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It was 50 Years Ago Today…

…that Berry Gordy created the record label which was responsible for much of the last century’s finest soul, pop, and R&B records: Motown.

Not only that, in doing so, he contributed more than perhaps anyone to the racial integration of popular music.

I am not going to try to compete with Tom Townshend’s appraisal of the legendary label here. He nails the essence of Motown’s appeal in far more detail than I could possibly manage in a blog entry.

What I will say, though, is that reading his article made me revisit the tracks he specifically discusses, despite the fact I knew them very well anyway, which is surely the sign of good music journalism.

They are all fabulous, of course, but I felt I just had to say a word about I Want You Back by the Jackson Five. From the joyous descending piano sweep at the start to the insanely infectious staccato guitar riff to what may be the most melodic bass-line in music history to the pre-pubescent Jacko’s impassioned vocals which somehow manage to convey both yearning AND joy, it’s as close to the perfect pop song as I’ve ever heard.

I thought I knew all this anyway but listening really is believing. Ahhh… they don’t make ’em like that any more.


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