BIG MOTOWN ARTISTS:
A founding member of the Miracles at Northern High School, Detroit, in 1955, Robinson became one of the leading figures in the local music scene by the end of the decade. His flexible tenor voice, which swooped easily into falsetto, made him the group's obvious lead vocalist, and by 1957 he was composing his own variations on the R&B hits of the day. That year he met Berry Gordy, who was writing songs for R&B star Jackie Wilson, and looking for local acts to produce. Vastly impressed by Robinson's affable personality and promising writing talent, Gordy took the teenager under his wing. He produced a series of Miracles singles in 1958 and 1959, all of which featured Robinson as composer and lead singer, and leased them to prominent R&B labels. In 1960 he signed the Miracles to his Motown Records stable, and began to groom Robinson as his second-in-command.
Brilliant, enigmatic, and headstrong, Marvin Gaye was an innovator. In 2009, he would have been 70 years old, and it has been 25 years since his tragic death. But today Marvin remains as influential and exciting as ever: Rolling Stonerecently named him one of the greatest singers of all time.
Diana Ross & The Supremes
It was more than a record-setting chart sweep that began when "Where Did Our Love Go" made DIANA ROSS AND THE SUPREMES into household names in the summer of 1964. It was really a love affair -- between three women and the world. Along with the charmed circle of Motown singers, writers, producers and players, they re-wrote the book on pop music in the Sixties and Seventies.
"Where Did Our Love Go," written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland, established a sound and a group in one giant step, with Diana Ross's bright, insinuating lead, and hypnotic repeating counterpoint from Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard. The Supremes left Detroit in early summer on a Dick Clark tour bus at the bottom of the bill, but with excitement mounting, they returned with their first No. 1 record of five in a row.
The Marvelettes' career epitomized the haphazard progress endured by many of the leading girl-groups of the early 60s. The group was formed in the late 50s by five students at Inkster High School in Michigan, USA: Gladys Horton, Georgeanna Marie Tillman (d. 6 January 1980), Wanda Young, Katherine Anderson and Juanita Grant. They were spotted at a school talent show by Robert Bateman of the Satintones, who introduced them to Berry Gordy, head of the fledgling Motown organization. Bateman co-produced their early releases with Brian Holland, and the partnership found immediate success with "Please Mr Postman" - a US number 1 in 1961, and Motown's biggest-selling record up to that point. This effervescent slice of pop-R&B captivated teenage audiences in the USA, and the song was introduced to an even wider public when the Beatles recorded a faithful cover version on their second album.