Every summer has its soundtrack — and it’s safe to say that for the last 60 years, Motown Records has had its place in all of them.
Remember those Saturday mornings when mama beckoned you out the bed as the smell of Pine-Sol hung in the air? Or those cherished sunny Sundays before Memorial Day when the joy of a 3-day weekend manifested in magical ways? Well, right on the heels of its 60th anniversary, Motown Records has compiled all the necessary anthems to get any and all of your nostalgic yearnings together this summer in a special playlist that includes all your quintessential bops.
The 60-song compilation encompasses a range of soulful staples from the original “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” by The Temptations, Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” The Commodores’ “Brick House,” The Jackson 5’s “ABC,” Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours),” Martha Reeves & The Vandellas’ “Dancing In The Street,” The Supremes’ “Where Did Our Love Go” and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ “Ooh Baby Baby” — plus so many more.
This is the perfect playlist to blast through the speakers at all your summer barbeques, cookouts, pool parties and functions. They’ll trigger instant nostalgia, appreciation and good times! After all, who can resist a two-step to The Supremes or a turn-up to Stevie Wonder? Let the playlist be your DJ so you can focus on the fun.
Motown’s inception traces back to the pivotal civil rights era in which music was one of the few outlets where both Black pain and joy where expressed in ineffably unifying ways. Defined as “the sound that changed America,” the iconic record label was born in Detroit, Michigan on January 12, 1959 by a then-30-year-old Berry Gordy.
Within a matter of years, Motown Records would go on to house the most legendary musical acts in history, including Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye as well as Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, who’d go on to form The Supremes.
Although initially turned away after auditioning for Gordy because of their academic commitments (the girls were still in school at the time), the trio pushed forward. They worked their way into Motown by providing hand-claps and background vocals for their future Motown label-mates. Within a matter of months, they were signed to Motown. It was by way of a summer tour with Dick Clark that their ascent to fame began.
After all, Motown music has been a staple of summer fun in ways you didn’t even know. The City Girls’ “Act Up,” Lil Baby’s “Drip Too Hard,” Erykah Badu’s “Love Of My Life” are all summer hits which have been released under the Motown moniker.
Celebrate the magic of Motown this summer and be sure to use the playlist as the soundtrack for the season. Motown’s summer playlist is available on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora and YouTube Music.
This piece is brought to you in partnership with Motown Records.