Motown Records is probably the most famous and widely respected label in this history of the entertainment industry. With classic acts and a distinct sound that has been imitated by generations of performers, the company launched the careers of some of the biggest names in music. So, it’s quite fitting that we focus on such a magnificent legacy with this week’s Way Back Wednesday!
Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye and dozens of entertainers rose to fame under the Motown umbrella. Of course, the label’s true golden era was during the 1960s when the sound of black culture and the fundamentals of R&B took root. Watch some of the most important Motown artists perform their hits below:
Diana Ross & The Supremes – “Stop! In the Name of Love”
Gladys Knight & The Pips – “Midnight Train to Georgia”
The Jackson 5 – “ABC”
Marvin Gaye & Tami Terrell – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”
The Marvelettes – “Please Mr. Postman”
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – “You’ve Really got a Hold on Me”
Stevie Wonder – “My Cherie Amour”
The Temptations – “My Girl”
Before Diddy guided Biggie to success, Benny Medina turned Jennifer Lopez into a brand or Mathew Knowles made Beyonce into a superstar, it was Berry Gordy who shaped the very core of the industry. Indeed, the Motown era of music, branding,
payola and marketing remains at the foundation of almost every promotional campaign used today.
Yet, the key difference is that the label always emphasised talent above everything else. It’s a shame that current record executives would rather make quick money with shallow hits than develop real artists into the icons that we need for the current generation.