Mary could Blues it, Soul it, Sass it and Seduce it, but most of all her pipes could sell it. She set the standard and the tone for the rest of the females who followed her.
From the beginning Mary Wells stood in a league of her own with hit after hit after hit. An individual still missed, a legacy that will never fade away.
This 1966 release was Starr’s third straight chart hit for Ric-Tic behind “Agent OO Soul” and “Backstreets”. With the moonlighting Funk Brothers and Mike Terry’s blazing baritone sax it was all pure Motown sound. Personally I thought his recordings with this label was his best before reaching Motown’s.
Detroit never sounded so sweet.
Yesterday March 21, 2013 Detroit’s own got their due by Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Our treasures, musicians, sound, style, epitome of the definition of Instrumentation.
Surviving members Eddy Willis & Jack Ashford attending this honor. Joe Messina who has been said to be sick viewed the ceremony via a live stream from his Detroit suburban home. To me this should have been done long ago and about time!
Because what you heard on every single one of the Motown Hits you was the music behind the vocals and they were simply called The Funk Brothers. But what a sound they created. No one on this earth could ever duplicate them if they tried.
The were not only Detroit’s legends they were the worlds. They were musics magicians. Extraordinary talents each and every single one of them. And if I repeat myself more than one time on this blog so be it. It cannot be said enough times
This blog will honestly reiterate one I did honoring them on Jan. 2, 2012. Only I switched up what video auto-played. You will be hearing almost 4 hours of ex-tended Motown that features the artists and the music.
13 Names….13 of the most outstanding individuals who ever created the most recognizable sound around this whole world totally together.
The Motown Sound and Epitome of Class.
Earl Van Dyke
William “Benny” Benjamin
Richard “Pistol” Allen
The Best Bassist In The World “James Jamerson”
Eddie “Bongo” Brown
Bobby co-wrote this song that Mary would sing second rendition to behind The Miracles and I couldn’t have thought of a more appropriate song for today.
His words, our feelings about him.
What Love has Joined Together, Can nobody take it apart.
One of the founding members of the Miracles Bobby Rogers died Sunday from complications after a long battle with diabetes. It took the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame long enough to induct The Miracles, April of 2012 where Bobby was too sick to attend. He co-wrote not only some of the Miracles songs but other Motown groups and artists as well.
He was Claudette Rogers Robinson cousin and at one time married to Marvelettes singer Wanda Young.
He was a part of one the earliest successful groups of Motown who got the first million dollar record with Shop Around and will be sorely missed. Any part of this cities music legacy who passes leaves us with an emptiness, yet their music will continue to bring us joy making us feel that they will always live on.
Bobby Rogers was that joy. God Speed to his family, friends and the millions of fans that spanned over many generations.
This is Vintage Early Motown featuring a group that would actually become the Elgins but not of The Temptations variety. This group of guys prior also sang as the Sensations and the Five Emeralds.
Starting out in the early-mid 50s with various different changes in lines ups it would be Norman McLean & Johnny Dawson that started and would continue on to 1961 when they finally ended up on Berry Gordy’s Tamla label recording only two songs that would be released as A & B sides.
“Request Of A Fool” recorded in Sept. of 1961 then two months later with “You’re Baby’s Back”, released in 62′. They recorded 13 more songs until 1964 but none of them saw the light of day. More line up changes would come as they would add Saundra Mallet before they finally had more releases as The Elgins in 66′.
This was the Doo-Wop era.
This one from The Queen of Motown was released off her 4th album “Mary Wells Sings My Guy” in 1964. Sadly it would be her last for the label as she left Motown in a dispute.
Written by Smokey Robinson and backed by the vocals of The Andantes and The Love Tones it again defined her signature smoothness. Tammi Terrell covered this song a few years later.
Everything that Wells sang sounded like satin.
To me this was the prettiest song that ever came out of “Motown”.
Written by Smokey RobinsonReleased in 1961 off first album “Hi! We’re The Miracles”. Tamla Label
Was lucky enough to find this extended version that highlights all who contributed on the recording.
Written by Smokey Robinson
Released in 1963
Mary had 10 consecutive #1 hits between 1962-63, this should have been number 11.
There is something about this song that puts a smile on my face but in reality every early Motown song does that. A classic period and a classy singer who started off the very long ride Motown had.
Laughing Boy also made you appreciate the Muse behind the singers with Ivory Joe Hunter’s piano, James Jamerson’s bass and the beat of William “Benny” Benjamin’s drums. Music never had it so good.
