When the subject of Motown Record Corp. comes up, what people think of are the hundreds of major hit records, and rightfully so. However, it was not “all hits all the time” (to borrow a radio station slogan).
There were plenty of failures too, records that did poorly on the charts (at least by comparison to the artists’ biggest hits) or missed the charts completely. That does not necessarily mean the records were substandard.
In some cases the records did fairly well, but for some reason got buried with the passage of time. For instance, four of my all-time favorite songs by the Miracles are “I Gotta Dance to Keep From Crying,” “My Girl Has Gone,” “The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage” and “I’ll Try Something New,” but today they are seldom heard or even spoken of.
Following are some Motown singles that will likely be only vaguely familiar to you, or not familiar at all.
The Temptations: “It’s Summer,” “Take a Look Around,” “Hoops of Fire,” “Paradise,” “Struck By Lighting Twice.”
The Four Tops: “Don’t Let Him Take Your Love From Me,” “In These Changing Times,” “A Simple Game,” “I Can’t Quit Your Love,” “What Is a Man?”
Martha Reeves & the Vandellas: “I Gotta Let You Go,” “(We’ve Got) Honey Love,” “I Can’t Dance to That Music You’re Playin’,” “Taking My Love (And Leaving Me),” “Sweet Darlin’,” “I Promise to Wait My Love.”
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles: “Ain’t It Baby,” “A Love She Can Count On,” “Mighty Good Lovin’,” “Broken Hearted,” “Come On Do the Jerk.”
Marvin Gaye: “Gonna Give Her All the Love I’ve Got,” “What Good Am I Without You?” (with Kim Weston), “Don’t Knock My Love” (with Diana Ross), “How Can I Forget?”
Jr. Walker & the All Stars: “Home Cookin’,” “Groove Thang,” “Holly Holy,” “Carry Your Own Load.”
Diana Ross: “I’m Still Waiting,” “One More Chance,” “You Got It,” “It’s My House,” “What You Gave Me,” “I Thought It Took a Little Time (But Today I Fell in Love), “Sleepin’.”
The Marvelettes: “My Daddy Knows Best,” “I’m Gonna Hold On As Long As I Can,” “That’s How Heartaches Are Made.”
Stevie Wonder: “Keep On Running,” “Travelin’ Man,” “Outside My Window,” “My Love” (with Julio Iglesias), “With Each Beat of My Heart,” “Keep Our Love Alive,” “Did I Hear You Say You Love Me?”
The Supremes: “Some Things You Never Get Used To,” “No Matter What Sign You Are,” “The Weight” (with the Temptations), “Bad Weather,” “You Gotta Have Love in Your Heart” (with the Four Tops), “The Composer.”
Smokey Robinson: “It’s Her Turn to Live,” “Vitamin U,” “Heavy On Pride (Light On Love), “Touch the Sky,” “Don’t Play Another Love Song.”
See what I mean?
MARY MARY remains one of the hottest gospel attractions of the last decade or so, and one of the biggest crossover successes.
The ladies (sisters Erica and Tina Campbell) have several projects in the works. One is a self-help book aimed at young females titled “Be You.” Two others are a new album and a line of bath and body products.
Meanwhile, their current release, “Mary Mary,” is still the No. 1 gospel album in the United States, featuring the red-hot “God in Me” which easily crossed over into R&B territory.
Mariah Carey’s “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel” has been pushed back to Sept. 15. That is the second time the release of the album has been delayed. First it was Aug. 25, then Sept. 15. Wonder what up with that.
Kudos to Ricky Martin for his honesty. He said, “Latin music comes from Africa.” You can’t get any more clear than that.
“AMAZING GRACE” is not the kind song anyone would expect to hear Diana Ross sing, but she did a beautiful rendition of the classic on a concert stage in Budapest (Hungary). It can be viewed on YouTube.com. It will touch your heart.
Reader Rick Wade tells us that Rosetta Hines, who now lives on the West Coast, has an Internet radio station up and running. Hines, known to her many Detroit fans as “the Rose,” plays the same kind of music on the new station that she did all those years on WJZZ. If you would like to check it out, write this down: www.hinesitefive.com.
Had to smile when Jada Pinkett Smith said that she and her husband, Will Smith, “always make time for making love, and you wouldn’t believe some of the places!” A lot of us were hoping that she would name some of those places.