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  1. #1

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    Given the endless number of RnR related threads about players and music constantly posted here, and since most of you grew up in the heyday of RnR I’ve wondered:

    Do you know Motown or the sound of Philadelphia or Stax that produced so many hits during RnR’s heyday?

    Who do you know? Who did you like? What made that group special to you?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    This classic was written and produced by and features a great vibraphone solo by Vince Montana Jr who produced and arranged a lot of classic Philly soul records , although this is the Salsoul Orchestra who were New York based . Nice to hear some classic bebop licks on a disco record .


  4. #3

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    This is my favourite Philly tune



    Huge influence on early house music .

  5. #4

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    I really like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Ironically they did their best work when they 'left' Motown.
    Last edited by Marcel_A; 10-03-2020 at 03:10 PM.

  6. #5
    When was that latter tune recorded? Sounds like middle 80’s. Was that your generation? I ask because there were a lot of actual hits out of Philly in the very early 70’s.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel_A
    I really like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Ironically they did their best work when they left Motown.
    Gaye’s best albums were all recorded under either the Motown or Tamla, also Motown, labels. What’s going on, Let’s get it on, and I want you are all Tamla label. Those were his biggest hits I believe.

    Stevie’s biggest, Songs in the key of life, was also released under Motown’s Tamla label. Although the original Motown label had long sold when it released in 1976.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Gaye’s best albums were all recorded under either the Motown or Tamla, also Motown, labels. What’s going on, Let’s get it on, and I want you are all Tamla label. Those were his biggest hits I believe.

    Stevie’s biggest, Songs in the key of life, was also released under Motown’s Tamla label. Although the original Motown label had long sold when it released in 1976.
    That's why 'left' is between those ' '. But they left. The only thing motown about those albums was the label. Both Wonder and Gaye went their own way and made music the way they wanted. If it was up to motown, Songs in the key of life and What's going on were never made.
    Ironically.

  9. #8

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    That smooth voice... Smokey Robinson.

  10. #9
    Who knows this mega hit from 1971? It was a one hit wonder.


  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    That smooth voice... Smokey Robinson.
    But did you ever hear his album titled “Smokey” released in 1973? The entire album was fabulous.


  12. #11
    Philly release 1976. But Harold Melvin wasn’t the lead singer in the group named after him. Who was the lead singer?


  13. #12
    A Philly release mega hit from 1973. The instrumentation is off the charts. You don’t hear this type of arranging in today’s music.


  14. #13

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    I was raised in South Philly from 1951 on. I'm not familiar with the Disco scene and even with Motown's inner working's, I couldn't tell you anything of producers, record Company's, etc.. But I could mention D'John's smoky steak shop with the "Queen of hearts" pin ball machine and a vast array of neighborhood characters but I'll refrain and post a video instead.


  15. #14
    Or have you heard of this singer who for all intents and purposes could have been a very good jazz singer. Man was he gifted. Philly’s own, Mr. Billy Paul. The instrumentation has deep jazz roots. Here Billy puts his own spin on Al Green’s mega hit “Let’s stay together.” It’s both a bluesy and uniquely soulful rendition. The man literally bears his soul in pure vocal majesty. A Philadelphia International release, 1973.


  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Dogfaceboy
    I was raised in South Philly from 1951 on. I'm not familiar with the Disco scene and even with Motown's inner working's, I couldn't tell you anything of producers, record Company's, etc.. But I could mention D'John's smoky steak shop with the "Queen of hearts" pin ball machine and a vast array of neighborhood characters but I'll refrain and post a video instead.

    Were you aware that Philadelphia had it’s own record label that had releases that were so good it rivaled Motown? Philadelphia International Records, created by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff. And the great song writer, arranger Thom Bell who produced groups like The Stylistics, The Delfonics, and The Spinners was one of their producers.

    To this day I miss the hoagies and cheese steaks. I was stationed in Philly between ‘’75-77.

  17. #16
    In 1974, before disco, the house band of Philadelphia International Records known simply as MFSB released their own album. It too became a disco hit 2 years after its release. It was apparent that like the band in Motown, these too were jazz players.


  18. #17
    Recorded in 1973 and written by PI owners Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff was For the love of money. Released by The Ojays.


  19. #18
    Most don’t know that as Motown folded and sold it’s company in 1971 Philadelphia International Records was founded. They produced a slew of hits between 1971-80 including the 1972 hit ‘If you don’t know me by now’ by Harold Melvin, who never sang lead and yet was paid the majority of the money. As you can imagine this would soon become a problem.


  20. #19
    The 1976 PI release written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff by none other than Lou Rawls of ‘You’ll never find a love like mine. The album won a Grammy. Surely even if you were a hard core rocker you must have heard this?


  21. #20

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    peoples choice outta philly



    cheers

  22. #21

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    also, big undisputed truth fan!!



    cheers

  23. #22

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    A Philly band from 1970 - Hall and Oates


  24. #23

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    detroit..but not motown...

    the mighty- funkadelic

    early vid for cosmic slop



    cheers

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Were you aware that Philadelphia had it’s own record label that had releases that were so good it rivaled Motown? Philadelphia International Records, created by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff. And the great song writer, arranger Thom Bell who produced groups like The Stylistics, The Delfonics, and The Spinners was one of their producers.

    To this day I miss the hoagies and cheese steaks. I was stationed in Philly between ‘’75-77.
    We knew Gamble and Huff were very big on the music scene but not at what capacity, They're legends in Philly today but I'm fairly certain that you're already aware of that. The groups you mentioned are also legends along with many more. I know of a guy named John Madera who wrote and produced a lot of the DooWop that came out of Philly, It;s been a happening place over the years. I'm dyin over here! ......Cheesesteak........hoagie?? It's been years.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    A Philly band from 1970 - Hall and Oates

    I never knew the two of them performed together. Thanks for the post.

  27. #26

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    Lots of stuff to dig and rediscover there, 2bornot2bop. I had access to most of those artists as a youngster as my parents ran a record store, but by that time my ears had been stolen by prog. Always had time for Smokey Robinson, however. I will enjoy checking them out again, thanks!

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Philly release 1976. But Harold Melvin wasn’t the lead singer in the group named after him. Who was the lead singer?

    Greg,
    It might have been Teddy Pendergrass, former lead singer & drummer,

  29. #28
    Speakin’ of smilin faces...This song was a major hit my final year of high school. It was on the jukebox in our huge lunchroom which seemed like the size of a football field. Everyone would punch in their .10 player requests of Carol King, or Santana, James Taylor, whom ever was on the top 40. We’d eat our lunches and then line up for the best cinnamon rolls on the planet sold at the concession stand at the back of the lunchroom. .25 cents per roll included an 8oz of milk. You’d clear the line with your hot steaming’ tasty roll, and out of nowhere you’d hear that famous Philly piano roll burst out of nowhere...

    The Back Stabbers from 1972


  30. #29
    When I was 20 years old my local band opened for the O Jays and Gladys Knight and Pips. It was really scary going on in front of 18000 people! After we opened we loaded our gear and went and played 5 hours of classic rock I guess its now called at a local club. I borrowed a Sound City guitar amp with 6 ten inch speakers to play at Barton Coliseum because my regular amp wasnt big enough. Gladys Knights guitar player had a Gibson Byrdland and borrowed the Sound City from me.It was kind of a poor mans Marshall. The OJays brought a conductor and used some local horn players with charts of course. At sound check their bass player showed me a new sound device from Gibson called a phase shifter and played the opening to Money,Money,Money for our band guys and for sound man. It was a new sound to my ears!T he guitar and bassplayers for the OJays had really fancy pearl inlay on their Fender bass and Strat and they showed us Tree of Life type inlay. We were quite impressed! I love all the OJays hits particularly Put Your Hands together and Backstabber. The 50th Anniversary on YT is a good example of the OJays live show.The audience is about half black and half white which not too many other R andB acts can draw that I know of. I think the OJays are a Great example of the Philly Sound!

  31. #30
    Ike Pagent was my band director. I played football so I was never around to be in the band while Ike was in the stands doing his thing. Ike had a hot temper, and was a perfectionist, much like that teacher from the film Whiplash. I don’t think any of us felt we met his standards for he always lacked praise. But let me tell ya something. Ike knew his *hit. He’d make the hippest band arrangements for the band. On game night, Friday night, you’d hear the band truly playin their ass off with some of the latest top 40 hits like Shaft, Smilin Faces, What’s going on, and the like. But boy, whenever we’d hear them bust out with this old school band hit we seemed to play even harder on the field, and of course the stands would be rockin’!

    From 1968. The Horse by Cliff Nobles. Man, I swear I can still hear that band playing.


