Motown Number 1's

Various Artists

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Motown Number 1's Review

by John Bush

Owner of one of the deepest catalogs in music history, Motown/Universal allows very few recordings to escape the clutches of its archive. Once they're available, however, they're repackaged in endless permutations; such it was when Motown was ten years old, and such it was as the company approached its 45th anniversary. Motown 1*s, a collection of 24 number one hits enjoyed by the label, ranges through four decades for its material -- from "Please Mr. Postman" by the Marvelettes to "I'll Make Love to You" by Boyz II Men -- and provides the very broadest of hits anthologies. It is an excellent selection, perhaps skimping on Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, but never spending too much time with any one artist (which allows the disc to survey Junior Walker as well as latter-day artists Thelma Houston, the Commodores, and DeBarge). Motown 1*s is presented in chronological order, with a baker's dozen of tracks from the '60s, and 11 from the '70s or later. Unnecessary for soul fans much less collectors, Motown 1*s works best for its intended audience -- those with no prior experience who wish to understand why the Motown conglomeration of singers, songwriters, musicians, and executives comprised the premier pop music organization of all time. [The bonus track, a cover of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Michael McDonald, is a fine reminder of how far the label's influence has carried.]

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
00:04 Amazon
2 The Marvelettes 02:29 Amazon
3 Martha & the Vandellas 02:44 Amazon
4 Mary Wells 02:52 Amazon
5 The Temptations 02:56 Amazon
6 The Supremes 02:41 Amazon
7 The Supremes 02:59 Amazon
8 Junior Walker & the All-Stars 02:57 Amazon
9 The Four Tops 02:45 Amazon
10 Stevie Wonder 02:54 Amazon
11 The Temptations 02:32 Amazon
12 The Four Tops 03:00 Amazon
13 Marvin Gaye / Tammi Terrell 02:15 Amazon
14 Marvin Gaye 03:15 Amazon
15 The Jackson 5 03:00 Amazon
16 Edwin Starr 03:21 Amazon
17 Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 03:01 Amazon
18 Marvin Gaye 03:52 Amazon
19 Marvin Gaye 04:02 Amazon
20 The Miracles 02:59 Amazon
21 Thelma Houston 03:40 Amazon
22 Commodores 03:38 Amazon
23 Lionel Richie / Diana Ross 04:26 Amazon
24 DeBarge 03:55 Amazon
25 Boyz II Men 03:57 Amazon
26 Michael McDonald 02:48 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick