Motown in 150 Songs, Day 1

2.16 Motown

Honestly, I think I was born with Motown ingrained into my DNA. Of course, I had no idea what Motown was when I was little. I simply knew what songs I liked and those I did not, though many of those grew on me as I got older. As I watch my grandchildren react to music, there is something innately programmed into us to want to dance. So, when I heard Motown artists, Mom said I would dance through the house.

As I got older, Motown’s music continued to move me. I distinctly remember being an elementary kid when Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” was a hit. Since I realized early on that I lacked musical talent, I focused on the lyrics. And, “What’s Going On” spoke to me. I probably did not understand everything that was going on in the song, but I knew anguish and despair when I heard it. And, Marvin was in pain, and that knowledge moved me. Still, I did not know Gaye was a Motown artist.

2.16 Hitsville USA Studio & Museum

Eventually, I began to learn that this label called Motown was and continued to be a label that was home to many talented artists who I loved. I was the right age for Stevie Wonder to be a major artist on the radio, and old enough to watch a majority of my classmates get excited during lunch whenever the jukebox would play “Love Machine (Part 1)” by The Miracles. Through in Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and a little live Marvin Gaye ditty called “Got to Give It Up,” and we’d have a nice soundtrack to our lunch period.

When I got to college, I immediately discovered that some of my favorite new wave artists, like Culture Club and The Style Council, had a Motown-fixation that was a definite influence on their music. With that in mind, I slowly began to accumulate some Motown music. And, whenever I read a rock history book, there was always large portions of the book reserved for this formerly Detroit-based label and its subsidiaries (Tamla, Melo-dy, etc.). It was then I learned that Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, The Temptations, Four Tops and The Supremes had all grown up together. And, that Stevie Wonder blew the whole “Motown Family” away as a pre-teen by playing almost every instrument in the fabled Hitsville U.S.A. studio at the Motown building (which was actually a small home).

2.16 Temptations

And during those same college years, I began to weave Motown songs into my party mixtapes, discovering these beautifully classic songs kept the party rocking. It was then that I realized I was not the only person in my age group who loved Motown, arguably the greatest record label with the finest array of musical talent.

Today, I am going to begin another of my series of Favorite Songs of an artist, genre or, like the next few days, a record company. Therefore, let’s no longer delay the countdown. Kick it!

2.16 150.Rhythm_of_the_Night

150. DeBarge – “Rhythm of the Night” (1985)

149. Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers – “Does Your Mama Know About Me” (1968)

148. Stevie Wonder – “Overjoyed” (1985)

147. Rick James – “You and Me” (1978)

146. G.C. Cameron – “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” (1975)

145. Brenda Holloway – “Every Little Bit Hurts” (1964)

144. Smokey Robinson – “One Heartbeat” (1987)

143. Eddie Holland – “Jamie” (1961)

142. The Velvelettes – “Needle in a Haystack” (1964)

141. Commodores – “Lady (You Bring Me Up)” (1981)

2.16 140.signed sealed delivered

140. Stevie Wonder – “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” (1970)

139. Smokey Robinson – “Just to See Her” (1987)

138. Michael Jackson – “Ben” (1972)

137. The Supremes – “Back in My Arms Again” (1965)

136. Commodores – “Sail On” (1979)

135. Shanice – “I Love Your Smile” (1991)

134. Marvin Gaye – “I Want You” (1976)

133. Jermaine Jackson – “Let’s Get Serious” (1980)

132. Mary Wells – “The One Who Really Loves You” (1962)

131. The Spinners – “It’s a Shame” (1970)

2.16 130.Love-u-save-jackson5

130. Jackson 5 – “The Love You Save” (1970)

129. Commodores – “Oh No” (1981)

128. Stevie Wonder – “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” (1974)

127. Boyz II Men – “Motownphilly” (1991)

126. Kim Weston – “Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)” (1965)

125. Lionel Richie – “Truly” (1982)

124. Marvin Gaye – “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” (1971)

123. Stevie Wonder – “I Was Made to Love You” (1967)

122. Diana Ross – “Upside Down” (1980)

121. Mary Wells – “You Beat Me to the Punch” (1962)

2.16 120.On Bended Knee B2M

120. Boyz II Men – “On Bended Knee” (1994)

119. Stevie Wonder – “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” (1973)

118. Rare Earth – “Get Ready” (1970)

117. Smokey Robinson – “Being with You” (1981)

116. Commodores – “Still” (1979)

115. Stevie Wonder – “I Ain’t Gonna Stand for It” (1980)

114. Another Bad Creation – “Iesha” (1991)

113. Lionel Richie – “Stuck on You” (1983)

112. Billy Preston & Syreeta – “With You I’m Born Again” (1979)

111. The Marvelettes – “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game” (1966)


110. Michael Jackson – “Got to Be There” (1971)

109. Rick James – “Give It to Me Baby” (1981)

108. Four Tops – “Bernadette” (1967)

107. Bettye LaVette – “Right in the Middle (Of Falling in Love)” (1981)

106. Brenda Holloway – “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” (1967)

105. Stevie Wonder – “Living for the City” (1973)

104. Bonnie Pointer – “Heaven Must Have Sent You” (1978)

103. Boyz II Men – “I’ll Make Love to You” (1994)

102. The Supremes – “I Hear a Symphony” (1965)

2.16 101.ain't no mountain

101. Diana Ross – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1970)

Next time, let’s do 50 more. Peace.

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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