Archives for : MOTOWN

jan Gaye: After the Dance: My Life with Marvin Gaye

 

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Gaye, Jan. After the Dance: My Life with Marvin Gaye. Amistad: HarperCollins. May 2015. 224p. ISBN 9780062135513. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062135537. MEMOIR
On her 17th birthday, Janis Hunter met rhythm-and-blues legend Marvin Gaye as he was stumbling out of his first marriage, and despite a 16-year age difference, they launched a too-hot-to-handle affair.

Their own marriage eventually collapsed under the weight of fame, drug abuse, and domestic strife. Here, Jan speaks out for the first time since Marvin was shot and killed by his father in 1984. Reportedly sizzling stuff, with many famed music figures of the day drifting through; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

 

This searing memoir of drugs, sex, and old school R&B from the wife of legendary soul icon Marvin Gaye.

On her seventeenth birthday in 1973, Janice Hunter met Marvin Gaye-the soulful prince of Motown with the seductive liquid voice whose chart-topping, socially conscious albumWhat”s Going Onmade him a superstar two years earlier. Despite a sixteen-year-age difference and Marvin”s marriage to the sister of Berry Gordy, Motown”s founder, the star-struck teenager and the emotionally volatile singer began a scorching relationship.

One moment Jan was studying high school history; the next she was accompanying Marvin to parties with other pop stars, lounging with Don Cornelius on the set ofSoul Train,and helping to discover new talent like Frankie Beverly. But the distractions and burdens of fame, the chaos of dysfunctional families, and the irresistible temptations of drugs overshadowed the love they shared and their marriage disintegrated.

Silent since Marvin”s tragic death in 1984, Jan at last opens up, sharing the moving, erotically charged story of one of music history”s most fabled marriages. Unsparing in its honesty and insight, illustrated with sixteen pages of color and black-and-white photos,After the Dancereveals what it”s like to ride shotgun on a wave of fame and self-destruction with a tortured genius who helped transform popular culture and whose artistry continues to be celebrated today.

 

 

Motown Monday: The Supremes

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The Supremes resting back stage at the Apollo theater before going onstage to perform.

Jimmy Ruffin: Rest In Peace

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Legendary Motown singer, and brother of the late great, David Ruffin has passed away  at the age of 78, Wednesday morning from a long illness, he died in Las Vegas NV, Wednesday says a close family member, details about the upcoming funeral arraignments have yet to be announced.

“Let’s Get It On”: This Day In Music

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On this day in 1973, Marvin Gaye’s iconic “Let’s Get It On” hit No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts, and spent 11 weeks at the summit.

Most Sampled Artist: Motown Edition!

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The Impact Of Motown

 

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Mr Stevie Wonder,a master at producing music of all genres which allowed others to branch out and participate in collaborations with artists of different genres.As a blind man,he overcame the odds and became one of the greatest musicians of all time.He opened the door for other disabled people to pursue their dreamsMotown’s Collective impact on The Civil Rights Movement,
This wide distribution allowed Motown music deliver positive images of black people to reach the general public which improved race relations.Motown artists held a unique power in countries eager for cultural symbols,that racial integration was not only possible but attractive and non-threatening.

Black citizens of The US considered the music of Motown to be their escape to artistic and financial freedom.As well,White listeners considered the music to also be a type of escape from the tensions of the time period.Motown did not care what colour you were and resonated no matter where you were on the ideological spectrum.Some Motown artists felt as though their music should speak to and for the rising Civil Rights Movement.
The Great March to Freedom of 1963 Motown recorded and released two of Mr Martin Luther King Jr speeches,this is considered to be Motown’s most significant contribution to the civil rights struggle,.The recording represented the company’s first attempt to affiliates itself publicly with the national civil rights campaign.With this album people in foreign countries could listen to Kings speeches and promote his ideas in their countries.

A Letter from Mr Berry Gordy

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Berry Gordy: On Michael Jackson

 

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“Well it was Suzanne DePasse who grabbed me one day and she said “there’s a kids group you gotta see. They’re auditioning in the next room and we just love them, and you’re gonna love them.”

