Day 2 of My 150 Favorite Motown Songs, #51-100

2.16 motown kids

When it comes to music, there are singles, album cuts and albums that have played an important part in the development of my musical tastes. However, the one thing that truly did more in my rock music development was a book entitled The Book of Rock Lists written by former Creem magazine editor Dave Marsh and Kevin Stein. Now, in the Seventies and Eighties Books of Lists were quite the rage, but no one had focused upon rock and roll. That book single-handedly changed everything for me.

Prior to reading The Book of Rock Lists, I mainly listened to Journey, REO Speedwagon and Styx, though I had been discovering artists like Cheap Trick, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Blondie, Devo, The Police, Parliament/Funkadelic and Chic. But, perhaps, nothing changed my musical life more than Chapter 33, entitled “Top of the Pops.”

2.16 Motown package tour

Let me begin by saying, I had no idea at the time the authors were referencing the great weekly British program of the same name with that title. More importantly, Marsh and Stein made an effort to list the best 40 songs and albums for each year of the rock era, which at the time spanned from 1955 through 1980. They used the criteria that each song and album had to have reached the Top 40 of Billboard’s charts for albums and singles. As I read those lists, I discovered that the definition of rock and roll was far more inclusive than I had previously been lead to believe. When I finished that chapter, I gained the confidence that my tastes in music were in line with some of my favorite rock critics. At that moment, my definition of rock and roll expanded to include my beloved Hall & Oates, and that rock and roll included not only poppish artists but black, jazz and country artists as well. So, instead of focusing upon a small, white (artist)-based sound, I was free to include disco, R&B, the Raspberries, southern rock, the Jackson 5 and folk musics in my definition of rock and roll. Suddenly, music went from a thing of relaxation and enjoyment to something of an obsession. And, it remains that way today.

It was while reading this book that I learned how an important of a role Motown played in the development of rock and roll both directly and indirectly. These men showed me the company’s importance by the number of singles and albums recorded by their artists found in their yearly lists in Chapter 33. Suddenly, this skinny lad from the flatlands of Central Indiana found it enrichening as he played Alice Cooper, followed by Thelma Houston, then Journey, Tom Tom Club, Kenny Loggins, Heart, Marvin Gaye, etc. while making mixtapes.

2.16 MJ steals Motown 25

This revelation influenced by DJ-ing as well. Suddenly, I found it musically amusing to watch kids dancing to dance tunes by Donna Summer and Frankie Smith, only to have songs by The Clash or Devo or, God forbid, Foreigner slid into the mix without anyone leaving the dancefloor. All of this was possibly due to The Book of Rock Lists, especially that now-fabled Chapter 33.

Rick James At Home

And Motown, especially that classic stuff from the Sixties, was still so good that kids of the early-Eighties continued to dance to those joyous, carefree songs. Plus, Motown seemed to just put a smile on the faces of those on the dancefloors. And, I’ve kept those memories locked with the sounds of those classic songs.

So, let’s get that countdown restarted, beginning with number 100 on my list of my 150 favorite Motown songs. 

2.16 100.The_Way_You_Do_the_Things_You_Do_-_Temptations

100. The Temptations – “The Way You Do the Things You Do” (1964)

99. Lionel Richie – “All Night Long (All Night)” (1983)

98. Teena Marie – “I Need Your Lovin’” (1980)

97. The Supremes – “Love Child” (1968)

96. The Temptations – “Runaway Child, Running Wild” (1969)

95. Stevie Wonder – “I Wish” (1976)

94. Rare Earth – “I Want to Celebrate” (1971)

93. Mary Jane Girls – “In My House” (1985)

92. Mary Wells – “Two Lovers” (1962)

91. Jackson 5 – “ABC” (1970)

2.16 90.quiet storm

90. Smokey Robinson – “Quiet Storm” (1975)

89. Stevie Wonder – “That Girl” (1982)

88. Diana Ross – “Touch Me in the Morning” (1973)

87. The Temptations – “Psychedelic Shack” (1970)

86. Martha & the Vandellas – “Jimmy Mack” (1967)

85. The Supremes – “Stoned Love” (1970)

84. Gladys Knight & the Pips – “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong” (1971)

83. Lionel Richie & Diana Ross – “Endless Love” (1981)

82. Marvin Gaye – “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” (1964)

81. Rockwell – “Somebody’s Watching Me” (1984)

2.16 80.boogie down

80. Eddie Kendricks – “Boogie Down” (1973)

79. Jackson 5 – “I’ll Be There” (1970)

78. Gladys Knight & the Pips – “If I Were Your Woman” (1970)

77. Commodores – “Nightshift” (1985)

76. The Temptations – “(I Know) I’m Losing You” (1966)

75. Little Stevie Wonder – “Fingertips (Part II)” (1963)

74. Marvin Gaye & Kim Westin – “It Takes Two” (1966)

73. Stevie Wonder – “For Once in My Life” (1968)

72. Smokey Robinson – “Cruisin’” (1979)

71. Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” (1968)

2.16 70.Neither_One_of_Us_(Wants_to_Be_the_First_to_Say_Goodbye)_-_Gladys_Knight_&_the_Pips

70. Gladys Knight & the Pips – “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” (1972)

69. Stevie Wonder – “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” (1965)

68. Isley Brothers – “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” (1966)

67. Four Tops – “It’s the Same Old Song” (1965)

66. The Temptations – “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)” (1970)

65. The Marvelettes – “Beechwood 4-5789” (1962)

64. Marvin Gaye – “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” (1971)

63. Dazz Band – “Let It Whip” (1982)

62. The Supremes – “Come See About Me” (1964)

61. Commodores – “Brick House” (1977)

2.16 60.master blaster

60. Stevie Wonder – “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” (1980)

59. David Ruffin – “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)” (1969)

58. Diana Ross – “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” (1975)

57. Eddie Kendricks – “Keep on Truckin’ (Part 1)” (1973)

56. Thelma Houston – “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (1976)

55. The Temptations – “I Can’t Get Next to You” (1969)

54. Gladys Knight & the Pips – “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1967)

53. Johnny Gill – “Rub You the Right Way” (1990)

52. David Ruffin – “Walk Away from Love” (1975)

2.16 51.three times a lady

51. Commodores – “Three Times a Lady” (1978)

I hope to finish this off this week. Peace.

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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