One of the most dominating forces in the history of popular music, the Motown imprint was more than a label, it was a juggernaut of soul music, a machine so finely honed and working with such efficiency that it wasn't uncommon for several chart topping hits to be recorded in one session. This anthology was previously issued in 2000 under the moniker Motown: The Classic Years. But a title more befitting of such a quality compilation would be Motown 101, for it contains practically every monumental chart topping hit that the label became known for across the globe. Nearly every song on this collection has been imprinted on the collective memory of popular culture, and with good reason. The insanely catchy, uptempo sound was the audio wallpaper for a generation facing dramatic changes socially, culturally and politically. Starting with the first major hits of the label courtesy of Barrett Strong ("Money") and the Miracles ("Shop Around"), the artists included here read like a venerable who's who A-list of soul music. Names like Marvin, Stevie, and Diana, as well as groups like the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Contours, and the Supremes. Songs that defined moments decades after their release ("Do You Love Me," "I Heard It Through the Grapevine") and songs that forever changed the face of popular music ("My Girl," "What's Going On," "War"). Sadly this collection only covers the first half of Gordy and company's run, ending in 1972 when Motown left its home base of Detroit for the sunny shores of California. But an examination of those years would also be worthy of its own double-disc set. For the die-hard Northern soul or Motown fanatic, there is little here that probably isn't already in your collection. But for those looking for all of the hits that defined the Motown sound, or for those looking for a comprehensive introduction to the label, this very well could be all the Motown you ever need to purchase.
AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2