Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Various Artists - Motown 1's (2004)

This 25 track compilation is what it says it is - #1 hits from the pop and r&b charts released by the Motown label between 1961 and 1994 plus a bonus track (a cover of Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Michael McDonald) which only made it to #111 on the pop charts in 2004.   The singles are arranged chronologically, with 14 tracks from the '60s, 7 tracks from the '70s, 2 tracks from the '80s, 1 track from the '90s, plus the 2004 cover. There's a distinct Motown sound that not only comes from the legendary house backing band, The Funk Brothers, but also from the writing - the emphasis is almost always on the downbeat without much syncopation.

Motown 1's was released on the occasion of Motown's 45th anniversary.  When the label turned 50, they took it up a notch and issued a 10 CD, 202 track box set of all the tracks that reached number 1 at any time, on any chart, in any nation. At $110, it's not in my collection, although that packaging is pretty sweet.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #83 (May 8, 2004)

Tracks: Almost all great and immediately recognizable.  Marvin Gaye (rightfully) appears the most with 4 tracks - those songs are also in my collection here. In addition to Marvin Gaye, today my favorites include Shotgun by Jr. Walker & The All Stars, Uptight by Stevie Freakin' Wonder, and The Tears Of A Clown by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. 

My love for disco music is well-documented on this blog, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that two of my favorite tracks are Love Machine (Part 1) by The Miracles and Don't Leave Me This Way by Thelma Houston.

I could do without Endless Love by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, Rhythm Of The Night by DeBarge, and I'll Make Love To You by Boyz II Men. Unfortunately, these three appear consecutively on the disc.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  Hearing these hits makes me want to revisit the excellent documentary Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, which recounts the story of The Funk Brothers.

Purchased right as the iPod was coming out (but before we had one), this disc was purchased to stay in the car so my sons would get raised on good music, at least while they were riding with me.

Rhythm Of The Night gives me nightmares as I flashback to a horrid marching band show I was a part of when I was in college.  I think it would have been the fall of 1986.  Even now I shudder as I hear the song and write these words.  It was bad.  The arrangement of the song was bad (there shouldn't have been an arrangement in the first place), the marching drill was bad, and, because of a laissez-faire director, the performances were indifferent, at best.  The word "bad" is too mild; it was offensive to me as a musician and a human being.

I was never a big fan of Endless Love, but when it was popular I didn't have a driver's license so an older friend of the family, Nancy, took me to high school every morning in the fall of 1981.  I think she was a senior when I was a sophomore.  Anyway, she had the cassette of the soundtrack and it seems that we listened to the one song 5 consecutive times every morning for at least a month. If memory serves, the ballad was not only the first song on the cassette, but also the last, so rewinding wasn't even necessary, just the flipping of the tape. I wanted to flip off the tape.

1 comment:

  1. Your story about "Endless Love" made me chuckle. My first exposure to that song (believe it or not) was the version by Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey. I kinda/sorta knew it was a remake but it was just a slushy wedding song to me. I have to say though, that the song has grown on me over time - likely only because I didn't have to deal with an onslaught of airplay-popularity. Not a favourite by any means - but y'know.

    I've been following your blog for some time now. I have the same CD rack with about the same volume of albums and a different, but similar eclectic love of music - so I enjoy that you've been doing this very much. And any time an album comes up in your reviews that I actually have, I appreciate your take on it even when our favourite tracks vary. :) Keep on keepin' on.