Motown, one of the legendary record labels of America's musical past, is celebrating their 50th anniversary and they're asking their fans to help them. Greatest hits packages, retrospectives, and anthologies seem to clog store shelves for every major and minor artist (except AC/DC, who stubbornly refuse to have one). These sets aren't inherently good or bad. Some are lovingly compiled and presented with care and thought while others are cheap knockoffs created to turn a fast profit. Motown's artists and the label itself are no stranger to the anthology, but in honor of their 50th anniversary they've come up with something special.
The Motown 50 Fanthology will feature 50 songs from the label's amazing archives and as the title suggests, this is an anthology for the fans, by the fans. No, Motown doesn't want you to get out your camcorder and submit YouTube videos of you slaughtering Motown classics. They're giving you the chance to decide which 50 songs are going to be on this set. The voting starts now and runs through July 15.
Fans will get the chance to choose their five favorite songs by going to the Motown 50 Vote! website. When the votes are tabulated, the top 50 will be determined and that's how they'll be sequenced — #1 through #50 — on the Fanthology when it is released September 1, 2009.
The hard part is going to be narrowing it down to just five songs. I'm not a Motown guy, myself, but these are some of the most famous, beloved, important, and vital songs in American music history. Nobody doesn't like at least five of these songs.
I could probably pick five of Marvin Gaye's songs alone. Right off the top of my head you've got "What's Goin' On," "Let's Get It On," and "I Heard It Through The Grapevine." There's Rick James' "Superfreak," which became popular again through MC Hammer and Dave Chappelle. There's also Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," which might be the funkiest thing I've heard in my life. There's The Temptation's "My Girl," which is one of those songs everybody knows. There's The Commodores "Brick House," which has become one of the great party anthems and The Jackson 5's countless great hits back when Michael Jackson was famous for being a singer. There's Diana Ross' solo career and the classics with The Supremes. Classic ballads, the soul-stirring soul numbers, the great pop songs, and all the dance and party anthems — I sound like I'm doing an infomercial for this set, don't I?
So in case you're curious, yes, I voted. There are over 100 songs listed to choose from. I could only pick five and it was tough. Here was my ballot: 1) Marvin Gaye – "What's Going On"2) Marvin Gaye – "Lets Get It On"3) The Temptations – "My Girl"4) Stevie Wonder – "Superstition"5) Jackson 5 – "I Want You Back."