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  1. #1

    When You Think "Motown", Do You Think "Lionel Richie"?

    This question is not meant as a diss or anything. I am just curious as to what others on the forum think of Lionel Richie's music and contributions to Motown. I notice that he or his music is never discussed here, so please share your thoughts.

  2. #2
    The Motown family and legacy, yes! The Motown sound, no!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by jboy88 View Post
    The Motown family and legacy, yes! The Motown sound, no!
    Agree......

  4. #4
    Yes, 1980's Motown, for sure. Lionel's solo albums sold like hotcakes during that era. In fact, if memory serves, he was Motown's biggest hitmaker at that time. Not only that, in 1981, Diana's & Lionel's "Endless Love" gave Motown it's biggest duet single EVER! When it comes to '80s Motown and Lionel, it's hard to think of one without the other.
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 04-08-2019 at 11:10 PM.

  5. #5
    Not at first. Motown comes up almost like an afterthought when I think of Lionel

    He’s not the only one either

    Isley Brothers
    Rick James
    Debarge

    Motown isn’t first to mind with any of them either

  6. #6
    Also, can't forget Lionel's 1970s work with The Commodores. His contributions to Motown's success in the '70s and '80s was of vast importance.

  7. #7
    Motown label, yep. But not of the sound.

  8. #8
    Motown - absolutely

  9. #9
    I agree with what's been said. Not at first, and not the Motown sound, but Lionel is definitely Motown.

    Maybe the question should be, when you think of Lionel, do you think of Motown?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    I agree with what's been said. Not at first, and not the Motown sound, but Lionel is definitely Motown.

    Maybe the question should be, when you think of Lionel, do you think of Motown?
    I agree, Tom. People seem to be comparing Lionel's music with the classic '60s Motown Sound which had changed by the 70s when The Commodores came along. And by the time of Lionel's '80s solo success with Motown, yet another decade had come and gone. Other than Motown's ongoing magic in the music, there's no way Lionel's music could be reminiscent of "The Motown Sound". Even as the question was posed, I don't understand the confusion.
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 04-09-2019 at 10:57 AM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    I agree with what's been said. Not at first, and not the Motown sound, but Lionel is definitely Motown.

    Maybe the question should be, when you think of Lionel, do you think of Motown?
    Okay when you ask it like that, yeah I think of Motown when I think of Lionel lol

  12. #12
    I don't think of the Motown with Lionel Richie any more than I think Motown with say Diana Ross singing Love Hangover. What I think is that after the golden Motown sound era the label still had masses of top quality talent.

  13. Quote Originally Posted by rovereab View Post
    I don't think of the Motown with Lionel Richie any more than I think Motown with say Diana Ross singing Love Hangover. What I think is that after the golden Motown sound era the label still had masses of top quality talent.
    Once you get past the 60's I don't think anyone linked up certain artists with Motown anymore like they did in the 60's. That Motown Sound of the 60's gave its artist a definitive and immediately identifiable identity. It's like the Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis era; when you heard those artists they produced, BAM! you KNEW and talked about it as a Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis affair. Motown in the 70's and beyond? Good music, but no longer could you say an artists' name and immediately think MOTOWN. I always thought of Lionel Ritchie as artist first, Motown..."oh yeah, he was there too."

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    Once you get past the 60's I don't think anyone linked up certain artists with Motown anymore like they did in the 60's.
    Au contraire, WaitingWatching -- mysterysinger and I both did....and still do. Once the classic Motown Sound of the '60s was over, we remained true to Motown and continued buying ALL of their product whenever possible -- especially '70s Motown. In the '80s, perhaps, to a lesser degree. But Motown's carry-over artists from the '60s and '70s (Diana, Smokey, Stevie, Lionel) were still Motown to us, as were Motown's newly-signed '70s artists.. If you no longer linked them to Berry Gordy's Motown, that's cool, but some of us did and always will.
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 04-09-2019 at 05:15 PM.

