The legendary Diana Ross looks like she’s been engulfed by cotton candy. Set her free, why don’t you, babe?
Because I’m poor, I let my subscription to Vanity Fair die a quiet unglossy death, so I was happy to stumble upon Lisa Robinson‘s oral history of legendary soul/R&B label Motown featuring plenty of anecdotes from and about, among others, label founder Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves (of Martha and the Vandellas), Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder and The Supremes (pictured).
This discovery comes hot on the heels of last weekend’s road trip, six hours in the car each way from Washington D.C. to North Carolina, in which my lady friend and I relied solely on the radio for musical nourishment, which would be disastrous were it not for old soul and R&B hits. I can’t tell you how many times I said aloud in the car, “Motown is your friend on road trips.” We heard about a half dozen songs apiece by The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, and The Four Tops.
So, thanks, Lisa Robinson for this fun piece.
How about you? Got any Motown favorites?
Levi Stubbs, the lead singer of Motown’s The Four Tops, one of the greatest pop groups of all-time, died today. He was 72. Levi’s urgent, pleading vocals on songs like “Baby, I Need Your Loving, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch), “It’s The Same Old Song,’ and my favorite, “Bernadette,” defined the R&B of the time. True fact: Stubbs provided the voice for Audrey II, the big murderous plant in the 1986 remake of Little Shop Of Horrors.
Here’s a clip of The Four Tops performing “Bernadette” four years ago in Miami. Stubbs was 68 and looks and sounds wonderful: