Berry Gordy III, a.k.a Berry Gordy Jr. (born 1929), had seen encouraging success as a songwriter and producer in the fifties. Borrowing money from his family, he established Motown Records in 1960 – an investment that paid off royally. In the following decades, Motown and its subsidiary labels released hundreds of hit records by dozens of acts, cranking out hit after hit. The brand was so successful, Motown became nearly synonymous with R&B.
It’s difficult to choose just a handful of the greatest music that Motown churned out, and it is of course subjective. Fortunately, this list only includes R&B hits from Motown Record Corporation (and its subsidiaries) and not other R&B labels, or the choosing would have been painfully difficult. As it was, I could only reduce the count to my top twenty.
1964 – My Guy – Mary Wells
1964 – My Girl – The Temptations
1965 – Tracks of My Tears – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
1965 – Ooo Baby Baby – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
1965 – Stop! In The Name Of Love – The Supremes
1966 – Get Ready – The Temptations
1966 – You Can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes
1966 – What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted – Jimmy Ruffin
1966 – Ain’t Too Proud To Beg – The Temptations
1966 – Reach Out I’ll Be There – Four Tops
1967 – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell
1967 – Reflections – Diana Ross And The Supremes
1968 – Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
1968 – Love Child – Diana Ross And The Supremes
1969 – Someday We’ll Be Together – Diana Ross And The Supremes
1970 – If I Were Your Woman – Gladys Knight And The Pips
1971 – What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
1971 – Smiling Faces Sometimes – The Undisputed Truth
1972 – Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone – The Temptations
1972 – Superstition – Stevie Wonder
Question Of The Night: Would you like the Night Owl to greet you with music every Monday morning?