Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Thursday Thirteen # 6 - 50th Anniversary of Motown Records – 13 Facts About Motown

Thirteen Things about Motown

Motown Records or Hitsville USA was founded by Berry Gordy Jr. in 1958 (although there is some discrepancy, some resources claim 1957 and others 1959). I am going to stick with 1958 only because in 1983 the television special “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, and Forever” aired. The original building where the “Motown Sound” was created still stands today at 2648 West Grand Blvd. in Detroit Michigan. It is a fascinating place to visit because it is hard to conceive that the world renowned, rich musical heritage that is associated with this company started in this little building. The Studio is literally a garage, with all the original accoutrements that gave us such artists as Mary Wells, The Temptations, Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and the Miracle, Marvin Gaye, and the list goes on. On this Thursday Thirteen, I give you 13 trivia questions about Motown. The answers are listed below.

1. Which artist received the title of “First Lady” of Motown?

2. What year did the Jackson 5 leave Motown to sign with Epic Records?

3. What was the first Motown album to reach # 1 on the Billboard album charts?

4. What is the first Motown single to reach # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart?

5. What was Marvin Gaye’s first top ten hit on the Billboard R&B and pop charts?

6. What is Motown’s top selling album to date?

7. Which Motown group had a hit with “This Old Heart of Mine”?

8. Who is responsible for the operation of the Motown Museum?

9. What Norman Whitfield produced groups had hits with such songs as “I Know (I’m Losing You)”, “I Just Want To Celebrate” and “Born To Wander”?

10. What family group had a hit with the song “Heard It Through The Grapevine”?

11. What Motown artist is considered by Bob Dylan to be “America’s Greatest Living Poet”?

12. What artist began her career as the protégé of Rick James?

13. Who was offered a job as a guide at the Motown Museum ?


1. Mary Wells. Mary Wells had three top ten hits in 1962 including “The One Who Really Loves You” and “Two Lovers”.

2. 1975. Jermaine Jackson left the group opting instead to stay with his father-in-law’s company (he was married to Barry Gordy’s daughter Hazel). Randy Jackson replaced Jermaine and the group became known as the Jackson.

3. “12 Year Old Genius” by Stevie Wonder. He actually thirteen when it was released in 1963.

4. “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes. Smokey Robinson and the Miracle’s “Shop Around” was the first national hit in 1961, it did not reach the # 1 slot on Billboard. The Marvelettes hit pay dirt in December of 1961.

5. “Pride and Joy”. Released in 1963 it was featured on the “Stubborn Kinda Fellow” album.
6. “II” by Boyz II Men. It would have been Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, however he had already left for the greener pastures of Epic records. “II” by Boyz II Men sold 12 million copies worldwide.

7. The Isley Brothers. During their stint with Motown, the Isley Brothers hit # 12 with the song in 1966.

8. Esther Gordy Edward. She is Berry Gordy’s sister and she keeps the legacy alive.

9. Rare Earth. They remain one of the more successful white acts to grace the label.

10. Gladys Knight and the Pips. The group consisted of Gladys Knight, her brother Merald ‘Bubba’ Knight, and her cousins Edward Patten and William Guest.

11. Smokey Robinson. Robinson was responsible for the writing the songs that established the Temptations and Mary Wells careers, not to mention the music of his group the Miracles.

12. Teena Marie. One of my all time favorites, I affectionately refer to her as the only white artist that has to cross over to the pop charts.

13. Myself. That was a trick question. No one could know that, but it’s true. While visiting the Museum in 2001 I was invited to interview with Esther Gordy Edwards because of my knowledge of Motown history. I had to decline because of other commitments.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Chelle Y. said...

It's a good thing you gave the answers, because I had no clue to any of them! :)

Happy TT!

Nap Warden said...

Thanks for giving the answers...I had a tough time on that one!

Tink said...

I'm afraid I didn't have a high score, even though I really like Motown music.
Thanks for visiting my TT!

Anonymous said...

I am SO glad you posted the answers, because I would have had to start looking things up! LOL

I had no idea that Stevie Wonder had a number one hit at only 13!!!

Dont make me get out my flying Monkeys! said...

Bring back the Commodores!

Great List, Impressive!

Come take a look at my bok bok blog!

Lori said...

Wow, what great info. Thanks for sharing:) Happy TT.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I tried to get our band to play only Motown at my wedding. They thought I was nuts and threw in wedding standards anyway. I threatened to not pay them. They ignored me; my parents had the check.

ellen b. said...

