Universal. Thanks!

MOTOWN....THE SOUNDTRACK OF

MOTOWN....THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES....WISHING ANOTHER 50 YEARS OF PEACE, LOVE, AND SOUL.....

jennifer Motown brought Soul

jennifer
Motown brought Soul Music to the wider world. Of course it would have got here eventually but the amazing vision of Berry Gordy Jnr hastened the process. There was great music being made at other labels, Stax, Atlantic, and later Philadelphia International etc. but without the unleashing of such soul brilliance en masse at a time in history when 'i'm black and i'm proud' was just beginning to ring out across America Berry created the vehicle (in the motor city) that would turn people from all nations on to black music. There is no simple answer to what Motown has meant to me, just that since the early 60's it has been the soundtrack of my life, Gladys, Diana, The Miracles, The Tops, Stevie, Syreeta, Marvin, Tammi, Kim, The Temps, Val & Nick, HDH, Gil Askey, The Funk Brothers, the list goes on ad infinitum. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to the songwriters, producers and artists. Though we are all getting older these brilliant musicians made magnificent sounds that will keep us young forever. Happy 50th Motown.
Contact - walkerjf63@hotmail.com

Happy 5oth Motown.... Lets

Happy 5oth Motown.... Lets see you go for the century next..
Every one has there favourite act, but during the Detroit era most of the artists owe the Funkbrothers a lot of credit,They are my heros of the label every one of them had shed louds of talent.
IF you are into the label check out Jack Ashfords book Motown a view from the bottom, Jack tells it how it was. a great read.

I've been a fan of the music

I've been a fan of the music of Motown and all its associated labels since my early teens and I'm now 59 years of age. In August 2007 I visited Hitsville USA and fulfilled a lifelong dream to sit in the studio where all those wonderful tunes were created. I sat there all on my own without anybody else being around and I admit to having tears in eyes as I thanked The Lord for all that magical music. I've tried to pick a favourite track which is an impossible task, but I at the moment it has to be Baby Hit and Run by The Contours. Tomorrow I'm sure that this track will be replaced by another classic from the golden age of Motown.
PS I'm from the UK where, apparently, a large porportion of overseas visitors to Hitsville, USA come from.
PPS Finally, it will always be,(to me) The Supremes and not Diana Ross and The Supremes and Martha and The Vandellas, not Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

Without Motown the world

Without Motown the world would have been a poorer place. Along with The Beatles, artists such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Four Tops, Supremes & The Temptations have provided us all with such beautiful music that has been picked up and loved through five decades and I'm sure will continue for another 50 years and beyond.
As a mobile DJ I'm always getting asked for Motown by generations from their late teens to 70 and 80 year olds.
My own personal memory is being able to see the Four Tops and the great Edwin Starr on the same bill in Brighton here in the UK.
Keep up the great work Chris and co at Soul Tracks.
Happy New Year
DJ Dave

HEAVENLY BY THE TEMPS. NOW

HEAVENLY BY THE TEMPS. NOW THATS A CLASSIC.....

I THINK HORACE BROWN IS ALSO

I THINK HORACE BROWN IS ALSO A MOTOWN ARTIST BUT IM NOT 100 PERCENT SURE....

Who is Horace Brown? I

Who is Horace Brown? I thought I knew all the Motown artists

motown/gordy/soul/tamla/ and

motown/gordy/soul/tamla/ and all the other labels that where a part of the motown empire brought happiness fun goodtimes and excitement into my household as a child i learned my colors by playing with stacks of motown 45's i still remember
motown was blue
gordy was purple
tamla was yellow
soul was white and lavender
thank you motown for so much great music and so many good feelings and for giving a kid from "the hood" something to dream about
also thank you to switch,tata vega,syreeta,shorty long,the different shades of brown,platinum hook,the poor boys,jermaine jackson,michael lovesmith,dee harvey,general caine,val young,the andantes,the remo strings,tom clay,chris clark,beans bowles,james jamerson,earl van dyke,hal davis,willie hutch and all the other unsung motown artist's who blessed us with their creativity and musical gifts
THIS IS A GREAT THREAD CHRIS-MUCH LOVE

I've always been a huge

I've always been a huge Motown fan and even today I still buy and listen to Motown with affection...specially unrelased stuff..
Now!!! when are we gonna have unrelased material from Jr Walker & The Allstars
-)

The Motown sound is what I

The Motown sound is what I grew up with. Marvin Gaye, Tammy Terrell, the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, the Commodores - these are not just names, they are incredible memories!

