Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Hymie
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:13 pm

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Song #95 is "Distant Lover" by Marvin Gaye, from 1973. "Distant Lover" is the sixth song issued on singer Marvin Gaye's 1973 album, Let's Get It On and the b-side of the second single from that album, "Come Get to This." A live recording was issued as a single in 1974. The live version of the song was Gaye's most successful single during the three-year gap between Let's Get It On and his following 1976 album, I Want You. Many people prefer this live version.


The live version reached #12 on the Billboard Soul chart and #28 Pop. Marvin composed the melody of the song with songwriter Sandra Greene during a 1970 recording session while Gaye was finishing edits of his song, "What's Going On". Recorded on November 3, 1970, Gaye first recorded a rough version simply titled "Head Title". Later in the same recording sessions, with help from his sister-in-law, Gwen Gordy Fuqua, Gaye composed more lyrics and gave it its title, "Distant Lover". Gaye would rework the song several times during the 1970 recording sessions. In the "Head Title" version, Gaye began singing his lyrics "right off the top of my head" and performed in a rasp-influenced growl. Two mixes of the "Head Title" version was released posthumously on reissues of Gaye's What's Going On album.

Marvin Gaye's studio recording enhances the dreamy style of the song with stately horn and strings, tumbling drum fills that gently nudge the song along, and mellow, doo wop-styled background vocals that echo "love her, you love her" under his romantic pleas. Gaye fulfills the song's promise with a rich vocal that builds from a heartbroken croon to an impassioned wail. It worked both as romantic mood piece and a showcase for Gaye's considerable vocal skills. -  Allmusic

The original 1973 recording was later sampled by Kanye West on his The College Dropout album in 2004 on the song "Spaceship."


RANK-BALLOTS-POINTS-TITLE-ARTIST
095 - 04-215 - Distant Lover - Marvin Gaye
096 - 05-214 - Beechwood 4-5789 - The Marvelettes
097 - 05-212 - Psychedelic Shack - Temptations
098 - 07-210 - Going to a Go-Go - Miracles
099 - 06-210 - It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
100 - 05-207 - You Haven't Done Nothin' - Stevie Wonder
101 - 05-204 - When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes - Supremes
102 - 04-203 - Strange I Know - Marvelettes
103 - 06-200 - Someday We'll Be Together - Supremes
104 - 03-196 - Envious - Linda Griner
105 - 06-194 - Pastime Paradise - Stevie Wonder
106 - 05-191 - Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye
107 - 04-191 - I'll Try Something New - Miracles
108 - 04-190 - What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
109 - 06-189 - Mickey's Monkey - Miracles
110 - 06-189 - Pride And Joy - Marvin Gaye
111 - 05-187 - The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage - Miracles
112 - 05-186 - It's A Shame - Spinners
113 - 05-185 - The Bells - Originals
114 - 06-184 - I Want You - Marvin Gaye
115 - 07-180 - He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' - Velvelettes
116 - 04-180 - Forever - Marvelettes
117 - 05-169 - Love Child - Supremes
118 - 04-168 - Funny - Contours
119 - 06-165 - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
120 - 05-161 - Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes
121 - 04-161 - Way Over There - Miracles
122 - 03-161 - Who's Lovin' You - Jackson 5
123 - 04-157 - Stubborn Kind of Fellow - Marvin Gaye
124 - 06-156 - Standing In The Shadows of Love - Four Tops
125 - 04-156 - Walk Away Renee - Four Tops
126 - 05-155 - Easy- Commodores
127 - 05-155 - Don't Look Back - Temptations
128 - 03-154 - Function at the Junction - Shorty Long
129 - 05-149 - If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight & Pips
130 - 05-147 - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
131 - 04-142 - Playboy - Marvelettes
132 - 04-142 - You'll Lose A Precious Love - Temptations
133 - 04-142 - Master Blaster (Jammin’) - Stevie Wonder
134 - 05-139 - You're A Wonderful One - Marvin Gaye
135 - 04-139 - Friendship Train - Gladys Knight & Pips
136 - 04-136 - I Hear A Symphony - Supremes
137 - 03-136 - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - Marvelettes
138 - 03-135 - Paradise - Temptations
139 - 05-134 - (I'm A) Road Runner - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
140 - 05-131 - Quicksand - Martha & The Vandellas
141 - 03-131 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Supremes and Temptations
142 - 03-131 - Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) - Stevie Wonder
143 - 02-130 - You’re My Desire – Equadors
144 - 02-128 - Walk Away From Love - David Ruffin
145 - 02-125 - A Favor For a Girl - Brenda Holloway
146 - 03-124 - I'll Turn To Stone - Four Tops
147 - 03-124 - Hello - Lionel Richie
148 - 04-123 - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
149 - 03-123 - Would I Love You - Miracles
150 - 04-119 - Seven Rooms of Gloom - Four Tops
151 - 03-117 - A Fork In The Road - Miracles
152 - 05-115 - You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
153 - 04-115 - I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder
154 - 03-114 - Reflections - Supremes
155 - 02-114 - Square Biz - Teena Marie
156 - 04-113 - Two Lovers - Mary Wells
157 - 03-111 - The Only One I Love - Miracles
==================================================================================


Song #94 is next. One of the top funk records from Motown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhPu6GEoad8

Hymie
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:35 pm

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Song #94 is "Brick House" by the Commodores, from 1977. These guys started as a straight funk band like Kool And The Gang did, doing lots of instrumentals and ensemble singing before Lionel Richie took them off in a more pop direction. It was top 5 on both the Black chart and the Pop chert on Billboard.

In 1977, the Commodores were in the studio recording when there was a problem with the equipment. While the equipment was being repaired and replaced, the group took a break. Ronald LaPread, the group's bass player, began jamming. Bit by bit the rest of the band joined in until they came up with a track and bass line. Upon returning, James Carmichael, the Commodores' producer, heard and recognized that this could be a song worth recording. He asked everyone to see if they could use the riff to come up with a song. Taking the tapes home, William King played them for his wife, Shirley Hanna-King. While he slept, she was inspired to write lyrics for the riff, modifying the expression "built like a brick shithouse" for the song.

The following day King sang the lyrics to "Brick House" to the band, allowing them to think he had written it. They loved it and decided that drummer Walter "Clyde" Orange had the funky voice to sing lead vocals, (as opposed to Lionel Richie, who usually sang lead), and the song went on the new album.

It took several years before the other members of the group discovered that it was actually Shirley Hanna-King who had written the lyrics, and although she was not originally credited, the band has publicly acknowledged her as the song's writer.

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Song #93 is up now. Back to "Girl Group" territory with this one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ5RKG2FqGo

Hymie
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:00 am

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We heard song #93, "Too Many Fish In The Sea," by the Marvelettes, from 1964. It was the group's first top 40 pop hit in almost a year reaching number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also got to #5 on the Cash Box R&B chart (Billboard had no R&B chart then). The song was one of the first hit singles written by Norman Whitfield and was also written by Eddie Holland. "Too Many Fish..." was also Whitfield's first produced single.

This single is the only one where group members Georgeanna Tillman and Katherine Anderson had a lead on the A-side. This is also the final A-side appearance for Tillman, who would leave the group in very early 1965, before they recorded their next single, "I'll Keep Holding On," due to her illnesses.

Here's part of the MOTOWN JUNKIES review:

The Marvelettes: “Too Many Fish In The Sea”
Tamla T 54105 (A), October 1964


With this, the Marvelettes’ eleventh single, Motown begins a remarkable late-year surge, with hit after hit from the company’s top-drawer acts. Barring an upcoming run of bum sides in November (which, as we’ll see, is more a case of the label shoving out a bunch of unwanted material in one lump, rather than any kind of real trend), Motown closed out 1964 with a flourish.

Where do the Marvelettes figure in all of this? Their place as the company’s top girl group was long gone, with first the Vandellas and then the Supremes waving as they climbed past them on the Motown ladder. The hits had started to dry up, too, each new Marvelettes release greeted with muted enthusiasm, the girls clocking up worthy but hardly spectacular chart performances. And to top it all off, this song remains most famous because the group chose to record it rather than Where Did Our Love Go, thus inadvertently handing the Supremes their big break.

All was not well behind the scenes, either, Wyanetta (Juanita) Cowart having already left, Georgeanna Tillman about to follow suit, reducing a one-time six-piece behemoth to a stripped-down trio. Gladys Horton, the group’s founder and lead singer from day one, here provides the last lead vocal she’ll ever contribute to a Marvelettes A-side; from now on, the lead voice on Marvelettes singles will be the ever-improving Wanda Young.

Did the company care about any of this? The Marvelettes didn’t have a studio album release between 1963’s The Marvelous Marvelettes and 1967’s The Marvelettes, universally known as the “Pink Album” due to its vividly-coloured cover. Sessions for a mooted LP in 1964 – which is where this recording comes from – eventually came to nothing on the album front. Between that and the general lack of enthusiasm Motown now showed for its first great group, this means that their material cut from 1964 to 1966 (which wasn’t really collected anywhere until the two box set volumes of their complete albums, Forever and Forever More) ends up in a kind of no man’s land, even when there were more than enough great cuts in the vault to issue a killer album somewhere in there.

Yet through it all, damn it, these are the Marvelettes, and from here on in, in the face of near-indifference from Motown – but buoyed by the support of Smokey Robinson, who’d go on to become their champion and strongest writer – they’d spend the rest of the Sixties quietly churning out great material. Of the fourteen* Marvelettes singles left to be covered here on Motown Junkies, there’s not a bad one in the bunch, and some of them are considerably better than that. They were never forgotten, people still knew their names, but they should have been superstars. Well, if that recognition has to come in hindsight, so be it: let the drive to reappreciate the mid- and late-career Marvelettes begin right here.

This absolutely isn’t the sound of a defeated group. Indeed, it’s arugably the most confident thing they’ve given us yet. A kind of muscular sass pervades this, helped by the barrelling backing track, which we haven’t really seen on Marvelettes records in the past; they’d done plenty of feisty, forceful numbers, but this is a different kind of thing, tempering anger with defiant foot-stamping. Confident is the word.

It’s a song of confidence, of course. The lyric cleverly turns the old maxim for the recently-dumped (“don’t worry, there’s plenty of fish in the sea”) into a defiant kiss-off (“There’s too many fish in the sea to waste time on losers like him“), and it’s internalised, Gladys’ narrator moving almost imperceptibly from dishing out advice to reaffirming her own independence, implying she too has just been screwed over.

But it’s not just lyrical: this is a different confidence. The Supremes cultivated a kind of vulnerability, even as they rode HDH’s bulletproof 4/4 backing tracks; the Vandellas were loud and proud, hard-edged in places, sure, but also dignified, and even at their most defiant (Come And Get These Memories) Martha Reeves’ narrator still sounded like she needed to draw confidence from the song and the listeners, not the other way around. This, though, is a complete wake-up call, the Marvelettes still approachable, game for a laugh, treating teenage romance as a throwaway fling rather than a big drama, certainly not a matter of life and death. Hey, you, snap out of it! Put down your tissues, stop cradling your diary, and go out and dance!

That it ends up the best Motown wash-that-man-right-outta-my-hair anthem since Come And Get These Memories is kind of a title won by default, but it does illustrate a new role for the Marvelettes, a space they could have occupied as part of an all-conquering triumvirate of exceptional Motown girl groups. In fact, they’d soon move in an altogether different direction than sassy, finger-snapping R&B-pop, best encapuslated by both the contents and title of their 1968 album Sophisticated Soul, but it’s interesting to see them try this out here all the same.

It’s a good song, and whilst it’s clearly not as good a song as Where Did Our Love Go, it’s almost certainly a better fit for the Marvelettes. They’d almost certainly not have had as much fun, or success, with that one, even if it did end up handing a rival group the initiative forever.

But this is a whole different kettle of, well, fish. There are some great moments to be treasured here, not least that intro, a descending blast of horns leading to bongos and bass behind Gladys’ spoken mission statement:

Look here girls, take this advice, and remember ALWAYS in life…

…feeding into a super verse melody, capped by the repetition of We’ve all got to cry sometime / I said, sigh sometime / Pull yourself together / No use cryin’ forever. Gladys and the girls have never sounded as good as they do here; they’re growing up, and given that this is an advice song aimed at teenage relationships (even quoting the narrator’s mother at one point!) I can’t decide whether that’s especially appropriate or especially ironic. There’s even a great classic girl group rundown with each Marvelette getting their own moment solo on the mic –

I said there’s short ones…
tall ones…
fine ones…
kind ones

– which doesn’t exactly work, or make the record better or anything, but which is fun and humanises the girls so that this male listener isn’t unduly offended when Gladys throws out lines like If the fish isn’t on your line / Bait your hook and keep on tryin’.

The biggest surprise about this, though, is that the band track is so dynamic. A super performance, illuminated by growling, angry horns culminating in another splendid solo Motown sax break, it’s the sort of thing that, in years past, might have threatened to overwhelm the Marvelettes on their own record – it’s no surprise it was later prepped as an instrumental single credited to the band, with the girls’ vocals scraped off – but instead Gladys more than holds her own. All of which means we should appreciate this for what it is, rather than the lost opportunity it supposedly represents; a Supremes’ version of this would probably have been terrible.

I don’t like the tune as well as some of the other Marvelettes tracks we’ve seen, or many of the ones we’ve yet to see, which is the only reason this isn’t going any higher: there’s really nothing wrong with it at all. Probably the best-sounding Marvelettes single to date, certainly the most “grown up”, and – again – excellent.

MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
8/10


=============================================================================================


Next up is #92, and it's from an act we have not heard from yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31bu6GLbyc4

Hymie
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:43 am

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"Heaven Must Have Sent You" by the Elgins checks in at #92 on the countdown. From 1966, it reached the top 10 on the Billboard Soul chart, but only #50 on their Pop chart. The song was written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland, and was an even bigger hit when Bonnie Pointer did it in 1979. We'll see if that version shows up later on the countdown. Popular on the Northern soul scene in the UK, the Elgins record was reissued in by Tamla Motown in 1971, and reached #3 on the UK Singles chart.

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Song #91 is next. From 1965:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSgqO7LIFL8

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mileswide
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by mileswide » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:12 am

Too Many Fish-Heaven, what a double-header! Though I'd be hard-pressed to come up with 91 Motown songs closer to perfection than HMHSY
Until the sky turns green and the grass is several shades of blue...

Hymie
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:20 pm

mileswide wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:12 am
Too Many Fish-Heaven, what a double-header! Though I'd be hard-pressed to come up with 91 Motown songs closer to perfection than HMHSY
Yes, we are getting up to the rarefied atmosphere now!

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:56 pm

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We just heard song #91 on the countdown. A classic ballad from the Tall, Talented, Temptations. It's "Since I Lost My Baby" from 1965. Written by Miracles members Smokey Robinson and Pete Moore and produced by Robinson, the song was a top 20 pop single on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, on which it peaked at number 17. On Billboard's R&B singles chart, "Since I Lost My Baby" peaked at number four.

Longing and melancholy, "Since I Lost My Baby" tells a story about the pain of losing a lover. Temptations lead singer David Ruffin, portrays the song's narrator, bass singer Melvin Franklin is also heard out front after each of Ruffin's first two lines on the first verse. It was Ruffin's third straight lead on a Temptations single.

MOTOWN JUNKIES Review:

The Temptations: “Since I Lost My Baby”
Gordy G 7043 (A), June 1965


“It’s hard not to get carried away,” I said last time we met the Temptations, “…to fall into a routine of rhapsody greeting each and every new side.”

But these are the Temptations, and when they’re serving up a fourth straight magnificent single – one of the most astonishing runs any Motown act has yet strung together – well, what else is a boy to do?

Smokey Robinson, by now firmly in charge of the Temptations’ musical development despite increasingly loud competition from within the compnay, was Motown’s most adept recycler. It wasn’t uncommon for Smokey to revise his old songs – refine concepts that didn’t quite work, spin and twist them into new and improved shapes, show everyone what he now realised he should have done the first time, and what he’d have done differently, given a chance at a do-over.

His work with the Temptations – or at least, as we meet them here – is different. Rather than trying to improve on the last record, Smokey had set the bar so impossibly high with My Girl – one of the most perfectly-crafted of all Motown singles – that the challenge with the Temptations was to recapture some of that same magic, while simultaneously being seen to break new ground.

He’d managed it well enough with It’s Growing alright – but as attempts to re-bottle lightning go, Since I Lost My Baby is on a whole different level. Here, Smokey takes on so many of the familiar tropes from My Girl, both musical and lyrical, and turns them on their head, turns them against each other. Not for the first time, we’re left with what I’ve previously called a “mirror sequel”; this, effectively, is My Girl: The Sad Version.

Let’s start with the negatives, as the record itself does: the intro to Since I Lost My Baby is a clunker, its heavy, stabbing scraped strings crashing, gracelessly, into the track and threatening to bowl over another beautifully understated Robert White guitar part. Throughout the track, the strings are out of control, fighting both with the Tempts and with the tune itself for supremacy, to the point where I’d love to hear a mix of this with the strings stripped off altogether. So many excellent Motown singles rely on a well-judged contribution from string section as the icing on the cake, the thing which pushes them over the top to greatness, but – other than a couple of brief moments at the very end when they play a very pretty ascending flourish, complementing the vocals rather than competing with them – the strings are the absolute worst thing about this one.

The Temptations' magnificent third album, 'The Temptin' Temptations', with this song proudly emblazoned across the cover in big letters.

But that’s literally the only thing where I can find fault with this record; everything else about it is gold. Turning the base ingredients of My Girl into a melancholy, moping breakup song is a bold move, but Smokey knew what he was doing, his complex recipe as sound as ever. Perhaps taking a cue from the Holland-Dozier-Holland team’s recent work with the Supremes (where the dichotomy between the upbeat pop paradise of the music and the plunging despair of the lyrics was played up to great effect), here Smokey marries one of the most gorgeous, lounging, sun-kissed tunes he’s ever written with what must surely be one of the most depressing mainstream Motown lyrics of all time.

Like My Girl, this song is full of weather; just as in My Girl, the narrator is impervious to the forces of nature, the outside world unable to break the spell his girl has cast. But here, the theme is no longer the walking-on-air superconfidence of My Girl, but rather an impenetrable, all-consuming dolour that renders him unable to enjoy anything that’s going on around him, almost verging on the suicidal. On daytime radio.

That’s some achievement, right there.

What stops it becoming unbelievably miserable is the constant reminders that things really aren’t as bad as they seem, which is done in such a way that… Well, it’s just very clever indeed.

Some of it is lyrical. David Ruffin, in another wonderful lead vocal performance, begins the song playing a man who’s almost determined not to take this well; drowning in self-pity, moping and mooching, he nonetheless spends much of the song listing all the great things that are going on around him (the very first line is Sun is shining, there’s plenty of light), in an attempt to underline just how depressed he is. But you can’t keep insisting “the world is a beautiful place, but it can’t cheer me up!” forever, and by the middle of the song, the exercise has helped him (briefly) put his romantic problems in perspective, resulting in him rousing himself, talking about how he’s going to fix this mess, getting up from his bed to sing from the balcony. Even after he climbs back under the duvet to insist that “Determination is fading fast / Inspiration is a thing of the past”, we know he hasn’t really given up. You can’t sing “Can’t see how my hope’s gonna last” if you’ve already lost all hope; and where there’s hope, the light at the end of the tunnel beckons.

