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  1. #1

    The 100 Greatest Motown Songs [According to Rolling Stone.com]

    In 1959, an aspiring songwriter and record producer named Berry Gordy Jr. borrowed $800 to start his own record label in Detroit. Good investment. Within a year, Motown had its first million-selling record, with the Miracles’ “Shop Around.” By 1969, the label would place dozens of records in the Billboard Top 10 as it reshaped the sound of pop music for a generation, thanks to its somewhat contradictory mix of assembly-line consistency and individual artistic brilliance, integrationist upward mobility and black self-assertion, fierce competition and familial camaraderie. “I was so happy whenever I got a hit record on one of the artists,” said Smokey Robinson, the label’s greatest songwriting genius. “Because they were my brothers and sisters.”
    After defining “the sound of young America” with the mid-Sixties pop elegance of Mary Wells, the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, and the Temptations, and the girl-group glory of the Supremes, the Marvelettes, and Martha and the Vandellas, the label’s two most visionary artists, Gaye and Stevie Wonder, pushed against Gordy’s dictatorial rule to create adventurous, socially conscious landmark Seventies albums like What’s Going On and Innervisions, which expanded Motown’s scope while staying true to its core hitmaking values. Motown stars like Robinson, the Commodores, Diana Ross, and Michael Jackson kept churning out great music through the funk, disco, and easy-listening eras, and hitmakers like Rick James, Lionel Richie, DeBarge, and Boyz II Me kept the label all over the radio in the slick Eighties and into the Nineties.
    Getting down to a list of the 100 Greatest Motown Songs wasn’t easy. This year is the 60th anniversary of Motown’s first Number One hit, “Please Mr. Postman,” by the Marvelettes, and yet the joy and power of this music hasn’t diminished even a tiny bit. Even if you’ve heard them a million times or come across them in a dozen movie soundtracks, classics like “My Girl,” “Come See About Me,” or “The Tracks of My Tears” still sound almost impossibly fresh, just as the radical spirit of “What’s Going On” or “Living for the City” resonates perfectly in our present political moment. And amid all the hits, there are still lesser-known gems to be discovered.

    Read More Here:
    Best Motown Songs: Supremes, Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson - Rolling Stone

  2. #2
    That's a really good list!

  3. #3
    Yes a very interesting list - I counted "only" 16 Holland Dozier Holland songs in there which is a little surprising. They seem to be fans of Smokey's writing talents and "No More Tearstained Make Up" even makes the chart. Might not personally agree with all the choices or their positions but can't argue with the list. "Tracks Of My Tears" at number 1 - well it is a fantastic song. Thanks for sharing.
    Last edited by mysterysinger; 03-30-2021 at 05:50 PM.

  4. #4
    I went through the listing. I had anticipated that the Supremes would have beat out everyone in representation, however, I figure that the groups had a total of 11 songs
    in the 100 listing and to my surprise, Stevie Wonder also had 11 songs. Obviously Stevie is as popular as the Supremes [?].

    There were some songs in there that surprised me. Dennis Edwards with Sideal Garrett; Willie Hutch; Mary Jane Girls. Boys II Men; Eddie Kendricks; Rick James and Teena Marie. NO ELGINS. BAH HUMBUG. How could they forget that super group.

    However, I was totally amazed at the pictures and the amount of effort that was put into the listing. Performer wise, the creator did a decent job.

  5. #5
    I, too, was surprised by some of the choices. But personally, "Just My Imagination" would have been higher on the list.

  6. #6
    As a near life long fan of Motown, I don't need some has been rock & roll rag giving me a list of Motown's best.

  7. #7
    A list without Heaven Must Have Sent You is not even worthy of being taken seriously.

  8. #8

    Agree

    That is one of my favorites. There was at least 20 songs I never heard of, they did a crap job, seriously where is Baby I Need Your Loving, the most played Motown song played on radio, according to BMI. So many songs are missing its pretty sad.

  9. #9
    Now that I have read the list it is even more preposterous but I am willing to take it for what it was........just one writer's opinion.

    But come on......Love Child down in the 70s, 30 or more steps below obscure songs by Willie Hutch and Debarge?

    Don't Mess With Bill not even on the list, even though it was the Marvelettes' second-biggest hit?

    No Needle in a Haystack, and for that matter only one Velvelettes track period and even it was way down near the bottom?

