Motown Turns 50
Michael E. Ross and Mark Anthony Neal examine the legendary record company and discuss its involvement in the civil rights movement. Motown did more than produce great music, it contributed to the development of America. Take a look at some of the faces behind the Motown movement.
Boulevard of Dreams -- Hitsville, U.S.A
Motown Records was first housed at 2468 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan. Since its beginning in Detroit, Motown has always kept in touch with the pulse of young black America. Currently, with Nelly, Lloyd, and other artists, Motown looks forward to the next 50 years.
Diana Ross & The SupremesMotown 50
Diana Ross & The Supremes were Berry Gordy's models of beauty and class during the 1960s and 70s when the group became Motown's most commercially successful act with 12 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.
Left to right: Florence Ballard, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson
Gladys Knight & The PipsMotown 50
The Pips were formed in Atlanta, Ga. in 1953 with Gladys Knight--who was only 8 years old--as the lead singer. The group, renamed Gladys Knight & the Pips, signed with Motown in 1966 and enjoyed success with such hits as "Everybody Needs Love (1967)," "I Heard It Through the Grapevine (1967)," and "Midnight Train to Georgia (1973)."
Left to right: Edward Patten, Merald “Bubba” Knight, Gladys Knight, William “Red” Guest
Smokey Robinson & The MiraclesMotown 50
During the 1960s, Smokey and The Miracles were one of Motown's signature acts. The group churned out such unmistakable hits as "Shop Around (1960)," "You Really Got a Hold On Me (1962)," "Tears of a Clown (1965)," and "Going to a Go-Go (1965)." Berry Gordy signed the group in 1959--as one of his first acts--before Tamla Records became Motown Records.
Left to right: Pete Moore, Smokey Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Ronald White
The CommodoresMotown 50
The Commodores followed the tradition of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and The Temptations, and continued Motown's legacy into the 1970s and '80s.
Top Row (left to right): Milian Williams, Ronald LaPread, Lionel Ritchie.
Bottom Row (left to right): William King, Walter "Clyde" Orange, Thomas McClary
The Jackson 5Motown 50
The Jackson 5 was on of Motown's most successful acts and was the pioneers of the 'boy band' model. The J5 was the first act in recorded history to propel its first four singles--"I Want you Back" (1969), "ABC" (1970), "The Love You Save" (1970), and "I'll Be There"(1970)--to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
Top row (left to right): Marlon, Jackie
Bottom row (left to right): Tito, Michael, Jermaine
The Four TopsMotown 50
The Four Tops were signed to Motown in 1963. The group differed from most all-male groups of the time by having a baritone lead-singer, rather than a tenor. With this unique characteristic, The Four Tops contributed to Motowns early success with a number of hit singles, including "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" (1965) and "Reach Out I'll Be There" (1966).
Top row (left to right): Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Lawrence Payton
Bottom row (left to right): Levi Stubbs, Renaldo “Obie” Benson