Hitsville USA: The Motown Singles Collection 1959-1971


“One of the most monumental achievements of the ’60s and early ’70s was Berry Gordy’s empire at Motown Records. Previously an accomplished songwriter for the likes of Jackie Wilson, Gordy started the company with an $800 loan and built a roster of black artists who consistently (if not constantly) crossed over onto the (white) mainstream pop charts. This amazing success story is too long for me to go into detail just how incredible Gordy’s accomplishments were (and his stamp is all over everything that ever happened at Motown), but his single-minded vision produced some of the purest and greatest pop music ever recorded. There were too many magnificent talents under Gordy’s watchful eye to even list here, but a mere handful of his top flight artist arsenal included The Supremes, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and the Jackson 5, most of whom are represented here by their best songs from that period. You should at least a compilation apiece for all of these wonderful artists, certainly more in the case of Gaye and Wonder, but it’s not like you’re likely to get tired of hearing these songs here, either (they are among the best ever, after all).  … Still, where this collection is really useful is in showcasing classic songs from fondly recalled but less well remembered acts, such as Barrett Strong (‘Money (That’s What I Want)’), The Marvelettes (‘Please Mr. Postman’), The Contours (‘Do You Love Me?’), Mary Wells (‘My Guy’), Junior Walker & The All Stars (‘Shotgun’), Jimmy Ruffin (‘What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted’), Edwin Starr (‘War’), The Undisputed Truth (‘Smiling Faces Sometimes’), and Rare Earth (‘I Just Want To Celebrate’), to cite some examples. … How great was Motown? One of their second tier acts, Martha & the Vandellas, had no less than 3 of the greatest songs of all time (‘Nowhere To Run,’ ‘(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave,’ ‘Dancing In The Street)’. …”
Hitsville USA: The Motown Singles Collection 1959-1971 (Motown ’92) Rating: A+
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