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  1. #1
    huntergettingcaptured Guest

    The Marvelettes Greatest Hits- Just a passing though...

    When my Motown obsession was really catching fire around the early 80's, I started getting interested in the albums. At the time, I was big on The Marvelettes' "Don't Mess With Bill" and I thought the album that had that hit had to have been a great one! There was a local record store that would order things for me and I asked the lady if she could get the album that had "Don't Mess With Bill." "Oh I think I saw that one before! Sure I'll have it for you," she said. What I got was "THE MARVELETTES GREATEST HITS."

    I was disappointed because I already had this album! I thought, it was my fault for not specifying I wanted the studio album- I was thinking there had to be a main album with this hit and a lot of songs I hadn't heard before. Well, it was a few years before I found out GREATEST HITS WAS the album! I couldn't understand why Motown wouldn't put such a hit song on an album of it's own. Then, I started noticing that current artists of the 80's would sometimes build a greatest hits package around a new, big hit song, so I thought, O.K. it wasn't so strange.

    Over the years as I got to learn more about the Marvelettes and how they had hit a sales slump starting around '64, I began to think that it was actually a very good move for the group and for Motown to build an album around that hit. "Don't Mess With Bill" seems to be the song that really provided a "rebirth" for the group [[even getting them a dynamic photo that occupied the entire back page of a Motown concert program.)
    So to make that song the cornerstone of a greatest hits package was a great way to get some exposure for some of those lesser hits that came before and shore them up with the hit. It would get the Marvelettes an album that would be a good seller and take advantage of in the best way. Still, I wish there had been an album with other material from that time frame, but all in all, I guess it was a pretty good move on Motown's part to garner a good success for the group.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by huntergettingcaptured View Post
    When my Motown obsession was really catching fire around the early 80's, I started getting interested in the albums. At the time, I was big on The Marvelettes' "Don't Mess With Bill" and I thought the album that had that hit had to have been a great one! There was a local record store that would order things for me and I asked the lady if she could get the album that had "Don't Mess With Bill." "Oh I think I saw that one before! Sure I'll have it for you," she said. What I got was "THE MARVELETTES GREATEST HITS."

    I was disappointed because I already had this album! I thought, it was my fault for not specifying I wanted the studio album- I was thinking there had to be a main album with this hit and a lot of songs I hadn't heard before. Well, it was a few years before I found out GREATEST HITS WAS the album! I couldn't understand why Motown wouldn't put such a hit song on an album of it's own. Then, I started noticing that current artists of the 80's would sometimes build a greatest hits package around a new, big hit song, so I thought, O.K. it wasn't so strange.

    Over the years as I got to learn more about the Marvelettes and how they had hit a sales slump starting around '64, I began to think that it was actually a very good move for the group and for Motown to build an album around that hit. "Don't Mess With Bill" seems to be the song that really provided a "rebirth" for the group [[even getting them a dynamic photo that occupied the entire back page of a Motown concert program.)
    So to make that song the cornerstone of a greatest hits package was a great way to get some exposure for some of those lesser hits that came before and shore them up with the hit. It would get the Marvelettes an album that would be a good seller and take advantage of in the best way. Still, I wish there had been an album with other material from that time frame, but all in all, I guess it was a pretty good move on Motown's part to garner a good success for the group.
    This king of thing bugs me too. For example: The Four Tops YOU KEEP RUNNING AWAY was only on greatest hits volume 2 and this was in 1971, 4 long years since it's initial release. But the B-side the fantastic IF YOU DONT WANT MY LOVE never made it to anything nor did YOUR LOVE IS WONDERFUL which was the B- side of WALK AWAY RENEE.

  3. #3
    huntergettingcaptured Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by biggestfourtops fan View Post
    This king of thing bugs me too. For example: The Four Tops YOU KEEP RUNNING AWAY was only on greatest hits volume 2 and this was in 1971, 4 long years since it's initial release. But the B-side the fantastic IF YOU DONT WANT MY LOVE never made it to anything nor did YOUR LOVE IS WONDERFUL which was the B- side of WALK AWAY RENEE.
    Oh man! Don't even get me started on that issue. I hope this doesn't offend anyone, but when I got the Yesterday's Dreams album, I thought it was short on good songs. The first side is ok, but it took me a lot of years to appreciate it. I still haven't really warmed up to side 2. Then, I get this record with this fantastic song, IF YOU DON'T WANT MY LOVE and I lose my mind. Why didn't this get onto an album? Then I got that RENE 45, flipped it over and flipped my lid with YOUR LOVE IS WONDERFUL. WTF? How on earth did THIS not get onto Yesterday's Dreams?

