Happy Birthday! Motown Turns 50

Half a century later, the Motown sound is still the soundtrack of American life.

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When tracks like Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” blared out of speakers at Obama’s rallies, it was a subtle reminder to a generation who came of age to the music of Motown of those same commitments.

Mark Anthony Neal teaches African-American Studies at Duke University. Neal’s essay “The Otherside” is featured in the Motown Box Set, The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 10: 1970.

A look back at Motown in pictures.