In 1959, Berry Gordy Jr founded Tamla Records in Detroit, MI, and within a year, he rebranded it Motown. Over the next decade, this small, black-owned record label pioneered an entirely new sound and launched the careers of some of the most famous performers in American music, including The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder (pictured).
The hit songwriter sang bass with the doo-wop group The Crowns; he switched to lead vocals when they became The Drifters. King got his start at Harlem's Apollo Theater before finding national fame. As a solo performer, he had hits with original songs like "Stand by Me" and "Spanish Harlem."
The legendary songwriting trio, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Edward Holland. They wrote many early Motown hits, and helped turn the company into a powerhouse. Their songs include "You Can't Hurry Love," "Reach Out I'll Be There," "Baby, I Need Your Loving," "Heat Wave" and "Stop! In the Name of Love." Their songs were recorded by Diana Ross & The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, and Martha Reeves & The Vandellas. In 1990 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
On his new album, Timeless Love, rhythm and blues legend Smokey Robinson sings hits from the American songbook, including "I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Baby)," "Night and Day" and "More Than You Know." Robinson William "Smokey" Robinson recorded dozens of top 40 hits for the Motown label as a solo artist and with The Miracles.
A rare interview with the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. She's won fifteen Grammy awards and is the first woman to be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. The state of Michigan has proclaimed her voice a natural resource. Her hits include "Respect," "I Say a Little Prayer," and "You Make me Feel Like a Natural Woman." She's just written an autobiography with David Ritz, entitled "Aretha: From These Roots" (Villard Books).
The soul icon still sings with the 1960s vocal group. Williams remembers the producers who wrote and recorded the Temptations' hit songs, and how they were able to capture soul and emotion on tape. He has a new memoir, simply called Temptations.
Gordy and his record label made stars out of musicians including Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson. He has written his autobiography, "To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown: An Autobiography."
Bettye LaVette recorded her first hit, "My Man — He's a Lovin' Man," at the age of 16. She toured with Ben E. King, Barbara Lynn and Otis Redding. And now she's being crowned the Comeback Queen for her recent albums, I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, which came out in 2005, and her recent The Scene of the Crime. LaVette recorded The Scene of the Crime at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., with the Southern rock band Drive-By Truckers and the legendary session musician and songwriter Spooner Oldham.
Musicians Joe Hunter and Jack Ashford were part of the group of musicians known as the Funk Brothers whose sound defined Motown in the 1960s and 70s. They worked with such legendary performers as Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, The Miracles and many more. The Funk Brothers are the subject of the new documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown.
Martha Reeves is the lead singer of Martha and the Vandellas, the Motown group which made it big in the 60's with such hits as "Nowhere to Run," "Heat Wave," and "Dancing in the Street." Her new autobiography, "Dancing in the Street: Confessions of a Motown Diva," is about her career, her conflicts with other Motown singers and managers, and her experiences touring during the height of the Civil Rights movement. (Rebroadcast)
It's hard to focus right now. So recommending a book can seem, well, out-of-touch. Unless, that is, the recommendation is for a novel that's so absorbing, so fully realized that it draws you out of your own constricted situation and expands your sense of possibilities. For me, over the past 10 days or so, the novel that's performed that act of deliverance has been The Glass Hotel, by Emily St. John Mandel.