I read in the news today that Motown is 50 years old this week. They have plenty to celebrate, being (of course) the label that launched Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye. It was also the spiritual centre of the soul & funk movement in the 60’s and 70’s (as well as having a political civil rights angle), that produced so many classics that I remember hearing a lot while I was growing up - even though that was at the tail-end of the golden years.
Motown’s influence has been huge, encompassing modern hip-hop and R&B, the Northern Soul movement in the UK (which the Commitments represented in an out-of-time way), then on to Acid Jazz / Funk bands like Jamiroquai, Brand New Heavies and Groove Collective, and of course most recently & publicly Amy Winehouse & Duffy, who both harken very much back to that era (and Duffy is obviously gunning for the Dusty Springfield look). The music world owes a great deal to Motown, and I for one doff my cap to them on this anniversary.
And if you’re looking to celebrate with some modern soul / rock, you could do worse than to visit the Ghosthounds site - as an unsigned band they’re providing some free mp3’s and they’re very good. You can even play one of their songs (Ashes to Fire) in Rock Band 2 😀