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Motown Soul

60s & 70s
by

shelley davies

on 7 May 2016

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Transcript of Motown Soul

Motown Soul


The Supremes
Signed to Motown in 1961 (Billboard 2015).
Sister act to Motown male vocal group The Temptations (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 227).
Known for;
Immaculate, coordinated, sophisticated image (Charlton, 2011, p. 91).
Huge impact on middle America with their music (Billboard 2015).
Breaking social/cultural barriers placed on African Americans/African American women by being accepted by a larger white audience (Kooijman 2002).
Being on The Ed Sullivan Show 14 times (Kooijman, 2002).
The Temptations
Formed 1961 (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 230) as brother act to Motown girl group The Supremes (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 227).
Known for;
Immaculate dance/choreography.
Strong doo-wop influences.
Smooth style of singing (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 227).
Impeccable harmonies (Billboard 2015).
Jackson 5
Five brothers between ages 9 to 14 (1969) when they joined the Motown family (Motown Museum 2015) and had first single "I Want You Back".
Aimed at teens (most other Motown acts were for an older target audience) .
Known for;
Being typical Motown act (sound, style and image all controlled).
Charismatic, sang catchy songs.
Michael Jackson had powerful voice (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 350) that provided the necessary emotion.
First African American boy band to produce large scale interest amid a white audience (Motown Museum 2015).
Stevie Wonder
Signed to Motown at age 11 in 1961.
Known for;
Being extremely musically talented (and compared to Ray Charles) due to being blind.
Plays harmonica, piano/keys and drums and was coached by The Funk Brothers (McCarthy 2013).
Great improvisation skills (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 233).
Wrote songs for other Motown artists (The Miracles & The Spinners) (Motown Museum 2015).
Marvin Gaye
First Motown release in 1961 ("Stubborn Kind of Fellow").
Known for;
Utilizing music to address serious social, cultural and political issues.
Being a successful solo artist as well as part of various duos, most famously, with Tammi Terrell for successful charted songs like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" (Motown Museum 2015).
Wrote and produced for other artists also (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 233).
The Miracles
Formed in high school (Billboard 2015) & signed with newly formed Motown to release first single in 1960;
"Shop Around" sold more than 500,000 records.
Known for;
Being singers AND songwriters;
Many of the Miracles' members wrote and/or produced tracks of other Motown acts (for example "My Girl" by The Temptations written by Smokey Robinson & Ronnie White).
One of the most lasting groups of Motown (even with the many line-up changes).
Smokey Robinson later became Vice-President of Motown records in 1962 (Motown Museum 2015).
Key Artists
The Commodores
The Marvelettes
The Funk Brothers
The Velvelettes
The Contours
Jimmy Ruffin
Jr. Walker & The All Stars
(Classic Motown 2015)
Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
Diana Ross
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
Isley Brothers
Gladys Knight and the Pips
Tammi Terrell
The Four Tops
Mary Wells
Kim Weston

The Supremes
The Temptations
Jackson 5
Marvin Gaye
Stevie Wonder
(Smokey Robinson)
&
An Introduction to
Motown Records

Founded in 1959 in Detroit (Bio 2015) by Berry Gordy (who used to work at the Ford factory (amongst other things) to earn a living (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 224)).
Motown was the first record label to be owned and operated by an African American (Bio 2015).
Social Issues
&
Historical Context
America was dealing with the heavy racial segregation during the 50s which in turn affected the black music industry (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 77).
African Americans considered 2nd class citizens.
Black music (so named 'race' music (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 47)) was viewed negatively by white America due to prominent, inaccurate racial stereotypes.
It was stereotyped as;
Sexual (America was sexually prudish then (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 77))
'Dangerous' (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 67)
Generally misunderstood by most middle-class white Americans (or they just didn't know anything about African American culture) (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 47).
Berry Gordy's Goal
Gordy's goal- to bring down the barriers between black and white America in the music industry.
Motown created a unique sound via crossover records that heavily impacted the music industry in the future;
Interested white audiences.
Still had strong elements of African American culture.
This is where Gordy's strict regulations about style and presentation came in;
His acts had to be flawless in appearance to counteract the racial stereotypes of trashiness.
They had to be beacons of professionalism, sophistication and class to challenge misconceptions of 'race' music (Starr & Waterman, 2010, p. 247).
Key Stylistic
Developments
The Marvellettes
The Supremes
The Miracles
(Motown Museum 2015)
Motown Soul VS Other Soul Styles
Motown Soul differed from other styles of soul;
It was stylistically produced to target white audiences (by reducing blues and gospel influences).
Included pop/jazz elements (Charlton, 2011, p. 84).
Sophisticated Motown recordings VS other soul styles which have been described as sounding live.
Motown Soul still committed to themes of love, relationships and powerful emotion.
The gospel influences added utilization of melisma and falsetto.
Created new, positive image of black music (Charlton, 2011, p. 84).
Key Stylistic Developments
(in more detail)
Holland-Dozier-Holland;
One of most successful writing/production teams (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 228).
13 #1 sequential hit singles with The Supremes alone (Hall, 2009).
They had a 'winning formula' (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 229) for their songs.
Late 60s / Early 70s
Key Stylistic
Development
Influences of
Advancements In Technology
Television
A means for upholding ‘traditional middle-American values’ (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 76) which made it difficult for African American musicians (or any African Americans) to showcase their music on screen.
Fortunately not all of white America supported segregation and racism (Ed Sullivan from
The Ed Sullivan Show
);
Sullivan used his show to break down racial barriers.
The Supremes performed on his show 14 times (their platform to connect with a larger white audience).
America fell in love with them.
Motown acts became regulars (Kooijman 2002).
Influences of
Advancements In Technology
Radio
Radio programs that were initially aimed at African American audiences were now being consumed by a young white audience (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 82) (usually against parents wishes (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 76)).
Most families had a radio by 1955 (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 82).
Music could be promoted via this technology.
White teens began attending black music events promoted by disc jockeys (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 83).
60s & 70s
Influences of
Advancements In Technology
(Recording)
'
The Snake Pit';
Studio A- where the music was recorded at Hitsville.
The unique Motown sound was because of the
reverb
that was created in the Echo Chamber (before computers and other more modern recording technology) (Motown Museum 2015).
Stevie Wonder introduced
synthesizers
to the Motown sound and began incorporating them into his recordings (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 351).
A new sound/direction for Motown.
In 1972 Motown officially left Detroit and moved the record label headquarters to LA.
It stayed an independent company until 1988 when it dissolved as part of the Universal Music Group.
Berry Gordy sold his share for $61 million (1988) (What's Going On... Now 2012).
Motown's sound is iconic but the achievements that the record label made outside of music are equally as legendary.
All Music 2015,
All Music
website, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://www.allmusic.com/artist/smokey-robinson-the-miracles-mn0000035021>

Berry Gordy's Childhood Lesson on Race | Master Class | Oprah Winfrey Network
2013, YouTube, viewed 26th April 2015, <http://tinyurl.com/q8qovgb>

Billboard 2015,
Billboard
website, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://www.billboard.com/artist/1490202/the-temptations/biography >

Billboard 2015,
Billboard
website, viewed 3rd May 2015, <http://www.billboard.com/artist/1490202/the-temptations/chart?sort=position&f=379>

Billboard 2015,
Billboard
website, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://www.billboard.com/artist/280720/stevie-wonder/chart?sort=position&f=379>

Billboard 2015,
Billboard
website, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://www.billboard.com/artist/309807/marvin-gaye/chart?sort=position&f=379>

Billboard 2015,
Billboard
website, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://www.billboard.com/artist/419238/supremes/biography>

Billboard 2015,
Billboard
website, viewed 3rd May 2015, <http://www.billboard.com/artist/419238/supremes/chart?sort=position&f=379>

Bio 2015,
Bio
., viewed 25th April 2015, <http://www.biography.com/people/groups/the-supremes>

Cashbox Magazine n.d.,
Cashbox
website, viewed 3rd May 2015, <http://50.6.195.142/archives/60s_files/1968.html>
Reference List
Kooijman, J 2002, ‘From Elegance to Extravaganza: The Supremes on
The Ed Sullivan Show
as a Presentation of Beauty’,
Velvet Light Trap: A Critical Journal of Film & Television
, Issue 49, pp. 4-15, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=6c773f51-7e5b-46cb-99c4-e748aeb7c1e6%40sessionmgr4002&vid=5&hid=4212>

Lindvall, H 2010,
The Guardian
website, viewed 1st may 2015, <http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2010/nov/26/behind-music-motown-pop-factory>

Marvin Gaye - Heard It Through The Grapevine (Live at Montreux)
2008, YouTube, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://tinyurl.com/n63m77o>

McCarthy, M 2013, ‘The Young Musicians of Motown: A Success Story of Urban Music Education’,
Music Educators Journal
, Vol. 99, no. 3, pp. 35-42, viewed 3rd May 2015, <http://tinyurl.com/nwtcqmu>

Motown: How It All Began | Master Class | Oprah Winfrey Network
2013, YouTube, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://tinyurl.com/m43ku7o>

Motown Museum 2015,
Motown Museum
website, viewed 26th April 2015, <https://www.motownmuseum.org/motown-sound/timeline/timeline-1962/>

Motown Museum 2015,
Motown Museum
website, viewed 26th April 2015,
<https://www.motownmuseum.org/motown-sound/the-artists/jackson-5/>