Some of it is musical, a stunning multi-part harmony to rival the one from My Girl giving this an air of magnificence. No matter how depressed you might be, when all five Temptations chime in unison on the chorus, with absolutely breathtaking timing, well, your heart couldn’t fail to be warmed by it. But the super-tight harmonies play another role here, too.

In Britain, this song was featured on a four-track EP with picture sleeve.Strangely, if this was a solo record, things might get too heavy, but the Temptations – still, at this point, a tight-knit gang of surrogate brothers – harmonise so beautifully that Ruffin’s narrator never comes across as completely alone; we know he’s got his mates to look after him (Melvin Franklin chimes in within a few bars of the start, providing another impossibly resonant bass vocal – Oh, yeah – in call-and-response style), and so when he explicitly calls for help in the middle eight, well, we’re not as worried for him as we might have been; we know that help is on its way.

Oh, the middle eight. Zounds. A(nother) reminder that we’re dealing with a Smokey Robinson lyric, four Temptations trading lines with David, as a chant builds like a towering wave before finally crashing down into a gorgeous harmony bed for David to freestyle his exclamation.

Next time I’ll be kinder…
Won’t you please help me find her?
Someone just remind her
Of this love she left behind her
Til I find her, I’ll be trying her
Every day I’m more inclined to
Find her
Inclined to
Find her
Inclined to find my baby!
(Been lookin’ everywhere!)
Baby
(Baby! I really, really care!)

It’s magnificent.

By this point, Motown must have seemed intimidating to their competitors; to have unearthed so many great acts, written so many great songs, and now to pull off something like this, perhaps the most ambitious thing the label had yet turned its hand to, it’s positively unfair. You almost get the feeling they threw in that ghastly string part, the only thing that stops this one joining the ranks of the 10/10 club, just to make everyone else feel better.

But final credit has to go to the Temptations themselves, who cover themselves in glory here. This is the sound of a group absolutely on top of their game; the true follow-up to My Girl, and – unexpectedly – very nearly as good.

MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
9/10



RANK-BALLOTS-POINTS-TITLE-ARTIST
091 - 05-223 - Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations
092 - 07-221 - Heaven Must Have Sent You - Elgins
093 - 07-221 - Too Many Fish In The Sea - Marvelettes
094 - 06-215 - Brick House - Commodores
095 - 04-215 - Distant Lover - Marvin Gaye
096 - 05-214 - Beechwood 4-5789 - The Marvelettes
097 - 05-212 - Psychedelic Shack - Temptations
098 - 07-210 - Going to a Go-Go - Miracles
099 - 06-210 - It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
100 - 05-207 - You Haven't Done Nothin' - Stevie Wonder
101 - 05-204 - When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes - Supremes
102 - 04-203 - Strange I Know - Marvelettes
103 - 06-200 - Someday We'll Be Together - Supremes
104 - 03-196 - Envious - Linda Griner
105 - 06-194 - Pastime Paradise - Stevie Wonder
106 - 05-191 - Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye
107 - 04-191 - I'll Try Something New - Miracles
108 - 04-190 - What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
109 - 06-189 - Mickey's Monkey - Miracles
110 - 06-189 - Pride And Joy - Marvin Gaye
111 - 05-187 - The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage - Miracles
112 - 05-186 - It's A Shame - Spinners
113 - 05-185 - The Bells - Originals
114 - 06-184 - I Want You - Marvin Gaye
115 - 07-180 - He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' - Velvelettes
116 - 04-180 - Forever - Marvelettes
117 - 05-169 - Love Child - Supremes
118 - 04-168 - Funny - Contours
119 - 06-165 - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
120 - 05-161 - Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes
121 - 04-161 - Way Over There - Miracles
122 - 03-161 - Who's Lovin' You - Jackson 5
123 - 04-157 - Stubborn Kind of Fellow - Marvin Gaye
124 - 06-156 - Standing In The Shadows of Love - Four Tops
125 - 04-156 - Walk Away Renee - Four Tops
126 - 05-155 - Easy- Commodores
127 - 05-155 - Don't Look Back - Temptations
128 - 03-154 - Function at the Junction - Shorty Long
129 - 05-149 - If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight & Pips
130 - 05-147 - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
131 - 04-142 - Playboy - Marvelettes
132 - 04-142 - You'll Lose A Precious Love - Temptations
133 - 04-142 - Master Blaster (Jammin’) - Stevie Wonder
134 - 05-139 - You're A Wonderful One - Marvin Gaye
135 - 04-139 - Friendship Train - Gladys Knight & Pips
136 - 04-136 - I Hear A Symphony - Supremes
137 - 03-136 - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - Marvelettes
138 - 03-135 - Paradise - Temptations
139 - 05-134 - (I'm A) Road Runner - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
140 - 05-131 - Quicksand - Martha & The Vandellas
141 - 03-131 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Supremes and Temptations
142 - 03-131 - Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) - Stevie Wonder
143 - 02-130 - You’re My Desire – Equadors
144 - 02-128 - Walk Away From Love - David Ruffin
145 - 02-125 - A Favor For a Girl - Brenda Holloway
146 - 03-124 - I'll Turn To Stone - Four Tops
147 - 03-124 - Hello - Lionel Richie
148 - 04-123 - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
149 - 03-123 - Would I Love You - Miracles
150 - 04-119 - Seven Rooms of Gloom - Four Tops
151 - 03-117 - A Fork In The Road - Miracles
152 - 05-115 - You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
153 - 04-115 - I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder
154 - 03-114 - Reflections - Supremes
155 - 02-114 - Square Biz - Teena Marie
156 - 04-113 - Two Lovers - Mary Wells
157 - 03-111 - The Only One I Love - Miracles
=============================================================================================


Time now for song #90. Go Stevie, Go Stevie, Go Stevie!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBFXXDuTP4o

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:53 pm

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Song #90 is "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder, from 1976. It's the second of 4 songs to make the countdown from the "Songs In The Key of Life" album. Written and produced by Wonder, the song focuses on his childhood from the 1950s into the early 1960s. The single hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and soul singles chart.


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Song #89 was in the top 10 on my ballot. Here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PU1PEA8S6M

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:58 pm

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Song #89 is the Temptations classic from 1966, "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep." Written by Norman Whitfield and Eddie Holland, and produced by Whitfield, the song was a number three pop hit and a number one R&B hit in the United States. It was also a hit in the United Kingdom, making it to #18 on the UK Singles Chart in late 1966. The song never appeared on a regular Temptations studio LP, but was featured on the group's 1966 first Greatest Hits album.

Norman Whitfield recorded the song's instrumental track in 1964, two years before he got together with Eddie Holland to have lyrics written for the song. Several artists recorded "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" before the Temptations, including David Ruffin's older brother Jimmy Ruffin, and The Miracles, who were actually the first to record it in 1964, but their version was not released as a single. It was later included on their 1966 Away We a Go-Go album. Here is the first version of the song:


Song #88 is up now. I'm surprised by how many people I know who really dislike this record. But I am not one of them. This was #3 on my ballot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORQn9eRbpac

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:47 am

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Song #88 is "Get Ready" by Rare Earth. It is the only song in the top 100 by a White artist. The song "Get Ready" was originally done by the Temptations in 1966. It was written by Smokey Robinson. The Rare Earth record did reach #20 on the Billboard Black chart, and also peaked at #4 on their Pop chart. Rare Earth was the first big hit-making act signed by Motown that consisted only of white members. Motown actually named their Rare Earth label after the band. The main personnel in the group were Gil Bridges, saxophone, flute, vocals; Peter Hoorelbeke (aka Peter Rivera), lead vocals, drums; John Parrish (aka John Persh), bass guitar, trombone, vocals; Rod Richards (born Rod Cox), guitar, vocals; and Kenny James (born Ken Folcik), keyboards. The group's recording style was hard-driving. In late 1969 Edward "Eddie" Guzman (congas and assorted percussive instruments) was added to the group.


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Song #87 is next. It is the oldest record to appear on the countdown so far.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snjNxr1QDR4

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:28 pm

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Song #87 is the oldest record on the list. "Bad Girl" by the Miracles was the first record on the Motown label, from around May of 1959. It was the leased to Chess and was reviewed in Billboard as a new release on Chess in July 1959. There was a also a big ad in Billboard a bit earlier in July. A mint original copy of the Motown 45 goes for upwards of $500 these days.

Although The Miracles had charted regionally and on the R&B charts with several earlier songs, including "Got a Job", "I Cry", "I Need a Change", and "(You Can) Depend on Me", "Bad Girl" was their first national chart hit, reaching #93 on the Billboard Hot 100. Written by Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson and Motown Records' President and Founder Berry Gordy, "Bad Girl" is a sad, remorseful ballad about a young woman, whom Robinson, as the narrator, says "was so good at the start", but who later in the song "is breaking my heart". It is in the popular doo-wop style, as several of The Miracles' songs were during the late 1950s. The record's success, coupled with the distributor's failure to pay Gordy and The Miracles properly for its sales, prompted Robinson to urge Gordy to "go national" with it, meaning that Motown should do its own national distribution of its songs, and eliminate the middleman, to ensure that all money from sales of its records would go directly to the label.

On the Motown/Universal DVD Smokey Robinson and The Miracles: The Definitive Performances 1963-1987, Robinson and fellow Miracles Bobby Rogers and Pete Moore commented that the song's success allowed the group to tour nationally for the first time, and to play New York's legendary Apollo Theatre during the Ray Charles Show. The group was not ready for the appearance: it lacked performance experience and failed to produce professional big band arrangements to the satisfaction of theatre manager Honi Coles. Ray Charles intervened, took the group under his wing, and, with his band, created arrangements for their songs. Charles was one of the first to help them on their climb to eventual success.


RANK-BALLOTS-POINTS-TITLE-ARTIST
087 - 04-229 - Bad Girl - Miracles
088 - 04-226 - Get Ready - Rare Earth
089 - 07-225 - Beauty Is Only Skin Deep - Temptations
090 - 06-224 - I Wish - Stevie Wonder
091 - 05-223 - Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations
092 - 07-221 - Heaven Must Have Sent You - Elgins
093 - 07-221 - Too Many Fish In The Sea - Marvelettes
094 - 06-215 - Brick House - Commodores
095 - 04-215 - Distant Lover - Marvin Gaye
096 - 05-214 - Beechwood 4-5789 - The Marvelettes
097 - 05-212 - Psychedelic Shack - Temptations
098 - 07-210 - Going to a Go-Go - Miracles
099 - 06-210 - It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
100 - 05-207 - You Haven't Done Nothin' - Stevie Wonder
101 - 05-204 - When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes - Supremes
102 - 04-203 - Strange I Know - Marvelettes
103 - 06-200 - Someday We'll Be Together - Supremes
104 - 03-196 - Envious - Linda Griner
105 - 06-194 - Pastime Paradise - Stevie Wonder
106 - 05-191 - Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye
107 - 04-191 - I'll Try Something New - Miracles
108 - 04-190 - What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
109 - 06-189 - Mickey's Monkey - Miracles
110 - 06-189 - Pride And Joy - Marvin Gaye
111 - 05-187 - The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage - Miracles
112 - 05-186 - It's A Shame - Spinners
113 - 05-185 - The Bells - Originals
114 - 06-184 - I Want You - Marvin Gaye
115 - 07-180 - He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' - Velvelettes
116 - 04-180 - Forever - Marvelettes
117 - 05-169 - Love Child - Supremes
118 - 04-168 - Funny - Contours
119 - 06-165 - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
120 - 05-161 - Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes
121 - 04-161 - Way Over There - Miracles
122 - 03-161 - Who's Lovin' You - Jackson 5
123 - 04-157 - Stubborn Kind of Fellow - Marvin Gaye
124 - 06-156 - Standing In The Shadows of Love - Four Tops
125 - 04-156 - Walk Away Renee - Four Tops
126 - 05-155 - Easy- Commodores
127 - 05-155 - Don't Look Back - Temptations
128 - 03-154 - Function at the Junction - Shorty Long
129 - 05-149 - If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight & Pips
130 - 05-147 - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
131 - 04-142 - Playboy - Marvelettes
132 - 04-142 - You'll Lose A Precious Love - Temptations
133 - 04-142 - Master Blaster (Jammin’) - Stevie Wonder
134 - 05-139 - You're A Wonderful One - Marvin Gaye
135 - 04-139 - Friendship Train - Gladys Knight & Pips
136 - 04-136 - I Hear A Symphony - Supremes
137 - 03-136 - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - Marvelettes
138 - 03-135 - Paradise - Temptations
139 - 05-134 - (I'm A) Road Runner - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
140 - 05-131 - Quicksand - Martha & The Vandellas
141 - 03-131 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Supremes and Temptations
142 - 03-131 - Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) - Stevie Wonder
143 - 02-130 - You’re My Desire – Equadors
144 - 02-128 - Walk Away From Love - David Ruffin
145 - 02-125 - A Favor For a Girl - Brenda Holloway
146 - 03-124 - I'll Turn To Stone - Four Tops
147 - 03-124 - Hello - Lionel Richie
148 - 04-123 - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
149 - 03-123 - Would I Love You - Miracles
150 - 04-119 - Seven Rooms of Gloom - Four Tops
151 - 03-117 - A Fork In The Road - Miracles
152 - 05-115 - You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
153 - 04-115 - I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder
154 - 03-114 - Reflections - Supremes
155 - 02-114 - Square Biz - Teena Marie
156 - 04-113 - Two Lovers - Mary Wells
157 - 03-111 - The Only One I Love - Miracles
===========================================================================


Song #86 is up now. It's the first song on the countdown that was listed on 8 or more ballots. Get your thumbs out!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmClweWITZQ

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:32 pm

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Song #86 is "Hitch Hike" By Marvin Gaye in 1962. This one reached #12 on the Billboard R&B chart and peaked at #30 Pop, as Marvin was headed towards the mainstream. Another song Gaye co-wrote (this time with Clarence Paul and William "Mickey" Stevenson), this time instead of confessing to being stubborn, the singer is now hitchhiking on the look out for his girl, whom he feels has run so far that he has to travel "around the world" thinking of places she could have found herself at including St. Louis, "Chicago City Limits" and "L.A."

Again, like "Stubborn", Martha and the Vandellas accompanied Gaye on this song. Artists including The Sonics, The Rolling Stones, The Mothers of Invention and Alice Cooper recorded versions of this song during their early years. The Velvet Underground's song "There She Goes Again" is based on "Hitch Hike", as is the guitar intro to The Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" (Johnny Marr specifically credits The Rolling Stones' version as the inspiration). Another song which is likely based on "Hitch Hike" is "You Can't Do That" by The Beatles, especially the use of cowbell and congas and the pronounced stops at the end of each verse.

The MOTOWN JUNKIES review is incredibly brief, for him :-)

Marvin Gaye: “Hitch Hike”
Tamla T 54075 (A), December 1962


Marvin Gaye had had a breakthrough (in more ways than one) with his previous single, the immortal Stubborn Kind Of Fellow, which had both landed Gaye on the charts (#46 pop and the R&B Top Ten) and pushed him firmly away from the jazz-club crooning of his dreams and into the R&B sphere. The die was cast; Marvin’s path was clear, and it only remained for him to try and capitalise on his own success with another hit record. No pressure, then.

For the follow-up, Marvin again co-wrote the song, along with his producer Mickey Stevenson and another Motown producer, Clarence Paul. It’s in a similar bag to Stubborn Kind Of Fellow, Marvin again turning to Martha Reeves and the Vandellas to perform backing vocals, with a similar tempo, driving beat and some more jazz flute courtesy of Thomas “Beans” Bowles; but Hitch Hike is rougher and tougher than its predecessor, more raw and less enduring.

It did its job commercially; this was Marvin Gaye’s first Top 30 pop hit, and it played an important role in his transformation into an R&B star by giving him something to dance to on stage. A whole signature “hitch hike” dance routine was developed to go along with the song (Marvin taking his cues dance-wise from Chubby Checker’s contemporary hit Popeye (The Hitchhiker), according to the liner notes to The Complete Motown Singles: Volume 2), a significant step forward for the live presence of a man who felt “shaking his ass” was undignified, beneath him, an affront to his artistic integrity. But it’s also Marvin’s least interesting single to date.

I don’t mean “worst” – no, it’s actually very good, the stabbing horn attacks, the Vandellas’ shrill interjections, Beans’ flute solo bit, the way the band fills the white space in the song to keep it chugging along without a pause, the verse-ending sort-of-chorus (Marvin almost screaming himself hoarse, I’ve got to find that girl / If I have to hitch hike round the world!), they’re all great.

No, I just mean that this is the first Marvin Gaye single about which I can’t write thousands of words explaining where it fits in with Marvin’s musical development, the first one that doesn’t really advance us – musically – any further along the path to What’s Going On. The lyrics, some forgettable fluff about Marvin hitch-hiking his way across the country chasing some girl (we never find out why she’s worth the trouble, or indeed anything about her at all), were apparently tossed off as a last-minute thing after the band track was already cut, and it shows. Marvin’s performance, whilst still raw-throated and unrefined, is a definite step backward from Stubborn Kind Of Fellow. Ultimately, I think it suffers because it’s just not as good a song, or a record, as its predecessor; playing the two back to back, regardless of the order, it’s Stubborn… you’ll be singing afterwards.

Still, it’s fun enough on its own merits – there’s plenty to enjoy here – and it certainly did its job. I’d just be surprised if this was anyone’s favourite Marvin Gaye record.

MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
6/10


In Britain, Stateside Records featured this as one of the four selections on the multi-artist 'R&B Chartmakers' EP.

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Song #85 is up now. Marvin Gaye again, but a VASTLY different sound from 15 years later.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ayyy-03ITDg

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:07 am

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Song #85 is "Got To Give It Up" by Marvin Gaye, from 1977. This was a big favorite of a good friend of mine, the late George Lavatelli. The record was HUGE, staying at #1 on the Billboard Black chart for 5 weeks and also hitting #1 on their Pop chart, The Hot 100. Written by Gaye and produced by Art Stewart as a response to a request from Gaye's record label that he perform disco music, it was released in March of 1977.

Throughout 1976, Marvin Gaye's popularity was still at a high in America and abroad, but the singer struggled throughout the year due to pending lawsuits from former bandmates. Divorce court proceedings between Gaye and first wife Anna Gordy had put a strain on him. Financial difficulties almost led to imprisonment for the singer when Gordy accused him of failing to pay child support payments for their only child, son Marvin Pentz Gaye III.

