Blog Archives

FlinterFile: R. Dean Taylor- Taos New Mexico

R. Dean Taylor was a successful song writer, producer and singer at Motown. Read the rest of this entry

Advertisements

FlinterFile: Michael Jackson- Farewell My Summer Love

michael-jackson-farewell-my-summer-love-motown

At Motown, they sometimes lose recordings. Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: The Four Tops- It’s The Same Old Song

The Four Tops had a number 1 hit in 1965 and so a follow-up single had to be written quickly. Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: The Temptations- Plastic Man

the-temptations-plastic-man-tamla-motown-2

The Temptations released a new album in 1973, with the name Masterpiece. Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell- Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

marvin-gaye-and-tammi-terrell-your-precious-love-tamla-motown-3

In 1967, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell hit the charts. Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: Edwin Starr- War

edwin-starr-war-1970-16

In 1970, Edwin Starr released a flaming protest against the Vietnam War. It would be one of the first political songs Motown released. Read the rest of this entry

FlinterFile: Elton John & Kiki Dee- Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

elton-john-and-kiki-dee-dont-go-breaking-my-heart-the-rocket-record-company-4

In 1976, Elton John and Kiki Dee recorded a duet. They both loved the duets on the Motown label, but at the time, there hadn’t been one for some time, so they made one themselves. Read the rest of this entry

Song of the day: Rockwell- Somebody’s Watching Me

Rockwell___Somebody_s_Watching_Me

In 1984, Kennedy Gordy (yes, the son of the Motown founder Berry Gordy) recorded a demo with a Motown producer under the name Rockwell. Berry did not believe his son had capacities as an artist, but was convinced the demo could be a hit. Michael Jackson sang the backing vocals, something Kennedy strongly wanted. It would mean the guarantee the single would be a hit, which it was: number 2 in the US and number 6 in the UK. Enjoy

Rockwell- Somebody’s Watching Me

Song of the day: The Contours- Do You Love Me

Contours-Do-You-Love-me-Front

In 1962, the Contours released a song on a sub label of Motown, Gordy. Berry Gordy had written the song for the Temptations, to score their first hit with it. At the time of recording, the Temptations were not there, since they had not been notified. Berry Gordy looked some time for them, but found the Contours instead. Berry Gordy wanted to make the song a hit as fast as possible, and the Contours needed a hit, since they were in danger of being fired because of having no hits. Both were helped: the song became a number 3 hit in the US. In 1988, they re-entered the charts because of Dirty Dancing, in which the song is featured. Enjoy

The Contours- Do You Love Me

Song of the day: The Temptations- Papa Was A Rolling Stone

the-temptations-papa-was-a-rollin-stone-vocal-1972-3

In 1972, the songwriters of Motown came up with a new song. Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone, and this was recorded by The Undisputed Truth. However, it was only a minor hit in the US. Therefore, Whitfield reworked the song to a 12 minute version, produced it for the Temptations and they brought it to number 1 in the US in the same year as the original. The song pictured some children asking their mother about their father, who died before they could have known him and all they know are bad things. Enjoy

The Temptations- Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone

Song of the day: Thelma Houston- Don’t Leave Me This Way

Thelma_Houston_Don_27t_Leave_Me_This_Way_single_cover

In 1976, Thelma Houston released a cover of Don’t Leave Me This Way. The original song was recorded in 1975 by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes as an album track. However, it did reach the charts in the US, number 3 on the disco chart. Motown had thought of Diana Ross covering the song, but eventually gave it to Thelma Houston. It made it to number 1 in the US soul, club and normal chart. In the UK, it made it to number 13. In the eighties, the Communards also recorded the song, reaching number 1 in the UK. Enjoy

Thelma Houston- Don’t Leave Me This Way

Song of the day: Jackie Wilson- Reet Petite

Jackie-Wilson-Reet-Petite

Jackie Wilson originally was a member of the Dominoes. He left the band and went solo. In 1957, he recorded his first solo-song, written by Berry Gordy and the cousin of Jackie Wilson. The title was stolen from Louis Jordan, who had a song called Reet, Petite and Gone. The song made it to number 6 in the UK and number 62 in the US. The money was used by Berry Gordy, who fund Motown with it… Three years after Jackie Wilson died, the song became a hit again because of a clay-animation. It now even made number 1 in the UK! Enjoy