  15. #15
    there's not that one artist that makes me think of Motown, it's a collective powerhouse of acts. perhaps part of the problem is that Lionel doesn't have that Detroit association, isn't of the core membership born there. but I would put him on equal footing as any other stand-out Motown name that comes to mind in importance to the brand .

  16. #16
    Not at all. The real Motown is IVY JO HUNTER, THE FOUR TOPS, CHUCK JACKSON, DAVID RUFFIN, THE ANDANTES, FRANCIS NERO, THE SUPREMES, THE TEMPTATIONS, etc.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Philles/Motown Gary View Post
    I agree, Tom. People seem to be comparing Lionel's music with the classic '60s Motown Sound which had changed by the 70s when The Commodores came along. And by the time of Lionel's '80s solo success with Motown, yet another decade had come and gone. Other than Motown's ongoing magic in the music, there's no way Lionel's music could be reminiscent of "The Motown Sound". Even as the question was posed, I don't understand the confusion.
    Thanks Gary. I think you have to distinguish between the different Motowns! It's not accurate to say that Lionel had anything to do with detroit era Motown and its classic sound. But it's also not fair to deny Lionel the credit for the classic music he made for the label in the 70s and 80s, and the Motown legacy he helped to forge.

  18. #18
    For many in Detroit, Lionel may not represent Motown but to this NC boy, he does. Mainly what he contributed to being in the label.

  19. #19
    When I think of Motown, I don't think of Lionel Ritchie. But when I think of Lionel Ritchie, I do think of Motown

  20. #20
    Very good replies on the question. I'll go with not thinking of the Motown sound in general when thinking of Mr. Ritchie. My thought link is with the individuals, solo singers, musicians and groups that worked, and recorded there in the 60's.

  21. #21
    There are two motown artist that i never think about and lionel richie is the other one!

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    There are two motown artist that i never think about and lionel richie is the other one!
    Is the other one a secret?

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by optimal saint View Post
    is the other one a secret?
    not at all..boyz to men!

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    not at all..boyz to men!
    I agree

    Once I get past the early to mid 80s I don’t really think of anyone as a “Motown” artist

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    not at all..boyz to men!
    They tried very hard to make them a part of the continuity of Motown by having them do tributes to the Temptations and Four Tops on television programs. I also don't think of Motown when I think of them.

  26. Quote Originally Posted by Philles/Motown Gary View Post
    Au contraire, WaitingWatching -- mysterysinger and I both did....and still do. Once the classic Motown Sound of the '60s was over, we remained true to Motown and continued buying ALL of their product whenever possible -- especially '70s Motown. In the '80s, perhaps, to a lesser degree. But Motown's carry-over artists from the '60s and '70s (Diana, Smokey, Stevie, Lionel) were still Motown to us, as were Motown's newly-signed '70s artists.. If you no longer linked them to Berry Gordy's Motown, that's cool, but some of us did and always will.
    I TOTALLY get that and think it's fantastic that you and others continued thinking in terms of linking artists with Motown well past the 60's. Are you both located in the U.K.? (I always feel like I'm blowing that- U.K./England, even though it's been very well explained before!)
    I probably should have qualified those comments by applying them in general to people in the U.S.
    I think the U.K. has always been much stronger in having that devotion to Motown than people in the States. Just from my own experience with my friends, none of them automatically link anyone to any kind of a label. Nobody here says that's a Motown artist or that's an Arista artist, or that's an Epic artist. When Lionel was really hot, I never heard any of the people around me speak of him in terms of being a Motown artist.