Motown Museum 2015,
Motown Museum
website, viewed 25th April 2015, <https://www.motownmuseum.org/motown-sound/the-artists/marvin-gaye/ >

Motown Museum 2015,
Motown Museum
website, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://www.motownmuseum.org/motown-sound/the-artists/miracles/>
Reference List
Motown Museum 2015,
Motown Museum
website, viewed 25th April 2015, <https://www.motownmuseum.org/motown-sound/the-artists/stevie-wonder/ >

Motown Museum 2015,
Motown Museum
website, viewed 4th May 2015, <https://www.motownmuseum.org/motown-sound/timeline/timeline-1965/>

100 Greatest Artists 2015,
Rolling Stone
, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-artists-of-all-time-19691231>

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2015,
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
, viewed 25th April 2015, <https://rockhall.com/inductees/the-supremes/bio/>

Smokey Robinson and The Miracles - Shop Around (Ready Steady Go - 1965)
2011, YouTube, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://tinyurl.com/mp4ugto>

Starr, L & Waterman, C 2010,
American Popular Music
, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, New York.

Stevie Wonder 2013,
steviewonder.org.uk
, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://www.steviewonder.org.uk/discography/albums/albums.html>

The Best of The Supremes on The Ed Sullivan Show
2011, YouTube, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://tinyurl.com/nxubxyd>

The Best of The Temptations on The Ed Sullivan Show
2011, YouTube, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://tinyurl.com/l64wtsm>

The Jackson 5 - I Want You Back - The Ed Sullivan Show
2013, YouTube, viewed 26th April 2015, <http://tinyurl.com/oayc9tp>

What’s Going On… Now 2012,
What’s Going On… Now
, viewed 26th April 2015, <http://www.whatsgoingonnow.org/music/sound-motown-hitsville-usa>
Reference List
All Good Things
Must End
Stevie Wonder
Studio A or The Snake Pit
Berry Gordy
The Motown Family
Motown began to deviate from favoring singles over albums (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 343).
The 'traditional Motown formula' (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 343) set aside for more prominent sense of artistry.
Songs about social issues;
War
("What's Going On?" and "What's Happening Brother?" by
Marvin Gaye
& “Blowin’ in the Wind”

by
Stevie Wonder
.
1970
Marvin Gaye
's "What's Going On" concept album represented an important shift in course for Motown.
Environment
("Mercy Mercy Me").
All proved that a deeper subject matter wouldn't be disastrous (What's Going On... Now 2012).
Context Through
Photographs
The Miracles
Six #1 singles (Motown Museum 2015) including;
"Shop Around" in 1960.
"I Second That Emotion" in 1967.
"The Tears of a Clown" in 1970 (All Music 2015).
"Love Machine (Part 1)" in 1976 (Billboard 2015).
"Ooh Baby Baby" was their signature song (Motown Museum 2015).
More than 40 hits in the R&B top 40 charts (Billboard 2015).
Overall 50 records that made it in the charts (Motown Museum 2015).
#32 on Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list (Rolling Stone 2015).
(Smokey Robinson)
&
The Supremes
One of Motown's most popular acts between 1964 (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 227) and 1970 when Diana Ross exited the group (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2015).

#96 on Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list (Rolling Stone 2015).
The Temptations
Marvin Gaye
Stevie Wonder
Jackson 5
One of Motown's most popular acts from 1964-1972- their music still thrives presently.
37 top ten hits (Billboard 2015).
They are #68 on Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list (Rolling Stone 2015).
"My Girl" is a signature song and was a #1 (Billboard 2015).
14 songs in the top 20 (Billboard 2015).
#18 on Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list (Rolling Stone 2015).
Numerous tracks in Billboard charts;
Three of them were #1 songs ("Got to Give It Up (Pt. 1)," "Let's Get It On" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine") (Billboard 2015).
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" was his most successful #1 hit;
It sold four million copies (Motown Museum 2015).
Was top selling Motown single at the time (Motown Museum 2015).
Had full control over his music from age 21 as a producer, songwriter and stage performer.
Created albums from 1972 to 1991;
Ten of them were #1 albums (steviewonder.org.uk 2013).
Sold 100 million records.
30 top ten hits (Motown Museum 2015).
22 Grammy Awards.
9th greatest singer of all time (Motown Museum 2015).
#15 on Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list (Rolling Stone 2015).
Had four #1 singles between 1969-1970 with;
"I Want You Back"
"ABC"
"The Love You Save"
"I'll Be There" (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 350).
Only group to have their first four records at #1.
At Motown records for 6.5 years and had 17 singles in top 10 chart (R&B) (Motown Museum 2015).
(Classic Motown 2015)
The Supremes
13 number one hits (Hall, 2009).
"Where Did Our Love Go" in 1964 .
"Baby Love" in 1964.
"Come See About Me" in 1964.
"Stop! In The Name Of Love" in 1965.
"Back In My Arms Again" in 1965.
"I Hear A Symphony" in 1965.
"You Keep Me Hangin' On" in 1966.
"You Can't Hurry Love" in 1966.
"Love Is Here and Now You're Gone" in 1967.
"The Happening" in 1967 (Billboard 2015).
"Love Child" in 1968.
"I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" in 1969 (collaboration with The Temptations).
"Someday We'll Be Together" in 1969 (Cashbox n.d).
The Temptations
Other hits;
"I Can't Get Next To You" in 1969 (#1).
"Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" in 1971 (#1).
"Papa Was A Rollin' Stone" in 1972 (#1) (Billboard 2015).
Stevie Wonder
Seven #1 singles;
"You Are The Sunshine of My Life" in 1973.
"Superstition" in 1973.
"You Haven't Done Nothin" in 1974.
"Sir Duke" in 1977.
"I Wish" in 1977.
"I Just Called To Say I Love You" in 1984.
"Part-Time Lover" in 1985 (Billboard 2015).
Key Stylistic Developments
Other elements of their music that made it so unique and successful;
Added extra percussion to support beat of songs.
Instrumental solos (for example saxophone) (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 228).
Key changes to build a songs intensity.
Heavy utilisation of orchestral elements (strings).
Considered upper-class) (Charlton, 2011).
Call and response vocals prominent (Covach & Flory, 2012, p. 229).
Analogue recording
-
Motown had their own unique way of blending/editing/mixing sound.
Custom built echo chambers
used during mixing- which was unheard of during that period (Dennis 1999).
The Motown sound was unlike any other sound at the time.
Multi-track recording;
Three track recording system
(used up until mid 1964
)
;
Three lots of speakers (each played a track) in main control room for controlling left, right and centre.
Track one- drum, bass, piano.
Track two- strings, horns (Dennis 1998).
Track three- Vocals (The Guardian 2010).
Four track recording system
(used from mid 1964 (Dennis 1998));
The most you could get at the time (Dennis 2006).
Same as the three track system, but with an extra set of speakers (Dennis 1998) (more flexibility with four).
Influences of
Advancements In Technology
(Recording)
Influences of
Advancements In Technology
(Recording)
Multi-track recording continued;
Eight track recording system
(Motown first released their first Eight track tape in 1965 (Motown Museum 2015)).
Monitor mixer installed (one amplifier would send the speakers into mono) (Dennis 1998).
Took more than one year to build and fit;
Motown engineers built it themselves;
Otherwise only available for expensive price and custom made.
It allowed Motown to use a technology that wasn't available to buy in music stores (Dennis 2006).
Influences of
Advancements In Technology
(Recording)
Cashbox Magazine n.d.,
Cashbox
website, viewed 3rd May 2015, <http://50.6.195.142/archives/60s_files/1969.html>

Charlton, K 2011, Rock Music Styles: A History, 6th edn, McGraw Hill, New York.

Classic Motown, 2015,
Classic Motown
, viewed 25th April 2015, <http://classic.motown.com/artists/>

Covach, J & Flory, A 2012, What’s That Sound?: an introduction to rock and its history, 3rd edn, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, New York.

Dennis, R 1998, 'Our Motown Recording Heritage (Part 5)'.
Recording Institute of Detroit
, viewed 6th May 2015, <http://www.alexandermagazine.com/recordingeq/motown/motown5.html>

Dennis, R 1998, ‘Our Motown Recording Heritage (Part 7)’,
Recording Institute of Detroit
, viewed 5th May 2015, <http://www.alexandermagazine.com/recordingeq/motown/motown7.html >

Dennis, R 1999, 'Recording Techniques',
recordinginstitute.com
, viewed 26th April 2015, <http://www.recordinginstitute.com/R2KREQ/excomp.htm>

Dennis, R 2006, ‘Our Motown Heritage (Part 2)’,
recordingeq.com
, viewed 5th May 2015, <http://www.recordingeq.com/2006motown/06motown02.html>

Dennis, R 2006, ‘Our Motown Heritage (Part 24)’,
recordingeq.com
, viewed 5th May 2015, <http://www.recordingeq.com/2006motown/06motown24.html>

Hall, R 2009, ‘Holland-Dozier-Holland’, Performing Songwriter, Vol. 16, no. 115, pp. 78-80, viewed April 26th 2015, <http://tinyurl.com/lf25zvz>

Holland-Dozier-Holland
2009, YouTube, viewed 4th May 2015, <http://tinyurl.com/le3xo79>
Reference List
Full transcript