To relieve Gaye from his debt, his European concert promoter Jeffrey Kruger booked the singer on a lengthy European tour. Gaye began the tour in the United Kingdom where he had a strong fan base dating back to his early career in the 1960s, making his first stop in the country since 1964. His performances there were given rave reviews. One of the shows, filmed at London's Palladium, was recorded for a live album, later released as Live at the London Palladium, in the spring of 1977. Around the same time, Gaye's label Motown tried to get the artist to record in the current sound of the times, disco music. Gaye criticized the music, claiming it lacked substance and vowed against recording in the genre. His label mate Diana Ross had recorded her first disco song, "Love Hangover". The song's producer Hal Davis debated over giving that song to either Ross or Gaye. After working over the song, he went with Ross, and it became her fourth solo number one hit. Motown struggled to get Gaye in the studio as Gaye focused on work on an album (which would later be released as Here, My Dear, dedicated to Gaye's troubled first marriage). After months of holding off from recording anything resembling disco, the singer set upon writing a song parodying a disco setting.

The first recording session for "Got to Give It Up", originally titled "Dancing Lady", was on December 13, 1976. Influenced by the Johnnie Taylor hit, "Disco Lady", Gaye was inspired to create his answer song to Taylor's hit. To help set up a "disco" atmosphere, Gaye hired Motown producer and engineer Art Stewart to oversee the song's production. Gaye and Stewart brought in several musicians and Gaye's friends, his brother Frankie and girlfriend Janis Hunter, to Gaye's recording studio complex, Marvin's Room. From December 14 to 17, 1976, Gaye performed the lead vocal track, instrumentation (which included Gaye, Fernando Harkness, Johnny McGhee, Frankie Beverly and Bugsy Wilcox and Funk Brother member Jack Ashford) and background vocals. In the song, Gaye added background vocals from his brother and his girlfriend. During the second half of the song, the song introduces vocal layered doo-wop styled scatting from Gaye and produced a funk-influenced vamp. Fernando Harkness performs a tenor saxophone solo in the second half of the song.

Gaye recorded his vocals on the first date of sessions, adding instrumentation on the following day, and then adding other effects in the latter two days, mixing it by January 1977. Influenced by the vocal chatter on his previous hit, "What's Going On", Gaye decided to create a party scene outside the recording studio where different voices are heard either greeting each other or partying. Gaye is also heard on the track greeting people and laughing while mingling in with the crowd. During the bridge, Gaye is heard yelling, "Say Don! Hey man, I didn't know you was in here!" The "Don" was later confirmed as Soul Train host Don Cornelius, who was one of Gaye's close friends. Gaye overlapped the party sounds over and over, making a loop. In the second half of the song, Gaye sings mainly the initial title, "dancing lady" over and over while a saxophone is playing a solo. All the background vocals on the second part of the song were from Gaye himself. Gaye also plays percussion, bass keyboards and RMI synthesisers in the final fade of the song. In the second half, he can be heard playing on a glass bottle halfway filled with grapefruit juice. L.T.D. guitarist Johnny McGhee added guitar. McGhee and Frankie Beverly were the only non-bandmates featured on the song playing instruments. Beverly also added assorted percussion.

The 2013 hit single "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and song co-writer T.I. was the subject of a lawsuit for allegedly copying "Got to Give It Up". Thicke originally told the public both he and Pharrell were in the recording studio and suddenly Thicke told Pharrell "Damn, we should make something like that, something with that groove" and they wrote the song in less than an hour. However, Thicke later claimed this was all a lie and the song was entirely written by Pharrell. Thicke stated "I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio." On March 10, 2015, a federal jury found "Blurred Lines" infringed on "Got to Give It Up" and awarded nearly $7.4 million to Gaye's children. Jurors found against Pharrell and Thicke, but held harmless the record company and T.I. While damages were reduced to $5.3 million, the jury's decision was held up on appeal. As an additional remedy, Gaye was credited as a songwriter for "Blurred Lines". This in turn affected "Weird Al" Yankovic's parody of "Blurred Lines", "Word Crimes", where Gaye also has been added as a songwriter.

Judge for yourself:



Song #84 is up now. It's from 1971 and comes from an act that we have not heard from yet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GXSHRJYxTQ

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:54 am

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Song #84 is "Smiling Faces Sometimes" by The Undisputed Truth," from 1971. The song was written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield. It was done first by the Temptations with a 12 minute version on the "Sky's The Limit" album. The plan was to edit it into a single for a summer 1971 release, but Eddie Kendricks was leaving the group so that plan was scrapped. Instead they did a very different arrangement of the song with The Undisputed Truth. The record became just as big of a pop chart hit (#3) as it was a soul chart hit (#2).


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We Move down now to song #83. This one is for DEM. It's one of her favorites. This will be bittersweet for her, as she'll be glad that it made the Top 100, but unhappy with it not finishing higher than #83.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-es4Q8AJaU

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:16 pm

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Song #83 is "I Wish It Would Rain" by the Temptations from 1967. The single reached #1 for 3 weeks on the Billboard Soul chart, and it peaked at #4 Pop. The song is one of the most melancholy in the Temptations repertoire, with lead singer David Ruffin delivering, in a pained voice, the story of a heartbroken man who wants to hide his sorrow. His woman has just left him, and he wishes that it would start raining, to hide the tears falling down his face because "a man ain't supposed to cry". Accompanying Ruffin's mourning vocal are the vocals of his bandmates (Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, and Otis Williams) alongside the subdued instrumentation of The Funk Brothers studio band, and, courtesy of Whitfield, sound effects depicting the "sunshine and blue skies", with the sound of chirping seagulls, and the sound of thunder and rain described in the song. Producer Norman Whitfield devised much of the musical structure of the song, with former Motown artist Barrett Strong composing the song's signature piano intro on a piano with only ten working keys. Motown staff writer Rodger Penzabene provided the song's lyrics.

More so than a number of other Motown songs, there is real sentiment and pain behind the song's words. Lyricist Penzabene had just found out his wife was cheating on him with another man. Unable to deal with the pain and unable to stop loving his wife, Penzabene expressed his pain in the lyrics of this song and its follow-up on the Temptations' release schedule, "I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)". The distraught Penzabene committed suicide on New Year's Eve 1967, a week after the single's release.


RANK-BALLOTS-POINTS-TITLE-ARTIST
083 - 06-240 - I Wish It Would Rain - Temptations
084 - 08-238 - Smiling Faces Sometimes – Undisputed Truth
085 - 05-238 - Got To Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
086 - 08-235 - Hitch Hike - Marvin Gaye
087 - 04-229 - Bad Girl - Miracles
088 - 04-226 - Get Ready - Rare Earth
089 - 07-225 - Beauty Is Only Skin Deep - Temptations
090 - 06-224 - I Wish - Stevie Wonder
091 - 05-223 - Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations
092 - 07-221 - Heaven Must Have Sent You - Elgins
093 - 07-221 - Too Many Fish In The Sea - Marvelettes
094 - 06-215 - Brick House - Commodores
095 - 04-215 - Distant Lover - Marvin Gaye
096 - 05-214 - Beechwood 4-5789 - The Marvelettes
097 - 05-212 - Psychedelic Shack - Temptations
098 - 07-210 - Going to a Go-Go - Miracles
099 - 06-210 - It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
100 - 05-207 - You Haven't Done Nothin' - Stevie Wonder
101 - 05-204 - When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes - Supremes
102 - 04-203 - Strange I Know - Marvelettes
103 - 06-200 - Someday We'll Be Together - Supremes
104 - 03-196 - Envious - Linda Griner
105 - 06-194 - Pastime Paradise - Stevie Wonder
106 - 05-191 - Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye
107 - 04-191 - I'll Try Something New - Miracles
108 - 04-190 - What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
109 - 06-189 - Mickey's Monkey - Miracles
110 - 06-189 - Pride And Joy - Marvin Gaye
111 - 05-187 - The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage - Miracles
112 - 05-186 - It's A Shame - Spinners
113 - 05-185 - The Bells - Originals
114 - 06-184 - I Want You - Marvin Gaye
115 - 07-180 - He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' - Velvelettes
116 - 04-180 - Forever - Marvelettes
117 - 05-169 - Love Child - Supremes
118 - 04-168 - Funny - Contours
119 - 06-165 - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
120 - 05-161 - Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes
121 - 04-161 - Way Over There - Miracles
122 - 03-161 - Who's Lovin' You - Jackson 5
123 - 04-157 - Stubborn Kind of Fellow - Marvin Gaye
124 - 06-156 - Standing In The Shadows of Love - Four Tops
125 - 04-156 - Walk Away Renee - Four Tops
126 - 05-155 - Easy- Commodores
127 - 05-155 - Don't Look Back - Temptations
128 - 03-154 - Function at the Junction - Shorty Long
129 - 05-149 - If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight & Pips
130 - 05-147 - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
131 - 04-142 - Playboy - Marvelettes
132 - 04-142 - You'll Lose A Precious Love - Temptations
133 - 04-142 - Master Blaster (Jammin’) - Stevie Wonder
134 - 05-139 - You're A Wonderful One - Marvin Gaye
135 - 04-139 - Friendship Train - Gladys Knight & Pips
136 - 04-136 - I Hear A Symphony - Supremes
137 - 03-136 - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - Marvelettes
138 - 03-135 - Paradise - Temptations
139 - 05-134 - (I'm A) Road Runner - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
140 - 05-131 - Quicksand - Martha & The Vandellas
141 - 03-131 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Supremes and Temptations
142 - 03-131 - Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) - Stevie Wonder
143 - 02-130 - You’re My Desire – Equadors
144 - 02-128 - Walk Away From Love - David Ruffin
145 - 02-125 - A Favor For a Girl - Brenda Holloway
146 - 03-124 - I'll Turn To Stone - Four Tops
147 - 03-124 - Hello - Lionel Richie
148 - 04-123 - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
149 - 03-123 - Would I Love You - Miracles
150 - 04-119 - Seven Rooms of Gloom - Four Tops
151 - 03-117 - A Fork In The Road - Miracles
152 - 05-115 - You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
153 - 04-115 - I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder
154 - 03-114 - Reflections - Supremes
155 - 02-114 - Square Biz - Teena Marie
156 - 04-113 - Two Lovers - Mary Wells
157 - 03-111 - The Only One I Love - Miracles
========================================================================================


Song #82 is up now. We go from a very sad song #83 to a very happy song #82.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLjv0-ec-eU

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:18 pm

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Song #82 is "You're All I Need To Get By" by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, from 1968. This was a MONSTER hit on the Billboard Soul chart, staying at #1 for 5 weeks, while also peaking at #7 Pop. It got to #19 in the UK.

Written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, it became one of the few Motown recordings of the 1960s that was not recorded with the familiar "Motown sound". Instead, "You're All I Need to Get By" had a more soulful and gospel-oriented theme surrounding it, that was influenced by the writers, who also sing background vocals on the recording, sharing vocals in a church choir in New York City. Marvin and Tammi recorded the song at Hitsville. Ashford & Simpson later stated how the session was hard as Terrell was recovering from surgery on the malignant brain tumor that would ultimately cause her death less than three years after they recorded the song.

During moments in the recording, Gaye can be heard encouraging Terrell to sing her verses, ad-libbing come on Tammi several times. A year later, Gaye was performing this song with Stax vocalist Carla Thomas at the Apollo Theater, when Terrell, who was seated in the front row in her wheelchair, began singing along, prompting Gaye to leave the stage and sing the song with Terrell, who was offered a microphone. It would be Terrell's final performance before her death in March 1970. The song was played during Terrell's funeral while Gaye gave a brief, tearful eulogy.


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Song #81 is up now. We head to 1965:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_iTnrXVH38

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:56 am

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We just heard song #80, "I'll Be Doggone" by Marvin Gaye, from 1965. It became his first million-selling record and his first number-one single on the R&B chart, staying there for two weeks, and was the first song Gaye recorded with Smokey Robinson as one of the songwriters of the record. The song was co-written by Robinson's fellow Miracles members Pete Moore and Marv Tarplin.The Miracles also sang background on this recording,along with Motown's long-standing female back-up group, The Andantes,and Miracle Marv Tarplin played lead guitar. "I'll Be Doggone" gave Marvin his third top-ten pop hit, where it peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100.

Our friend at MOTOWN JUNKIES only gives this one a 5/10. Here's the link if you'd like to read his extensive review.
https://motownjunkies.co.uk/2012/11/17/550/

The song was included on the "Moods of Marvin Gaye" album.

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The countdown rolls on. Time to break into the top 80. This is #80.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbYcte4ZEgQ

Hymie
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:27 am

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The #80 song is "I'm Coming Out" from Diana Ross, in 1980. The single went to #5 on the Billboard Pop chart, and was #1 on the Disco chart. The song was written by and produced by Chic members Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, and released in August 22, 1980 as the second single from Ross' self-titled tenth album "Diana." In 1979, Ross commissioned Chic founders Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards to create material for a new album after taking her daughters to see the band in concert, following the success of Ross's final Ashford & Simpson-composed and produced LP, The Boss. Rodgers got the idea for "I'm Coming Out" after noticing three different drag queens dressed as Diana Ross at a New York club called the GG Barnum Room. The lyrics hold an additional meaning to Ross, as she was leaving Motown Records and "coming out" from under Berry Gordy's thumb. According to the BBC4 documentary "How to Make It in the Music Business", Ross loved the record until she put it in front of Frankie Crocker, who pointed out that 'I'm Coming Out' is what homosexuals use to announce their homosexuality; she ran back to the studio in tears and demanded to know why Rodgers wanted to ruin her career.

The distinctive sound of "I'm Coming Out" and its resulting popularity has led to Ross's song often being sampled, most notably by Stevie J, who sampled the song for rapper The Notorious B.I.G.'s 1997 song "Mo Money Mo Problems."



Time to break into the 70s on the countdown. This is song #79:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0lScUClOP0

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:36 pm

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Song #79 is "The Love You Save" by the Jackson 5, from 1970. This was their third Motown single, and it was monstrous, topping the Billboard Soul chart for 6 weeks and also topping the Pop chart for 2 weeks. In the UK it reached #7.

"The Love You Save" features side vocals of Jermaine Jackson singing alongside Michael in the final "Stop! The love you save may be your own", beside Marlon, Tito and Jackie. The song's lyrics feature Michael and Jermaine warning a "fast" girl to slow down and "stop!", because "the love you save may be your own!"

The opening exclamation, "Stop!", and the foot stomps that complement the rhythm during the latter part of the song are allusions to the 1965 number-one Motown single by The Supremes, "Stop! In the Name of Love". The Jackson 5 essentially replaced The Supremes as Motown's main focus in the early 1970s, although Diana Ross, who left the group for a solo career not long before the release of this single, was publicized as having discovered the Jackson 5.

Others claim that Bobby Taylor, who produced the Jackson 5's first album at Motown and was lead singer of Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers, discovered the Jackson 5 and brought them to Berry Gordy's attention. Taylor had shepherded them through their first couple of hits in L.A., but Gordy (according to Taylor) felt the material was too adult given the age of the performers, and like the remainder of the early Jackson 5 hits, "The Love You Save" was written and produced back in Detroit by The Corporation, a team comprising Motown chief Berry Gordy, Freddie Perren, Alphonzo Mizell, and Deke Richards, and recorded in Los Angeles, away from the old Motown studio at Hitsville USA in Detroit, Michigan.

The song references Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell, and Christopher Columbus in about the midpoint of its lyrics:

"Isaac said he kissed you Beneath the apple tree When Benjie held your hand he felt E-lec-tri-ci-tee! When Alexander called you He said he rang your chimes. Christopher discovered You're way ahead of your times."


RANK-BALLOTS-POINTS-TITLE-ARTIST
079 - 06-249 - The Love You Save - Jackson 5
080 - 07-247 - I'm Coming Out - Diane Ross
081 - 06-243 - I'll Be Doggone - Marvin Gaye
082 - 08-240 - You’re All I Need to Get By - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
083 - 06-240 - I Wish It Would Rain - Temptations
084 - 08-238 - Smiling Faces Sometimes – Undisputed Truth
085 - 05-238 - Got To Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
086 - 08-235 - Hitch Hike - Marvin Gaye
087 - 04-229 - Bad Girl - Miracles
088 - 04-226 - Get Ready - Rare Earth
089 - 07-225 - Beauty Is Only Skin Deep - Temptations
090 - 06-224 - I Wish - Stevie Wonder
091 - 05-223 - Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations
092 - 07-221 - Heaven Must Have Sent You - Elgins
093 - 07-221 - Too Many Fish In The Sea - Marvelettes
094 - 06-215 - Brick House - Commodores
095 - 04-215 - Distant Lover - Marvin Gaye
096 - 05-214 - Beechwood 4-5789 - The Marvelettes
097 - 05-212 - Psychedelic Shack - Temptations
098 - 07-210 - Going to a Go-Go - Miracles
099 - 06-210 - It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
100 - 05-207 - You Haven't Done Nothin' - Stevie Wonder
101 - 05-204 - When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes - Supremes
102 - 04-203 - Strange I Know - Marvelettes
103 - 06-200 - Someday We'll Be Together - Supremes
104 - 03-196 - Envious - Linda Griner
105 - 06-194 - Pastime Paradise - Stevie Wonder
106 - 05-191 - Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye
107 - 04-191 - I'll Try Something New - Miracles
108 - 04-190 - What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
109 - 06-189 - Mickey's Monkey - Miracles
110 - 06-189 - Pride And Joy - Marvin Gaye
111 - 05-187 - The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage - Miracles
112 - 05-186 - It's A Shame - Spinners
113 - 05-185 - The Bells - Originals
114 - 06-184 - I Want You - Marvin Gaye
115 - 07-180 - He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' - Velvelettes
116 - 04-180 - Forever - Marvelettes
117 - 05-169 - Love Child - Supremes
118 - 04-168 - Funny - Contours
119 - 06-165 - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
120 - 05-161 - Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes
121 - 04-161 - Way Over There - Miracles
122 - 03-161 - Who's Lovin' You - Jackson 5
123 - 04-157 - Stubborn Kind of Fellow - Marvin Gaye
124 - 06-156 - Standing In The Shadows of Love - Four Tops
125 - 04-156 - Walk Away Renee - Four Tops
126 - 05-155 - Easy- Commodores
127 - 05-155 - Don't Look Back - Temptations
128 - 03-154 - Function at the Junction - Shorty Long
129 - 05-149 - If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight & Pips
130 - 05-147 - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
131 - 04-142 - Playboy - Marvelettes
132 - 04-142 - You'll Lose A Precious Love - Temptations
133 - 04-142 - Master Blaster (Jammin’) - Stevie Wonder
134 - 05-139 - You're A Wonderful One - Marvin Gaye
135 - 04-139 - Friendship Train - Gladys Knight & Pips
136 - 04-136 - I Hear A Symphony - Supremes
137 - 03-136 - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - Marvelettes
138 - 03-135 - Paradise - Temptations
139 - 05-134 - (I'm A) Road Runner - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
140 - 05-131 - Quicksand - Martha & The Vandellas
141 - 03-131 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Supremes and Temptations
142 - 03-131 - Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) - Stevie Wonder
143 - 02-130 - You’re My Desire – Equadors
144 - 02-128 - Walk Away From Love - David Ruffin
145 - 02-125 - A Favor For a Girl - Brenda Holloway
146 - 03-124 - I'll Turn To Stone - Four Tops
147 - 03-124 - Hello - Lionel Richie
148 - 04-123 - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
149 - 03-123 - Would I Love You - Miracles
150 - 04-119 - Seven Rooms of Gloom - Four Tops
151 - 03-117 - A Fork In The Road - Miracles
152 - 05-115 - You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
153 - 04-115 - I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder
154 - 03-114 - Reflections - Supremes
155 - 02-114 - Square Biz - Teena Marie
156 - 04-113 - Two Lovers - Mary Wells
157 - 03-111 - The Only One I Love - Miracles
=========================================================================


Song #78 is up now. It's a love song from 1969:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fjufjv4rH0s

Hymie
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:07 pm

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Okay, song #78 is "My Cherie Amour" by Stevie Wonder, from 1969. Google translate says that it means "My Sweetheart." Yet ironically, MY sweetheart does not like the record! It peaked at #4 on Billboard on both the Soul and Pop chart. The song was originally recorded from late 1967 to early 1968, but not released until early 1969. The song was co-written by Wonder, Sylvia Moy, and Henry Cosby; Cosby also served as producer of the song.