Released in 1964, third song out of 5 consecutive singles released to hit #1 on U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
Written by William “Mickey” Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter
Released under Martha Reeves & the Vandellas Jan. 4, 1966
This was one of my favorites from this group yet sadly not one of the Vandellas were on the record. The Andantes (Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow and Louvain Demps) did the female backing vocals and the male backing vocals were none other than my favorite guys, The Four Tops.
When people went out to dance.
Written by Autry DeWalt (Jr. Walker), Willie Woods & Lawrence Horn.
Released in 1965
Junior Walker – saxophone, lead vocals
Willie Woods – guitar, vocals
Victor Thomas – organ
James Graves – drums
Featured James Jamerson – bass
Said put on your wig, woman
Were goin’ out to shake and fingerpop!
It is a damn shame that these artists and their songs sat in some vault unreleased all these years. Again another worthy singer completely ignored by Berry Gordy.
She was signed to Motown in 1962 to a four-year contract where she recorded 10 singles. Only one record was ever released until 2005 off the Gordy Label. “Your Love Is Wonderful” / “Here You Come” 1962.
This was a 1967 hit by four teens out of Lansing, Mi. The song itself started out as an instrumental written by hammond organist Kerry Nicholoff but when the band’s guitarist Danny Hernandez broke up with his girlfriend he wrote some lyrics befitting the music.
Written by Norman Whitfield and Edward Holland Jr.
Mary Wells was the first to record this song in 1964 but another that Berry Gordy wouldn’t release until Wells left Motown. Instead opting to release The Temptations version done in 1965 first. But not even The Temps could out do Mary Wells.
What an awesome voice that fit in perfectly with the Motown sound but sadly just another artist totally ignored and overlooked by Berry Gordy.
Crawford debuted her first single with Motown that she wrote in 1963, “Forget About Me” then with “My Smile Is Just a Frown (Turned Upside Down)” Written by Smokey Robinson soon following and charting at #39 on the R&B chart. When her next in 64′ “When Someone’s Good To You” didn’t set Gordy’s own world that was strictly in his mind ablaze she wasn’t resigned and as the same story with a lot of other talented artists that came through the doors of Hitsville nobody ended up being good to her.
Marvin Gaye wrote every single song on this films soundtrack. He not only composed, produced and arranged them but along with the vocals he played the drums, keyboards & piano for the songs. Sadly the title track would ultimately epitomize his life at its conclusion.
One very talented yet tormented soul that has been very missed not only by the fans of the city who enjoyed his early works with Motown, but by the entire music world.
Written by Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore and Marv Tarplin.
Released June 23, 1965 on the Tamla Label .
Smokey Robinson – lead vocals
Marv Tarplin - guitar
Claudette Rogers Robinson – background vocals
Pete Moore – background vocals,
Ronnie White – background vocals
Bobby Rogers – background vocals
The Funk Brothers and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Instrumentation
Lyrics are pure honesty, Muse is pure magic.
These Musicians were MOTOWN.
They alone gave the artists the Muse to make it complete for a sound that would be recognized and known around this entite world as, Motown.
Earl Van Dyke
William “Benny” Benjamin
Richard “Pistol” Allen
The Best Bassist In The World James Jamerson
Eddie “Bongo” Brown
Detroit, Michigan had it all and owned the sound.
It was “MOTOWN” and it was ours.
I’m proud to make The Funk Brothers my first Motown Monday of the New Year dedicated to the greatest group of musicians ensembled.
What an awesome song and highlights the ultimate talent of this vocalist. Another who should have shined as a number one star.
This was Terrell’s first solo recording for “Motown” followed by “Come on and See Me”.
Written by Mary Wells.
Recorded (1959) and Released in 1960.
This video footage was from the 1962 Motortown Revue. The revue was filmed during a December 1962 week-long stand at the Apollo Theater. And yes those are the Temptations singing in the background with Mary before David Ruffin joined the group.
Before there was even a “Motown”.
Written by Marv Johnson & Berry Gordy Jr.
Released in May 1959.
You are hearing the very first single that ever came out of ” Motown” released on Tamla Label. It was a Midwest hit but because the label was still a local company just starting out Gordy sold the rights of the song to United Artists so it could be distributed nationally. And it indeed become a national #30 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and # 3 on the national R&B chart by early 1960.
Louvain Demps, Jackie Hicks and Marlene Barrow didn’t need Ann Bogan to sing lead on the only two singles Berry Gordy ever let this group record as a group.
They had more than enough talent to be one of the biggest acts to come out of “Motown” and Gordy knew it. So he again like he did with so many other artists literally held them back and put them in the back row with The Funk Brothers.
All of these people, all of the faces and all of the names lost were somebody’s everything.