So we did. And here they are, the greatest Motown songs of all time. Dancing at your desk is allowed. Gladys Knight and the Pips and The Miracles both released versions of this ultimate Motown song before Marvin, but this is undoubtedly the finest version, if not the finest song ever laid to tape. A stone cold stunner. Yep, more Smokey.
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That Berry Gordy turned his independent Detroit -based soul imprint into one of the biggest record labels of all time is achievement enough. That its songs still sit among the greatest and most soulful ever recorded is testament to the relentless quality of the artists and songwriters Gordy hired. Assertive, powerful and groovy, this smash is beautifully delivered by the great Eddie Kendricks. Perhaps The Velvelettes needed more attention, or to shout louder — but they surely had talent to spare. With a chorus driven into your brain by a guitar like an angry hornet, this has the pop fashion of all over it. A wild version supplied a much-needed UK hit for The Fall in
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The company gave its name to the hugely popular style of soul music that it created. They also played a major role in financing Gordy in his early years in the music business. Following an attempt at a professional boxing career and a stint in the army during the Korean War , Gordy entered the music business. He briefly owned a jazz record store, but his true love was songwriting. Although he could not read music, he demonstrated an unerring ability to gauge whether a song had the elements of popular appeal. Before forming Motown, Gordy tried to make it as an independent songwriter and record producer, cowriting hit songs for Jackie Wilson , another former boxer and Detroiter, and Marv Johnson. Big musical units were no longer economically feasible. Jazz had been taken over by a new group of Young Turk stylists; calling themselves beboppers , they were inclined to play music for listening rather than dancing. Second, a new urban dance music, rhythm and blues , was ascendant. Emerging primarily from inner-city ghettos and popularized by such bandleaders as Louis Jordan and Lionel Hampton , rhythm and blues was almost exclusively recorded by small independent labels.
Then the slogan came true. Founded on Jan. There's no hyperbole in that statement. See an audio slideshow of five of Motown's best tunes. A former boxer and automobile worker, Berry Gordy was a nascent songwriter when, at the urging of Smokey Robinson, a songwriter ten years younger than Gordy, he decided to establish Motown Records. A year later, "Please Mr. Postman," by The Marvelettes, was the label's first No. It would not be the last. All became part of what would come to be known as the Motown Sound.