I said that “I don’t have time. If fact, I don’t like kids groups. I don’t want kids groups. I’ve got Stevie Wonder who has a major entourage.” He had his mother, he had a tutor and a chaperon. A lot of people traveled with him. So, I said no. The last thing I want is a kids group, and she said “you’ll want them!” & I said “I won’t. I won’t.” And so, she kind of [dragged] me into  the audition room. And when I saw this kid doing all this stuff, he was doing a James Brown thing and he did a twirl and a split, and then she said “you still don’t like kid groups?” and I said “no I don’t…..get my camera, get my camera!”

When they got through, I noticed he was doing his thing, on stage he was one kind of person. He was like this master!. And then when he got through, he was very quiet and almost shy. But he stared at me, the other kids would get ready for the next song, they’d be playing with the instruments, and Michael was always there staring at me, really in an innocent way, watching every move I made. And finally, I went to them and they said “Are you gonna sign us?”.

I couldn’t make up my mind because I was concerned that, here’s a kid who was about eight years old, seven or eight years old, singing a Smokey song that seemed he had been living it for thirty years, so right away we were saying “this is an old man in a kid’s body”, because he sung ‘Who’s Lovin’ You’ better than Smokey, and Smokey did a phenomenal job, but this kid was like, something…he had been here before!

And then, after singing that, he went back into a child mode. I told Suzanne “they’re gonna need something that a kid would sing”, so I just kind of came up with a melody of my own. [sings a tune of I Want You Back] I said “he should sing something like that!” Then we did [‘ABC’], ‘The Love You Save’, and ‘I’ll Be There’, and that made history because no other group, I think, before or since, had their first four records go to number one.

So it was like a major feat, and they became, like, the biggest thing. Suzanne was responsible for dressing him up and she put on him one of those little hats, and they did the Sullivan Show. He used to complain to me about his childhood and I’d say “You don’t have such a bad childhood, Michael. I mean, you’re doing what you want to do.” If people could have that thing, passion, at an early age, eight or nine, and then do it for the rest of their life…my goodness! So that was…Michael.” –Berry Gordy

Let’s Get It On: Anniversary

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Let’s Get It On is the twelfth studio album by American recording artist Marvin Gaye, released August 28, 1973, on Tamla Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during June 1970 to July 1973 at Hitsville U.S.A. and Golden World Studio in Detroit, and at Hitsville West in Los Angeles. Serving as Gaye’s first venture into the funk genre and romance-themed music, Let’s Get It On incorporates smooth soul, doo-wop, and quiet storm. It has been noted by critics for its sexually suggestive lyrics, and was cited by one writer as “one of the most sexually charged albums ever recorded”.

Following the breakthrough success of his socially conscious album What’s Going On (1971), Let’s Get It On helped establish Gaye as a sex icon and furthered his mainstream appeal. It produced three singles—title track, “Come Get to This“, and “You Sure Love to Ball“—that attained Billboard chart success. Let’s Get It On became the most commercially successful album of Gaye’s recording career, and it further expanded his creative control during his tenure with Motown. Its sexual balladry, multi-tracking of Gaye’s vocals, and seductive, funk sound influenced later R&B artists and production.

The album has been regarded by many music writers and critics as a landmark recording in soul music. It furthered funk music’s popularity during the 1970s, and its smooth soul sound marked a change for his record label’s previous success with the “Motown Sound” formula. Let’s Get It On has been named one of the best albums of all time by various critics and publications. In 2001, it was reissued by Motown Records as a two-disc deluxe edition release.

MOTOWN 25: YESTERDAY•TODAY•FOREVER

 

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Celebrate Motown with the history-making concert and over 14 hours of bonus features in this deluxe box set.

Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever debuted on NBC on May 16, 1983, and became an immediate sensation. The highlight that caused the most talk was Michael Jackson’s world premiere of the moonwalk (aka six seconds that changed the world) but Motown 25 had an abundance of buzzworthy moments—reunions by the Miracles, the Supremes and The Jackson 5; the first battle of the bands between The Temptations and Four Tops; and the hottest comedian in the world at the time, Richard Pryor, as host.

You can now own this once-in-a-lifetime concert with over 14 hours of bonus features! This 6-DVD set features an extended version of the Motown 25 concert, including 20 minutes not seen in the original broadcast and exclusive bonus features including:

Never-before-seen Marvin Gaye & Stevie Wonder rehearsal footage
Roundtable discussions with Smokey Robinson, Otis Williams (The Temptations) and Duke Fakir (Four Tops)
Over 25 exclusive interviews with key production members and performers
And 9 newly-produced featurettes
You’ll also get your own copy of the Motown 25 program and an exclusive booklet filled with information about the show and artists, production materials, behind-the-scenes photos, and more. Plus, it all comes in a deluxe collector’s box.

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6 DVDs in Deluxe Collector’s Box

$79.95
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Disc #1

THE SHOW
Extended version of the Motown 25 concert with over 40 classic Motown hits!
Motown 25 Performers Roundtable featuring:
Smokey Robinson
Duke Fakir (Four Tops)
Otis Williams (The Temptations)
Suzanne de Passe (Executive Producer, Motown 25)
Featurette: Signed, Sealed, Delivered—The Making of Motown 25
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Disc #2

REHEARSAL
Marvin Gaye Rehearsal
Featurette: What’s Going On: Marvin Gaye

Exclusive Interviews with:
Suzanne de Passe, Executive Producer, Motown 25
Don Mischer, Director / Producer, Motown 25
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Disc #3

THE REUNION
Producers & Performers Roundtable featuring:
Yesterday, Today, Forever: The Motown 25 Production Roundtable featuring Suzanne de Passe (Executive Producer), Suzanne Coston (Producer), Don Mischer (Director/Producer), David Goldberg (Executive in Charge of Production), Buz Kohan (Head Writer)
Motown 25 Performers Roundtable Part 2 featuring Smokey Robinson, Duke Fakir (Four Tops), Otis Williams (The Temptations)
Featurette: Reach Out I’ll Be There: The Temptations and Four Tops
Featurette: Come and Get These Memories: Inside Hitsville

Exclusive Interviews with:

Duke Fakir
Four Tops
Otis Williams
The Temptations
Claudette Robinson
The Miracles
Martha Reeves
Martha & the Vandellas

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Disc #4

HISTORY

Songwriters Roundtable (from 1983) featuring:
Mickey Stevenson, Former Head of A&R/Songwriter, Motown Records; Norman Whitfield, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland, Harvey Fuqua, Brian Holland, Ron Miller, Songwriters and Producers, Motown Records

Featurette: Dancin’ in the Streets: The History of Motown

Exclusive Interviews with:

Norman Whitfield, Songwriter and Producer (from 1983)
Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland, Songwriters and Producers (from 1983)
Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, Songwriters, Motown Records
Gloria Jones, Songwriter, Motown Records
Shelly Berger, Manager/Former Motown Records Executive
Mickey Stevenson, Former Head of A&R/Songwriter, Motown Records
Suzanne Coston, Producer, Motown 25
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Disc #5

LEGACY
Stevie Wonder Rehearsal

Featurette: You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me: The Miracles
Featurette: My Guy: Smokey Robinson
Featurette: I Heard It through the Grapevine: Motown Sound
Featurette: Motown 25 Reboot: The 5.1 Surround Sound Mix

Exclusive Interviews with:
Smokey Robinson
Iris Gordy, Former Motown Records Executive
Adam Ant, Performer, Motown 25
Russ Terrana, Former Motown Records Engineer

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Disc #6

THE PEOPLE

Exclusive Interviews with:
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Producers
Nelson George, Writer
Ruth Adkins Robinson, Writer, Motown 25
Buz Kohan, Head Writer, Motown 25
David Goldberg, Executive in Charge of Production, Motown 25
Janie Bradford, Songwriter/Motown Records Employee
Don Waller, Author
George and Jolene Schlatter, George Schlatter Productions
Michael Lovesmith, President/COO, West Grand Media
Rick Ludwin, Former Head of NBC Specials
Michael Black, Former ICM Agent
Tony Jones, Former Motown Executive

The Jackson Five: The Early Years

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The Marvelettes: Motown Monday

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Smokey Robinson & CO: Duets

 

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One of our favorite Motown legends has been busy working on a brand new album of duets! Smokey Robinson sings his classics with Elton John, Mary J. Blige, John Legend and more. Pre-order “Smokey & Friends” now at Amazon Music: http://mtwn.co/UNiyF9

The Temptations:Motown Monday

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The Supremes: Motown Monday!

 

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(L) Mary Wells Florence (center) “Blondie” Ballard (R) and Diana Ross.

The original Supremes: Motown Monday

 

 

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The original Supremes – Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson – in Trafalga Square having fun with Berry Gordy’s nephew Robert Bullock.

Bernie Yeszin:End Of An Era

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Motown’s distinctive “M” logo became iconic decades ago, seen by millions around the globe on record sleeves, film credits, TV specials and Broadway.

The Detroiter who created it — former Motown art director Bernie Yeszin — died Tuesday in Culver City, Calif. He was 73.

While Motown was rocking the pop world with its sounds in the ’60s, Yeszin was supplying the visual accompaniment, crafting many of the album covers, photos and other imagery that gave the Detroit label and its artists their public face.

But it was his “M” logo — evoking a Detroit-esque sense of strength and movement — that has best endured the test of time, instantly identifiable as Motown and still branded on the company’s work.

Yeszin’s lettering also reflects the row of West Grand Boulevard houses where Motown operated.

Yeszin eventually went on to a career in television set design, winning an Emmy Award in 1990 for art direction on “The Tracey Ullman Show.” He also made a mark in the realm of dog training, publishing a book on the topic and appearing on cable television’s “Animal Planet.”

Yeszin, an alumnus of Mackenzie High School (’59) and Wayne State University (’62), was hired by Berry Gordy Jr. in 1962 and worked at Motown through 1968. Part of that tenure was spent in a makeshift attic office space at the company’s West Grand Boulevard house.

“He had that spirit,” recalled former Motown publicist Al Abrams. “I could bounce really wild ideas off of him, and he’d encourage it. He was the perfect person to be up in the attic with me.”

Yeszin, who moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s, found himself struggling for work later in life. An LA Weekly magazine piece last year noted that Yeszin was living in a van with his golden retriever and some of his old Motown memorabilia.

Yeszin had since been taken in by a friend in L.A., said Abrams.

He died Tuesday morning at Southern California Hospital in Culver City of apparent kidney and liver failure. An autopsy is scheduled for later this week, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.

Abrams and friend Jamie Hall are overseeing a cremation and possible memorial service for Yeszin. Abrams asks any family members or friends who wish to assist to contact him via e-mail: alanabrams@aol.com

By Brian McCollum

Meet the Temptations:50th Anniversary!

 

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Meet the Temptations is the 1964 debut album by The Temptations for the Gordy (Motown) label. It includes most of the group’s early singles, excluding only the first, “Oh Mother of Mine”, and its b-side, “Romance Without Finance” (later included on a CD reissue of the LP); as well as the single “Mind Over Matter” (and its b-side “I’ll Love You Till I Die”), in which the group is credited as The Pirates. The album consists entirely of previously released singles, including the group’s first hit single, “The Way You Do the Things You Do”.

The lineup on the cover features Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Otis Williams, and newest Temptation Davis (later David) Ruffin. Ruffin had just joined the act three months before this album was released, and actually only appears on “The Way You Do The Things You Do”. The other tracks all feature original Temptation Elbridge “Al” Bryant, who was fired from the group in December 1963.

Again, excepting the hit single, these tracks all date from the Temptations’ slow-selling starting period (during which some Motown staffers referred to them as the “hitless Temptations”). Despite local success in Detroit and the midwest, the Temptations released six singles that missed the Top 100 Pop & R&B charts, and one, “Dream Come True”, which made it to #22 on the R&B singles chart. Most of these songs feature Paul Williams as (main) lead, while Kendricks, Bryant, Franklin, and Otis Williams were given plenty of lead lines, ad-libs and harmony vocals heard throughout the album. Kendricks was also given a small handful of songs to lead as well, including the two charting singles.

The album was originally issued only in monaural sound. A stereo remix of the album was issued along with the original mono version in 1966. The bonus tracks were added to the album in 1999.

Track listing
Side one
“The Way You Do the Things You Do” (Smokey Robinson, Bobby Rogers)
“I Want a Love I Can See” (Robinson)
“(You’re My) Dream Come True” (Berry Gordy, Jr.)
“Paradise” (Gordy)
“May I Have This Dance” (Janie Bradford, Norman Whitfield)
“Isn’t She Pretty” (Gordy, Eddie Kendricks, Otis Williams)

Side two
“Just Let Me Know” (Gordy)
“Your Wonderful Love” (Gordy)
“The Further You Look, the Less You See” (Robinson, Whitfield)
“Check Yourself” (Elbridge Bryant, David English, Gordy, Williams)
“Slow Down Heart” (Robinson)
“Farewell My Love” (Gordy)

1999 CD reissue bonus tracks
“Oh, Mother of Mine” (William “Mickey” Stevenson, Williams)
“Romance Without Finance” (Stevenson, Kendricks)

Personnel
Eddie Kendricks: vocals (tenor/falsetto)
Paul Williams: vocals (tenor/baritone)
Melvin Franklin: vocals (bass)
Otis Williams: vocals (tenor/baritone)
Elbridge “Al” Bryant: vocals (tenor/falsetto) (all tracks except “The Way You Do the Things You Do”)
Davis “David” Ruffin: vocals (tenor/falsetto) (“The Way You Do the Things You Do”)
Eddie Holland: background vocals (“Check Yourself”)
Brian Holland: background vocals (“Check Yourself”)

Producers
Berry Gordy: “Dream Come True”, “Paradise”, “May I Have This Dance”, “Isn’t She Pretty”, “Just Let Me Know”, “Your Wonderful Love”, “Check Yourself”, “Farewell My Love”, Executive Producer (Album)
Smokey Robinson: “The Way You Do the Things You Do”, “I Want a Love I Can See”, “May I Have This Dance”, “Just Let Me Know”, “The Further You Look, the Less You See”, “Slow Down Heart”, “Farewell My Love”, Executive Producer (Album)
Norman Whitfield: “May I Have This Dance”, “The Further You Look, the Less You See”
Andre Williams & William “Mickey” Stevenson (as “Dre-Mic”): “Oh, Mother of Mine”, “Romance Without Finance”

Singles history
The main lead vocalists on each track are identified by superscripts: (a) Paul Williams, (b) Eddie Kendricks, (c) Al Bryant, (d) Otis Williams, (e) Melvin Franklin.

“Oh Mother of Mine” a, b
Miracle single 5 (originally a non-album single; CD bonus track), July 24, 1961; b-side: “Romance Without Finance” a, b
“Check Yourself” a, (intro: d, e)
Miracle single 12, November 7, 1961; b-side: “Your Wonderful Love” a
“(You’re My) Dream Come True” b
Gordy single 7001, March 16, 1962; b-side: “Isn’t She Pretty” (recorded 1961) c, a, b, e, d
“Paradise” b, e
Gordy single 7010, September 26, 1962; b-side: “Slow Down Heart” a, e
“Mind Over Matter (I’m Gonna Make You Mine)” b (credited as The Pirates)
Mel-O-Dy single 105 (non-album single), September 29, 1962; b-side: “I’ll Love You Till I Die” a (The Pirates)
“I Want A Love I Can See” a
Gordy single 7015, March 18, 1963; b-side: “The Further You Look, the Less You See” a
“Farewell My Love”* a, b, e
Gordy single 7020, June 25, 1963; b-side: “May I Have This Dance” (recorded 1962)* b, e
“The Way You Do the Things You Do” b
Gordy single 7028, January 23, 1964; b-side: “Just Let Me Know” (recorded 1963) a, c

The Marvelettes: Playboy Lp

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Playboy is the third album by Motown girl group, The Marvelettes, released to capitalize on their hit singles “Playboy” and “Beechwood 4-5789”, in 1962. It also includes the single “Someday, Someway” and “Forever”, a heartfelt standard that would be released the following year as the B-side of the single “Locking Up My Heart” and join the A-side on the charts. Other compositions include “Goddess of Love”, “Cry Over You”, and “Mix It Up”. George Gordy, William “Mickey” Stevens on and Marvin Gaye, who had produced “Beechwood 4-5789” all did some work on the Playboy LP as well.

Track listing
Superscript denotes lead singer: (a) Gladys Horton, (b) Wanda Young

Side 1
“Playboy” (Gladys Horton, Robert Bateman) a
“Mix It Up” a
“Beechwood 4-5789” (Marvin Gaye, George Gordy) a
“I’m Hooked” (Berry Gordy, Jr.) a
“I Think I Can Change You” (William Robinson) a

Side 2
“Forever” (Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Freddie Gorman) b
“Someday, Someway” (Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Freddie Gorman) a
“Goddess of Love” (Lamont Dozier) b
“You Should Know” a
“(I’ve Got To) Cry Over You” (Berry Gordy, Jr.) a

Personnel
Gladys Horton – Lead and background vocals
Wanda Young – Lead and background vocals
Georgeanna Tillman – Background vocals
Katherine Anderson – Background vocals
Wyanetta “Juanita” Cowart – Background vocals
Marvin Gaye – Producer
William “Mickey” Stevenson – Producer
George Gordy – Producer
The Funk Brothers – Instrumentals

The Miracles:”Love Machine”

 

 

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FYI: “Love Machine” written by Billy Griffin and Pete Moore, is a 1976 multi-million selling Platinum single and number one cut on Billboards Pop Chart (#5 R&B) by the Miracles. It is The Miracles BIGGEST-SELLING single of their entire career. Love Machine is the most used song in Motown’s history and has generated 15 million in sales to date.

The History:
“Love Machine” is a 1976 number-one single recorded by Motown group The Miracles, taken from their album City of Angels. This single was one of two Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hits recorded by The Miracles with Billy Griffin as lead vocalist; the other is 1973’s “Do It Baby”. Griffin had replaced Miracles founder Smokey Robinson as lead singer in 1972. The song features a growling vocal by Miracle Bobby Rogers, with group baritone Ronnie White repeating “Yeah Baby” throughout the song.

Engineered and mixed by Kevin Beamish, “Love Machine” was produced by Freddie Perren, a former member of The Corporation brain trust in charge of the early Jackson 5 hits. It was written by Billy Griffin and his Miracles group-mate Pete Moore, with whom he wrote the rest of the City of Angels tracks as well. The song’s lyrics, delivered over a disco beat, compare a lover to an electronic device such as a computer or a robot. The seven-minute song was split into two parts for its release as a single, with “Part 1” receiving most notoriety.

“Love Machine” was a multi-million selling Platinum single, and a number-one smash hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and, with 4.5 million copies sold, was the best-selling single of The Miracles’ career. The single went to #5 on the Hot Soul Singles chart, and went to #20 on Record World’s National Disco file Top 20 chart. It was also a Top 10 hit in England, peaking at number three on the UK Singles Chart.

By 1979, the song saw its first cover version, performed by Thelma Houston. Houston’s version became a popular song with club DJs at the time in the United States, although it did not chart. In Asia, and especially in Japan, “Love Machine” became Houston’s most successful single, topping the Japanese charts. The success prompted her album Ride to the Rainbow to be reissued as Love Machine for the Japanese release.

Wham! performed a cover version of “Love Machine” on their 1983 album, Fantastic.

The first 30-seconds of the song was featured in a couple of Denny’s restaurant television commercials in the 80’s, depicting a mother hen and her chicks dancing to this tune for their Grand Slam Breakfasts.

Also heard in the 1995 Disney film Heavyweights and the 1997 crime film Donnie Brasco, also it was featured in the 2002 film The New Guy.

“Love Machine,” to which Griffin and co-writer Miracle Pete Moore were smart enough to retain publishing rights,through their own publishing company, Grimora Music, is the most-used song in Motown history and has generated more than $15 million in revenues.

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