  32. #31
    In 1976 while hanging out at a Philly bar with my naval base roommate Herb, who was like 15 years older than me, who walks in but this cat with this huge hat. I’m sipping on my usual Kailua n’ Creme, because I don’t drink, even in my naval days, but Herb says, “hey you want to meet Grover, he just walked in?” Like a fool I said “Grover who.” He says C’mon man follow me. And sure enough as we sat down at his table who was it but the man himself..Grover Washington. Herb seemed to know all of these Philly musicians by hanging out at local pubs, which seemed like every other corner had one. He’d always tell me stories about meeting locals like Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Paul, Arthur Prysock and the like while hanging out at local pubs. Anyway, Grover was a vary laid back and humble cat, with a wicked sense of humor. Me, I was star struck. I couldn’t get over the fact that here I was, nobody, sitting at a table with GWJ. But we’d later receive free tickets to Grover’s performance of Live at the Bijou. Oh what a memory. Thanks Herb!


  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel_A
    That's why 'left' is between those ' '. But they left. The only thing motown about those albums was the label. Both Wonder and Gaye went their own way and made music the way they wanted. If it was up to motown, Songs in the key of life and What's going on were never made.
    Ironically.
    Stevie Wonder remained signed to Motown during the 70's and 80's, but under the TAMLA Motown name, and later part of the Universal Motown Group subsidiary. Ewart Abner became president in 1973 through 1975 ("Songs In The Key of Life" period), and was responsible for Stevie's projects. Abner was constantly pushing Stevie to complete the project which was delayed about 2 years due to Wonder's procrastination and his search for perfection. Wonder technically did not 'go his own way', but was seeking more independence, both creatively and business-wise. The album was a huge success and remains one of my personal favorites, going platinum in a relatively short period of time. At the time my wife (then my girlfriend) was a vocalist member of Wonder's band which afforded me several opportunities to witness back stories of very interesting events...in real time.

  34. #33
    From Chicago, Curtis Mayfield met singing artist Jerry Butler when he was 14, and joined the local vocal group The Impressions. In 1970 he’d pursue a solo career. The rest as they say is history.

    No. 24 on The Rolling Stones Top 500 songs of all time. People Get Ready.


  35. #34

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    2b, I hope you're glad you started this thread. I am glad you did. You have some great stories, which are leading me to investigate new music.

    I will chime in later tonight with my own favorites. which are popular songs, maybe not sophisticated, but do show the huge influence of Motown.

  36. #35
    In 1966, and written by the great husband and wife songwriting team, Ashford and Simpson, this song is about love. And anyone who saw this singing duo together knew that they too were in love. Tammi would later break Marvins heart by passing away due to a brain tumor at the young age of 24. It would later be reported that Marvin never got over her death. He began his history with drugs and alcohol. But they recorded several songs together, mostly all were hits. Each was as genuine as the next.

    Here’s Ain’t no mountain high enough


  37. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil59
    2b, I hope you're glad you started this thread. I am glad you did. You have some great stories, which are leading me to investigate new music.

    I will chime in later tonight with my own favorites. which are popular songs, maybe not sophisticated, but do show the huge influence of Motown.
    Thank you Phil, it’s only taken me 10 years to do it! I look forward to hearing your input equally as well!

  38. #37
    Another hit written by Ashford and Simpson, who I believe had some 15 or more hits. Everything they seemed to pen turned gold. Here’s Motown’s Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye 1968 release You’re all I need to get by.


  39. #38
    Peaking at number 4 on Billboard’s 1967 chart, and remaining there for 73 weeks is the Four Tops, Reach Out I’ll be there.

    Written by the famed songwriting team of Holland, Dozier, and Holland, it took no prisoners.

    Never to be outdone by the vaunted Temptations the Four Tops were lockstep with them from the 60’s to the early 70’s. Here Motown’s house band, The Funk Bros, played some of their finest rhythm backing ever. This band was smokin, and Jamerson was at his finest work. Bass players love this stuff! Me, I dig it too but I just love the positivity of Motown and Philly music. Notice too that when they performed they were always smartly dressed to the nines as a professional recording group should be, imo.


  40. #39

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    Some of my all time favorite Philly artists and writers were associated with this group....


  41. #40
    What more could be said about David Ruffin and The Temptations. These cats sung their souls out every time they performed, traveling to all parts of the country. Their success caused arguments for in actuality any of these guys were talented enough to lead the group. So there would be one leader after another over the coming years. But I must confess, there was something special about David Ruffin and The Temptations.

    From 1968, when Motown had truly hit its stride, here’s the classic, I wish it would rain.