    And unless I skipped right over it, aren't all the Marvin and Tammi duets missing? [[I will admit that I just flew through the list and could have missed something.)

    The only positive thing I can say for this list is that the photos were nice and the descriptions of the songs were well don.

  10. #10
    I didn't go through the whole list [I should be working ] but I liked what I did see. It was nice that they didn't stick with the expected and pulled out some rare things like one of my faves, NO MORE TEARSTAINED MAKE-UP by Martha and the Vandellas. The photos were a nice touch as well.

  11. #11
    Who knew Motown's biggest single of their entire history from a pairing of two of their biggest stars , wasn't even worthy of the label's Hot 100! Thank gawd we've got these music experts to set us straight!!

    Since I'm every bit as qualified as these yahoos who came up with this list of the best,
    whatever 'best' is supposed to mean, I've created my own BEST 100:


    Ready for #1 ???

    ooo, oh , ooooh oh, ohooo....oh, ooooo....










  12. #12
    But I love that they left off Glady's Grapevine, Endless Love and Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Diana. Those have so often topped these lists. And they didn't have What's Going On at #1 or Marvin's Grapevine. And they did include a bunch of songs that only fans would know.

    They did call their list "greatest" songs, not best or most successful.

    And Marvin and Tammi did have their Mountain on the list and You're All I Need to Get By.

  13. #13
    "Getting down to a list of the 100 Greatest Motown Songs wasn’t easy." ......and they did it how???

    hey jobeterob whats the difference of best and greatest??

  14. #14
    Best might imply more barometers of success like sales or chart position???? Who knows? Good point

  15. #15
    I couldn't compile a list of Motown's 100 greatest songs, so why would I trust anyone else to do so?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    I couldn't compile a list of Motown's 100 greatest songs, so why would I trust anyone else to do so?
    I pretty much agree. And it would change in a day or two.

    I would never leave Endless Love or Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Diana or Grapevine by Gladys off a list. Glady's effort is much superior to Marvin's for me.

    Still I love the fact they added in several oddball choices.

    I think you can differentiate lists in two ways. You can make your list of "best" Motown songs and they can include anything. If you want to call your list "greatest", you shouldn't be ignoring "success" - sales, chart position, airplay; otherwise the song might be "greatest" to you but it won't be to the public.

  17. #17
    Among the missing were I Hear A Symphony, Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart and Reflections, not to mention Seven Rooms Of Gloom.

    As for the photographs, some were okay, but some were just wrong; for instance, the photo accompanying Love Child showed Diana, Mary and Florence, while the one atop Come See About Me showed Diana, Mary and Cindy. This carelessness was a tip that the compilers did not know their onions, so why take any of it seriously?

  18. #18
    We still take Rolling Stone seriously? Lol

  19. #19
    The last time we ran a Motown Poll here on SDF the fave 100 in alphabetical order were...

