Lecture: Gospel, Soul, and Motown
Thomas A. Dorsey
The Father of Gospel Music
Your text describes it well:
Blues and Gospel are the parents of Soul
It is also described as a new gospel-based form of black rock
"The Hardest Working Man in Show Business"
(Athletic dancing and full energy stage show)
The Godfather of Soul
notice the 12-bar blues form in the song he sings
"I Got You" (1965) listen
We have a tendency to pidgeonhole musical styles for the purposes of description or association.
Here's a great example of what could happen if we could just get over ourselves!!
These 2 Great Musicians both passed away recently (Brown 2006, Pavarotti 2007)
James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti watch
The Queen of Soul
The first woman inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
"I Never Loved a Man" (1967) watch
"R-E-S-P-E-C-T" (1967) listen
This was written and originally recorded by Otis Redding
Her father was a well known minister (Rev. C.L. Franklin) so Aretha grew up with gospel music.
"Georgia on my Mind" (1960) watch
(became the official state song of Georgia)
"I've Got a Woman" (1954) listen
Check the gospel roots of this song
"It Must Be Jesus" listen
Meanwhile, in Detroit, (Motor City, U.S.A.)
In Memphis, blues and country mixed into rockabilly and then morphed into soul for a unique sound that came to be known as
the Stax style. watch
They used horns which gave them a different sound
The studio band at Stax was Booker T. and the M.G.s
They had instrumental hits on their own, like "Green Onions"
Jim Stewart and his sister, Estelle Axton went into business together in 1960; hence, the name!
Booker T. & the MGs
"Green Onions" (1962)
They were the studio band at Stax
"In the Midnight Hour" (1965) listen
"Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" (1968) listen
Sam and Dave
"Soul Man" (1967) listen
Berry Gordy, Jr.
(1929 - )
Founded Motown Records in 1959
His production style was formulaic:
Find the winning combination of songwriters, style and performers, and crank out the hits!
He exercised control over his artists even to hiring someone to teach them social etiquette and choreography.
Berry Gordy bought a house in Detroit and converted the downstairs into a record company and the basement into a recording studio.
He named it Hitsville, USA
the "Motown Sound" was very successful and Motown Records became a powerhouse!
The height of Motown coincided with the popular era of the Beatles.
Here is a Timeline that shows the Motown story
(Be patient with loading)
There is also a movie called Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002) that you might find interesting!
"Mr. Postman" (1959)
"Dancin' in the Streets" (1964)
The Four Tops
"Baby I Need Your Loving" (1964)
"Come See About Me" (1964) listen
The Supremes had 5 consecutive #1 hits at the height of Beatlemania!
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
"You've Really God a Hold on Me" (1962)
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (1967) listen
Gladys Knight and the Pips
Midnight Train to Georgia (1973)
"My Girl" (1965) listen
"Signed, Sealed, Delivered" (1970) listen
The Jackson Five
"I Want You Back" (1969) watch
What a talent Michael was . . and so early!
Race issues in popular music are often considered in terms of black and white.
When discussing Motown and Stax, there was black and blacker.
However, Motown was "black-owned" and Stax was "white-owned." Almost everyone at Motown was black. At Stax, there was much more integration, but the sound was less 'produced' and some might say more authentic.
Some considered that Motown had "sold out" to appeal to white audiences and that the black artists were not performing authentically.
What do you think?
What was the "Motown Sound"?
Here is a great link for an overview of this phenomenal music factory:
The Motown Story
Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson