The 3 M's This Week: Motown, March, Maida
The old cliche of “they don’t write’em like they used to” has more truth in today than ever before. One litmus test is American Idol--notice how many covers the contestants perform. And how many younger members of our generation think this is “real music.” One of the major diiferences between the 1960s and today was the massive outpouring of musical creativity then as opposed to now.
One those great cultural barometers became known as Motown. Writing teams such as Holland-Dozier-Holland were a large way responsable for the hit factory--creating--and not regurgitating. So were individuals as Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye et alia. The combinations of the right songs with the right groups produced successful singles that often climbed in parallel on separate R&B and pop charts. A listen-back this week to the great Motown years of the mid sixties...prominent names like The Temptations and The Supremes, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Stevie Wonder mixed in with equally talented but somewhat lesser known artists as Rita Wright, The Countours and The Velvelletes. As the great fictional trumpet player Joey the Lips said in the tribute-to-soul masterpiece The Committments...“all the best bands were a something.” No hype there.
Speaking of instrumentalists...in a more realistic way...Motown boasted one of the finest collection of session players in any genre. In any period of time. Check out the Funk Brothers.
All of this led to an unparalleled block of Americana that sounds just as great 45 years later. An invitation for you to dance in the streets...or anywhere else, this late Saturday night at the midnight hour with The Electric Croude only on WCVE Public Radio. Simul streaming at ideastations.org/radio.
Follow the host on his Facebook page, too: Geo Maida