There are days as a Project Manager where the checklist seems like it’s eternally growing. Check one thing off, and another two are added. For those kind of days, and a much needed adrenaline kick, I’ll throw on the Motown Record’s box set “Hitsville USA: The Motown Singles Collection 1959–1971.” It’s essentially a hit parade for hours. This collection carries me through the day, keeping my mood upbeat and there’s always something to sing along to.
Motown was my parent’s choice of music growing up in the sixties. When Motown was on the radio in the car, that’s where the dial would stop. As a kid, the music was fun and accessible. When I got older, it was through Motown that I learned that songwriting, especially pop songs, is a highly skilled craft in and of itself (looking at you Holland-Dozier-Holland!).
My interest in Motown was further fueled by watching the made for TV movie gems The Temptations and The Jacksons: An American Dream. And years later, I learned all about the Funk Brothers, the studio musicians behind all these beloved songs, in the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown.
It’s hard sometimes to pick favorites among favorites, because there are certain tracks I come back to time and time again.
Here are my personal favorites of the collection:
Chris Clark – Love’s Gone Bad
David Ruffin – My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)
Jimmy Ruffin – What Becomes of the Broken Hearted
Gladys Knight and the Pips – I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Edwin Starr – Twenty Five Miles
Jr. Walker and the All-Stars – Shotgun
The Temptations – Ain’t Too Proud To Beg
Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)
The Isley Brothers – This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You)
Stevie Wonder – Uptight (Everything’s Alright)