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jerryking : motown   16

Stevie Wonder’s ‘Love’s in Need of Love Today’
When Stevie Wonder released “Songs in the Key of Life,” in 1976, some at Motown were uneasy. Two years had passed since his last album with the label, “Fulfillingness’…
gospel  music  singers  '70s  Stevie_Wonder  pop  soul  Motown  songwriters 
march 2015 by jerryking
The Death of Soul’s King: remembering Sam Cooke 50 years after his death - WSJ
By MARC MYERS
Dec. 9, 2014

What has survived are Cooke’s hits, including “You Send Me,” “Cupid” and “Another Saturday Night.” All remain relevant and continue to be covered by contemporary artists. Overlooked, however, are two of Cooke’s other big achievements: In the late 1950s and early ’60s, the singer-songwriter pioneered romantic soul and created a formula for success that helped Motown and other black-owned labels cross over to the pop charts with original music.

In the late 1950s, Cooke was the first black singer-songwriter to figure out how to parlay male vulnerability into sweet pleas that resonated with integrated teen audiences.
soul  killings  anniversaries  '60s  '50s  singers  music_labels  songwriters  African-Americans  Sam_Cooke  music  Motown  black-owned 
december 2014 by jerryking
What Was Going On - WSJ.com
NOVEMBER 25, 2006 | WSJ | By MARTIN JOHNSON.
The turbulent birth of one of the greatest R&B recordings of all time.

During the '60s, Gaye was known as a prince of Motown. The label churned out one hit after another, and Gaye's unique voice, both gritty and suave, was at the forefront of many of them....The song "What's Going On" was written by Obie Benson, a member of the Four Tops, and he didn't consider the tenor of the song, a tract about the disintegration of the social fabric in the black community, appropriate for the Tops. He shopped it around, even taking it to Joan Baez, but found no takers until Gaye read the lyrics. To Gaye, the song reflected the feelings of his brother, Frankie, who had just returned from Vietnam and was astonished by the turmoil that engulfed America.

The singer organized an unusually large session to record the song. He went beyond the usual stable of Motown musicians to add drummers and saxophonists from Detroit's jazz scene. He also recorded street sounds for part of the introduction. The result was a far more ruminative song than the usual Motown fare. Rather than a ditty about love or loss, this was a sober and sobering look at the state of black America.
R&B  Motown  Marvin_Gaye  jazz  music  rumination  music_labels  Berry_Gordy  singers  '60s  '70s  soundscape  turmoil  fusion  disintegration  African-Americans  social_fabric 
november 2011 by jerryking
Wounded Soul, Healing Heart - WSJ.com
AUGUST 19, 2003 | WSJ | By MARTIN JOHNSON. Marvin Gaye is
widely recognized as one of the greatest soul singers, yet until now one
of the most intriguing and creative phases of his career had gone
neglected....Universal Records, which in 2003 owned the Motown and Tamla
imprints that recorded Mr. Gaye has released his 1976 "I Want You" in a
two-disc set that includes voluminous notes and features alternative
versions of key tracks....In 1971, after a bitter dispute over artistic
control with the head of Motown, Berry Gordy, the singer released
"What's Going On," a probing suite of songs that chronicled his dismay
over the demise of optimism in the black community......"I Want You"
leads with the title track, which sets the mood for the program to
follow. The sound is broad and deep. During the minute-long intro, horn
ostinatos arrive and fade. Then a guitar plays a short solo before
Gaye's voice enters singing a pained ode to desire.
'70s  Berry_Gordy  Marvin_Gaye  Motown  music  R&B  singers  soul 
june 2011 by jerryking
Berry Gordy Jr. | What's Going On | When Marvin Gaye Broke Pattern | Cultural Conversation by Marc Myers - WSJ.com
JUNE 7, 2011 | WSJ | By MARC MYERS.

Released first as a single in January 1971, "What's Going On" marked a major turning point for Gaye, Motown and soul music. Rather than continue to record formulaic pop hits, Gaye co-wrote a song that expressed his deep concern about the Vietnam War and the toll it was taking on American society. ....The single was considered a gamble for Motown. Its blunt protest theme was in stark contrast with Gaye's sexy public persona and Motown's congenial image. But as "What's Going On" raced up the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Gaye rushed back into the studio to complete a concept album that included "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues." The new songs—supported by horns, strings and a choir arranged by David Van DePitte—took on urban decay, poverty, unemployment, Vietnam veterans, children and pollution.
songs  Motown  anniversaries  commemoration  Marvin_Gaye  R&B  singers  music  music_industry  soul  Berry_Gordy  '70s  turning_points  protests 
june 2011 by jerryking

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