During its 60s heyday, Motown was more than just a label. It was a genre unto itself: a popwise version of R&B that
incorporated elements of jazz, rock and roll, and kitsch. It was a way of life for its stable of performers, writers,
producers and musicians: rewarding for most, stifling for some. It was a model for black business owners. But mostly, it was
a label - or more accurately, a group of labels. For your further edification we've discussed several books about Motown on our insight-free
book reviews page. Note that Hip-O Select has embarked on a remarkable archival project compiling every Motown single side (A and B) from 1959 through 1972, collected in twelve boxed sets. You've have to be even crazier than I am to buy the whole series, but Volume 7, which covers 1967, would be the place to start.
We have covered all of the major Motown (including Tamla, Gordy and Soul) acts
from this period, and many of the minor ones. Herewith:
The A List
Each with a long list of hits over a period of years, these are the acts you think of off the top of your head when you hear
the word "Motown."
The B List
Artists who burned out early, had their greatest success after leaving Detroit, or who almost made it big but not quite.
Also On The Roster
This includes acts which recorded with Motown after its heyday, and acts which never managed a substantial hit with the
Artists We Haven't Reviewed
Yes, there are still a few.
- The Contours
- Brenda Holloway
- Marv Johnson
- The Originals
- Rare Earth
Our Picks For The Best Motown Albums
Limited to one album per artist, or else Stevie Wonder would be half the list.
Four Tops, Reach Out
Marvin Gaye, What's Going On
Gladys Knight & The Pips, All I Need Is Time
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Make It Happen
More Hits By The Supremes
Temptations, With A Lot O' Soul
Stevie Wonder, Innervisions
Out of our goddamn way.