The song, originally entitled "Oh, My Marsha", was composed about Wonder's girlfriend, while he was at the Michigan School for the Blind in Lansing, Michigan. All of the song's instruments (with the exceptions of the horns and the strings) were recorded on November 8, 1967. On November 17, the horns and strings were added at Golden World Records, one year before it was acquired by Motown. Wonder's vocals were added on January 15, 1968, but, the song was not released until January 28, 1969, due to Wonder's vocal issues. Motown placed the track's release on hold until the issues were resolved.


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Song #77 is next. We have not heard from this act since way back at song #124. It's a great performance from perhaps the best lead singer of any Motown group.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITh1Pn8u3u8

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:02 am

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We just heard the #77 song on the countdown, "Ask The Lonely" by the Four Tops, from 1965. Released in 1965, the song rose to number 24 pop and number 9 R&B. It's notable for it being co-written by longtime Motown staffer Mickey Stevenson as most of the group's hits on Motown were written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland. It's also notable for lead singer Levi Stubbs' emotional lead and The Andantes helping the other Tops (Renaldo "Obie" Benson, Lawrence Payton and Abdul "Duke" Fakir) in the background.

Let's see what our friend at MOTOWN JUNKIES has to say about this record.

The Four Tops: “Ask The Lonely”
Motown M 1073 (A), January 1965


(Edited)

This song, very much out of step with everything they’d done to date, was apparently originally intended for Tommy Good, a handsome white boy Motown had tried to astroturf into the big time with a fake grassroots campaign to promote his catchy début single, Baby I Miss You, and launch him as a new hearthrob star. Here's the Tommy Good single:



A vast catalogue of new songs was recorded on Tommy (most of the material surfacing on his recent Motown Collection CD), in the expectation of a long and rewarding career. But it wasn’t to be. Baby I Miss You didn’t sell, and Motown no longer had to be patient in such cases; the label were now in a position where they could literally throw away thousands of dollars’ worth of studio time and cancel any future releases, shoving Tommy out of the door and beckoning the next hopeful from the ever-present crowd.

The band track for Ask The Lonely, a massive torch song complete with overdubs from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s string section, was reposessed before Tommy even got a chance to record any vocals over it (the version credited to him on the Motown Sings Motown Treasures compilation sounds nothing like him, and Tommy himself has said it’s not him). It was given to the first artist on the list with an album to record, which happened to be the Four Tops.

Talk about lucky breaks (except for poor Tommy, of course), as there’s nobody more appropriate that could have picked this up. The curious situation where a group who had been virtually the Holland-Dozier-Holland team’s pet project since arriving at Motown ended up releasing a single written and produced by someone else – a situation which HDH were reportedly none too happy to see unfold – only arose because this was simply too good to be left on the LP. It’s something of a departure for the group, but departure or not, this has “single” written all over it right from the first note.

The Tops’ Motown début, Baby I Need Your Loving, is a magnificent record, and deserved to be an even bigger hit. Their follow-up, Without The One You Love, is a mess, a cackhanded attempt to recapture the magic of their big breakthrough that entirely misses the point. So it’s perhaps not surprising that Motown, looking for a third single to boost sales of the forthcoming LP, went in a slightly different direction, especially when Quality Control had something of this, er, quality jumping out at them from the tape.

As with both the Tops’ previous Motown 45s, this one goes straight in swinging for the fences, opening with a massive, would-be anthemic chorus. Is it a success? Does it genuinely rock you back on your heels like Baby I Need Your Loving, or is it an over-ambitious damp squib like Without The One You Love? Predictably, it’s somewhere in between.

BIG ENOUGH TO GO IT ALONE

For the longest time, I didn’t really care for this, because I didn’t like the song. Oh, I can appreciate it as a good record, just as Quality Control must have done, because it’s buzzing with energy and the care that went into its construction is obvious – it sounds great. The massive strings are a cut above anything we’ve heard so far, not just from the Tops but on any Motown single to date – even the Temptations’ My Girl, with its famous string section hook, didn’t make use of this kind of complete orchestral sound. The Four Tops’ harmonies again blend beautifully with the Andantes, the often-uncredited Motown house backing singers, who appear here in full-on choral opera mode. And, oh, Levi Stubbs, I could listen to you barking out lead vocals like this forever.

But the song they’re singing… I don’t know. Hindsight, so often a curse when writing these things, reminds me the Tops would disappear down a sticky MOR rabbit hole at the end of the Sixties. Oh, they’d do good things with hokey, whitebread material, because there’s always the hint of easy listening lurking under the surface in a lot of the Tops’ Golden Age records – being able to access it just enough without slipping down that slope was one of the things that made them special. When covering, say, It’s All In The Game, or a pop hit from the Left Banke, for instance, those records only work at all because they amplified tendencies that were already there to exploit. Exploit well, too, but the move towards daytime white radio territory came at a price; the underground seam of cheese that the Tops had been so carefully, sensitively mining throughout their careers was suddenly exposed in something approaching an open-cast dairy, and from there it’s too easy to work back and find it in their earlier records. Earlier records like this one.

As a result of all of that – which I freely acknowledge is my fault, not the Tops’ – this song, which sails very close to the wind on that particular score, sets off all kinds of triggers which I associate with (for instance) Marvin Gaye’s series of show tune LPs, or Diana Ross and the Supremes sing Funny Girl, or Tony Martin. A bid to be “classy”, grown-up, respectable, establishment, something I instinctively react against whenever I hear it. You could call it a kind of snobbery on my part, I suppose; it’s the one time when my usual broad church approach, my “what’s good is good no matter who made it” philosophy, my dislike for the tyranny of genres, slips a bit.

Five things I now love about Ask The Lonely which originally washed over me because I couldn’t get over the MOR alarms going off in my head. In no particular order:

Levi Stubbs approaches this record like a turbocharged Billy Eckstine, which turns out to be the best possible tack he could take (indeed, it’s no surprise to find out Mr B himself cut a version of this, which we’ll be meeting in a few years’ time). He always provides value for money, does Levi, but he’s spectacularly good here, recognising the song’s inherently hokey nature (of which more in a moment) and adapting to it in sublime fashion, an almost exactly 50/50 mix of the crooner’s art and the soulster’s power and emotional pain.
The song is actually a brilliant marriage of two different songs, spliced together by its writers in the most remarkable fashion – the gritty drive of the verses, underpinned by guitar and drums bubbling over with confidence, a ticking time signature that somehow encourages finger-clicking, and the soaring 50,000 megawatt tea dance of that chorus, the Andantes bouncing right up to the very top of their range to soften out the sound. The chorus doesn’t belong here, and yet it’s been grafted on with such exquisite skill that I didn’t notice until about the 20th run-through.
Those backing vocals are incredible. I’m not talking about the operatic soprano when the chorus gets to “Lonely!”, which is the song’s most notable feature on first listens, and which could shatter glass, and which therefore naturally draws the listener’s focus. No, I mean the backing vocals in the verses, which have a beautiful, angelic quality to go with the beautiful, unexpected melody; the Tops and the Andantes’ voices alternately blending and then taking harmony lines alone, now just the boys, now just the girls, it’s wonderful. Levi even leaves the girls to get on with it for an entire verse just past halfway (at 1:49), and it’s like a tiny oasis of calm among a raging storm of massive orchestration, quite beautifully judged.
I don’t just mean musically, either – I mean conceptually, too. Levi, worried he’s not getting his point across effectively, keeps telling us, the listener, to “ask the lonely” – essentially, “if you don’t believe me, ask someone else who’s been hurt” – and that lovely Andantes vocal break comes after he sing-shouts “They’ll tell you!”, followed by twenty seconds of ghostly, sweeping harmonies. Effectively, the Andantes are playing the part of the “lonely”, a wordless representation of everyone who’s ever had their heart broken, everyone who’s pining for someone they can’t have, everyone who feels Levi’s pain. The narrator, just as he did in Baby I Need Your Loving, calls on unworldly powers to help him make his point, in this case a corporeal cloud of sorrow, the sighs of the lovelorn gathered together and made real. Quite a trick, that.
And isn’t this just a beautiful song generally? The structure of the record puts Levi’s narrator in a difficult place which I originally took to be self-pity (and I wasn’t entirely wrong), and it’s definitely a song of pain, but pain expressed through fraternal advice bleeding into self-pity. “Don’t make the same mistakes I did”, Levi advises us, starting off broad and general, trying to help, but quickly it becomes more about him than us. And yet he manages to pull it off, selling grandiose lines in a grandiose setting without coming over as unsympathetic. Of all Motown’s big-ticket acts, it’s literally only the Four Tops who could have made this work – I can imagine some horrific covers of this song. But thanks to Levi, we feel his pain, and the pain of all those wounded souls he’s brought along to underline it. Again, quite an achievement.
AND SPEAKING OF ACHIEVEMENTS

This has gone from being one of my least favourite Four Tops singles to something I can’t stop listening to, which is no mean feat. It’s actually held up the progress of the blog, because I’ve not been able to move on. But it gets better each time I listen to it. (It’s also reminded me of a fundamental rule I should really have learned by now, which is never to underestimate the Four Tops. Perhaps when I get to their 1969 cuts, I’ll find similar things to love there too.)

But this. This is lovely. If I still don’t entirely trust that massive, sweeping chorus, it’s a record that’s nonetheless been creeping up and up and up in my estimation, to the point where I thought I’d better finish writing this before the song barged its way any further up the scale.

MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
8/10



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Song #76 is next, as we will be one quarter through the top 100. Bill Clinton has named this one as his all time favorite record.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3qi3E40aWE

Hymie
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Posts: 1893
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:18 am

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The #76 song is "For Once In My Life" by Stevie Wonder from 1968. Stevie's record reached #2 on both the Soul chart and the Pop chart on Billboard. It was written by Ron Miller and Orlando Murden for Motown Records' Stein & Van Stock publishing company, and first recorded in 1965. It was written and first recorded as a slow ballad. There are differing accounts of its earliest versions, although it seems that it was first recorded by Connie Haines, but first released in 1966 by Jean DuShon. Other early versions of the ballad were issued by The Four Tops, The Temptations, Diana Ross and Tony Bennett, whose recording was the first to reach the pop charts. Here is the Connie Haines. It went unissued for like 50 years but is available now.


Song #75 is up now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ4eRsEjIFY

Hymie
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:15 pm

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"Bernadette" by the Four Tops kicks off our top 75. This one is from 1967, and is much beloved among a certain crowd. To me it's good (6/10), but I like the flip side (I Got A Feeling) better. It reached #3 on the Billboard Soul chart and #4 Pop. It was also top 10 in the UK, peaking at #8.

The song was written and composed by Holland–Dozier–Holland, Motown's main songwriting team, and produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier. The song is notable for its false ending, where the instruments drop out and the background singers hold a chord. Lead singer Levi Stubbs then shouts "Bernadette!" and the song resumes, ending in a fade-out. Critic Maury Dean described the effectiveness of Stubbs' shout of "Bernadette!" as being the key ingredient in getting listeners to buy the record, even if Bernadette herself may not have heard him. AllMusic critic John Bush calls it "dramatic" and "impassioned."


RANK-BALLOTS-POINTS-TITLE-ARTIST
075 - 07-266 - Bernadette - Four Tops
076 - 06-263 - For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder
077 - 09-260 - Ask The Lonely - Four Tops
078 - 06-253 - My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder
079 - 06-249 - The Love You Save - Jackson 5
080 - 07-247 - I'm Coming Out - Diane Ross
081 - 06-243 - I'll Be Doggone - Marvin Gaye
082 - 08-240 - You’re All I Need to Get By - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
083 - 06-240 - I Wish It Would Rain - Temptations
084 - 08-238 - Smiling Faces Sometimes – Undisputed Truth
085 - 05-238 - Got To Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
086 - 08-235 - Hitch Hike - Marvin Gaye
087 - 04-229 - Bad Girl - Miracles
088 - 04-226 - Get Ready - Rare Earth
089 - 07-225 - Beauty Is Only Skin Deep - Temptations
090 - 06-224 - I Wish - Stevie Wonder
091 - 05-223 - Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations
092 - 07-221 - Heaven Must Have Sent You - Elgins
093 - 07-221 - Too Many Fish In The Sea - Marvelettes
094 - 06-215 - Brick House - Commodores
095 - 04-215 - Distant Lover - Marvin Gaye
096 - 05-214 - Beechwood 4-5789 - The Marvelettes
097 - 05-212 - Psychedelic Shack - Temptations
098 - 07-210 - Going to a Go-Go - Miracles
099 - 06-210 - It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
100 - 05-207 - You Haven't Done Nothin' - Stevie Wonder
101 - 05-204 - When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes - Supremes
102 - 04-203 - Strange I Know - Marvelettes
103 - 06-200 - Someday We'll Be Together - Supremes
104 - 03-196 - Envious - Linda Griner
105 - 06-194 - Pastime Paradise - Stevie Wonder
106 - 05-191 - Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye
107 - 04-191 - I'll Try Something New - Miracles
108 - 04-190 - What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
109 - 06-189 - Mickey's Monkey - Miracles
110 - 06-189 - Pride And Joy - Marvin Gaye
111 - 05-187 - The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage - Miracles
112 - 05-186 - It's A Shame - Spinners
113 - 05-185 - The Bells - Originals
114 - 06-184 - I Want You - Marvin Gaye
115 - 07-180 - He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' - Velvelettes
116 - 04-180 - Forever - Marvelettes
117 - 05-169 - Love Child - Supremes
118 - 04-168 - Funny - Contours
119 - 06-165 - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
120 - 05-161 - Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes
121 - 04-161 - Way Over There - Miracles
122 - 03-161 - Who's Lovin' You - Jackson 5
123 - 04-157 - Stubborn Kind of Fellow - Marvin Gaye
124 - 06-156 - Standing In The Shadows of Love - Four Tops
125 - 04-156 - Walk Away Renee - Four Tops
126 - 05-155 - Easy- Commodores
127 - 05-155 - Don't Look Back - Temptations
128 - 03-154 - Function at the Junction - Shorty Long
129 - 05-149 - If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight & Pips
130 - 05-147 - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
131 - 04-142 - Playboy - Marvelettes
132 - 04-142 - You'll Lose A Precious Love - Temptations
133 - 04-142 - Master Blaster (Jammin’) - Stevie Wonder
134 - 05-139 - You're A Wonderful One - Marvin Gaye
135 - 04-139 - Friendship Train - Gladys Knight & Pips
136 - 04-136 - I Hear A Symphony - Supremes
137 - 03-136 - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - Marvelettes
138 - 03-135 - Paradise - Temptations
139 - 05-134 - (I'm A) Road Runner - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
140 - 05-131 - Quicksand - Martha & The Vandellas
141 - 03-131 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Supremes and Temptations
142 - 03-131 - Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) - Stevie Wonder
143 - 02-130 - You’re My Desire – Equadors
144 - 02-128 - Walk Away From Love - David Ruffin
145 - 02-125 - A Favor For a Girl - Brenda Holloway
146 - 03-124 - I'll Turn To Stone - Four Tops
147 - 03-124 - Hello - Lionel Richie
148 - 04-123 - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
149 - 03-123 - Would I Love You - Miracles
150 - 04-119 - Seven Rooms of Gloom - Four Tops
151 - 03-117 - A Fork In The Road - Miracles
152 - 05-115 - You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
153 - 04-115 - I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder
154 - 03-114 - Reflections - Supremes
155 - 02-114 - Square Biz - Teena Marie
156 - 04-113 - Two Lovers - Mary Wells
157 - 03-111 - The Only One I Love - Miracles
====================================================================================


The countdown rolls on. We stay in 1967 for song #74.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obvSFWvgBhg

Hymie
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Posts: 1893
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:37 pm

Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:15 pm

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Song #74 is "Jimmy Mack" from Martha and the Vandellas. A very different recording of the song was issued on the "WATCHOUT" album in 1966. The single reached #1 on the Billboard Soul chart, and peaked at #10 on the Pop chart. Written and produced by Motown's main creative team, Holland–Dozier–Holland, Billboard named the song #82 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.

The song, with a lead vocal by the Vandellas' lead singer Martha Reeves in the 1967 version, is sung from the point of view of a woman who longs for the return of boyfriend "Jimmy Mack". The woman is being courted by another suitor, who she says "talks just as sweet as" her long-gone Jimmy, and she hopes for Jimmy to return before she falls for the other man.

The inspiration for the song came from a 1964 music industry awards dinner, which Lamont Dozier attended. At the ceremony the mother of songwriter Ronnie Mack accepted an award for her son, who had recently died, for his composition "He's So Fine". Under pressure to come up with a hit for Reeves and the Vandellas, Dozier and the team penned this song in part as a tribute to Mack the writer.

"Jimmy Mack" was originally recorded in 1964 when Annette Beard was still a part of the group. The song was shelved because the Motown Quality Control team felt the recording was not suitable for release because it sounded too much like a Supremes Song. Like Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' later hit, "The Tears of a Clown", "Jimmy Mack" was pulled from the vault two years later and released as a single in early 1967. By that time, the Vietnam War had become a highly debated issue among the American public. Thus, Reeves' sentiment that her "Jimmy Mack" return took on a different meaning for many listeners, particularly those stationed overseas.


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Song #73 is up now. Back to 1980 again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIAtE6ywgwA

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:47 pm

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Song #73 is "Upside Down" by Diana Ross, from 1980. From the same album as song #80, I'm Coming Out." The song was written and the record was produced by Chic members Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. The song was issued as a single through the Motown label in 1980, as the lead single from her tenth studio album, Diana. "Upside Down" hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 6, 1980, ad stayed there for 4 weeks. It also hit number one on the Billboard Disco and Soul charts. The single was released a full four weeks after the album was released.