Oh I'm so glad you gave the answers. I was beginning to sweat! You are the expert!

Sandy Carlson said...

I had a tough time, too. Thanks for the scoop.

Nicholas said...

Very interesting. I didn't know any of those. Not even #13!

Malcolm said...

Great quiz. I got 7 out of 13. I started out shaky, but came out OK. I can't believe I missed #1. You can guess who I thought it was. I was off by a year on when the J5 left Motown (I thought it was 1976). I thought it was between Marvin Gaye and Boyz II Men as to who had the best selling album. Since I couldn't think of an album title by Boyz II Men, I guessed "What's Going On" by Marvin. When I saw 13, I was like, "wait a minute, it's you." A job as a Motown guide would have been tailor made for you.

I had planned on doing a post about the 50th anniv. of Motown over the next month or so. Thanks for reminding me.

Melissa said...

Oh, I'm so not up on my Motown trivia. I think I learned a couple of things today! Happy TT!

The Gal Herself said...

Oh, how I love Smokey Robinson! Now that I know Dylan does, too, I feel like I'm in good company. "This Ol' Heart of Mine" is one of my favorite songs. Motown is a national treasure! (And too bad about #13.)

Sue said...

Great list idea! And yes, thank you for providing the answers to go along with :)

Cheerio said...

I know Motown and their music. I used to love them when I was younger but embarassing to say I could not answer any of those questions. Good you put the answers. Thanks for sharing.

pjazzypar said...

chelle y, thanks for visiting. I posted the answers for that very reason.

nap warden, I did not expect people to have that hard of a time. It's funny what you take for granted. Thanks for visiting.

tink, It' ok that you don't know the answers, you seem to be in good company. Thanks for stopping.

thrivingat30, It really wasn't meant to be a quiz per se, just an interesting way to get some trivia to the masses. Yes Stevie was quite "the wonder" pun intended.

don't make me get out my flying monkeys, It's interesting you should mention the Commodores. I have been hearing some rumblings about a reunion with Lionel Ritchie.

Lori, Thanks for visiting and Happy TT.

susan helene gottfried, an all Motown wedding, now that would be fun, especially if you were able to hear some of the more obscure stuff. I get tired of "The Same Old Song". Anyhow thanks for dropping by.

ellen b, It seems that everyone had trouble with this one. Happy TT.

sandy carlson, thanks for visiting, Happy TT.

Nicholas, I wouldn't have expected you to know 13, I was just having a little fun with everyone. Thanks for visiting and Happy TT.

Malcolm, I am surprised. When I was comprising this one I was thinking, Malcolm is going to know all the answers. I know you thought Diana Ross was the "Queen of Motown". They probably gave the title away before the Supremes ever had a hit. I will be looking forward to your Motown post.

melissa, Thanks for stopping by. I will be visiting your TT also.

Claudia said...

Gosh, imagine the world without Motown. They really changed the world with music. Amazing to even think of.

SJ Reidhead said...

Great music, that's for sure.

The Pink Flamingo

damozel said...

I grew up in a town where the music was all Motown, all the time, and I loved it...but I never really looked into the details back in those days (it was a lot harder then because you could only get it from fan magazines, and my parents didn't buy them for me)...

thanks for this trip down memory lane.

Mine: T13 #11 |  Pictures from the Earth--"Closed for Winter"

Journeywoman said...

Interesting facts.

Happy TT!

Natalie said...

Wow! I never knew so much about Motown. You are very knowledgeable!

Deanna Dahlsad said...

Wow! I'm super impressed -- and embarrassed that I knew so few of them :blush:

Happy TT!

Deanna Dahlsad said...

PS Fulton's still on the soap ;)

Joyismygoal said...

You would have been good i like giving tours

busy91 said...

Rare Earth, great band. You'd think I'd know more about this stuff, I listened to it growing up.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was a great quiz. I only knew a couple of the answers. I better watch more motown documentarys, I'm getting rusty. :)

Happy TT

Holly said...

I love Motown - the old stuff - GREAT artists.

And thank you for visiting my TT-13!


Linda R. Moore said...

#13: that's too bad! It sounds as though it would have been a perfect fit.

I have three TTs this week.

Raven's Rides: 13 places I went on my motorcycle yesterday
Raven's RV: 13 things we did in the RV when the power went out
Raven's Range: 13 thoughts about Thursday Thirteen

The link above has links to all three. :)

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