    But then again, nobody else around here was as diehard a fan of Motown as I was.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    I TOTALLY get that and think it's fantastic that you and others continued thinking in terms of linking artists with Motown well past the 60's. Are you both located in the U.K.? (I always feel like I'm blowing that- U.K./England, even though it's been very well explained before!)
    I probably should have qualified those comments by applying them in general to people in the U.S.
    I think the U.K. has always been much stronger in having that devotion to Motown than people in the States. Just from my own experience with my friends, none of them automatically link anyone to any kind of a label. Nobody here says that's a Motown artist or that's an Arista artist, or that's an Epic artist. When Lionel was really hot, I never heard any of the people around me speak of him in terms of being a Motown artist.

    But then again, nobody else around here was as diehard a fan of Motown as I was.
    I'm in the U.S., WaitingWatching. I have to agree that Americans in general are at times fickle when it comes to recording artists, but not America's true Motown fans. When it comes to Motown, we're a faithful and loyal bunch. In fact, some of us are Motown completists who proudly own nearly every note of music Motown ever recorded -- both released and previously-unreleased. We owe it all to the magic of Motown's incredible '60s "Motown Sound". We were hooked early and it stuck with us until Berry sold Motown in 1988. After that, the only current-day Motown product I bought at the time was Diana and Stevie.

    The reason some people don't mention Epic or Arista artists is because those were merely record labels that released all genres of music. Motown, however, was a "sound" -- a category unto its own which, during its 10-year heyday, took the world by storm and never stopped. Today, 60 years later, it has even spread to Broadway! Who would have ever guessed!
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 04-12-2019 at 04:23 PM.

  28. #28
    Motown was a revolution, a movement, a sound. That's why Stax, Atlantic, Chess, Epic or Arista are not looked on like that, those were simply labels. Motown was different. That's why of all the labels, Motown and the artists that shaped that sound and were the faces of that revolution (Diana/Supremes, Marvin, Smokey Robinson, Temptations, Stevie Wonder, etc.) still gets big press to this day. You saw all the press Diana and Marvin got for their birthdays/stamp reveals/new albums. Once you're associated with Motown, you know you're part of something special.

  29. #29
    there aren't many '80's kids' on here I don't think.. for those kids, they were all about Lionel, DeBarge, Rick James etc and they knew they were on Motown/Gordy because the MTV videos info at the lower corner of the screen told them so

  30. Quote Originally Posted by Philles/Motown Gary View Post
    The reason some people don't mention Epic or Arista artists is because those were merely record labels that released all genres of music. Motown, however, was a "sound" -- a category unto its own which, during its 10-year heyday, took the world by storm and never stopped. Today, 60 years later, it has even spread to Broadway! Who would have ever guesed!
    Very good points. It never ceases to amaze me how singular Motown was in having that specific sound that to this day is so iconic. I'm not sure even the Philly Sound is as iconic with the general public. You're right in saying it's a category unto itself. I have loved Motown since I was 4 and still, it sometimes blows my mind.

  31. Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Motown was a revolution, a movement, a sound. That's why Stax, Atlantic, Chess, Epic or Arista are not looked on like that, those were simply labels. Motown was different. That's why of all the labels, Motown and the artists that shaped that sound and were the faces of that revolution (Diana/Supremes, Marvin, Smokey Robinson, Temptations, Stevie Wonder, etc.) still gets big press to this day. You saw all the press Diana and Marvin got for their birthdays/stamp reveals/new albums. Once you're associated with Motown, you know you're part of something special.
    Very true. Motown is the very reason I learned to play bass and a host of other instruments. I often think, how many artists would we be talking about so fervently to this day had then not been with Motown. I read once in a book a comment from an record exec back in the day something about how a lot of records were happening on Motown that wouldn't have made it elsewhere (or something like that.) His point was that Motown just had everything covered so astonishingly well that if a record came out on a Motown label, it was almost automatically a hit.

  32. #32
    There most definitely was an identifiable Stax sound.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    There most definitely was an identifiable Stax sound.
    Absolutely! As soon as you heard the horn section, you KNEW it was Stax! And not only that, Stax's Memphis Sound was Motown's biggest competitor. Also, certain Atlantic R&B artists (especially Aretha & Wilson Pickett) recorded at Rick Hall's Fame studio, thus giving them the Muscle Shoals sound.