"Upside Down" was also a big hit internationally, topping the singles charts in Sweden, Italy, Norway, and Switzerland, while reaching number five in Canada. It also rose to number two on the UK Singles Chart, marking the highest peak performance from Ross as a solo artist since "I'm Still Waiting" in 1971. It also earned her a British Phonographic Industry silver disc award for sales in excess of 250,000 copies. The single earned Ross her ninth career Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, losing to "Never Knew Love Like This Before" by Stephanie Mills at the 1981 Grammy Awards.

In a 2011 interview, Nile Rodgers said "Diana Ross was the first big star we ever worked with and we took it very seriously." Rodgers and Edwards interviewed her for several days. "This was the first time in her life somebody cared about who she was; what she was — everyone previously had treated her the way we had treated Sister Sledge — they got her in and said 'Sing this'. We (took a more personal approach)."

As would be widely reported later, their studio liaison with Ross was not a success. She disliked the results of their sessions and gave them specific remixing instructions; they made slight changes and suggested that if she still did not like them, she could get them remixed herself. Ross did so, reworking the whole album with Motown producer Russ Terrana to downplay the funk element and make her voice more prominent.

Rodgers and Edwards were initially furious, and considered having their production credit removed. They eventually decided to leave the track unedited, as the sound they used for Chic remained heavily influential on the album. The LP became a platinum-selling No. 2 that spent a year on the American chart. Ross left Motown soon afterwards for RCA.


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Song #72 brings us to 1969 and an artist who we have not heard from before on the countdown. A great stereo mix on this one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6fTlPnR4g4

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:41 am

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Song #72 is "Twenty Five Miles" by Edwin Starr, from 1969. The single reached #6 on both the Pop and Soul charts on Billboard. The song was written by Johnny Bristol, Harvey Fuqua, and Edwin Starr The song was considered sufficiently similar to "32 Miles out of Waycross" by Hoagy Lands (also recorded as "Mojo Mama" by both Wilson Pickett and Don Varner), written by Bert Berns and Jerry Wexler, that Berns and Wexler were eventually given co-writing credits.



Song #71 is up now. It was the first major hit record for Motown's greatest vocal group.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDakhsaPTE0

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:21 pm

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The #71 song is "The Way You Do The Things You Do" by the Temptations. From 1964, this single was #1 on the Cash Box R&B chart and hit #10 on the Cash Box Pop chart. It reached #11 on the Billboard Pop chart. The song was Written by Miracles members Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers. Falsetto Eddie Kendricks sings lead on the record, composed by Robinson and Rogers while on the road with the Miracles as part of the Motortown Revue tour. Its plethora of pick-up lines ("You got a smile so bright/you know you coulda been a candle/I'm holding you so tight/You know you coulda been a handle") began as a light-hearted joke between Robinson and Rogers to pass time on the long bus rides. Realizing they had something they could work with, the Miracles kept the lyrics in mind and prepared the song for the Temptations, who at this time had had only one single that had ever made it onto a Billboard chart (1962's "Dream Come True" at #22 on the R&B singles chart) and six flopped singles. This version of the song actually appears on two of their mid 1960s albums: 1964's Meet The Temptations and 1965's The Temptations Sing Smokey.

The recording was done on January 8, 1964, a mere two weeks after founding Temptation Elbridge Bryant had been fired, and Jimmy Ruffin's younger brother David Ruffin had taken Bryant's place. While Ruffin would sing lead on stage he would remain a background singer on the singles for most of 1964, but after Smokey Robinson heard him sing lead during the Temptations' Motortown Revue performance, Ruffin was assigned to sing lead on what would become the Temptations' first number-one hit, "My Girl".

The Temptations learned about the success of "The Way You Do the Things You Do" after returning home to Detroit, Michigan, and hearing nonchalantly from a Motown executive that "oh, you guys got a hit." After reading the number 76 ("with a bullet") listing in Billboard magazine, Temptations members Otis Williams and David Ruffin immediately began crying with joy. During this period the group's baritone Paul Williams was still considered the main lead singer; but due to the success of this single, Kendricks would be given the lead on the next two following singles.

Here's the link to the MOTOWN JUNKIES review: https://motownjunkies.co.uk/2011/06/13/375/


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RANK-BALLOTS-POINTS-TITLE-ARTIST
071 - 10-278 - The Way You Do The Things You Do - Temptations
072 - 07-276 - Twenty-Five Miles - Edwin Starr
073 - 06-270 - Upside Down - Diana Ross
074 - 09-269 - Jimmy Mack – Martha and Vandellas
075 - 07-266 - Bernadette - Four Tops
076 - 06-263 - For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder
077 - 09-260 - Ask The Lonely - Four Tops
078 - 06-253 - My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder
079 - 06-249 - The Love You Save - Jackson 5
080 - 07-247 - I'm Coming Out - Diane Ross
081 - 06-243 - I'll Be Doggone - Marvin Gaye
082 - 08-240 - You’re All I Need to Get By - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
083 - 06-240 - I Wish It Would Rain - Temptations
084 - 08-238 - Smiling Faces Sometimes – Undisputed Truth
085 - 05-238 - Got To Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
086 - 08-235 - Hitch Hike - Marvin Gaye
087 - 04-229 - Bad Girl - Miracles
088 - 04-226 - Get Ready - Rare Earth
089 - 07-225 - Beauty Is Only Skin Deep - Temptations
090 - 06-224 - I Wish - Stevie Wonder
091 - 05-223 - Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations
092 - 07-221 - Heaven Must Have Sent You - Elgins
093 - 07-221 - Too Many Fish In The Sea - Marvelettes
094 - 06-215 - Brick House - Commodores
095 - 04-215 - Distant Lover - Marvin Gaye
096 - 05-214 - Beechwood 4-5789 - The Marvelettes
097 - 05-212 - Psychedelic Shack - Temptations
098 - 07-210 - Going to a Go-Go - Miracles
099 - 06-210 - It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
100 - 05-207 - You Haven't Done Nothin' - Stevie Wonder
101 - 05-204 - When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes - Supremes
102 - 04-203 - Strange I Know - Marvelettes
103 - 06-200 - Someday We'll Be Together - Supremes
104 - 03-196 - Envious - Linda Griner
105 - 06-194 - Pastime Paradise - Stevie Wonder
106 - 05-191 - Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye
107 - 04-191 - I'll Try Something New - Miracles
108 - 04-190 - What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
109 - 06-189 - Mickey's Monkey - Miracles
110 - 06-189 - Pride And Joy - Marvin Gaye
111 - 05-187 - The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage - Miracles
112 - 05-186 - It's A Shame - Spinners
113 - 05-185 - The Bells - Originals
114 - 06-184 - I Want You - Marvin Gaye
115 - 07-180 - He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' - Velvelettes
116 - 04-180 - Forever - Marvelettes
117 - 05-169 - Love Child - Supremes
118 - 04-168 - Funny - Contours
119 - 06-165 - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
120 - 05-161 - Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes
121 - 04-161 - Way Over There - Miracles
122 - 03-161 - Who's Lovin' You - Jackson 5
123 - 04-157 - Stubborn Kind of Fellow - Marvin Gaye
124 - 06-156 - Standing In The Shadows of Love - Four Tops
125 - 04-156 - Walk Away Renee - Four Tops
126 - 05-155 - Easy- Commodores
127 - 05-155 - Don't Look Back - Temptations
128 - 03-154 - Function at the Junction - Shorty Long
129 - 05-149 - If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight & Pips
130 - 05-147 - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
131 - 04-142 - Playboy - Marvelettes
132 - 04-142 - You'll Lose A Precious Love - Temptations
133 - 04-142 - Master Blaster (Jammin’) - Stevie Wonder
134 - 05-139 - You're A Wonderful One - Marvin Gaye
135 - 04-139 - Friendship Train - Gladys Knight & Pips
136 - 04-136 - I Hear A Symphony - Supremes
137 - 03-136 - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - Marvelettes
138 - 03-135 - Paradise - Temptations
139 - 05-134 - (I'm A) Road Runner - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
140 - 05-131 - Quicksand - Martha & The Vandellas
141 - 03-131 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Supremes and Temptations
142 - 03-131 - Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) - Stevie Wonder
143 - 02-130 - You’re My Desire – Equadors
144 - 02-128 - Walk Away From Love - David Ruffin
145 - 02-125 - A Favor For a Girl - Brenda Holloway
146 - 03-124 - I'll Turn To Stone - Four Tops
147 - 03-124 - Hello - Lionel Richie
148 - 04-123 - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
149 - 03-123 - Would I Love You - Miracles
150 - 04-119 - Seven Rooms of Gloom - Four Tops
151 - 03-117 - A Fork In The Road - Miracles
152 - 05-115 - You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
153 - 04-115 - I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder
154 - 03-114 - Reflections - Supremes
155 - 02-114 - Square Biz - Teena Marie
156 - 04-113 - Two Lovers - Mary Wells
157 - 03-111 - The Only One I Love - Miracles
=========================================================================


Song #70 is up now. It comes from another artist who we have not heard from yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svcbu-fv-GA

BillyKev1
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by BillyKev1 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:33 pm

I'm in love with this website!
#loveformusic

Hymie
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:14 pm

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Song #70 is "Don't Leave Me This Way" by Thelma Houston, from 1976. The song was written by Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff and Cary Gilbert, and was orignally done by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes in 1975. The Blue Notes' original version of the song, featuring Teddy Pendergrass's lead vocal, was included on the group's 1975 album Wake Up Everybody. Though not issued as a single in the United States at the time, the Blue Notes' recording reached number 3 on the US Billboard Disco Chart in the wake of Thelma Houston's version. The song proved to be the group's biggest hit in the UK, number 5 on the UK singles chart, when released there as a single in 1977.


Thelma Houston's version reached #1 on Billboard on both the Black chart and the Pop chart. Originally assigned to Diana Ross, it was intended to be the follow-up to her hit "Love Hangover" but was reassigned and given to the upcoming Motown artist Thelma Houston instead.

Following the release of her fourth album Any Way You Like It, a Boston record pool unanimously reported positive audience response to "Don't Leave Me This Way" in discos, and the song was selected for release as a single. Houston's version became a massive international hit, topping the soul singles chart and, nine weeks later, the Billboard Hot 100 for one week in April 1977. The song peaked at number 13 in the UK. The song went to number one on the disco chart. Later in the year, it was featured on the soundtrack of the movie, Looking for Mr. Goodbar. In 1978, "Don't Leave Me This Way" won the award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female at the 20th Annual Grammy Awards.

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Next up is song #69, and it's from 1969.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnkDh2R8uS0

Hymie
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:15 am

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The #69 song on the countdown is "Baby, I'm For Real" by the Originals, from 1969. The song was written by Marvin Gaye and his wife Anna. Marvin produced the record, and he had each member of the band provide a lead vocal on each of the verses while also singing along in the background. It was one of the biggest R&B hits of the year, topping the Billboard Soul chart for 5 weeks, and reached #14 on the Pop chart. Quite a feat for a doo wop styled record in 1969.


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Song #68 is up now. We last heard from this group way back at #115.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hh7Vpr4V6HM

Hymie
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:21 am

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Song #68 is "Needle In A Haystack" from the Velvelettes in 1964. Written by Norma Whitfield and Mickey Stevenson, the record got to #45 on the Billboard Pop chart. On the Cash Box R&B chart it topped out at #31.

Here's what MOTOWN JUNKIES Had to say about the record:

The Velvelettes: “Needle In A Haystack”
VIP 25007 (A), September 1964


I adore the Velvelettes, but – although it has a status approaching something like a signature tune – this is actually my least favourite of the six Velvelettes singles we’ll be seeing here on Motown Junkies. “Least favourite” being a relative term, of course; it’s still way above average.

This was the group’s first official Motown release, following their abortive earlier effort There He Goes back in the spring of 1963, which had been shot down by Quality Control and ended up sneaking a release – licensed or otherwise – via the IPG label. The positive reaction to that single led to the Velvelettes, now down to a three-piece, getting a shot at a “proper” Motown 45. It was an opportunity only grudgingly granted, and the group – educated middle-class girls with college commitments, unable to drop everything and move to Detroit at a moment’s notice – didn’t get back to the studio until the summer of 1964, having lost ground to their labelmates that they’d never make up.

The red carpet wasn’t exactly rolled out; despite being assigned to work with the same writers and producers (Mickey Stevenson and Norman Whitfield) who’d been so impressed the first time around, the Velvelettes were shunted to VIP Records, already the neglected member of the Motown label family. If singles on VIP didn’t actually cost any less money, it’s still hard to think of it as anything other than Motown’s budget imprint, especially with that hideous, “no expense spent” yellow label.

So when the Velvelettes turned in what is manifestly the best A-side in VIP’s catalogue to date, and promptly scored the label’s first ever hit on any chart – going Top 50 pop and just missing the Cash Box R&B Top 30 – you’d have expected Motown to take notice, maybe move them to a higher-profile label. But Motown was already well-served for excellent female vocal groups (the Supremes, the Vandellas, the Marvelettes), and so the Velvelettes remained in the shadows for the rest of their short time at Hitsville. It wasn’t for want of great records, that’s for sure.

This one still feels a bit like an early effort; all the ingredients are there, everything’s almost ready, but it doesn’t quite gel together.

On the one hand, you have Mickey Stevenson and Norman Whitfield’s vision for a new Motown Sound – distinct from that being perfected by Holland-Dozier-Holland, tougher and louder, guitar-heavy and with more of a blues influence – which would go on to reap great rewards over the next eighteen months. On the other hand, you have a bunch of standard Brill Building girl group tropes (including a doo-lang doo-lang refrain lifted directly from the Chiffons’ He’s So Fine). The juxtaposition of the various ingredients – Marvelettes-style sass, Chiffons-style clean-cut girl group good times, coruscating sax, muscular bass and heavy drum echo, all great elements in their own right, is a mix that jars every time.

It’s somehow unsatisfying for that reason – Whitfield and Stevenson would shortly be mastering the art of combining sweetness and drive (and unbelievable percussion!) to come up with some great productions, and the Velvelettes would be the best exponents of their art, but for the moment everything about this record seems slightly awkward, slightly forced.

Hard to put your finger on many specific moments, but Cal Gill’s lead vocal seems to be struggling to compete in places, the lyrics call for a knowing, older narrator (Cal herself admits in the liner notes to The Complete Motown Singles: Volume 4 she didn’t really understand what this was meant to be about), the messy lead-in to the chorus just doesn’t quite sit right, and the one-chord guitar riff and foot-stomp rhythm – hypnotising in its own right, as with the intro – seems to come from a different song altogether compared to the Sha-doop! Ba, ba, sha-doop! backing vocals. I don’t know, it just sounds… wrong, somehow.

The Velvelettes' excellent Anthology CD collection, which contains a stereo mix of this single. Have you bought this album yet? If not, BUY THIS ALBUM.There’s greatness here too, of course – these are the Velvelettes, after all! – not least the fact that it’s absolutely packed full of hooks. Some of them (the drilling intro, the sax break that squeaks as it hits the roof, the crotchet pulse orchestra hits at the end of the chorus) are down to the band, but most of them are the girls’ work, showing off their remarkable skill and timing for interplay.

If the Shangri-Las-meets-Shirelles style back-and-forth the song aims for never quite comes off (What’d I say, girls?), it’s because the vocals are already in a more sophisticated place than your standard throwaway teen drama. The unexpected bounce up the scale when Cal sings I’m telling you girls: you’d better LOOK! / before you LEAP, yeah!, with Norma and Bertha joining her at the top for Leap! before cutting back to backing vocals as Cal gives it the full Mary Wells for the rest of the verse, is a work of art. And the smoky quaver in Cal’s opening lines – Well, well, I once believed / All fellas were nice – presages her outstanding work on the group’s follow-up single, He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’.

There’s more than enough here to make it a very good Motown single, and as a calling card it’s hard to top; they were about to get it completely right, and that much is obvious from this record alone even without knowing what was around the corner. But then, knowing what’s around the corner probably makes me go harder on this than I otherwise might.

It’s good, but never in a million years is it the one they deserve to be remembered for. A work in progress, a hint of the shape of things to come, that also happens to be very groovy in its own right. That the Velvelettes’ weakest Motown single is still several orders of magnitude better than most artists’ best should tell you all you need to know.

MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
6/10



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Song #67 is up now. Again we have the first hit for a major Motown act.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imxE2Yg3wDM

Hymie
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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:26 pm

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Song #67 is "Bye Bye Baby" by Mary Wells, from 1960. This one became a hit same time as "Shop Around." It reached #8 on the Billboard R&B Chart and #45 Pop, launching Mary's career as a hit maker. This was before Motown had really developed their "formula." It's a real R&B screamer, something that the label did not do in later years.

In 1960, Wells, then 17 years of age, was a nightclub singer who was struggling to make ends meet in Detroit. She aspired to be a songwriter as well, so she wrote a song for fellow Detroiter and R&B singer Jackie Wilson. She saw Berry Gordy while attempting to deliver "Bye Bye, Baby" to Wilson, and asked Gordy to give Wilson her song. But Gordy, having severed ties with Wilson's manager to form Motown, asked Wells to sing it herself for Motown. Mary recorded "Bye Bye Baby" in her version of Jackie Wilson's style. Reports claim that the teen had to record the song 26 times or more, before Gordy had a version he approved for release. According to Detroit music mogul Johnnie Mae Matthews, Wells had come to her with four lines of the song, which Matthews said she finished up. When the song was issued Matthews did not get a songwriting credit.

The MOTOWN JUNKIES review is brief, for him:

Mary Wells: “Bye Bye Baby”
Motown M 1003 (A), September 1960


Mable John had become Motown’s first female solo artist a few weeks earlier with the engaging Who Wouldn’t Love A Man Like That, but Mary Wells – Motown’s second female solo artist – was on a whole different level.

Like so many of her early Motown contemporaries, Wells was only a teenager – just seventeen when this was recorded – but her exceptionally powerful voice was mature far beyond her years, and with her good looks and dramatic blonde hairdo, she was the first solo star in the Motown family.

More impressively, she was also able to provide her own material; she initially approached label head honcho Berry Gordy with this song in the hope he might show it to Jackie Wilson. Gordy, impressed, decided young Mary’s future was in the spotlight rather than behind the scenes; to this end, he brought her in to record Bye Bye Baby herself. Taking note of Wells’ sultry, powerful, older-sounding voice, Gordy had her record the song over and over again, running through take after take after take until she literally sang herself hoarse – at which point the winning take was captured.

The song itself, a distant but definite cousin of the Isley Brothers’ Shout! (complete with soundalike intro) tackled at three quarter speed, is hardly a masterpiece, but Wells’ extraordinary full-throated vocal takes it up a notch. The tune isn’t memorable – I’ve just played it eleven times in a row, and I still wouldn’t feel confident singing it back to you accurately – but it’s a lot of fun while it’s actually playing, and most of the credit for that has to go to the voice.

Motown hadn’t had a star before, of any gender. Marv Johnson had been poached away by United Artists almost before the new Tamla label had had a chance to draw breath; Smokey Robinson was still searching for a first hit; Eddie Holland had had teen idol credentials, but suffered from a lack of sales and hobbling stagefright; Barrett Strong was a retiring, perfectionist songwriter with no ambitions of stardom who had just happened to luck into a big hit record.

