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Motown: The Complete No. 1's

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12/9/2008

Review

The opening salvo to Universal's celebration of Motown's 50th anniversary, the ten-disc Motown: The Complete No. 1's wisely takes the broadest possible reading of "number one," interpreting that phrase to mean any single that topped the R&B or pop charts or any international chart, or even songs that topped the charts in a cover version by another non-Motown artist...or in the case of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise," was even sampled by another artist. In other words, this 202-track set -- 192 hit singles, plus those ten "bonus" hits that were either covered or sample sources -- means to feature every Motown song that everybody knows and it pretty much does, although it also contains a lot of singles that most Motown fans don't know and there are a lot of well-known songs that aren't here, because using the top of the charts as a definitive yardstick for measuring popularity is problematic. Not every huge hit reaches the pole position, nor is every chart-topper an enduring piece of pop art, and if the competition for the top was tough, as it certainly was during Motown's heyday of the '60s, there might be a lot of songs left behind, as there are here. Nevertheless, it's still pretty shocking to realize that by the time disc three on this gargantuan set starts, Motown has already left Detroit for Los Angeles, leaving behind their period of greatest creativity and iconic power, as well as that house on West Grand Boulevard that serves as the model for the creative packaging on this deluxe set. That means that most of this set doesn't sound like Motown, at least according to the classic definition of the Motown sound, which may make it of considerably less interest to the kind of listener who would be drawn to a replica of the Motown museum, but the range of the set is nevertheless impressive. There is certainly a drop-off in quality as the label enters the '80s on disc seven, but there's not only plenty of terrific music between Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' "Shop Around" and Erykah Badu's "Bag Lady," it's possible to hear the big picture of modern soul and R&B between these two extremes, which is pretty impressive indeed. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Shop Around Smokey Robinson 2:47
  3. 2 Please Mr. Postman The Marvelettes 2:28
  4. 3 Do You Love Me The Contours 2:51
  5. 4 You Beat Me to the Punch Mary Wells 2:42
  6. 5 Two Lovers Mary Wells 2:44
  7. 6 You've Really Got a Hold on Me The Miracles 3:10
  8. 7 Fingertips, Pt. 2 Stevie Wonder 3:9
  9. 8 Heat Wave Martha & the Vandellas 3:2
  10. 9 The Way You Do the Things You Do The Temptations 2:38
  11. 10 My Guy Mary Wells 2:49
  12. 11 Where Did Our Love Go The Supremes 2:31
  13. 12 Baby Love The Supremes 2:35
  14. 13 Come See About Me The Supremes 2:41
  15. 14 My Girl The Temptations 2:56
  16. 15 Shotgun Junior Walker & the All-Stars 3:18
  17. 16 Stop! In the Name of Love The Supremes 2:50
  18. 17 I'll Be Doggone Marvin Gaye 2:44
  19. 18 Back in My Arms Again The Supremes 2:52
  20. 19 I Can't Help Myself Four Tops 2:42
  21. 20 I Hear a Symphony The Supremes 2:42
  22. 21 Ain't That Peculiar Marvin Gaye 2:58
  23. 22 Uptight (Everything's Alright) Stevie Wonder 2:51
  24. 23 Get Ready The Temptations 2:37
  25. 24 Dancing in the Street Martha & the Vandellas 2:37
  26. 25 How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) Marvin Gaye 2:55
  27. 26 This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You) The Isley Brothers 2:51
  28. 27 Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) Marvin Gaye 2:20
  29. 1 Ain't to Proud to Beg The Temptations 2:30
  30. 2 Blowin' in the Wind Stevie Wonder 3:3
  31. 3 You Can't Hurry Love The Supremes 2:44
  32. 4 Beauty Is Only Skin Deep The Temptations 2:21
  33. 5 Reach out I'll Be There Four Tops 2:58
  34. 6 You Keep Me Hangin' On The Supremes 2:40
  35. 7 (I Know) I'm Losing You The Temptations 2:26
  36. 8 The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game The Marvelettes 2:48
  37. 9 Love Is Here and Now You're Gone The Supremes 2:46
  38. 10 Jimmy Mack Martha & the Vandellas 2:51
  39. 11 The Happening The Supremes 2:48
  40. 12 I Was Made to Love Her Stevie Wonder 2:34
