Motown’s Greatest Artists Of All Time

February 27, 2013  |  

There was a time when Motown Records owned and ran the music scene. You couldn’t turn on a radio without hearing the collaborative harmonies of The Temptations or the fabulosity of Diana Ross. These artists made you shake your hips and groove before it was even acceptable. You’ll also be surprised that some of these artists weren’t even conceived when the famous record company was at its height. Check out the 15 best artists in Motown’s history!

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Marvin Gaye

He had good looks, sex appeal and music that made you think and want to make love all at the same time. With hits like “What’s Going On?” and “Sexual Healing,” Mr. Gaye helped Motown remain at the top.

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The Temptations

When you think of Motown Records, you have to think of The Temptations. You have to. From the very beginning, this talented group made two-stepping and stage presence look easy. They’ve touched funk, R&B, doo-wop, and disco but they always had soul. No matter the line up, The Temptations goes down in history as one of the best bands ever.

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The [Original] Supremes

Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Diana Ross slayed the scene before fashionistas Solange and Rihanna were even thought of. They showed the world what style was and what girl power looked like—on stage. “Baby Love” and “Come See About Me” are these ladies’ signature hits and they will always remain the original fly girls of Motown.

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Diana Ross

Diana Ross was already a star when she was with The Supremes, but we all knew her star would shine brighter when she went solo. And, it did. Ms. Ross was one of Motown’s biggest acts, taking on the disco-era and pushing R&B/soul into the 1980s so effortlessly with confidence and style. With her glitter, wigs and super fabulous outfits, she really is the queen of Motown.

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Tammi Terrell

Her baby face and beautiful voice were simply amazing. Paired with one of the princes of Motown, Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terell was nothing but phenomenal. Though she didn’t have enough time to show the world everything she could do, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” still remains one of the best Motown songs of all time.

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Stevie Wonder

What else is there to say? He has been pushing out jams since the age of thirteen and giving Motown the very best of his career. “Living in the City,” “Do I Do,” “That Girl,” and of course, “Superstitions, ” are only a few jams that make Stevie the living legend that he is. Mr. Wonder even penned the national birthday song for Martin Luther King, JR., a song that the black community has taken on for all birthdays. His staying power and his relevance makes this multitalented artist one of the best that Motown has ever pushed out.

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The Commodores

These men made “Zoom,” “Easy,” and “Brickhouse” all under Motown Records. You can’t get any better than that. They made funk music feel easy and made soul sound gorgeous. Their songwriting was impeccable and their instrumentals were even better. Oh, and they had Lionel Richie front and center. Enough said.

 

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The Jackson 5

The Jackson 5 were the original boy band and on top of that they were all brothers. Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon, Randy and of course, Michael, were the best inventions ever. They danced liked James Brown and sang like little men with soul. Motown must be ever so grateful to have had such a group on the bill.

 

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Boyz II Men

These guys made every prom and graduation fill with tears with their hit “Till the End of the Road,” and made every couple have a good night with, “I’ll Make Love to You.” They even created the best Mother’s Day song of all time, “Mama” for 1997’s Soul Food soundtrack. Philly and Motown are very proud to have helped this legendary foursome on their journey.

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Erykah Badu

She’s an artist and she’s sensitive about her s**t. Ms. Badu is the Queen of Neo-Soul and though you might not think of her when you think of Motown, she has done some of her best work with the label including her albums Baduzim and Worldwide Underground. This funky lady is the leader of natural hair and head wraps and helped Motown tap into that market perfectly.

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Ne-Yo

Ne-Yo is one of this generation’s best singer/songwriters. There is no way in this great universe you can deny his talent. Though he is not bread and buttered in the Motown blueprint, he soon will be. He just signed to the legendary record company and is going to sing Motown back into the spotlight.

Promotional Photo/Google Images

702

In the 90s, there were tons and tons (and tons) of R&B female groups. 702 was one of them, but what they had was their youth , their good looks and their hits “Steelo” and “Where My Girls At?” to back them up. They weren’t The Supremes, but they were 90s princesses.

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 Gladys Knight and The Pips

“I Heard It Through The Grapevine,”“Neither One Of Us,” and of course, “Midnight Train to Georgia” don’t need any explanations.

These songs are what made Gladys Knight and The Pips one of Motown’s greatest artists.

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Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson is music’s original pretty boy, but he didn’t have to just rely on his good looks. He could sing and he could write songs that the whole world sang. Till this day, Smokey is recognized as one of the first great talents of Motown Records.

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Michael Jackson

Everyone you know recognizes, adores, and idolizes Michael Jackson. He was rocking with Motown since he was a young boy and thanks to the record company, he was able to perfect his moves and overall talent. He went on to be the greatest artist alive and to say it started from Motown is a fabulous thing.

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  • Ray George

    WHERE ARE THE FOUR TOPS , MARTHA AND THE VANDELAS , THE MARVELETES AND MARY WELLS ? I,m from Detroit and I know what I’m talking about…..also the Photo of The Supremes shows Cindy Birdsong not original member Florence Ballard

  • me

    702 but no DeBarge, Rick, or Teena? Come on now …

  • Great list though, surprised to see 702 on there! Not because I don’t agree just because I forgot that they were Motown. Miss them.

  • I would not forget Syreeta Wright. She was fabulous.

  • Keisha Samoht

    It might just be me, but i think that beyonce looks kinda like Tammi Terrell

  • arka

    This is not the picture of the original supremes. This is after Florence ballard was fired and replaced with cindy birdsong at the right

    • IllyPhilly

      Thank you!!

  • Smokey Robinson is one of the 10 Best Songwriters of ALL TIME!!!!!

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