Saluting Black Music Month-Motown:The Sound of Young America

In the 1960s, Motown introduced America to what came to be known as The Motown Sound, a style of soul music with a distinct pop influence. Among the most important architects of The Motown Sound were the members of Motown’s in-house team of songwriters and record producers, including Motown founder Berry Gordy, William “Smokey” Robinson.
To create the Motown Sound,Gordy recruited the most technically adept jazz musicians he could find to venture down into “the snakepit” (as the Motown recording studio was called) to play simple pop tunes characterized by tambourine, string, horns, carefully arranged harmonies, and gospel-style call and response vocals. Although they were never credited on the records, the bands would later be known as The Funk Brothers and The Joe Hunter Band.
The Motown Sound was also defined by the use of orchestration, string sections, charted horn sections, carefully arranged harmonies and other more refined pop music production techniques. It was also one of the first styles of pop music of that era wherein girl groups–including The Supremes, Martha & the Vandellas and The Marvelettes –were showcased as an act, as opposed to individual female artists.
Top Ten Classical Motown Hits
1.    What’s Going On: Marvin Gaye
2.    Signed Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours: Stevie Wonder
3.    My Girl: Temptations
4.    My Guy: Mary Wells
5.    Dancing in the Street: Martha & The Vandellas
6.    I Heard It Through the Grapevine: Marvin Gaye
7.    Bernadette: Four Tops
8.    Tracks of My Tears: Miracles
9.    Where Did Our Love Go: Supremes
10.    Never Can Say Goodbye: Jackson Five
Source: Nelson George,Where Did Our Love Go: The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound (1985) and Gerri Hirshey, Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music. (1994)

Return to the Kwanzaa Guide


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: