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Music – 1985 – Mary Wells – My Guy + Junior Walker – Shotgun + The Commodores – Brick House

This video excerpt from the 1985 MoTown 25 Year Anniversary Show feature Mary Wells singing My Guy….Junior Walker singing Shotgun….and The Commodores performing Brick House….all of which were # 1 songs for MoTown Records….plus they are introduced by famous Cincinnatti disc jockeys Johnny Fever (Tim Reed) and Venus Fly Trap (Howard Hessman).  

Motown in the early 1960s. Along with the Supremesthe Miraclesthe Temptations, and the Four Tops, Wells was said to have been part of the charge in black music onto radio stations and record shelves of mainstream America, “bridging the color lines in music at the time.”[1]

With a string of hit singles composed mainly by Smokey Robinson, including “The One Who Really Loves You”“, “Two Lovers” (1962), the Grammy-nominated “You Beat Me to the Punch” (1962) and her signature hit, “My Guy” (1964), she became recognized as “The Queen of Motown” until her departure from the company in 1964, at the height of her popularity. She was one of Motown’s first singing superstars.

Junior Walker, was an American saxophonist and vocalist who recorded for Motown during the 1960’s…..who after joining Berry Gordy’s Motown Records, changed the name of his band to Jr. Walker & the All Stars….while became members of the Motown family and recording for their Soul imprint in 1964….when their first and signature hit was “Shotgun”….which was written and composed by Walker and produced by Berry Gordy….and featured the Funk Brothers’ James Jamerson on bass and Benny Benjamin on drums. “Shotgun” reached # 4 on the Billboard Hot 100….and # 1 on the R&B chart in 1965….which was followed by many other hits….such as “(I’m A) Road Runner”, “Shake and Fingerpop” ….along with remakes of two Motown songs “Come See About Me” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)”….that had previously been hits for the Supremes and Marvin Gaye respectively. In 1966, Graves left and was replaced by old cohort Billy “Stix” Nicks….and Walker’s hits continued apace with tunes such as “I’m a Road Runner” and “Pucker Up Buttercup”.

The Commodores is an American funk/soul band….which was at its peak in the late 1970’s through the mid 1980’s…..as the members of the group met as mostly freshmen at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in 1968….and signed with Motown in November 1972….after having first caught the public eye  opening for the Jackson 5 while on tour.

The group’s most successful period was in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s….when Lionel Richie was the co-lead singer. The band’s biggest hit singles are ballads such as “Easy”, “Three Times a Lady”, and “Nightshift”….for which they won their 1st Grammy in 1986….and along with funky dance hits which include “Brick House”….as performed in this video herewith, “Fancy Dancer”, “Lady (You Bring Me Up)”, and “Too Hot ta Trot”

 

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