    A Bird In The Hand [[Is Worth Two In The Bush) - The Velvelettes
    A Thrill A Moment - Kim Weston
    ABC - The Jackson 5
    Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross
    Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
    Ain't That Peculiar - Marvin Gaye
    All I Do [[Is Think About You) - Tammi Terrell
    Ask Any Girl - Diana Ross & The Supremes
    Ask The Lonely - The Four Tops
    Baby Hit And Run - The Contours
    Baby I Need Your Loving - The Four Tops
    Baby Love - Diana Ross & The Supremes
    Back In My Arms Again - Diana Ross & The Supremes
    Bernadette - The Four Tops
    Dancing In The Street - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
    Do I Love You [[Indeed I Do) - Frank Wilson
    Do You Love Me [[Now That I Can Dance) - The Contours
    Don't Mess With Bill - The Marvelettes
    First I Look At The Purse - The Contours
    Get Ready - The Temptations
    He Was Really Saying Something - The Velvelettes
    Heaven Must Have Sent You - The Elgins
    Helpless - Kim Weston
    I Can't Help Myself [[Sugar-pie Honey-bunch) - The Four Tops
    I Got A Feeling - Barbara Randolph
    I Guess I'll Always Love You - The Isley Brothers
    I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Gladys Knight & The Pips
    I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
    I Know I'm Losing You - The Temptations
    I Want To Go Back There Again - Chris Clark
    I Want You Back - The Jackson 5
    I'll Always Love You - The Spinners
    I'll Keep Holding On - The Marvelettes
    I'll Turn To Stone - The Four Tops
    I'm A Road Runner - Jr Walker & The Allstars
    I'm In A Different World - The Four Tops
    I'm Ready For Love - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
    I'm Still Loving You - Kim Weston
    It Should Have Been Me - Yvonne Fair
    It's A Shame - The Spinners
    It's Growing - The Temptations
    It's The Same Old Song - The Four Tops
    Jimmy Mack - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
    Just A Little Misunderstanding - The Contours
    Just My Imagination [[Running Away With Me) - The Temptations
    Just Walk In My Shoes - Gladys Knight & The Pips
    Keep On Loving Me - Frances Nero
    Little Darling [[I Need You) - Marvin Gaye
    Love Child - Diana Ross & The Supremes
    Love Is Like A Heatwave - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
    Love Is Like An Itchin' In My Heart - Diana Ross & The Supremes
    Mercy, Mercy Me [[The Ecology) - Marvin Gaye
    My Baby Loves Me - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
    My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder
    My Girl - The Temptations
    My Girl Has Gone - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
    My Guy - Mary Wells
    My Whole World Ended [[The Moment You Left Me) - David Ruffin
    My World Is Empty Without You - Diana Ross & The Supremes
    Needle In A Haystack - The Velvelettes
    Nowhere To Run - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
    Ooh Baby Baby - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
    Papa Was A Rolling Stone - The Temptations
    Quicksand - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
    Reach Out, I'll Be There - The Four Tops
    Reachin' For Something I Can't Have - The Marvelettes
    Reconsider - Brenda Holloway
    Remember Me - Diana Ross
    Shake Me Wake Me [[When It's Over) - The Four Tops
    Signed Sealed Delivered [[I'm Yours) - Stevie Wonder
    Someday We'll Be Together - Diana Ross & The Supremes
    Standing In The Shadows Of Love - The Four Tops
    Starting The Hurt All Over Again - Brenda Holloway
    Stay A Little Longer - Yvonne Fair
    Still Water [[Love) - The Four Tops
    Stoned Love - The Supremes
    Superstition - Stevie Wonder
    Take Some Time Out For Love - The Isley Brothers
    The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game - The Marvelettes
    The Love You Save - The Jackson 5
    The Tears Of A Clown - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
    The Tracks Of My Tears - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
    The Way You Do The Things You Do - The Temptations
    There's A Ghost In My House - R Dean Taylor
    Third Finger Left Hand - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
    This Love-Starved Heart Of Mine [[It's Killing Me) - Marvin Gaye
    This Old Heart Of Mine [[Is Weak For You) - The Isley Brothers
    Two Lovers - Mary Wells
    Up The Ladder To The Roof - The Supremes
    Way Back Home - Jr Walker & The Allstars
    What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted - Jimmy Ruffin
    What Does It Take [[To Win My Love) - Jr Walker & The Allstars
    What's Going On - Marvin Gaye
    When I'm Gone - Brenda Holloway
    Where Did Our Love Go - Diana Ross & The Supremes
    With You I'm Born Again - Billy Preston & Syreeta
    You Can't Hurry Love - Diana Ross & The Supremes
    You Keep Me Hangin' On - Diana Ross & The Supremes
    You're All I Need To Get By - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
    You've Really Got A Hold On Me - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

    Grape

  20. #20
    Now THAT for the most part is a magnificent top 100 Motown songs. Obviously a few omissions [[Ain't Too Proud to Beg, Bless You) but overall a very solid list.

  21. #21
    ...for info ...Heaven Must Have Sent You ...by The Elgins ...won it 3 years in a row...!

    Grape


  22. #22
    Nothing at all wrong with the poll list [[and I like that The Elgins were regular winners) but it's obviously weighted in favour of the classic Motown period with barely a nod to anything after 1972. As a late comer in that regard my Motown interest was only starting to get going around then - so if it came to a list of favourites [[as opposed to to what was successful) my own list would be more later Motown oriented and wider ranging. But that's just me - I still love all the tracks shown but my fave 100 wouldn't feature that many of them.

  23. #23
    "What Becomes of The Brokenhearted" - Jimmy Ruffin
    In a hundred years, this will be the #1 remembered Motown Song!!!!!

    P.S. The pun here is fun!

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