The buzz going around Motown after the Jackson 5 auditioned for Berry Gordy on July 23, 1968, was deafening.
Here was a seemingly rag-tag group of siblings — the oldest being Jackie at age 17 — from Gary, Ind., with a strict tyrant of a father and a devout Jehovah’s Witness of a mother, that danced up a storm and sang like angels. And they did it so professionally that they were about to outshine many of Motown’s biggest adult stars.
As far as the Jackson 5 were concerned, the magic wouldn’t last much longer.
1971 would see the Jackson 5 score two #2 hits, with “Mama’s Pearl” and the ballad “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Then the wildfire that was the Jackson 5 began to show signs of diminishing, as “Maybe Tomorrow,” still an R&B Top 5 fave, became their first single not to make the pop Top Ten.
The world was on fire when Motown Records was born. It was Berry Gordy, the label’s founder and a one-time boxer and auto worker, who helped get the blaze under control.
The year was 1961, and five teenage girls from Inkster, Mich. who called themselves The Marvels — the group that would become The Marvelettes — had finished performing at a local high-school talent show. All that remained was tabulating the results, a mere formality.
Famously, Berry Gordy so disliked the term “funk” that when his Motown label came to release an album by a band whose very name contained the offending word, he personally instructed the group to change its name.
Stevie Wonder was one of the artists who helped establish Motown as a force to be reckoned within the music world. (Motown)
Inspired by both the emergent rock-funk fusion sounds of Sly & The Family Stone and the socially aware songs of Motown’s latest writing team, the Clan (R. Dean Taylor, Pam Sawyer, Frank Wilson and Deke Richards, authors of The Supremes’ “Love Child”), Whitfield and partner Barrett Strong commenced their assault on Motown’s ingrained sensibilities with “Cloud Nine,” a psychedelic-soul synthesis which combined momentum and message to emerge utterly unique.
Diana Ross is thought by many to have discovered the Jackson 5. But longtime Motown promotions man Weldon McDougal remembers it differently.
Things changed very quickly for G.C. Cameron in October 1967.
Discharged from the Marines, Cameron, just 20 years old, left the fighting in Vietnam behind and was home for only a couple of weeks when a call came.
by Dave Thompson — Celebrating 50 years of The Supremes
The funk legend interprets classics on his ‘Gangsters Of Love’ album