One can say that Motown Records label helped shape the sound of the 60’s, and how could it not, with artists like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, and The Jackson Five under its umbrella. Motown developed a specific sound that combined soul music with a pop flavor, creating a unique “Motown sound.” Motown was able to accumulate 110 top ten hits, from 1961 to 1971, showing the power of the label during these times.
We are about to present you with four legends of Motown music.
Stevland Hardaway Morris, better known as Stevie Wonder, is a famous American singer and multi-instrumentalist. He has found great deal of success in the music industry, despite having lost his eyesight shortly after birth. He started playing multiple instruments at an early age, and when he was seven years old, Stevie signed a deal with Motown.
Wonder had his first No. 1 hit on Billboard Hot 100 chart, at the mere age of 13. The song was “Fingertips Pt. 2” and it featured Stevie on vocals, harmonica and bongos, and his fellow label mate Marvin Gaye on drums.
But, these were just the beginnings of what would prove to be one of the most successful careers of the 20th century. During his life, he managed to sell more than 100 million albums and secure ten No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits.
The Temptations are one of the most influential groups in R&B and soul music. They became widely popular during the 60’s and 70’s, selling tens of millions of albums and receiving six Grammy Awards.
This vocal group has three standout songs that defined their career – “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”, all of which achieved a lot of success, reaching number one positions on Billboard Pop Charts.
Although their success peaked in the late 60’s and early 70’s they continued to perform for many years to come.
The Jackson 5
The Jackson Five is one of the most successful music groups of all time, selling over 100 million albums worldwide. This family band consisted of five brothers - Tito, Jermaine, Jackie, and Marlon Jackson and, of course, the legendary Michael Jackson. The Jackson 5 was active from 1964 to 1990, and is considered as one of the greatest pop acts of the 70’s. The group helped propel Michael Jackson to great heights, making him arguably the most successful entertainer in the world.
In 1969 they signed a deal with Motown, only to leave the label seven years later. However, it is safe to say that the group’s most successful years were during their time with Motown.
Marvin Gaye was one of the most important artists for Motown Records. During the 60’s he helped shape the label’s sound, which later earned him the tittle of “Prince of Motown.” Some of his greatest hits include “How Sweet It Is,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Sexual Healing”.
Unfortunately, on April 1, 1984, a day before his 45th birthday, he passed away. He was shot two times by his own father, after a long argument between Marvin and his parents.