Ten of the most memorable and best-loved Motown performances in the distinguished broadcast history of The Ed Sullivan Show have been compiled in one seven-minute clip, on the long-running variety series’ official YouTube channel.
They include unforgettable appearances by the Supremes and the Temptations, both together and separately the Jackson 5; the Four Tops; and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. The clips cover the halcyon period between 1965 and 1971 when Motown artists dominated the show’s running orders, just as they did the pop and soul charts in the U.S. and around the world.
The collection begins with the Jackson 5’s “ABC,” as performed on Sullivan in May 1970. The penultimate excerpt captures the family group’s debut on the show with their first smash “I Want You Back” in December 1969. Diana Ross and the Supremes feature with the indelible “You Can’t Hurry Love” from September 1966, and again in a dynamic combination with the Temptations, featuring Ms. Ross trading lead lines with David Ruffin, on “(I Know) I’m Losing You,” from December 1967. Ruffin stars again in the Tempts’ May 1967 entry with “My Girl,” by then already a Motown classic.
The earliest performance in the mix is Martha & The Vandellas’ December 1965 booking with “Dancing in The Street,” while Robinson and the Miracles’ 1968 run-out with “I Second That Emotion” is also among the chosen ten. Marvin Gaye is featured from June 1966 with the less celebrated “Take This Heart Of Mine,” written by Robinson and his Miracles group mates Warren “Pete” Moore and Marv Tarplin. Gaye’s current single of the day, the song reached only No.44 pop but No.10 on the R&B chart. What makes it of all the more significance in this context is that this was Gaye’s only appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Also included in this Motown celebration are Gladys Knight & The Pips’ stirring “If I Were Your Woman” from February 1971, a few weeks before the show came to the end of its 23-year syndication run. Another all-time staple, the Four Tops” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” features from an October 1966 edition.
Watch all the latest archival videos from The Ed Sullivan Show on the program’s official YouTube channel.