Jackie Wilson- Reet Petite

Song of the day: The Commodores- Easy

The-Commodores-Easy

The Motown label only produced hits, is something you often hear. This is another example of this hit machine: the Commodores. Lead singer of the Commodores was Lionel Richie, who later had a successful solo-career. The song Easy is about a man ending a relationship, but he does not feel sorry for it. The song would be number 4 in the US and number 9 in the UK, a good result. Enjoy

The Commodores- Easy

Song of the day: Rose Royce- Car Wash

rose-royce-car-wash

In 1976, the group Rose Royce debuted with a single which established their position in disco. The song was written by Norman Whitfield and also produced by him, and it was made for the movie with the same name. This because Motown, the label the band was with, had some financial problems and Rose Royce only was a backing band. It turned out to be a good decision, since the song would make it to number one in the US and number nine in the UK. Enjoy

Rose Royce- Car Wash

Song of the day: The Three Degrees- Dirty Ol’ Man

three degrees dirty ol man

A seventies song today, which could be seen as a pre-disco song. It came from Philadelphia, which had its own sound, just like Motown had its own sound. These things helped to create the disco, and this song is a good example of what helped it to develop. I’m not gonna talk about the content of the song, as it is too obvious to discuss. What was suprising to me, was that it never really hit any of the charts. Even in the US R&B chart it stuck to place 58. In the Netherlands, however, this was a real number one hit! (that might have to do with the performance they did on Toppop, which was the Dutch Top of the Pops. I tried to find the movie, but YouTube deleted the account of Toppop, because of a rightsissue…). I hope you enjoy

The Three Degrees- Dirty Ol’ Man

Song of the day: Debarge- Rhythm Of The Night

DeBarge_RhythmOfTheNIght

Because Saturday night is made for partying and dancing to good disco music, here’s another floorfiller. It’s the 1985 hit by DeBarge, recorded on the Motown label, and the one and only hit for DeBarge. The producer already had made big hits for the Pointer Sisters and the writer was Diane Warren, who later wrote hits like Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now and  Can’t Fight The Moonlight. In a lot of countries it went to the highest positions of the hit charts, and that’s logical: it’s a great song to dance on! Enjoy

DeBarge- Rhythm Of The Night

Song of the day: Marvin Gaye- What’s Going On

marvin-gaye-whats-going-on

In 1971, Marvin Gaye released this song on the Motown label. It was inspired by a police incident, where they were quite cruel. This all started with an anti-war protest, which were quite common these days. There, a member of the Four Tops witnessed the police acting violent against the protestors. He was upset and discussed it with the writer of this song. Now it’s more known as a protest song than what it actually was: a song about love and understanding. Later, the 4 Non Blondes renamed their song to avoid confusion. I think the song is very good, in text and in story, so take a listen to

Marvin Gaye- What’s Going On

Song of the day: ABC- When Smokey Sings

ABC+-+When+Smokey+Sings+-+12'+RECORD_MAXI+SINGLE-409889
Yes, this is a song about a singer, called Smokey Robinson. When I read this on Wikipedia, I thought: and who was that? Never heard of the man… but it turned out to be an American R&B singer. He had some hits on the Motown label, but none of the songs were familiar to me. So I’m going to listen to his hits, see if anything is worth a song of the day. Until then, you have to do it with the hit by ABC. Enjoy:

ABC- When Smokey Sings

Song of the day: The Supremes- Stop! In The Name Of Love

Diana+Ross+&+The+Supremes+-+Stop!+In+The+Name+Of+Love+-+LP+RECORD-498029

Oh yes, Diana Ross! And of course the Supremes! Is that not something nice which Motown brought forth? I must confess I like Motown a lot, but this group is absolutely one of the best parts of Motown. Of course it’s an oldie from the sixties, but does that matter? No, because the record is still the same. Still great! And well, live they were also good, so I chose a live performance as video for today. What I especially like in the video is the start. The presentator says something about their long hair, and that’s good, because they are girls. Absolutely a reaction on the Beatles!

Enjoy:

Diana Ross & The Supremes- Stop! In The Name Of Love