Tuesday, January 20, 2009

signed, sealed, delivered

It seems that almost every time I put Radio 2 on at the moment, there's a documentary to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Motown.

Some great music of course, but it wasn't all sweetness and light in Hitsville USA, as this article from last week's Independent testifies. Last night, for example, there was an hour-long programme dedicated to the Funk Brothers who played as backing musicians on most of the label's output from 1959 to 1972. And that's a lot of songs. It wasn't until Marvin Gaye released What's Going On in 1971 that these musicians were even credited in liner notes and it was only with the appearance in 2002 of the film "Standing In The Shadows of Motown" that they were accorded any real credit.

I did start to compile a list of my top ten Motown tracks but frankly I'm going to have to get back to you on that. Particular favourites though are Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's fantastic Greatest Hits album and almost everything by Stevie Wonder from his Greatest Hits Volume 2--which covers his singles from 1968 to '71--to the slightly over-egged Songs In The Key of Life which saw the light of day in 1976.

By way of a less frequently played track, how about this 1975 Stevie Wonder-penned minor hit from the Supremes?

Diana Ross? Who she?

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