Motown Meets The Beatles

Amazon.com Price: $10.50 (as of 16/07/2022 06:16 PST- Details)

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UK compilation containing legendary Motown artists’ interpretations of The Beatles’ classics. When the Fab Four first got together, their sets consisted of American Rock and Soul covers. Once they began writing their own music, they still continued to cover these songs that influenced them, including some early Motown favorites. Ironically enough, Motown’s brightest stars began covering The Beatles once they became household names. This collection features 17 fine examples of these Soul drenched reinterpretations of Beatles tracks including cuts performed by Diana Ross & the Supremes, the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Jr.. Walker & the All-Stars, Syreeta and others. Spectrum.

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You’d think with the stable of great tunesmiths Motown employed in the ’60s that there would be no need to go outside the family for songs. There was no denying the might of the Beatles catalog, however. So it makes sense that Berry Gordy, a man who wanted his brand of black music to be suitable for everyone, would marry his all-star roster to the music of Lennon and McCartney. Great songs, great singers–what could go wrong? Well, sometimes plenty. Listen to the Supremes gamely tackling “A Hard Day’s Night,” their harmonies trapped in a leaden arrangement that can’t switch gears from Liverpool to Detroit. Or cringe as Diana Ross massacres Lennon’s solo anthem “Imagine.” Sometimes the singers overpower the material, as when the rough-and-ready Four Tops turn the understated “Eleanor Rigby” into a stomp. But sometimes it’s sublime, as when Marvin Gaye envisions “Yesterday” as a hushed hymn, or Stevie Wonder revitalizes the already feisty “We Can Work It Out” by giving the tune a soul-drenched swagger. As an artifact of pop culture, this collection is fascinating. As a musical statement? Well, utilize your CD programmer. –Amy Linden

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