Top 10 Motown Artists

Like all lists, this one is up for debate. These are my favorites but also if you look at the top 100 Motown songs of the 60s then you will see these groups names over and over and over again. These are the Kings and Queens of Motown. The groups and artists who formed what is known as the Motown sound back in the 60s. So sit back and remember these great artists and maybe hum a song or three.

Enjoy and feel free to leave a comment or repost/retweet for others to enjoy.

Honorable Mention: Otis Redding.

This is the only one that should be able to be questioned but his main song, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” has a lot of meaning for me. It brings me back to a time when a great friend, one of my first bosses passed away. I sang this at every Karaoke contest in Wildwood that summer. Most of you won’t believe it but I actually won a couple contests.

Number 10: Martha and the Vandellas.

Like most Motown groups you can hear the harmony of their words through the music. Their song, “Heatwave” is played at least once a day during the summer here in Philadelphia. Another of their songs I hope we will be singing at the top of our lungs when this virus is over, “Dancing in the Streets”.

Number 9: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. This tremendous duo gave us entertainment as solo acts as well. I believe their names are mentioned as artists in the Top 100 Motown hits of the 60s at least 16 times. With hits like “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” and You’re All I Need to Get By”. It is no wonder.

The Supremes (Florence Ballard, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson), circa 1966

Number 8: Diana Ross and the Supremes.

Here is where the list gets bunched up like rush hour on the Schuylkill. On some people’s lists Diana Ross would be higher and some lower. But she and the Supremes are definitely top 10 with hits like “Stop in the Name of Love.” And “You Can’t Hurry Love”. It is no wonder. I can honestly say Diana Ross has one of the most beautiful voices of my lifetime.

Number 7: The Marvellettes.

This group of young ladies not only had great songs but also fantastic harmony. The sound was almost majestic as all of their voices rolled into 1 and they thrilled America with songs like, “Please Mr. Postman.” and. “Don’t Mess with Bill” If you never have take a few minutes and listen to a couple of their songs. It will be the best 6 or 7 minutes you spend any day.

Number 6: The Jackson 5.

We all know the story of the Jacksons. They are a very talented but definitely quirky family. I will only listen to them as the Jackson 5. They had some really great hits like; “ABC” and. “I Want You Back.” The rest of their lives is an open book in the tabloids but no one can take away their greatness in the singing and entertaining business. Remember the cartoon, coloring books, clothing. They covered it all.

Number 5: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

Again the one theme that runs throughout Motown is Harmony. Smokey and the Miracles had an incredible sound. I don’t think they provided the Smoke but just the opposite, their harmony was so cool it could put out fires. Just check out “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” to see what I am talking about. Their music speaks wonders for themselves.

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 12: Stevie Wonder performs onstage during Motown 60: A GRAMMY Celebration at Microsoft Theater on February 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Number 4: Stevie Wonder

Here is a man that started singing professionally at 11, taught himself the Piano and a couple more instruments all while being legally blind since birth. If that does not tell you how great he is then listen to a couple of Stevie’s songs, “For Once in My Life” or “Signed Sealed Delivered.” Or the many more hits he has put out over the years.

Number 3: Aretha Franklin

When you think of or hear Aretha’s voice, you can feel the energy and the soul. She truly puts her heart and soul into each word, even in the Blues Brothers Movie. When she takes/commands the stage you can feel it. It is like she uses the energy of the audience to build her up and fill her with all the soul she needs to sing so powerfully. She also commands “R.E.S.P.E.C.T” Give the Queen of Soul a listen, you will enjoy it. 8

Number 2: The Four Tops.

In my book the Tops are in a tie for first but we can’t have that with best of lists now can we. So I went through the discography of both groups and figured out which one that I could sing the most songs with out words and we’ll the Tops came in 2nd. Songs like “Baby I Need Your Lovin” and “The Same Old Song get you in the rythym and just keep singing.

Number 1: The Temptations

Like I said above this is a virtual tie. The 2 of these groups are at the top of my list when I think of Motown. The Temtations, a quintet whose dance moves are as good as their music. And that my friends is incredibly hard to do. The Temptations and Four Tops were the essence of cool and smooth at the same time. Fire up some “My Girl” or “Ain’t to Proud to Beg” and watch the smoothness of these guys, you will never be upset.

As I said at the beginning, this is my list and my memories but just for those that need validation, these 10 artists have over 80% of the top 100 Motown Hits from 1960-69. The others were just one hit wonders. I hope you enjoy and please leave a comment and share our posts.

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