MOTOWN RECORDS

This page is dedicated to Motown Records, the most prolific label in Soul music. This is soul music with a serious pop appeal, sweeter than Stax and lots of it swinging like nobody's business which makes it great for dancing and you've probably heard a ton of it.

The Temptations

Perhaps the definitive vocal group of 60's the Temptations had 37 career top ten hits. Initially formed by a merger of two smaller groups, the Primes and the Distants, the Temptations, working with the great Smokey Robinson would become some of Motown's most successful artists.

A good album to buy: The Ultimate Collection
Smokey Robison & the Miracles

Smokey Robinson, more than any other person, was responsible for Motown early success in making not just soul hits, but pop hits. He and the Miracles were one of the first acts signed to the label, and his prolific songwriting was the foundation of many of the other acts. Bob Dylan called him "America's greatest living poet".

A good album to buy: The Ultimate Collection
Marvin Gaye

It's hard to overstate Marvin Gaye's impact on soul music. As his career went on, his music moved on from just great dance hits and ballads to more political and personal topics and the sound he created reflected that. Like his idol Sam Cook he died too young and we can't know how much further he would have taken his music.

A good album to buy:
Stevie Wonder

"Little" Stevie Wonder as he was known when he was a child star was inspired by the great Ray Charles and became one of soul music's most prolific writers and performers. His compositions are beautiful and complex and vibrant and positive and he is basically a national treasure at this point.

A good album to buy:
Martha Reeves & the Vandellas

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas have long been underappreciated in the Motown canon, largely due to the success of Diana Ross & the Supremes. But Reeves's voice and the great songs provided by the writing team of Holland-Dozier-Holland along with music from The Funk Brothers makes their songs essential. 

A good album to buy:

Other great artists to check out and a couple songs to look out for are:

The Four Tops

"Baby I Need Your Lovin'"
"It's the Same Old Song"
"Ain't No Woman Like the One I Got"

Mary Wells

"My Guy"
"You Beat Me to the Punch"

Junior Walker & the All-Stars

"Shotgun"
"Shake & Fingerpop"

"Cleo's Back"

Diana Ross & the Supremes

"Baby Love"
"You Can't Hurry Love"

"Stop! In the Name of Love"

"But wait - I want way more music than that - what should I buy?"

Motown has so many hits that out of the 103 track on this compliation, a surprising number are great songs, making this actually a pretty good buy:

And if you are really looking for overkill, you can check out the 12 disc (actually more than 12 now) compilation of the complete singles from Motown records. Buy at your own risk.