Kudos on the Motown tribute!

Blessings,
Bonnie

Motown has to be the king of

Motown has to be the king of R&B. I grew up listening to those artists and I don't think any other label or group of artists will ever surpass Marvin, Smokey, the Temps, Stevie, the Supremes, Gladys Knight etc. They are the the pioneers of R&B and their talent and songs will never be equalled. When you did the lists of music by decade, the 60's, heyday for Motown, it was almost inpossible to list all the great music. After 50 years, it has yet to be surpassed.

As a brown skinned boy who

As a brown skinned boy who was born in Detroit and grew up in Sacramento with a beautiful mother from Shreveport, Louisiana, and a step-father from Indiana, I loved the natural "soul" sound of Motown artists! I grew up on Aretha's gospel talent along with other great Motown artists like Diana Ross and The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder! Motown was a great part of my childhood nurturing in "soul music"!

I've collected and listened

I've collected and listened to the music of West Grand Boulevard since my early teens and I'm now 61 years of age. 3 years ago I got to vist "Hitsville USA" and it was one of the highlights of my life to-date. I got to sit on the stairs leading down into the "snakepit" and nobody was around. I must admit to having tears in my eyes thinking about all the classic tracks that were recorded there. Whenever I'm feeling down all I have to do is play some classic Motown and my mood lifts immediately.

We have not seen another

We have not seen another record company or label in the world that has had such a major influence on music. The creativity that came out of Motown is second to none. Its a testament to Berry Gordy and company that over 40 years later , the music, the sound , still sounds fresh and crisp.

Motown forever

Motown means... The 7 inch

Motown means...
The 7 inch with the yellow label and globes spinning at 45rpm..
5 cats with boss processes over six feet tall dancing like mirror images...
The Elgins, Kim Weston, The Monitors,The lewis Sisters,Shorty Long...
Holland-Dozier-Holland,Frank Wilson,Clarence Paul,Robert Bateman...
a double-time bass, tambourines, handclaps, a crisp snare drum...
Martha and the Vandellas, Jr Walker and the Allstars,Brenda Holloway...
...Motown means Soul!

 I was Born in Detroit, I

 I was Born in Detroit, I grew up on Motown. My Relative knew some of the Artists, and groupsWhen some one say Motown, you can just rattle out the Artists Marvin Gaye ,Tempts, Smokey and the  Miracles, Boy II men ect...The songs that came out are Classics that will definitly stand the test of time.

RIP TO NICK ASHFORD AND JERRY

RIP TO NICK ASHFORD AND JERRY LEIBER, WHO BOTH PASSED AWAY ON THE SAME DAY....WHAT A LOSS TO THE MUSIC WE ALL LOVE....ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF WHY WE MUST SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGE THE LIVING LEGENDS WHILE THEY ARE STILL WITH US AND HONOR THEM EVERY CHANCE WE GET.....GOD BLESS....SGT.G.

Motown...the sound of young

Motown...the sound of young America; history in the making and a phenominal new trend in black music.  I can recall when there was race records and no Motown.  Motown broke down barriers and paved the avenue for Great Music for the soul.  They reshaped minds and called attention to change.

I grew up in a spiritual family setting but some members and friends were musically inclined.  And, I learned to play the piano at an early age.  We bought the records, learned all the lyrics, sung the songs and copied the dance moves.  We loved all the competing groups and raced out to buy the latest sounds.  When we argued,,,well, someone just put on a Jr. Walker, Temps or Four Tops song.  I love Motown and cherish the memories.