But Mary Wells was different. The first Motown act whose records would sell because her name was on them, rather than her having to make her name through having a hit, she became unstoppable, a genuine sold-out headline act, consistent Top Ten recording artist and the company’s golden egg in its financially-unpredictable early years.

Mary wouldn’t write any more singles for Motown, for herself or anyone else, after this début effort; Wells’ compositions occasonally featured on her LPs for the label, but otherwise this was it for her as a Motown songwriter. As a performer, though, she was (literally) just getting warmed up.

Bye Bye Baby was a Top Ten R&B hit, as well as cracking the pop Top 50. A very welcome surprise, and Motown’s first self-contained hit record (Marv Johnson’s Come To Me had been a hit after being leased to United Artists, while Barrett Strong’s Money (That’s What I Want) had hit after being distributed nationally through Anna Records), this turned out to be the first in a string of hits on both the R&B and pop charts for Wells – a string which ran almost uninterrupted until peaking with 1964’s majestic My Guy. Several years after leaving Motown, Mary would revisit Bye Bye Baby on her 1968 LP Servin’ Up Some Soul, where it was retitled Bye Bye Baby ’68.

MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
6/10



RANK-BALLOTS-POINTS-TITLE-ARTIST
067 - 06-288 - Bye Bye Baby - Mary Wells
068 - 06-287 - Needle in a Haystack – Velvelettes
069 - 07-285 - Baby I'm For Real - Originals
070 - 08-283 - Don't Leave Me This Way - Thelma Houston
071 - 10-278 - The Way You Do The Things You Do - Temptations
072 - 07-276 - Twenty-Five Miles - Edwin Starr
073 - 06-270 - Upside Down - Diana Ross
074 - 09-269 - Jimmy Mack – Martha and Vandellas
075 - 07-266 - Bernadette - Four Tops
076 - 06-263 - For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder
077 - 09-260 - Ask The Lonely - Four Tops
078 - 06-253 - My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder
079 - 06-249 - The Love You Save - Jackson 5
080 - 07-247 - I'm Coming Out - Diane Ross
081 - 06-243 - I'll Be Doggone - Marvin Gaye
082 - 08-240 - You’re All I Need to Get By - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
083 - 06-240 - I Wish It Would Rain - Temptations
084 - 08-238 - Smiling Faces Sometimes – Undisputed Truth
085 - 05-238 - Got To Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
086 - 08-235 - Hitch Hike - Marvin Gaye
087 - 04-229 - Bad Girl - Miracles
088 - 04-226 - Get Ready - Rare Earth
089 - 07-225 - Beauty Is Only Skin Deep - Temptations
090 - 06-224 - I Wish - Stevie Wonder
091 - 05-223 - Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations
092 - 07-221 - Heaven Must Have Sent You - Elgins
093 - 07-221 - Too Many Fish In The Sea - Marvelettes
094 - 06-215 - Brick House - Commodores
095 - 04-215 - Distant Lover - Marvin Gaye
096 - 05-214 - Beechwood 4-5789 - The Marvelettes
097 - 05-212 - Psychedelic Shack - Temptations
098 - 07-210 - Going to a Go-Go - Miracles
099 - 06-210 - It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
100 - 05-207 - You Haven't Done Nothin' - Stevie Wonder
101 - 05-204 - When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes - Supremes
102 - 04-203 - Strange I Know - Marvelettes
103 - 06-200 - Someday We'll Be Together - Supremes
104 - 03-196 - Envious - Linda Griner
105 - 06-194 - Pastime Paradise - Stevie Wonder
106 - 05-191 - Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye
107 - 04-191 - I'll Try Something New - Miracles
108 - 04-190 - What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
109 - 06-189 - Mickey's Monkey - Miracles
110 - 06-189 - Pride And Joy - Marvin Gaye
111 - 05-187 - The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage - Miracles
112 - 05-186 - It's A Shame - Spinners
113 - 05-185 - The Bells - Originals
114 - 06-184 - I Want You - Marvin Gaye
115 - 07-180 - He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' - Velvelettes
116 - 04-180 - Forever - Marvelettes
117 - 05-169 - Love Child - Supremes
118 - 04-168 - Funny - Contours
119 - 06-165 - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
120 - 05-161 - Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes
121 - 04-161 - Way Over There - Miracles
122 - 03-161 - Who's Lovin' You - Jackson 5
123 - 04-157 - Stubborn Kind of Fellow - Marvin Gaye
124 - 06-156 - Standing In The Shadows of Love - Four Tops
125 - 04-156 - Walk Away Renee - Four Tops
126 - 05-155 - Easy- Commodores
127 - 05-155 - Don't Look Back - Temptations
128 - 03-154 - Function at the Junction - Shorty Long
129 - 05-149 - If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight & Pips
130 - 05-147 - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
131 - 04-142 - Playboy - Marvelettes
132 - 04-142 - You'll Lose A Precious Love - Temptations
133 - 04-142 - Master Blaster (Jammin’) - Stevie Wonder
134 - 05-139 - You're A Wonderful One - Marvin Gaye
135 - 04-139 - Friendship Train - Gladys Knight & Pips
136 - 04-136 - I Hear A Symphony - Supremes
137 - 03-136 - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - Marvelettes
138 - 03-135 - Paradise - Temptations
139 - 05-134 - (I'm A) Road Runner - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
140 - 05-131 - Quicksand - Martha & The Vandellas
141 - 03-131 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Supremes and Temptations
142 - 03-131 - Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) - Stevie Wonder
143 - 02-130 - You’re My Desire – Equadors
144 - 02-128 - Walk Away From Love - David Ruffin
145 - 02-125 - A Favor For a Girl - Brenda Holloway
146 - 03-124 - I'll Turn To Stone - Four Tops
147 - 03-124 - Hello - Lionel Richie
148 - 04-123 - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
149 - 03-123 - Would I Love You - Miracles
150 - 04-119 - Seven Rooms of Gloom - Four Tops
151 - 03-117 - A Fork In The Road - Miracles
152 - 05-115 - You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
153 - 04-115 - I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder
154 - 03-114 - Reflections - Supremes
155 - 02-114 - Square Biz - Teena Marie
156 - 04-113 - Two Lovers - Mary Wells
157 - 03-111 - The Only One I Love - Miracles
====================================================================================


Song #66 is up now, an album cut that was also issued on the B side of a hit single.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWXhBAINGS0

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Thu Nov 14, 2019 7:08 pm

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Song #66 is "Visions" by Stevie Wonder, from 1973. It was first issued on the "Innervisions" album, and then on a single on the flip side of "Living For The City," which could be coming up later in the countdown, who knows?

Here's a 2013 review from Brad Wete of Billboard:

“Visions” is as thoughtful and gentle as it is gloomy. Here Stevie sits back at his piano while guitarists pensively strum and he fantasizes about a place, “where hate's a dream and love forever stands.” It’s not long before he realizes that the land of milk and honey only exists is his daydreams. This wouldn’t be the only time where Wonder visits another planet to find a little peace of heaven. Three years later he’d travel to “Saturn” on his heralded “Songs in the Key of Life” album.


Next up is song #65. This one was listed on 10 of the 44 ballots.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZLG9MV5GvQ

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:36 am

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We just heard song #65, "It's The Same Old Song," by the Four Tops, from 1965. This one reached #2 on the Billboard Soul chart, and got to #5 Pop. Written and produced by Motown's main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, the song is today one of The Tops' signature songs, and was reportedly created-from initial concept to commercial release-in 24 hours.

With the recent release of a previously unreleased version of "It's the Same Old Song" recorded by the Supremes, the truth of the events on how the song came together for the Four Tops is put into question. Holland-Dozier-Holland originally wrote and cut a track of "It's the Same Old Song" for the Supremes in May 1965 before the Four Tops' version in July of that year. This first version would remain unreleased until 2017. A second version was cut in a very similar style to the Four Tops' version would be released in 1967 on The Supremes Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland.

Here's the first recorded version of the song:


After "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" hit #1 in June 1965, The Four Tops' former label, Columbia Records, wanting to cash in on the group's success, re-released the Tops' 1960 Columbia single "Ain't That Love". Berry Gordy ordered that a new Four Tops single had to be released within a day's time.

At 3:00 PM that afternoon, the Holland brothers and Lamont Dozier prepared "It's the Same Old Song". Four Tops tenor Abdul "Duke" Fakir recalled:

“(Songwriter), Lamont Dozier and I were both a little tipsy and he was changing the channels on the radio. He said, 'It sounds like the same old song.' And then he said, "Wait a minute." So he took "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" and reversed it using the same chord changes. The next day, we went to the studio and recorded it, and then they put it on acetate, shipped it out to disc jockeys across the country."

The engineering team worked around the clock perfecting the single's mix and making hand-cut vinyl records so that Berry Gordy's sister Esther in the Artist Development department could critique them and select the best ones for single release. By 3 P.M. the next day, 1500 copies of "It's the Same Old Song" had been delivered to radio DJs across the country, and the song eventually made it to number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number two on the R&B chart.

"It's the Same Old Song" is very similar in melody and chord progressions to "I Can't Help Myself", which in turn is even more similar in melody and chord progressions to "Where Did Our Love Go" by the Supremes.

Pop music writers and bloggers have noted the similarity of the song's main instrumental riff with the marimba riff in the Rolling Stones song "Under My Thumb" which was first released almost a year later, on April 15, 1966, as part of their album Aftermath.


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Song #64 is up now. I heard part of this one on a Youtube ad just a few minutes ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0Ph9Tc8tUw

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Fri Nov 15, 2019 1:25 pm

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Song #64 is "ABC" by the Jackson 5, from 1970. This was their second Motown single, and it went to #1 on both the Soul and Pop charts on Billboard. It was also the title track to the group's second album, shown above. The song was written and produced by "The Corporation," which consisted of Berry Gordy, Alphonso Mizell, Freddie Perren and Deke Richards.

Written with a similar structure and feel as the Jacksons' first hit of 1970, "I Want You Back". ABC was performed on television on American Bandstand (February 21, 1970), The Ed Sullivan Show (May 10, 1970), and The Flip Wilson Show (November 4, 1971), among many other broadcasts. "ABC" is considered one of the band's signature songs. It is one of the shortest titles to hit #1, and is the first alphabetically in a list of #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The upbeat lyrics compare learning to love to learning the alphabet. This makes it similar to Len Barry's 1965 hit "1-2-3." The song is considered by some to be one of the first disco songs.

50 Cent told NME that the song was the first he remembered hearing: "I've always loved MJ, so I guess it was probably a good place to start music: right here, with the ABCs." On November 7, 2016, the Grammy Hall of Fame announced its induction, along with that of another 24 songs.


RANK-BALLOTS-POINTS-TITLE-ARTIST
064 - 09-300 - ABC - Jackson 5
065 - 10-295 - It's The Same Old Song - Four Tops
066 - 06-290 - Visions - Stevie Wonder
067 - 06-288 - Bye Bye Baby - Mary Wells
068 - 06-287 - Needle in a Haystack – Velvelettes
069 - 07-285 - Baby I'm For Real - Originals
070 - 08-283 - Don't Leave Me This Way - Thelma Houston
071 - 10-278 - The Way You Do The Things You Do - Temptations
072 - 07-276 - Twenty-Five Miles - Edwin Starr
073 - 06-270 - Upside Down - Diana Ross
074 - 09-269 - Jimmy Mack – Martha and Vandellas
075 - 07-266 - Bernadette - Four Tops
076 - 06-263 - For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder
077 - 09-260 - Ask The Lonely - Four Tops
078 - 06-253 - My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder
079 - 06-249 - The Love You Save - Jackson 5
080 - 07-247 - I'm Coming Out - Diane Ross
081 - 06-243 - I'll Be Doggone - Marvin Gaye
082 - 08-240 - You’re All I Need to Get By - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
083 - 06-240 - I Wish It Would Rain - Temptations
084 - 08-238 - Smiling Faces Sometimes – Undisputed Truth
085 - 05-238 - Got To Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
086 - 08-235 - Hitch Hike - Marvin Gaye
087 - 04-229 - Bad Girl - Miracles
088 - 04-226 - Get Ready - Rare Earth
089 - 07-225 - Beauty Is Only Skin Deep - Temptations
090 - 06-224 - I Wish - Stevie Wonder
091 - 05-223 - Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations
092 - 07-221 - Heaven Must Have Sent You - Elgins
093 - 07-221 - Too Many Fish In The Sea - Marvelettes
094 - 06-215 - Brick House - Commodores
095 - 04-215 - Distant Lover - Marvin Gaye
096 - 05-214 - Beechwood 4-5789 - The Marvelettes
097 - 05-212 - Psychedelic Shack - Temptations
098 - 07-210 - Going to a Go-Go - Miracles
099 - 06-210 - It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
100 - 05-207 - You Haven't Done Nothin' - Stevie Wonder
101 - 05-204 - When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes - Supremes
102 - 04-203 - Strange I Know - Marvelettes
103 - 06-200 - Someday We'll Be Together - Supremes
104 - 03-196 - Envious - Linda Griner
105 - 06-194 - Pastime Paradise - Stevie Wonder
106 - 05-191 - Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye
107 - 04-191 - I'll Try Something New - Miracles
108 - 04-190 - What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
109 - 06-189 - Mickey's Monkey - Miracles
110 - 06-189 - Pride And Joy - Marvin Gaye
111 - 05-187 - The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage - Miracles
112 - 05-186 - It's A Shame - Spinners
113 - 05-185 - The Bells - Originals
114 - 06-184 - I Want You - Marvin Gaye
115 - 07-180 - He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' - Velvelettes
116 - 04-180 - Forever - Marvelettes
117 - 05-169 - Love Child - Supremes
118 - 04-168 - Funny - Contours
119 - 06-165 - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
120 - 05-161 - Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes
121 - 04-161 - Way Over There - Miracles
122 - 03-161 - Who's Lovin' You - Jackson 5
123 - 04-157 - Stubborn Kind of Fellow - Marvin Gaye
124 - 06-156 - Standing In The Shadows of Love - Four Tops
125 - 04-156 - Walk Away Renee - Four Tops
126 - 05-155 - Easy- Commodores
127 - 05-155 - Don't Look Back - Temptations
128 - 03-154 - Function at the Junction - Shorty Long
129 - 05-149 - If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight & Pips
130 - 05-147 - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
131 - 04-142 - Playboy - Marvelettes
132 - 04-142 - You'll Lose A Precious Love - Temptations
133 - 04-142 - Master Blaster (Jammin’) - Stevie Wonder
134 - 05-139 - You're A Wonderful One - Marvin Gaye
135 - 04-139 - Friendship Train - Gladys Knight & Pips
136 - 04-136 - I Hear A Symphony - Supremes
137 - 03-136 - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - Marvelettes
138 - 03-135 - Paradise - Temptations
139 - 05-134 - (I'm A) Road Runner - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
140 - 05-131 - Quicksand - Martha & The Vandellas
141 - 03-131 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Supremes and Temptations
142 - 03-131 - Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) - Stevie Wonder
143 - 02-130 - You’re My Desire – Equadors
144 - 02-128 - Walk Away From Love - David Ruffin
145 - 02-125 - A Favor For a Girl - Brenda Holloway
146 - 03-124 - I'll Turn To Stone - Four Tops
147 - 03-124 - Hello - Lionel Richie
148 - 04-123 - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
149 - 03-123 - Would I Love You - Miracles
150 - 04-119 - Seven Rooms of Gloom - Four Tops
151 - 03-117 - A Fork In The Road - Miracles
152 - 05-115 - You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
153 - 04-115 - I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder
154 - 03-114 - Reflections - Supremes
155 - 02-114 - Square Biz - Teena Marie
156 - 04-113 - Two Lovers - Mary Wells
157 - 03-111 - The Only One I Love - Miracles
=======================================================================


Song #63 is up now. I am very happy because this was the #1 song on MY ballot. It did very well for a non hit single.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA7SceOANs4

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:20 pm

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We just heard the #63 song on he countdown. It's the Temptations, from 1963, with "I Want A Love I Can See." I still can't figure out why this one was not a hit. It's got a killer hook and a great lead vocal by Paul Williams. It did great in the Motown Quality Control meeting. Everybody thought that this would be the first hit record for the Temptations. But it did not happen.

The single was the group's first A-side to be written and produced by Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson.[1] Robinson had previously written the B-side "Slow Down Heart", but for over the past year Berry Gordy, Jr. had been The Temptations' main producer.

Lead singer Paul Williams, in the role of the song’s narrator, talks about what he thinks is true love.

I want a love I can see
That's the only kind that means a thing to me
Don't want a love you have to tell me about
That kind of loving I can sure do without

This single not only marked Williams return as lead on the A-side, but would also be the only one with him as the sole lead (although there are a few B-sides with him only as lead). During the previous year, fellow group member Eddie Kendricks was given the lead on the singles' A-sides with very little success. By early 1963, the Tempts were a regional R&B favorite with their most successful single being "Dream Come True", a Top 30 R&B hit, but they couldn’t make the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Because of this, the group was given the nickname "The Hitless Temptations", while Motown continued to try to give them a top 20 hit on both the Pop and R&B charts. Robinson by this time had become one of Motown's top producers and songwriters, delivering hits such acts as Mary Wells and his own group The Miracles (and a few minor charters to sister group The Supremes), and when the Tempts were given this song they were sure this would be the hit they needed. According to some sources, including Otis Williams autobiography, bass singer Melvin Franklin did not record vocals on either side of this single, as he was visiting family in Alabama. However, this cannot be substantiated by official Motown studio records.

Although "I Want a Love I Can See" did not chart nationally, the song was a smash regional hit in some parts of the country and would continue to be used as part of the Temptations' on-stage repertoire. In fact, the single ended up becoming more successful financially than the group's previous singles, as it outsold even the two charters. On the group's live performance of the song on the "Motortown Revue Live Vol. 2", Paul Williams and Elbridge "Al" Bryant exchange leads at the end of the song (one of the few times Bryant appears as lead on a song) - the part taken over by his replacement, David Ruffin on "The Temptations Live!". The group's 2001 lineup made a studio remake (renamed "A Love I Can See") for The Temptations album Awesome. Robinson would prove to have the best rapport with the group and eventually became the Tempts main producer.

The melody and chord progression of this song appear to have been highly influential upon the structure of Rocky Burnette's 1980 hit single "Tired Of Toein' The Line."

Here's the link to the MOTOWN JUNKIES review, where he gave it 6/10 - https://motownjunkies.co.uk/2010/12/09/289/

Here's the 2001 remake of the song by the Temptations:


Song #62 is up now. From 1967:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AZnXclm0Bs

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Father2TheMan » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:34 pm

Hymie wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:15 pm
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Critic Maury Dean described the effectiveness of Stubbs' shout of "Bernadette!" as being the key ingredient in getting listener's to buy the record
It's certainly my favourite part of the tune.
"The laughs come hard in Old Lang Syne....."