  34. #34
    When I think of Motown, I think of the artists that recorded the defining hits for the company during what I call The Hitsville Era (1959-1971). Since Lionel Ritchie's work at the label comes after that period, I don't think of him when I think Motown (however, I do acknowledge his work both as a member of The Commodores & solo act).
    Last edited by Motown Eddie; 04-13-2019 at 01:25 PM.

  35. #35
    It's kinda like saying when you think of the Detroit Pistons, do you think of Ben Wallace???...If you're a Bad Boys fan, some diehard fans from that earlier era might say not... They won a championship with Ben...but his legend is likely not on par with Isiah, Dumars, Laimbeer, et al...Same with The Tigers and Miguel Cabrera...Most of us go back to the 68 team with Kaline, Horton, Lolich, and McLain...The classics...

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    It's kinda like saying when you think of the Detroit Pistons, do you think of Ben Wallace???...If you're a Bad Boys fan, some diehard fans from that earlier era might say not... They won a championship with Ben...but his legend is likely not on par with Isiah, Dumars, Laimbeer, et al...Same with The Tigers and Miguel Cabrera...Most of us go back to the 68 team with Kaline, Horton, Lolich, and McLain...The classics...
    Heck, I go back before that with Bob Lanier, Dave Bing etc, etc. LOL@

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Heck, I go back before that with Bob Lanier, Dave Bing etc, etc. LOL@
    Exactly...And some (still alive) go back to George Yardley and Walter Dukes when they think of The Pistons...
    Last edited by StuBass1; 04-13-2019 at 05:55 PM.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Exactly...And some (still alive) go back to George Yardley and Walter Dukes when they think of The Pistons...
    Believe it or not, my mother is the most die-hard Detroit Pistons fan on Earth! She even knows their personal details going back beyond the "Bad Boys" years.LOL

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    It's kinda like saying when you think of the Detroit Pistons, do you think of Ben Wallace???...If you're a Bad Boys fan, some diehard fans from that earlier era might say not... They won a championship with Ben...but his legend is likely not on par with Isiah, Dumars, Laimbeer, et al...Same with The Tigers and Miguel Cabrera...Most of us go back to the 68 team with Kaline, Horton, Lolich, and McLain...The classics...
    The '68 Detroit Tigers World Series Champions team was my dream team when I was a kid. Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Mickey Lolich, Denny Mclain and don't forget Ernie Harwell!!!! DETROIT TIGERS!!!!

  40. #40
    Lol I just meant that Motown was so heavily promoted over the other labels. Stax definitely had an identifiable sound and was a revolution in its own right but it was never the powerhouse Motown was in the '60s.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Lol I just meant that Motown was so heavily promoted over the other labels. Stax definitely had an identifiable sound and was a revolution in its own right but it was never the powerhouse Motown was in the '60s.
    Stax Records were pretty strong though back in that era with many nationally known artists.

  42. #42
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    No, not at all. Didn't realize that he was on Motown artist as a solo artist until I just read this post.

  43. #43
    No!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by glencro View Post
    No, not at all. Didn't realize that he was on Motown artist as a solo artist until I just read this post.
    Glen, really? His music never sounded Motown related. I think the Commodores may be more recognizable as a Motown act than Lionel solo.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by glencro View Post
    No, not at all. Didn't realize that he was on Motown artist as a solo artist until I just read this post.
    You serious???


  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Stax Records were pretty strong though back in that era with many nationally known artists.
    I don't know about "many" at least not compared to Motown but Isaac, Sam & Dave, Otis, Rufus, Johnnie Taylor and Booker T & the M.G.'s definitely laid the groundwork for soul music's global dominance... like I said, I give it up to Stax and they were just as much in the fight for civil rights and black excellence as Motown but Motown was ALWAYS on a wider scale...