  42. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    From Chicago, Curtis Mayfield met singing artist Jerry Butler when he was 14, and joined the local vocal group The Impressions. In 1970 he’d pursue a solo career. The rest as they say is history.

    No. 24 on The Rolling Stones Top 500 songs of all time. People Get Ready.

    The Wooten brothers Band used to work with Mayfield when they were young.

  43. #42
    The fact that Motown bass great James Jamerson played with only one finger on his right hand still AMAZES me! He is the base foundation of much motown music I think.

  44. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Some of my all time favorite Philly artists and writers were associated with this group....

    Ah yes, The Stylistics. Philadelphia International Records Producer Thom Bell, who’d previously penned a number of hits for the Philadelphia group The Delphonics, would take them under his wing to create 4 notable albums which would create some 12 notable top 10 hits. Lead singer Russell Thompkins Jr had one of the highest falsettos in the recording industry. I grew up on them as well.


  45. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Gaye’s best albums were all recorded under either the Motown or Tamla, also Motown, labels. What’s going on, Let’s get it on, and I want you are all Tamla label. Those were his biggest hits I believe.

    Stevie’s biggest, Songs in the key of life, was also released under Motown’s Tamla label. Although the original Motown label had long sold when it released in 1976.
    Got To Give It up was very different to other chart songs and I liked it quite a bit and still do. Someone maybe Allan Thicks son and Pherill or someone copied it and got sued for millions for plagiarism and had topay the Marvin Gaye estate. There was a funny parody of the copy by a female on YT

  46. #45
    Back when Motown had barely begun and America was just about to be hit with it’s first wave from the British Invasion, also known as The Beatles, songwriting team Holland, Dozier, Holland was hard at work writing what would turn out to be some 20 Motown hits. One of there early ones was in 1963. It was a hot midwestern day, and while water hydrants of Detroit were cooling off the kids in the streets, the adults were indoors jamming to the Heatwave, by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.


  47. #46
    Between 1961- 63 The Supremes recorded no less than 6 singles, none of which were hits. Around Motown they were jokingly known as the “no-hit Supremes. They’d hung around Motown after school but even that didn’t seem to help there cause. But Barry Gordy broke out the big guns and paired them with songwriters Holland-Dozier-Holland who penned the first of their later 12 hits. They didn’t like the song and tried to pass on it but were encouraged to record it anyway. In the spring of 1964 Motown released Where did our love go. It reached number one on the pop charts, and would be followed by 4 more number 1 hits.


  48. #47
    Co written by Marvin Gaye in 1964 Dancing in the streets would chart 4 on the Billboard top 100. But it’s my personal favorite from the days when I began to lose some of my innocence. Nightly newscasts of dogs biting people in the streets while water hoses flowed on them contributed towards some of that. But always there was the music to escape to. I had an Am radio that I’d fall asleep to each night with positive songs and positive messages like this. They were a godsend. Thank goodness for Motown being there to help get through some troubling years. Trouble? There was no trouble. One only had to turn the channel or one could even dance into the streets.


  49. #48
    What more could be said of The 3 Degrees. They rose from the depths of tough Philadelphia neighborhoods only to be embraced by Gamble and Huff at Philadelphia International Records in 1974 and the airwaves became plastered with their number one hit, When will I see you again. It was one of the most successful songs of the Philly soul era. It was huge in the UK topping their charts as well. And that Philadelphia orchestra emblazoned its imprint on it. Another of my personal favorites.


  50. #49

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    I really liked many Motown songs back in the day. And still do. And still listen to them. All popular, maybe too "commercial," not "sophisticated," according to some. So be it. But great songs nevertheless. Almost all are from the 1960s. Topping the list are:

    Contours: Do You Love Me
    Miracles: The Tracks of My Tears
    Marvelettes : Please Mr. Postman

    The others:

    Miracles: You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me
    Miracles: Shop Around
    Martha and the Vandellas: Heatwave
    Little Stevie Wonder: Fingertips
    Martha & the Vandellas: Dancing in the Street
    Temptations: My Girl
    Four Tops: Reach Out
    Temptations: Ain’t Too Proud to Beg
    Four Tops: Standing in the Shadows of Love
    Marvin Gaye: I Heard It Through the Grapevine
    Four Tops: Bernadette
    Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On
    Stevie Wonder: Superstition
    Temptations: Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone
    Marvin Gaye: Let’s Get It On

    I’ve undoubtedly forgotten many.

  51. #50
    Didnt someone named Dennis Coffey? I think a motown session playing guitarist have an instrumental hit? Maye Scorpio?