The Motown Sound- M7Q1

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Founded by Berry Gordy Jr. in 1959, Motown records lifted African-American music to a level of popularity where everyone and anyone could enjoy listening to its catchy tunes. Motown included several particular characteristics of production that gave songs of the record label a signature sound. Such characteristics are borrowed influences from other genres like the syncopation of jazz, the call and response of gospel, the use of strings, horns, and backup vocals from pop, and the storytelling of blues. Other aspects of the Motown sound include a melodic electric bass line, clear back-beat, catchy and memorable melodies, and simple, common themes like love and heartbreak, and distinctive melodic and chord structures that would appeal to the largest audience possible. Here are ten songs that highlight the best of Motown’s signature sound:

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell: melodic electric bass, call and response between two lead vocalists, distinctive back-beat, pop influence with inclusion of strings

Please Mr. Postman – The Marvelettes: distinctive back-beat, call and response with backup vocals, blues lyrical influence

Do you Love Me – The Contours: blues lyrical influence, distinctive back-beat, call and response with backup vocals, melodic electric bass

My Girl – The Temptations: call and response with backup vocals, distinctive back-beat, pop influence with inclusion of strings and horns

I Want You Back – The Jackson 5: melodic electric bass, pop influence with inclusion of strings and horns, call and response with backup vocals

Signed, Sealed, Delivered – Stevie Wonder: pop influence with inclusion of horns, melodic electric bass, call and response with backup vocals, distinctive back-beat

Stand By Me – Otis Redding: melodic electric bass, pop influence with inclusion of horns, jazz influence in syncopation, blues lyrical influence

Lean On Me – Bill Withers: melodic electric bass, blues lyrical influence, call and response with back-up vocals,

Dancing In The Street – Martha and the Vandellas: call and response with backup vocals, pop influence with inclusion of horns, distinctive back-beat

Love Train – The O’Jays: call and response with backup vocals, distinctive back-beat, pop influence with inclusion of strings and horns, melodic electric bass

Sources:

Blaxter (Uploader). “MARVIN GAYE & TAMMI TERRELL “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough””. YouTube video, 2:23. Posted [Jun 16, 2006]. https://youtu.be/Xz-UvQYAmbg. (accessed November 6, 2016).

Cavebitter (Uploader). “SIGNED/Stevie Wonder/ The Dick Cavett Show”. YouTube video, 3:40. Posted [Jul 20, 2008]. https://youtu.be/TL2PZlkAeCs. (accessed November 6, 2016).

DjCole100 (Uploader). “The O’Jays – Love Train (1972 Audio Redone By Dj Cole)”. YouTube video, 2:19. Posted [Aug 10, 2011]. https://youtu.be/2syR4On4xDI. (accessed November 6, 2016).

Groove Addict (Uploader). “Otis Redding Stand By Me”. YouTube video, 2:47. Posted [Nov 30, 2012]. https://youtu.be/9uVfJhMQHa4. (accessed November 6, 2016).

Jeffcher10 (Uploader). “Bill Withers live performance – Lean on me 1972”. YouTube video, 4:11. Posted [Nov 27, 2013]. https://youtu.be/A07tsSjNx00. (accessed November 6, 2016).

Mike Faison (Uploader). “The Contours Do You Love Me”. YouTube video, 2:54. Posted [Jan 6, 2009]. https://youtu.be/3EoI-6lQFIE. (accessed November 6, 2016).

MyMotownTunes0815007 (Uploader). “Marvelettes – Please Mr. Postman (1965) HD 0815007”. YouTube video, 2:24. Posted [Sep 4, 2011]. https://youtu.be/rGJcbHni4rc. (accessed November 6, 2016).

Ok4602002 (Uploader). “The Temptations – My Girl”. YouTube video, 2:42. Posted [May 25, 2013]. https://youtu.be/6IUG-9jZD-g. (accessed November 6, 2016).

The Ed Sullivan Show (Uploader). “Martha & The Vandellas – “Dancing In The Street””. YouTube video, 1:24. Posted [Nov 2, 2009]. https://youtu.be/RGpgkCE41x8. (accessed November 6, 2016).

Thiago Santos Macedo (Uploader). “The Jackson 5 – I Want you Back (1969)”. YouTube video, 3:02. Posted [May 25, 2016]. https://youtu.be/a0l112Qy4yA. (accessed November 6, 2016).

Wikipedia contributors, “Motown,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Motown&oldid=747412004 (accessed November 2, 2016).