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    I don't know about "many" at least not compared to Motown but Isaac, Sam & Dave, Otis, Rufus, Johnnie Taylor and Booker T & the M.G.'s definitely laid the groundwork for soul music's global dominance... like I said, I give it up to Stax and they were just as much in the fight for civil rights and black excellence as Motown but Motown was ALWAYS on a wider scale...
    Here is a list of some of the Stax Records artists:

    https://staxrecords.com/artists/

  48. #48
    Here is a more comprehensive list of Stax Artists:

    Booker T. & the M.G.'s
    Gus Cannon
    The Astors
    Rufus Thomas
    Wendy Rene
    Otis Redding (Volt)
    Carla Thomas (Satellite, Atlantic, then Stax)
    The Mar-Keys (Satellite, then Stax)
    The Mad Lads (Volt)
    Ruby Johnson (Volt)
    Mable John
    Sam & Dave (signed to Atlantic, recorded at Stax, recordings issued by Stax by arrangement with Atlantic until 1968)
    Eddie Floyd (Safice, Atlantic, then Stax)
    The Charmels (Volt)
    Johnnie Taylor
    William Bell
    The Bar-Kays (Volt)
    Albert King
    Ollie & the Nightingales (Chalice, then Stax)
    Wilson Pickett (signed to Atlantic, recorded at Stax)
    Don Covay (signed to Atlantic, recorded at Stax)
    Isaac Hayes (Enterprise)
    The Goodees (Hip)
    Christian Harmonizers (Chalice)
    Johnny Daye
    Judy Clay
    Arthur Conley (Jotis, signed to Fame/Atco, recorded at Stax)
    Veltones (Satellite)
    The Chips (Satellite)


    1968–1975: Post-Atlantic years

    Isaac Hayes (Enterprise)
    Albert King
    O. B. McClinton
    Johnnie Taylor
    Eddie Floyd
    William Bell
    The Soul Children
    Little Milton
    The Emotions (Volt)
    Booker T. & the M.G.'s
    The Bar-Kays (Volt)
    David Porter
    The Epsilons featuring Lloyd Parks -McFadden & Whitehead
    Richard Pryor (Partee)
    Bill Cosby (Partee)
    The Staple Singers
    The Ross Singers
    The Rance Allen Group
    Kim Weston
    The Leaders (Volt)
    The Dramatics (Volt)
    The Temprees (We Produce)
    Jean Knight
    Rev. Jesse Jackson (Respect)
    Mel and Tim
    Moms Mabley (Partee)
    Luther Ingram (Koko)
    Terry Manning (Enterprise)
    Tommy Tate (Koko)
    The Nightingales
    Frederick Knight
    Shirley Brown
    Calvin Scott
    Inez Foxx
    The Sweet Inspirations
    Ernie Hines (We Produce)
    Roy Lee Johnson
    Jimmy McCracklin
    Lena Zavaroni[42]
    Linda Lyndell (Volt)
    Round Robin Monopoly (Truth)
    Joyce Cobb (Truth)
    Larry Raspberry & the High Steppers (Enterprise)
    Eric Mercury (Enterprise)
    Ken Matthews
    Lou Bond (We Produce)
    Glenn Yarbrough


    2006–present: Concord years

    Angie Stone
    Ben Harper
    Lalah Hathaway
    Leela James
    Leon Ware
    N'dambi
    Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
    Nikka Costa
    Soulive
    Southern Avenue[43]
    Teena Marie
    William Bell

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Here is a list of some of the Stax Records artists:

    https://staxrecords.com/artists/
    Oh yeah. I'm quite aware of the number. A lot of them are very influential. I just meant the ones that became superstars, ya dig?

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Oh yeah. I'm quite aware of the number. A lot of them are very influential. I just meant the ones that became superstars, ya dig?
    Ok give me your definition of "superstar", because I can pick out at least a dozen of them from the Stax roster.

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