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:45 am

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Song #62 is "I Was Made To Love Her" by Stevie Wonder, from 1967. This was Stevie's biggest hit single since "Fingertips." It reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop chart, and was #1 for 4 weeks on their Soul chart. The song was written by Wonder, his mother Lula Mae Hardaway, Sylvia Moy, and producer Henry Cosby.

When asked in a 1968 interview which of his songs stood out in his mind, Wonder answered "I Was Made to Love Her because it's a true song." The song features Wonder's harmonica solo in the introduction. The song also features strings following the bridge section. The song also features the use of an electric sitar in the opening and repeated throughout the verse. The last lyric line "You know Stevie ain't gonna leave her" was ad libbed by Wonder.

Personnel
Stevie Wonder – lead vocals, harmonica and possible keyboards
James Jamerson – bass
Benny Benjamin – drums
Eddie Willis – electric sitar
The Funk Brothers – other instrumentation


We're gonna stay in 1967 now for song #61.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mv9cWgkpIZ4

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:40 am

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Song #61 is "I Second That Emotion" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, from 1967. The song was written by Smokey Robinson and Al Cleveland. One morning in 1967, Robinson and Cleveland were shopping at Hudson's, a Detroit department store. Robinson found a set of pearls for his wife, Claudette. "They're beautiful." he said to the salesperson. "I sure hope she likes them." Cleveland then added "I second that emotion." Both songwriters laughed at Cleveland's malapropism; he had meant to say "I second that motion." The two were immediately inspired to write a song using the incorrect phrase.

The Miracles' original version of the song finds lead singer and co-writer Smokey Robinson courting a girl who, weary of the game of love, prefers to string her men along and not get romantically involved. Robinson "wants no part" in such a relationship, but promises that if the girl changes her mind, he'll be around ("If you feel like lovin' me/if you've got the notion/I second that emotion."

This version peaked for three weeks in the United States at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1967. It became the Miracles highest charting popular single since "Shop Around". In this song, guitarists Eddie Willis and Robert White came up with their own guitar licks and riffs for this song based on a chord chart that was given to them by Robinson (this is a classic example of the creativity the Funk Brothers brought to the table during the recording sessions they participated in at the Snake Pit). Regular Miracles guitarist Marv Tarplin was also present on the song. The song also topped the Billboard Best Selling R&B Singles chart and was a million-selling hit for The Miracles, their sixth overall. The song was also a top 30 hit in the UK in 1967, reaching No. 27.

Image


Song #60 is up now. It features one of those classic Motown intros.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIES_mVATlc

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:09 pm

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Song #60 is "(I Know) I'm Losing You" from the Temptations in 1966. It was a No. 1 hit on the Billboard R&B singles chart, and reached No. 8 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. The group performed the song live on the CBS variety program The Ed Sullivan Show on May 28, 1967. The song was written by Norman Whitfield, Edward Holland, Jr. and Cornelius Grant, and produced by Whitfield. It was listed on 10 ballots in the voting.


RANK-BALLOTS-POINTS-TITLE-ARTIST
060 - 10-319 - (I Know) I'm Losing You - Temptations
061 - 10-313 - I Second That Emotion - Smokey Robinson & Miracles
062 - 09-313 - I Was Made To Love Her - Stevie Wonder
063 - 07-311 - I Want A Love I Can See - Temptations
064 - 09-300 - ABC - Jackson 5
065 - 10-295 - It's The Same Old Song - Four Tops
066 - 06-290 - Visions - Stevie Wonder
067 - 06-288 - Bye Bye Baby - Mary Wells
068 - 06-287 - Needle in a Haystack – Velvelettes
069 - 07-285 - Baby I'm For Real - Originals
070 - 08-283 - Don't Leave Me This Way - Thelma Houston
071 - 10-278 - The Way You Do The Things You Do - Temptations
072 - 07-276 - Twenty-Five Miles - Edwin Starr
073 - 06-270 - Upside Down - Diana Ross
074 - 09-269 - Jimmy Mack – Martha and Vandellas
075 - 07-266 - Bernadette - Four Tops
076 - 06-263 - For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder
077 - 09-260 - Ask The Lonely - Four Tops
078 - 06-253 - My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder
079 - 06-249 - The Love You Save - Jackson 5
080 - 07-247 - I'm Coming Out - Diane Ross
081 - 06-243 - I'll Be Doggone - Marvin Gaye
082 - 08-240 - You’re All I Need to Get By - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
083 - 06-240 - I Wish It Would Rain - Temptations
084 - 08-238 - Smiling Faces Sometimes – Undisputed Truth
085 - 05-238 - Got To Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
086 - 08-235 - Hitch Hike - Marvin Gaye
087 - 04-229 - Bad Girl - Miracles
088 - 04-226 - Get Ready - Rare Earth
089 - 07-225 - Beauty Is Only Skin Deep - Temptations
090 - 06-224 - I Wish - Stevie Wonder
091 - 05-223 - Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations
092 - 07-221 - Heaven Must Have Sent You - Elgins
093 - 07-221 - Too Many Fish In The Sea - Marvelettes
094 - 06-215 - Brick House - Commodores
095 - 04-215 - Distant Lover - Marvin Gaye
096 - 05-214 - Beechwood 4-5789 - The Marvelettes
097 - 05-212 - Psychedelic Shack - Temptations
098 - 07-210 - Going to a Go-Go - Miracles
099 - 06-210 - It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
100 - 05-207 - You Haven't Done Nothin' - Stevie Wonder
101 - 05-204 - When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes - Supremes
102 - 04-203 - Strange I Know - Marvelettes
103 - 06-200 - Someday We'll Be Together - Supremes
104 - 03-196 - Envious - Linda Griner
105 - 06-194 - Pastime Paradise - Stevie Wonder
106 - 05-191 - Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye
107 - 04-191 - I'll Try Something New - Miracles
108 - 04-190 - What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
109 - 06-189 - Mickey's Monkey - Miracles
110 - 06-189 - Pride And Joy - Marvin Gaye
111 - 05-187 - The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage - Miracles
112 - 05-186 - It's A Shame - Spinners
113 - 05-185 - The Bells - Originals
114 - 06-184 - I Want You - Marvin Gaye
115 - 07-180 - He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' - Velvelettes
116 - 04-180 - Forever - Marvelettes
117 - 05-169 - Love Child - Supremes
118 - 04-168 - Funny - Contours
119 - 06-165 - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
120 - 05-161 - Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes
121 - 04-161 - Way Over There - Miracles
122 - 03-161 - Who's Lovin' You - Jackson 5
123 - 04-157 - Stubborn Kind of Fellow - Marvin Gaye
124 - 06-156 - Standing In The Shadows of Love - Four Tops
125 - 04-156 - Walk Away Renee - Four Tops
126 - 05-155 - Easy- Commodores
127 - 05-155 - Don't Look Back - Temptations
128 - 03-154 - Function at the Junction - Shorty Long
129 - 05-149 - If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight & Pips
130 - 05-147 - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
131 - 04-142 - Playboy - Marvelettes
132 - 04-142 - You'll Lose A Precious Love - Temptations
133 - 04-142 - Master Blaster (Jammin’) - Stevie Wonder
134 - 05-139 - You're A Wonderful One - Marvin Gaye
135 - 04-139 - Friendship Train - Gladys Knight & Pips
136 - 04-136 - I Hear A Symphony - Supremes
137 - 03-136 - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - Marvelettes
138 - 03-135 - Paradise - Temptations
139 - 05-134 - (I'm A) Road Runner - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
140 - 05-131 - Quicksand - Martha & The Vandellas
141 - 03-131 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Supremes and Temptations
142 - 03-131 - Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) - Stevie Wonder
143 - 02-130 - You’re My Desire – Equadors
144 - 02-128 - Walk Away From Love - David Ruffin
145 - 02-125 - A Favor For a Girl - Brenda Holloway
146 - 03-124 - I'll Turn To Stone - Four Tops
147 - 03-124 - Hello - Lionel Richie
148 - 04-123 - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
149 - 03-123 - Would I Love You - Miracles
150 - 04-119 - Seven Rooms of Gloom - Four Tops
151 - 03-117 - A Fork In The Road - Miracles
152 - 05-115 - You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
153 - 04-115 - I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder
154 - 03-114 - Reflections - Supremes
155 - 02-114 - Square Biz - Teena Marie
156 - 04-113 - Two Lovers - Mary Wells
157 - 03-111 - The Only One I Love - Miracles
=======================================================================


Song #59 is next. It's from 1973:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zywDiFdxopU

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:55 pm

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Song #59 on the countdown is "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing" by Stevie Wonder, from 1973. Another one from the "Innervisions" album. It reached #2 on the Billboard Soul chart, and peaked at #16 Pop.

The tune is in E♭ minor, starting with a Latin piano intro. The opening melody is reminiscent of Horace Silver's "Song For My Father" over which Stevie engages in an English dialogue with a woman, trying to impress her with talk of worldliness of having been to "Iraq, Iran" and a made-up place he calls "Ukraingia," before changing to Spanish, using the phrase "Todo 'stá bien chévere", which loosely translates as "Everything's really great," continuing with an attempt to impress the woman.

Describing the song for the "Stevie Wonder: 20 Essential Songs" feature in The Daily Telegraph, Chris Harvey said:

With its playful Latin-piano-and-street-jive intro ... and its uplifting, upward-spiralling chorus, Don’t You Worry ‘bout a Thing easily takes its place among the works of pure joy that the musical prodigy has effortlessly poured out throughout his career. Showcased on the 1973 Innervisions album that came from the period in which Wonder ... was experimenting with synthesized sounds with producer Robert Margouleff, it’s a back-to-basics song (although it does feature a Moog bass, played by Wonder) that relies on the interplay of piano, percussion and that ecstatic voice. It sounds and feels like a burst of summer happiness.


Song #58 is up now. This one appeared on more ballots than there are known copies of the original single.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwvpeYiQwss

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by mileswide » Sat Nov 16, 2019 11:05 pm

Hymie wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:55 pm
A made-up place he calls "Ukraingia,"
I always heard it as "Eurasia". It conveys the same idea of his character being a poseur bullshitting on the spot what with Eurasia not being a fixed place or somewhere people cite as a tourist destination ("Where you going on holiday?" "Oh, you know, Eurasia")

Top presentation anyway Hymie! It makes you want to listen to these all over again or for the first time, depending on the song. It cheers me no end as well to see the rare Do I Love You above immeasurably more famous fare like ABC!
Until the sky turns green and the grass is several shades of blue...

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:07 am

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Song #58 is "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do" by Frank Wilson, from 1965. This has become a legendary record. It's THE NUMBER ONE Northern Soul record of all time. It's also rare as a bastard, with only 3 or 4 copies known. The last one that came up for sale went for like $35,000. It was pulled by Motown before it was going to be released as Frank Wilson decided that he would rather be a writer and producer than an artist himself. Apparently a few copies got out to some radio stations maybe. It was listed on 9 ballots, including mine.

FROM WIKIPEDIA:

Approximately 250 demo 45s of the song were pressed in 1965 and scheduled for release on 23 December 1965. Owing to a combination of Wilson deciding that he would rather focus on producing and Motown's Berry Gordy's lukewarm reception of the vocals and wish to prevent his producers from having a successful recording career, the demos were destroyed. At least two, and maybe as many as five, copies survived, one of which fetched £25,742 in May 2009. One is rumoured to be owned by Berry Gordy. Due to its scarcity it remains one of the most collectable discs especially by followers of Northern soul. Owing to the demand caused by it being played at the famous English Northern soul nightclub, Wigan Casino, it was first officially released in the UK in 1979 on the Tamla-Motown label, and again in 2004 with a version of the same song by Chris Clark on the B-side.

The guy at MOTOWN JUNKIES wrote his longest ever review on this record. If you've got a couple of hours free to try and read it, here's the link - https://motownjunkies.co.uk/2014/11/28/681/


Song #57 is up now. we are back in 1970 again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBhSh7y_IkM

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:24 am

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Song #57 is "I'll Be There" by the Jackson 5, from 1970. This was the group's 4th consecutive single to go to number one on both the Soul chart and the Pop chart on Billboard. They had the number one song on the Soul chart for 20 of the 52 weeks in 1970. The song was written by Berry Gordy, Hal Davis, Bob West, and Willie Hutch.

In his autobiography Moon Walk, Michael Jackson noted that "I'll Be There" was the song that solidified The Jackson 5's careers and showed audiences that the group had potential beyond bubblegum pop. Said Allmusic about the song, "Rarely, if ever, had one so young sung with so much authority and grace, investing this achingly tender ballad with wisdom and understanding far beyond his years". Jackson turned 12 one day after the song was released.

The most successful single ever released by the Jackson 5, "I'll Be There" sold 4.2 million copies in the United States, and 6.1 million copies worldwide. It replaced Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" as the most successful single released on Motown in the U.S., a record it held until the release of Lionel Richie's duet with Diana Ross, "Endless Love" (1981). Outside the U.S., "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" remained Motown's biggest-selling record with worldwide sales of over seven million copies.


Song #56 is up now. From back in 1963:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzJF_ASvWYg

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:09 pm

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Song #56 is "Fingertips" by Little Stevie Wonder, from 1963. This one was #1 on the Billboard R&B chart for 6 weeks, and #1 Pop for 3 weeks. Stevie had a few records before this that did not do much, but this live recording of one of his songs really hit home. This was first live, non-studio recording to reach No.1 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the United States since Johnny Standley's 1952 comic monologue "It's in the Book".

Written and composed by Wonder's mentors, Clarence Paul and Henry Cosby, "Fingertips" was originally a jazz instrumental recorded for Wonder's first studio album, The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie. The live version of the song was recorded in June 1962 during a Motortown Revue performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois. Containing only a few stanzas of improvised lyrics, "Fingertips" is essentially an instrumental piece, meant to showcase Wonder's talents on the bongos and the harmonica.

The edit point that begins "Part 2" of "Fingertips" is when Wonder shouts "Everybody say 'yeah!'", initiating a call and response exchange with the audience. After a couple of sung verses, each followed by Wonder's brief harmonica playing (solos accompanied only by the audience's rhythmic clapping), Wonder appears to bring things to a conclusion. On the night of the recording, Wonder, as usual started to leave the stage and the band went into the exit music, as comedian Bill Murray (known professionally as Winehead Willie) exhorted the crowd to "give him a hand"; however, Stevie unexpectedly changed his mind, returning to sing the "goodbye" encore. The other musicians were caught out, and the bass players had changed over to prepare for the next act on the bill, usually slated as The Marvelettes. As Wonder moves into his impromptu encore, the new bass player, Joe Swift, having replaced Larry Moses, can be heard on the recording, yelling out, "What key? What key?"

"Fingertips" was Motown's second number-one pop hit (following The Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman"), and launched the then 13-year-old Wonder into the pop music stratosphere. The single's success helped Wonder's live album, Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius, reach number-one on the Billboard Pop Albums chart, making him the youngest artist to accomplish that feat. Because of Part 2's success, it would later feature on various compilation albums just as the full recording.

Both the studio and live versions of the song featured drumming by Marvin Gaye, who had been playing drums for Wonder and other Motown artists in 1960 before becoming a famous hitmaker in his own right.

Here's a link to the MOTOWN JUNKIES review - https://motownjunkies.co.uk/2011/01/09/300/


RANK-BALLOTS-POINTS-TITLE-ARTIST
056 - 10-326 - Fingertips - Little Stevie Wonder
057 - 10-325 - I'll Be There - Jackson 5
058 - 09-321 - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) - Frank Wilson
059 - 08-321 - Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing - Stevie Wonder
060 - 10-319 - (I Know) I'm Losing You - Temptations
061 - 10-313 - I Second That Emotion - Smokey Robinson & Miracles
062 - 09-313 - I Was Made To Love Her - Stevie Wonder
063 - 07-311 - I Want A Love I Can See - Temptations
064 - 09-300 - ABC - Jackson 5
065 - 10-295 - It's The Same Old Song - Four Tops
066 - 06-290 - Visions - Stevie Wonder
067 - 06-288 - Bye Bye Baby - Mary Wells
068 - 06-287 - Needle in a Haystack – Velvelettes
069 - 07-285 - Baby I'm For Real - Originals
070 - 08-283 - Don't Leave Me This Way - Thelma Houston
071 - 10-278 - The Way You Do The Things You Do - Temptations
072 - 07-276 - Twenty-Five Miles - Edwin Starr
073 - 06-270 - Upside Down - Diana Ross
074 - 09-269 - Jimmy Mack – Martha and Vandellas
075 - 07-266 - Bernadette - Four Tops
076 - 06-263 - For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder
077 - 09-260 - Ask The Lonely - Four Tops
078 - 06-253 - My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder
079 - 06-249 - The Love You Save - Jackson 5
080 - 07-247 - I'm Coming Out - Diane Ross
081 - 06-243 - I'll Be Doggone - Marvin Gaye
082 - 08-240 - You’re All I Need to Get By - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
083 - 06-240 - I Wish It Would Rain - Temptations
084 - 08-238 - Smiling Faces Sometimes – Undisputed Truth
085 - 05-238 - Got To Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
086 - 08-235 - Hitch Hike - Marvin Gaye
087 - 04-229 - Bad Girl - Miracles
088 - 04-226 - Get Ready - Rare Earth
089 - 07-225 - Beauty Is Only Skin Deep - Temptations
090 - 06-224 - I Wish - Stevie Wonder
091 - 05-223 - Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations
092 - 07-221 - Heaven Must Have Sent You - Elgins
093 - 07-221 - Too Many Fish In The Sea - Marvelettes
094 - 06-215 - Brick House - Commodores
095 - 04-215 - Distant Lover - Marvin Gaye
096 - 05-214 - Beechwood 4-5789 - The Marvelettes
097 - 05-212 - Psychedelic Shack - Temptations
098 - 07-210 - Going to a Go-Go - Miracles
099 - 06-210 - It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
100 - 05-207 - You Haven't Done Nothin' - Stevie Wonder
101 - 05-204 - When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes - Supremes
102 - 04-203 - Strange I Know - Marvelettes
103 - 06-200 - Someday We'll Be Together - Supremes
104 - 03-196 - Envious - Linda Griner
105 - 06-194 - Pastime Paradise - Stevie Wonder
106 - 05-191 - Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye
107 - 04-191 - I'll Try Something New - Miracles
108 - 04-190 - What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
109 - 06-189 - Mickey's Monkey - Miracles
110 - 06-189 - Pride And Joy - Marvin Gaye
111 - 05-187 - The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage - Miracles
112 - 05-186 - It's A Shame - Spinners
113 - 05-185 - The Bells - Originals
114 - 06-184 - I Want You - Marvin Gaye
115 - 07-180 - He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' - Velvelettes
116 - 04-180 - Forever - Marvelettes
117 - 05-169 - Love Child - Supremes
118 - 04-168 - Funny - Contours
119 - 06-165 - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
120 - 05-161 - Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes
121 - 04-161 - Way Over There - Miracles
122 - 03-161 - Who's Lovin' You - Jackson 5
123 - 04-157 - Stubborn Kind of Fellow - Marvin Gaye
124 - 06-156 - Standing In The Shadows of Love - Four Tops
125 - 04-156 - Walk Away Renee - Four Tops
126 - 05-155 - Easy- Commodores
127 - 05-155 - Don't Look Back - Temptations
128 - 03-154 - Function at the Junction - Shorty Long
129 - 05-149 - If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight & Pips
130 - 05-147 - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
131 - 04-142 - Playboy - Marvelettes
132 - 04-142 - You'll Lose A Precious Love - Temptations
133 - 04-142 - Master Blaster (Jammin’) - Stevie Wonder
134 - 05-139 - You're A Wonderful One - Marvin Gaye
135 - 04-139 - Friendship Train - Gladys Knight & Pips
136 - 04-136 - I Hear A Symphony - Supremes
137 - 03-136 - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - Marvelettes
138 - 03-135 - Paradise - Temptations
139 - 05-134 - (I'm A) Road Runner - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
140 - 05-131 - Quicksand - Martha & The Vandellas
141 - 03-131 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Supremes and Temptations
142 - 03-131 - Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) - Stevie Wonder
143 - 02-130 - You’re My Desire – Equadors
144 - 02-128 - Walk Away From Love - David Ruffin
145 - 02-125 - A Favor For a Girl - Brenda Holloway
146 - 03-124 - I'll Turn To Stone - Four Tops
147 - 03-124 - Hello - Lionel Richie
148 - 04-123 - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
149 - 03-123 - Would I Love You - Miracles
150 - 04-119 - Seven Rooms of Gloom - Four Tops
151 - 03-117 - A Fork In The Road - Miracles
152 - 05-115 - You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
153 - 04-115 - I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder
154 - 03-114 - Reflections - Supremes
155 - 02-114 - Square Biz - Teena Marie
156 - 04-113 - Two Lovers - Mary Wells
157 - 03-111 - The Only One I Love - Miracles
=======================================================================


Double nickels are up now, song #55.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCUXSdg6PCc

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:23 pm

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The #55 song is "You Beat Me To The Punch" by Mary Wells from 1962. It was co-written by Smokey Robinson of the Miracles, who was responsible for the majority of hits released by Wells while she was a Motown artist, and another Miracles member, Ronnie White. The background vocals were provided by the Love Tones (Carl Jones, Joe Miles, and Stan Bracely).

