Motown: The ’65 45s
If 1964 was the year that Motown went global, scoring their first UK No.1 with The Supremes’ ‘Baby Love’, and also notching up major international successes with ‘Where Did Our Love Go’ and Mary Wells’ ‘My Guy’, then 1965 was the year the label shot into the stratosphere. Releasing a whopping 119 singles that year in the UK and US combined Motown were starting to consistently hit it out of the park, scoring their highest number of US chart-toppers yet within a 12-month period, while also making regular showings on the UK charts. Indeed, the year started off particularly well thanks to The Temptations’ ‘My Girl’. Penned by Smokey Robinson as an answer song to ‘My Guy’ (which was, of course, also written by Robinson), it was issued on 21 December 1964, backed with ‘(Talkin’ Bout) Nobody But My Baby’, and hit the US No.1 spot in the new year, around the same time that the pairing was released in the UK. Robinson had his work cut out for him: one of Motown’s most in-demand songwriters at the time, he also fronted his own group. Not only did he pen seven of the eight single sides released by The Temptations in ’65 (among them ‘It’s Growing’ and ‘My Baby’), plus Marvin Gaye classics ‘I’ll Be Doggone’ and ‘Ain’t That Peculiar’, and Supremes B-side ‘I’ve Been Good To You’, but he also penned all four of The Miracles’ A-sides of that year, among them ‘Come On Do The Jerk’, ‘Ooo Baby Baby’ and the timeless ‘The Tracks Of My Tears’. While Robinson was busy in the writing room, The Supremes were pounding it out in the studio, issuing almost one single each month throughout the year, among them three US No.1 cuts, ‘Stop! In The Name Of Love’ (also a UK Top 10), ‘Back In My Arms Again’ and ‘I Hear A Symphony’, while another one of their 1964 US No.1 showings, ‘Come See About Me’, also made its way into the UK market. With all this activity, Berry Gordy was keen to get his roster on the road again and planned the third Motortown Revue for spring 1965. With the year being like no other in Motown’s history to that point, it’s no surprise that the third Revue, too, saw the label make bigger strides than before, passing through Europe for the first time and closing with a valedictory show at Paris’ Olympia on 13 April. (An expanded reissue of the classic live recording, Motortown Revue In Paris, is being released on 25 March, along with a special 7” EP box set replicating five French EP releases from the time.) Having The Miracles and Supremes on the bill was a no-brainer, while Martha And The Vandellas – then riding high on the storming ‘Nowhere To Run’ – and Stevie Wonder were drafted in to add extra oomph, the latter road-testing his forthcoming August 1965 single, ‘High Heel Sneakers’. With the Earl Van Dyke Sextet providing backing all night (and airing both sides of their unreleased single, ‘All For You’/‘Too Many Fish In The Sea’), that year’s Revue shows saw Motown firmly staking its claim on the Swinging 60s. Back in Detroit, The Sound Of Young America continued to be defined by the songs coming out of Hitsville USA, with Four Tops releasing ‘I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)’, future Marvin Gaye singing partners Kim Weston and Tammi Terrell issuing ‘Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)’ and ‘I Can’t Believe You Love Me’, respectively, and The Marvelettes warning of ‘Danger! Heartbreak Up Ahead’. Lesser labels would have struggled to follow up such a remarkable year, but such was Motown’s brilliance at the time that 1965 was just one peak of many… an early high point that showed the world just what it was capable of. Motortown Revue Live In Paris is out on 25 March and can be purchased here:
"The Governor" -- ISU Football, !963-1966
February 12, 2016 at 6:28 pm
The Matriculation and Football @ ISU were indeed daunting… but for the MOTOWN SOUL!