MOTOWN Q &A FORUM: Archive - Ending April 16, 2004: MOTOWN Q &A
Top of pageBottom of page   By bigdaddyg2k4 ( on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 06:02 pm:

ONE: In 1979, Stevie Wonder released probably one of the most obscure albums in Motown history, "The Secret Life Of Plants" spawning the hit "Send One Your Love" (Pop#4, Adult Contemporary#1) as the only track released as a single. I have two questions about this: 1. What was the purpose of this album? was it a concept album? an album that was a soundtrack to a movie that was never made, never released or both? 2. And why would Stevie release an album that was not the huge success that "Songs In The Key Of Life" was, why did it take him another two years (as he did with "Songs") to complete the double album and what was Berry Gordy's response to the record? I only heard "Send One Your Love" but never the rest of the disc, who in the forum can give me their comment on this project. TWO: When is the Motown 45 special coming on and what channel? The confusion I have about the anniversary is this: Since Motown produced the Motown 25 special in 1983 (I've seen it countless times), it was supposed to be it's 25th anniversary. O.K., go forward to 2004, and it's supposed to be the 45th anniversary. This is where it gets confusing for me. If they celebrated 25 years in 1983, then why 21 years later, it's 45 years celebrated? It should be 46 years this year, right? (25 + 21=46 in 2004!) When did the label OFFICIALLY start? In 1958 or 1959? Since I am one of the greenest when it comes to music history, I'm really looking for answers in this one! So all of you resident experts hit me up when you are free.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Juicefree20 ( on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 09:05 pm:

If memory serves me correctly, this was like a documentary type of movie. This was supposed to be a companion for the documentary. The concept was about plants & as usual, it was released a bit late. I don't recall Berrys response to the LP, but it had a couple of nice songs. The LP actually peaked at #4 R&B, though it only remained on the chart for 19 weeks. The other song released was Outside My Window (#56 R&B 1980). Other decent songs were Race Babbling, A Seed's A Star & Come Back As A Flower. Basically, not his strongest material & I was surprised at the material.


Top of pageBottom of page   By zebop ( on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 09:19 pm:

"Black Orchid" was nice too. I remember "Plants" was a big time cut-out in the early '80s too.

Top of pageBottom of page   By 1Wicked ( on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 03:28 am:

I saw some of the movie...and the music actually "worked", used in sync with the time lapse photography sequences of "The Secret Life of Plants".

bigdaddy: They are celebrating Motown 45's....not an anniversary of any kind.

Top of pageBottom of page   By BankHouseDave ( on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 03:50 am:

Those songs have crept up on me over the years. They have a strange quality and intensity that made them a bit difficult at first. Black Orchid and the title track are unique in construction and power, and the rest of the album is in the same vein. Stevie does a kind of Keith Emerson with the keyboards, including a great 'adagio' type instrumental and a finale that restates the themes from the whole project. Anyone who couldn't get it first time round should persevere IMO, although I must say I still prefer the shorter version. The double is a bit too spare.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Edgar ( on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 09:40 am:

"The Secret Life of Plants" was suggested by the 1973 book of the same title written by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. I have an old copy published by Penguin Books. On its cover the work is described as "Astounding discoveries about the physical, emotional and spiritual relations between plants and man."
The movie was released in 1979 by Paramount Pictures, and directed by Walon Green -a still active screen writer ("The Wild Bunch", "Robocop 2"), producer (TV series "Zero Effects", "NYPD Blues", "Hill Street Blues" and 2003's "Dragnet") and director ("The Hellstom Chronicles", "Up from the Ape", "Spree", National Geographic specials.)
Stevie not only wrote the music, but also appeared in the film.

Top of pageBottom of page   By STONEWALL ( on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 09:02 pm:

I believe that BERRY conceived MOTOWN and cranked it up in 1958 but did not release its first single until 1959. Thus, the two different ways of celebrating its anniversary. I think, therefore, that Motown 25 intentionally jumped the gun in 1983. Commercially, it was very popular and lucrative to hold it then with hot DIANA ("Muscles", etc. and her forthcoming huge Cental Park concert) and red hot MICHAEL JAX ("Billie Jean", etc.).

Whoever suggested that this M-45 special is about Motown 45s records is quite imaginary. That, they could have anytime.

M-45 will broadcast on Monday, May 17 @ 9 p.m., originating first on New York time/EST. East Coast folks can have it on t.v. for their West Coast friends to hear before they see it 3 hours later.

Top of pageBottom of page   By mike s ( on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 08:05 am:

The first Tamla single (Marv Johnson- Come to me on Tamla 101) came out in January 1959, hence the 45 years. It was only released regionally until United Artists picked it up for national release as well as his subsequent hits over the next few years.
They certainly jumped the gun with the 25th anniversary in 1983, but I guess they used the fact that the company was set up in 1958. Wonder which year they'll use for the 50th!

Top of pageBottom of page   By STONEWALL ( on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 11:23 am:

1959 - BERRY GORDY establishes the publishing company Jobete -- named after his 3 kids very cleverly w/ the 1st 2 letters of each of their names: JOy BErry TErry. JOBETE definitely started in 1959, not before.

With all the whoopla and publicity that will surround M-45 next month, I'd imagine that MOTOWN-50 would be in 2009! M-25 happened after appx. 25 years -- that's a lot of years for people to count. But 5 is easy, especially now with the internet, cable news, cable t.v. entertainment, etc. and other realities we didn't have in '83. Thus, they'd have to go w/ 2009.

MOTOWN: 1959-2009

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