Rolling Stone Motown List Leaves Me Saying ‘Really?’
I know any list like this, by its nature, is going to inspire debate, maybe even anger, but rarely agreement. (and in all fairness, a couple of pleasant surprises, giving the list some legitimacy. More on that later.)
Rolling Stone Magazine did another one of their top 100 lists; this time the category was top 100 Motown singles, for the anniversary, in 1961 of the Marvelette's "Please Mr. Postman becoming Motown's first number one hit song. That led to the list of the 100 greatest Motown hits..
Motown Records is about as homegrown as you can get, beginning with Berry Gordy, Jr and its' founding in the late 1950's. If you can get over there, the Hitsville USA Museum is very good. I'd rather hear pop songs than look at dinosaur bones, anytime.
So, back to Rolling Stone's list. The list starts and ends with Smokey Robinson. Rolling Stone has "Shop Around" at 100. As you begin to scroll through, there's a pleasant surprise in #97. Kalamazoo's own Velvelette's "He was really saying something." This made think they might get more love with "Needle in a Haystack", but, alas, no. Oh, and while we're in this part of Michigan, Battle Creek's Jr. Walker is on the list at #53 with "Shotgun". De Barge from Grand Rapids made the cut, too.
Just after that, at #95, Motown's white rock band, Rare Earth and I Just Want To Celebrate.
A little surprised at BoyzIIMen's End of the Road being listed at only #85. That song was at number one for a long number of weeks in the early 90's.
Rolling Stone's photo library is cool, especially the promo shots from the 1960's. If you love Motown music, you'll love the article.
But here's my only quibbles. Martha and the Vandellas are in at #11 and #4 while the Supremes only in the top 10 once (#7, and the second entry is at #14). I'm sorry, and with all due respect, the Supremes are the biggest female musical act of all time.
That, and "My Girl" not making the top five. Is there a more quintessential Motown song. I will, though, say, scrolling through the list, I realized how much I loved the Four Tops, and how many great Stevie Wonder songs there are. And you forget about the early Jacksons songs and even the Commodores. And with today being the anniversary of his death, it's good Marvin Gaye is well remembered, with "What's Going on" listed at #3.
Not to keep you hanging on, but Papa Was a Rolling Stone was number two. Great song. and Smoky and the Miracles' Track of My Tears was #1. Again, you can't argue with that.