    It gets even more mind-blowing when these box sets and unreleased tracks start appearing. LONELY LOVER. Now I'm seeing there could have been an excellent album built around these tracks. They don't even sound like toss-offs. These are solid tracks; much more so than a lot of things that did get put out on the late 60's albums. In fact, with LONELY LOVER and YOU KEEP RUNNING AWAY, you get a sense of where H-D-H would have gone with the group. REACH OUT, SHADOWS OF LOVE and BERNADETTE were stupendous achievements, but there was hardly any way to continue in the vein. YOU KEEP RUNNING AWAY was good in that instead of trying to break new ground, H-D-H simply came up with a good, hot, soulful strut. Back to basics.

    OK. I'll stop, because if I start on Ivy Jo's YOUR LOVE IS WONDERFUL I will probably blow a gasket...

  4. #4
    The two songs I always remember not appearing on anything but a Greatest Hits set were The Happening by The Supremes and Sugar Daddy by The Jackson 5. I think both of those songs are a bit forgotten as hit singles but I don't know if that could be traced to the fact that they don't appear on a regular studio album.

  5. #5
    huntergettingcaptured Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by thommg View Post
    The two songs I always remember not appearing on anything but a Greatest Hits set were The Happening by The Supremes and Sugar Daddy by The Jackson 5. I think both of those songs are a bit forgotten as hit singles but I don't know if that could be traced to the fact that they don't appear on a regular studio album.
    "The Happening" is still remembered well, at least, here in Chicago it gets a lot of radio play. "Sugar Daddy" I think is sort of forgotten because even when it came out, the feeling was that it was more of the same. I remember when the song came out, we played it, but it seems there wasn't the buzz and excitement anymore about the Jackson 5 by then like at the beginning. We were sort of moving on to other groups. I don't think we really got into the J5 again until "Dancing Machine" and "Get It Together."

  6. #6
    Only recently did I realize that I'll Keep Holding On, released in April 1965, never appeared on a Marvelettes album until 1975. It did appear on 16 Big Hits Vol 5 in August 1966. In 1966 I had just started to buy Motown albums as fast as my meager allowance permitted, so that is why I may have thought Holding On was on their Greatest Hits album.

    You're My Remedy [[June 1964) and Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead [[June 1965) also were never on Marvelettes or Motown compilation albums other than Greatest Hits in 1966 and Anthology in 1975.

    Since their Hip-O collections were released I've wondered why The Marvelettes never had an album in 1964 or 1965. [[Or, for that matter, the Vandellas in 1965.) Obviously Motown may have been concentrating on their updated Motown Sound and on The Supremes, releasing 6 albums on them in 1965. I was glad about that back then but now wish we had been given more from these other female groups [[including The Velvelettes).

    The unreleased music on The Marvelettes Forever More collection certainly points to the likelihood that an album could have been compiled around Remedy, Danger and Holding On in 1965. It might have sounded a bit dated but it would have been a fun and welcome album to be sure.

    Recently I found a used copy of their 2008 Definitive Collection that I failed to buy at the time. The cashier commented that she knew two employees who would be sad to find out that the CD would no longer be available for them to play. I never expected to hear that but was not totally surprised.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by huntergettingcaptured View Post
    "The Happening" is still remembered well, at least, here in Chicago it gets a lot of radio play. "Sugar Daddy" I think is sort of forgotten because even when it came out, the feeling was that it was more of the same. I remember when the song came out, we played it, but it seems there wasn't the buzz and excitement anymore about the Jackson 5 by then like at the beginning. We were sort of moving on to other groups. I don't think we really got into the J5 again until "Dancing Machine" and "Get It Together."
    I agree with you on Sugar Daddy. It was more of the same, but it was a good version of more of the same - good enough to hit #10 pop. I always love when it pops up on my shuffle play. It's just a lot of fun.

  8. #8
    huntergettingcaptured Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by thommg View Post
    I agree with you on Sugar Daddy. It was more of the same, but it was a good version of more of the same - good enough to hit #10 pop. I always love when it pops up on my shuffle play. It's just a lot of fun.
    I always feel like I'm such an odd bird because I tend to go wild over songs that everyone else seems to be lukewarm about. Now I really liked Sugar Daddy, but I was about the only one in the neighborhood and my family that played it for any real length of time beyond when radio stopped playing it. Like you said, it was a good version of more of the same. I think Motown just wasn't sure how to keep the hits coming without going too far away from what had worked.

    You're right- it IS a lot of fun! I still play it to this day!

  9. #9
    huntergettingcaptured Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by johnjeb View Post
    Since their Hip-O collections were released I've wondered why The Marvelettes never had an album in 1964 or 1965. [[Or, for that matter, the Vandellas in 1965.) Obviously Motown may have been concentrating on their updated Motown Sound and on The Supremes, releasing 6 albums on them in 1965. I was glad about that back then but now wish we had been given more from these other female groups [[including The Velvelettes).

    The unreleased music on The Marvelettes Forever More collection certainly points to the likelihood that an album could have been compiled around Remedy, Danger and Holding On in 1965. It might have sounded a bit dated but it would have been a fun and welcome album to be sure.
    I honestly think Motown didn't think it would be economically sound to create an album on the Marvelettes when the sales of their singles around this time weren't strong. They had good singles, but they just weren't generating sales apparently. Even Stevie Wonder, around '65 was in danger of being dropped from the label. Then with Mary Wells having left, the company was in a panic since she had become one of the most prolific artists. So the company no doubt was trying to shore up their image in the industry and maybe that wasn't the best time to try to break sales on albums that weren't fired by sizeable hits.

    Also, with The Supremes becoming an unexpectedly huge success, that's where the attention was. That was the lifeline Motown needed after Mary's leaving and I think that is why '64 and '65 were odd years for The Marvelettes and Martha & The Vandellas as far as album releases went.

    Last night, I was thinking that you could get a pretty good idea of what songs may have made it onto a 1964 album if you looked at the b-sides and unreleased songs from '63 to '64: You're My Remedy, Have A Little Sympathy, Finders Keepers, Knock On My Door, He's A Good Guy, As Long As I Know He's Mine, Tie A String Around Your Finger, I Just Can't Let Him Down, Little Girl Blue. To round it out and make a full 12, I Can't Help It, The Train That's Bringing My Baby Back and Johnny Do Right would fit and keep the sound more or less in that late '63-'64 bracket.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by thommg View Post
    I agree with you on Sugar Daddy. It was more of the same, but it was a good version of more of the same - good enough to hit #10 pop. I always love when it pops up on my shuffle play. It's just a lot of fun.
    And who can resist smiling when Michael says, "I'll even let you drive my caddy when I get one baby!"

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by huntergettingcaptured View Post

    Last night, I was thinking that you could get a pretty good idea of what songs may have made it onto a 1964 album if you looked at the b-sides and unreleased songs from '63 to '64: You're My Remedy, Have A Little Sympathy, Finders Keepers, Knock On My Door, He's A Good Guy, As Long As I Know He's Mine, Tie A String Around Your Finger, I Just Can't Let Him Down, Little Girl Blue. To round it out and make a full 12, I Can't Help It, The Train That's Bringing My Baby Back and Johnny Do Right would fit and keep the sound more or less in that late '63-'64 bracket.
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    With one of their very best songs ever, "I Should have known Better", "The Grass Seems Greener", "Knock On My Door", "Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers" and a couple other great unreleased cuts from '63 and '64, as well as those great "B" sides listed above, they could have had a nice LP. They could have had a great Kim Weston and great Velvelettes' LP, too.

  12. #12
    In those days that is what they would do to make an album. Have a hit or two there and pad it out with B sides and cover versions of other hits. Phil Spector had a phrase for it - two hits and ten pieces of junk. Thankfully, Motown albums still had quality about them.

  13. #13
    huntergettingcaptured Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by robb_k View Post
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    With one of their very best songs ever, "I Should have known Better", "The Grass Seems Greener", "Knock On My Door", "Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers" and a couple other great unreleased cuts from '63 and '64, as well as those great "B" sides listed above, they could have had a nice LP. They could have had a great Kim Weston and great Velvelettes' LP, too.
    I agree with you in that The Marvelettes had more than enough to have had a fine album in '64 and even more great tracks for albums in '65 and '66. For whatever reason, I guess Motown just didn't see the sales potential until Don't Mess With Bill really hit big. But even then, Kim Weston hit with Take Me In Your Arms and Motown REALLY missed the boat there. With all the H-D-H songs she had recorded, you can just feel that would have been a fantastic album.

  14. #14
    huntergettingcaptured Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by mysterysinger View Post
    In those days that is what they would do to make an album. Have a hit or two there and pad it out with B sides and cover versions of other hits. Phil Spector had a phrase for it - two hits and ten pieces of junk. Thankfully, Motown albums still had quality about them.
    Great point about the quality. Motown was so geared to record HITS that I hesitate to use that word "filler" when talking about Motown albums. Yes, there are always going to be some songs that just don't have that "it" factor, but I don't think anyone there ever said, "hey let's record a few filler tracks for this upcoming album." With all that recording going on 24 hours, there were just too many good tracks to pick from that Motown didn't have to resort to generic filler tracks.

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