Following the success of the previous single, "The One Who Really Loves You", Motown released this record shortly after it was produced and the song performed similar work as "The One Who Really Loves You" did, becoming a Billboard Top 10 Pop smash, peaking at number nine on the pop chart and becoming her first number-one hit on the Billboard R&B singles chart. It also won Wells a Grammy nomination for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording.

Like "The One Who Really Loves You" before it, the song was produced with a mock-calypso beat. It inspired an "answer" song by soul singer Gene Chandler called "You Threw A Lucky Punch" which used the same music and different lyrics and became a Pop and R&B chart hit that year.

There's a lengthy review of this one at MOTOWN JUNKIES. Here's the link if you want to read it.
https://motownjunkies.co.uk/2010/08/21/204/


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Just like song #55, the next one, song #54 was listed on 8 ballots in the voting. However it garnered one more point (338-337) to finish just ahead. Here is #54.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bxmVQbFvcU

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:12 am

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Song #54 on the countdown is "Every Little Bit Hurts" by Brenda Holloway, from 1964. This one reached #3 on the Cash Box R&B chart, and peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop chart. The song was written by Ed Cobb, who also wrote hit songs like "Dirty Water" and "Tainted Love." Cobb was a member of the Four Preps.

Holloway recorded this song first for the Del-Fi label, in 1962. Check out this first version. I prefer it, as it does not feature violins.


Here's the MOTOWN JUNKIES review of the record. Seems he has no idea that she had recorded the song already for another label in 1962.

Brenda Holloway: “Every Little Bit Hurts”
Tamla T 54094 (A), March 1964


Writing about Motown in early 1964 is a fascinating part of this project, not least because it’s remarkable to see just how quickly all the pieces fell into place for the label’s shortly-forthcoming imperial phase, a time of countrywide and international domination when Motown had everything: great songs, great musicians, great artists, and the money and distributor pull to make the resulting records into great big pop hits.

Whereas the preceding twelve months saw Motown go through a dizzying array of short-lived acts, many of whom only had one single to their name before being dropped as quickly as they’d arrived, the Class of ’64 is filled with future Hall of Famers, key players (if not necessarily big stars) from the company’s mid-Sixties Golden Age. Already we’ve had a breakthrough from the Temptations, we’re about to get one from the Supremes, we’ve met for the first time R. Dean Taylor and Shorty Long… and now, here’s Brenda Holloway.

Brenda and little sister Patrice, California girls both, had signed up with Motown’s new West Coast office (under the direction of Marc Gordon and Hal Davis) towards the end of 1963. Patrice had been the first to get a single release, albeit an abortive one (the little-heard Stevie), in December, but legal wrangles prevented her from having any follow-up releases with Motown. From the start, though, the smart money had to have been on Brenda to break through to the next level. Clever and beautiful even at seventeen, already a talented songwriter in her own right and possessed of a truly great voice that disguised her tender age, she had all the makings of a superstar.

It never quite worked out that way – though she’d have some real success, she never became the world-beating marquee name her talent deserved – but at least the world got some cracking records out of the deal, of which this is very definitely the first.

It’s also the first big Motown hit to have been recorded away from Detroit – thousands of miles away, in fact, in Holloway’s home town of Los Angeles – and without the peerless Motown house band, the Funk Brothers. Instead, a bunch of Hollywood session players (likely including the great Carol Kaye on bass) assemble to back Brenda, and they lay down a very different sound to the stuff that was coming out of Hitsville at the time.

Indeed, the lush (by Motown standards) instrumentation on this is one of the key things in the record’s appeal – it just sounds fantastic, a mournful, treacle-slow waltz picked out with precision on piano, guitar and drums, while a bed of strings carries the whole thing along like a cushion of air. The dolorous scraped cello at the start sets the tone straight away, letting the listener know what kind of ride we’re in for: this isn’t a happy song, but there’s a kind of energy in its determined self-pity, and all of that is reflected in the music.

Which isn’t to undersell what Brenda does with it; a big fan of Mary Wells, which must have played well at her audition (and probably secured her a few of Mary’s cast-offs as future singles, as we’ll see further down the line), she was also a devotee of big-voiced jazz and R&B divas (the liner notes to The Complete Motown Singles: Volume 4 have her namechecking Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick alongside Wells), and having been singing her entire life, it’s clear from listening to this that she’s absorbed a little something from all those influences. It’s not just that it’s a big, powerful voice, or that she’s got good technical control (although both those things are true), it’s that she’s able to switch so convincingly between different vocal modes at the drop of a hat.

Accordingly, there are hints of gospel, jazz and opera in her delivery here, which is a virtual vocal showreel. Check out how many different touchstones she reaches in her first minute alone, all of which seem to come from different places: bringing out the mournfulness of the title phrase in a seductive, softly-cooed voice; smoky, quickfire recitations in low tones (…You say you’re comin’ home / Yet you never phone / Leave me all alone), sudden vaults of scale and volume where she reaches and grasps notes that seemed out of her range two seconds before (my love is-a STRONG FOR YOU / I do WRONG FOR YOU), touches of throaty sexiness a la Mary Wells (the not-so-silent “h” before I ca-an’t take / This loneliness…), unexpected power and sustain (…you’ve given ME-E-E-E-E-E-E, yeah), vibrato (giving my life awayyyyyyy), harsh, almost violent knockdown demands a la Aretha (Come back to me! / Darlin’, you’ll see! / I can give YOU all the THINGS that you…), and then back to sultry, quiet cooing without missing a beat (…wanted before / If you will stay with me…), and more besides.

It really is just remarkable. Ed Cobb, the Four Preps vocalist, renowned writer and producer who seemingly wrote this on spec for Motown’s LA office, was able to pack the song with a number of great hooks knowing that it didn’t really matter if people couldn’t quite identify, or agree on, what the song’s big hook was (is it the breathy recitation of the title, the Come back to me! bit, the If you will stay with me bit that functions as a kind of chorus leading back to the title, or what?) It didn’t matter because Brenda could sell them all. Which she does. Per standard Motown procedure, Cobb – even as an outsider – would benefit from writing a hit by being awarded the follow-up. He must have been thrilled – not just for the royalty checks, but for the chance to work with Brenda again, to push her voice into new places and ever more twisted positions.

Because this was a hit, unexpected but very welcome, almost making the pop Top Ten and scraping the upper reaches of the independent R&B charts being compiled in Billboard‘s absence.

I say “unexpected”, but that’s probably not true – as I mentioned above, Brenda had the goods, and Berry Gordy was always convinced all his records had the potential to be hits, or they wouldn’t get released. Although according to a few accounts, he wasn’t initially too sure about putting money behind a slow, mopey California-cut waltz, which was quite different from the sort of thing his more established acts were doing at the time; outvoted in a Quality Control meeting and persuaded not to use his veto, he must have been glad to have been talked around.

Brenda became another Motown protegée to move from “future contender” to “rising star”, earning a spot on Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars tour (and blagging a place at the bottom of the bill for another struggling Motown act to boot; the act chosen, as all Motown trivia buffs know, were a then largely-unknown girl group named the Supremes.)

It must have all seemed quite natural; the record was really good, Brenda was obviously very talented, the songs were in the pipeline, she’d had a good hit and was now in front of a national audience. If you’d have told anyone at Motown that this would end up being her biggest commercial hit, and that the raggedy girl group she pulled up by the bootstraps would rack up twelve Number Ones, they’d probably have laughed in your face.

MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
8/10


==================================================================================================

Time now for song #53. We go to this time of the year 56 years ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElIa7N_0XUc

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:02 am

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The #53 song on the countdown is "Can I Get A Witness" by Marvin Gaye, from 1963. This one reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop chart, and it got to #3 on the Cash Box R&B chart. The song was composed by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland and produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier.

According to Eddie Holland, once Gaye heard Holland perform the song to him, he nodded and stated, "okay I'm ready" to a perplexed Holland, who often had to work over the song a few times with other artists who recorded their songs. According to Holland, Gaye recorded the song in one take, which impressed Holland, his brother and Dozier. Holland would later call Gaye "the most versatile vocalist I ever worked with."

On the song, backed by a boogie woogie-styled piano riff played by Funk Brothers pianist Earl Van Dyke, Gaye performs the song in a gospel harmony with members of The Supremes and Holland-Dozier-Holland backing him up on background vocals. Gaye performs the song mostly in a tenor range but occasionally sings in both the baritone and falsetto ranges.

Here's a link to the MOTOWN JUNKIES review where this got 9/10 - https://motownjunkies.co.uk/2011/03/12/338/


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We're heading towards the top 50 Motown songs, as we voted them. We go now to 1970 for song #52.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6To0fvX_wFA

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Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:00 pm

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Song #52 is "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder, from 1970. It spent six weeks at number one on the U.S. R&B chart and peaked at number three on the U.S. Pop chart. In the UK it reached #15. The song was arranged by Paul Riser and featured a distinctive "sitar-guitar" in the introduction.

The song was a series of firsts for the 20-year-old Wonder: "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" was the first single Wonder produced on his own, and was also the first to feature his female backup singing group composed of Lynda Tucker Laurence (who went on to become a member of The Supremes), Syreeta Wright (who also co-wrote the song), and Venetta Fields. The song also gave Wonder his sixth Grammy nomination, with the award that year going to the Clarence Carter song "Patches".


RANK-BALLOTS-POINTS-TITLE-ARTIST
052 - 09-352 - Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours - Stevie Wonder
053 - 10-351 - Can I Get A Witness - Marvin Gaye
054 - 08-338 - Every Little Bit Hurts - Brenda Holloway
055 - 08-337 - You Beat Me To The Punch - Mary Wells
056 - 10-326 - Fingertips - Little Stevie Wonder
057 - 10-325 - I'll Be There - Jackson 5
058 - 09-321 - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) - Frank Wilson
059 - 08-321 - Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing - Stevie Wonder
060 - 10-319 - (I Know) I'm Losing You - Temptations
061 - 10-313 - I Second That Emotion - Smokey Robinson & Miracles
062 - 09-313 - I Was Made To Love Her - Stevie Wonder
063 - 07-311 - I Want A Love I Can See - Temptations
064 - 09-300 - ABC - Jackson 5
065 - 10-295 - It's The Same Old Song - Four Tops
066 - 06-290 - Visions - Stevie Wonder
067 - 06-288 - Bye Bye Baby - Mary Wells
068 - 06-287 - Needle in a Haystack – Velvelettes
069 - 07-285 - Baby I'm For Real - Originals
070 - 08-283 - Don't Leave Me This Way - Thelma Houston
071 - 10-278 - The Way You Do The Things You Do - Temptations
072 - 07-276 - Twenty-Five Miles - Edwin Starr
073 - 06-270 - Upside Down - Diana Ross
074 - 09-269 - Jimmy Mack – Martha and Vandellas
075 - 07-266 - Bernadette - Four Tops
076 - 06-263 - For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder
077 - 09-260 - Ask The Lonely - Four Tops
078 - 06-253 - My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder
079 - 06-249 - The Love You Save - Jackson 5
080 - 07-247 - I'm Coming Out - Diane Ross
081 - 06-243 - I'll Be Doggone - Marvin Gaye
082 - 08-240 - You’re All I Need to Get By - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
083 - 06-240 - I Wish It Would Rain - Temptations
084 - 08-238 - Smiling Faces Sometimes – Undisputed Truth
085 - 05-238 - Got To Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
086 - 08-235 - Hitch Hike - Marvin Gaye
087 - 04-229 - Bad Girl - Miracles
088 - 04-226 - Get Ready - Rare Earth
089 - 07-225 - Beauty Is Only Skin Deep - Temptations
090 - 06-224 - I Wish - Stevie Wonder
091 - 05-223 - Since I Lost My Baby - Temptations
092 - 07-221 - Heaven Must Have Sent You - Elgins
093 - 07-221 - Too Many Fish In The Sea - Marvelettes
094 - 06-215 - Brick House - Commodores
095 - 04-215 - Distant Lover - Marvin Gaye
096 - 05-214 - Beechwood 4-5789 - The Marvelettes
097 - 05-212 - Psychedelic Shack - Temptations
098 - 07-210 - Going to a Go-Go - Miracles
099 - 06-210 - It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
100 - 05-207 - You Haven't Done Nothin' - Stevie Wonder
101 - 05-204 - When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes - Supremes
102 - 04-203 - Strange I Know - Marvelettes
103 - 06-200 - Someday We'll Be Together - Supremes
104 - 03-196 - Envious - Linda Griner
105 - 06-194 - Pastime Paradise - Stevie Wonder
106 - 05-191 - Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye
107 - 04-191 - I'll Try Something New - Miracles
108 - 04-190 - What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
109 - 06-189 - Mickey's Monkey - Miracles
110 - 06-189 - Pride And Joy - Marvin Gaye
111 - 05-187 - The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage - Miracles
112 - 05-186 - It's A Shame - Spinners
113 - 05-185 - The Bells - Originals
114 - 06-184 - I Want You - Marvin Gaye
115 - 07-180 - He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' - Velvelettes
116 - 04-180 - Forever - Marvelettes
117 - 05-169 - Love Child - Supremes
118 - 04-168 - Funny - Contours
119 - 06-165 - How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
120 - 05-161 - Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes
121 - 04-161 - Way Over There - Miracles
122 - 03-161 - Who's Lovin' You - Jackson 5
123 - 04-157 - Stubborn Kind of Fellow - Marvin Gaye
124 - 06-156 - Standing In The Shadows of Love - Four Tops
125 - 04-156 - Walk Away Renee - Four Tops
126 - 05-155 - Easy- Commodores
127 - 05-155 - Don't Look Back - Temptations
128 - 03-154 - Function at the Junction - Shorty Long
129 - 05-149 - If I Were Your Woman - Gladys Knight & Pips
130 - 05-147 - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
131 - 04-142 - Playboy - Marvelettes
132 - 04-142 - You'll Lose A Precious Love - Temptations
133 - 04-142 - Master Blaster (Jammin’) - Stevie Wonder
134 - 05-139 - You're A Wonderful One - Marvin Gaye
135 - 04-139 - Friendship Train - Gladys Knight & Pips
136 - 04-136 - I Hear A Symphony - Supremes
137 - 03-136 - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - Marvelettes
138 - 03-135 - Paradise - Temptations
139 - 05-134 - (I'm A) Road Runner - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars
140 - 05-131 - Quicksand - Martha & The Vandellas
141 - 03-131 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Supremes and Temptations
142 - 03-131 - Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) - Stevie Wonder
143 - 02-130 - You’re My Desire – Equadors
144 - 02-128 - Walk Away From Love - David Ruffin
145 - 02-125 - A Favor For a Girl - Brenda Holloway
146 - 03-124 - I'll Turn To Stone - Four Tops
147 - 03-124 - Hello - Lionel Richie
148 - 04-123 - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
149 - 03-123 - Would I Love You - Miracles
150 - 04-119 - Seven Rooms of Gloom - Four Tops
151 - 03-117 - A Fork In The Road - Miracles
152 - 05-115 - You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
153 - 04-115 - I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder
154 - 03-114 - Reflections - Supremes
155 - 02-114 - Square Biz - Teena Marie
156 - 04-113 - Two Lovers - Mary Wells
157 - 03-111 - The Only One I Love - Miracles
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Song #51 is up now. This one as listed on 12 ballots, and is the first "song" to make the list by 2 different artists.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PV97roslmt0

Hymie
Full of Fire
Posts: 1893
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:37 pm

Re: Best Motown Songs - RESULTS

Post by Hymie » Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:46 pm

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Song #51 is "Get Ready" by the Temptations, from 1966. The same song by Rare Earth made the countdown at #88. The song was written by Smokey Robinson. It is significant for being the last song Robinson wrote and produced for the Temptations, due to a deal Berry Gordy made with Norman Whitfield, that if "Get Ready" did not meet with the expected degree of success, then Whitfield's song, "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", would get the next release, which resulted in Whitfield more or less replacing Robinson as the group's producer. The record reached #1 on the Soul chart, but only #29 Pop, which enable d Gordy to give the Temptations over to Whitfield.

The original Temptations version of "Get Ready", produced by Smokey Robinson, was designed as an answer to the latest dance craze, "The Duck". The Temptations' falsetto Eddie Kendricks sings lead on the song, which Robinson produced as an up-tempo dance number with a prominent rhythm provided by Motown drummer Benny Benjamin. In the song, Kendricks informs his lover to "get ready" because "I'm bringin' you a love that's true". Melvin Franklin sings lead on the pre-chorus: "fe, fi, fo, fum/look out/'cause here I come" along with several other similar lines.


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Time now to enter the Top 50 Motown tracks, as we voted them. Song #50 goes back to 1963, and it seems like the perfect song to kick the Top 50 off:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGJiohn9gj8

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