  41. 13 I Heard It Through the Grapevine Gladys Knight & the Pips 2:45
  42. 14 I Second That Emotion Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 2:45
  43. 15 I Wish It Would Rain The Temptations 2:43
  44. 16 Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day Stevie Wonder 2:43
  45. 17 Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing Marvin Gaye 2:12
  46. 18 I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You) The Temptations 3:30
  47. 19 You're All I Need to Get By Marvin Gaye 2:47
  48. 20 Love Child Diana Ross & the Supremes 2:54
  49. 21 For Once in My Life Stevie Wonder 3:13
  50. 22 I Heard It Through the Grapevine Marvin Gaye 3:11
  51. 22 For Once In My Life Stevie Wonder 2:47
  52. 23 I'm Gonna Make You Love Me The Temptations 3:6
  53. 24 What Becomes of the Brokenhearted Jimmy Ruffin 2:58
  54. 25 You've Made Me So Very Happy Brenda Holloway 2:50
  55. 1 Run Away Child, Running Wild The Temptations 4:45
  56. 2 Too Busy Thinking About My Baby Marvin Gaye 2:53
  57. 3 What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) Junior Walker & the All-Stars 2:25
  58. 4 I Can't Get Next to You The Temptations 2:50
  59. 5 Baby I'm for Real The Originals 3:17
  60. 6 Someday We'll Be Together Diana Ross & the Supremes 3:30
  61. 7 I Want You Back The Jackson 5 2:56
  62. 8 Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday Stevie Wonder 3:2
  63. 9 ABC The Jackson 5 2:55
  64. 10 Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand) Diana Ross 3:1
  65. 11 It's All in the Game Four Tops 2:43
  66. 12 The Love You Save The Jackson 5 3:1
  67. 13 Get Ready Rare Earth 2:48
  68. 14 Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today) The Temptations 4:2
  69. 15 Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours) Stevie Wonder 2:37
  70. 16 War Edwin Starr 3:21
  71. 17 The Tears of a Clown [US Version] Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 2:58
  72. 18 Ain't No Mountain High Enough Diana Ross 3:34
  73. 19 I'll Be There The Jackson 5 3:53
  74. 20 Heaven Help Us All Stevie Wonder 3:11
  75. 21 The Tears of a Clown [UK Version] Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 3:2
  76. 22 Stoned Love The Supremes 4:5
  77. 23 If I Were Your Woman Gladys Knight & the Pips 3:13
  78. 1 Mama's Pearl The Jackson 5 3:9
  79. 2 Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) The Temptations 3:45
  80. 3 What's Going On Marvin Gaye 3:50
  81. 4 Never Can Say Goodbye The Jackson 5 2:56
  82. 5 Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) Marvin Gaye 3:12
  83. 6 I'm Still Waiting Diana Ross 3:41
  84. 7 Smiling Faces Sometimes The Undisputed Truth 3:13
  85. 8 Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) Marvin Gaye 5:25
  86. 9 Got to Be There Michael Jackson 3:21
  87. 10 Rockin' Robin Michael Jackson 2:31
  88. 11 I Wanna Be Where You Are Michael Jackson 2:55
  89. 12 Ben [From Ben] Michael Jackson 2:43
  90. 13 Papa Was a Rollin' Stone The Temptations 6:56
  91. 14 Superstition Stevie Wonder 4:26
  92. 15 Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye) Gladys Knight & the Pips 4:20
  93. 16 Masterpiece The Temptations 4:20
  94. 17 You Are the Sunshine of My Life Stevie Wonder 2:49
  95. 18 Touch Me in the Morning Diana Ross 3:46
  96. 19 Let's Get It On Marvin Gaye 4:49
  97. 1 Higher Ground Stevie Wonder 3:41
  98. 2 Keep on Truckin' (Pt. 1) Eddie Kendricks 3:31
  99. 3 Living for the City Stevie Wonder 7:23
  100. 4 Let Your Hair Down The Temptations 2:37
  101. 5 Boogie Down Eddie Kendricks 3:47
  102. 6 Last Time I Saw Him Diana Ross 2:45
  103. 7 Dancing Machine The Jackson 5 2:34
  104. 8 Do It Baby The Miracles 3:1
  105. 9 You Haven't Done Nothin' Stevie Wonder 3:21
  106. 10 Boogie On Reggae Woman Stevie Wonder 4:9
  107. 11 Happy People The Temptations 3:35
  108. 12 Shoeshine Boy Eddie Kendricks 3:14
  109. 13 Shakey Ground The Temptations 3:59
  110. 14 Baby That's Backatcha Smokey Robinson 3:44
  111. 15 Slippery When Wet Commodores 3:16
  112. 16 Forever Came Today The Jackson 5 6:19
  113. 17 Walk Away From Love David Ruffin 5:27
  114. 18 Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To) Diana Ross 3:20
  115. 19 Devil in the Bottle T.G. Sheppard 2:45
  116. 20 Tryin' to Beat the Morning Home T.G. Sheppard 2:40
  117. 1 Love Machine (Pt. 1) The Miracles 2:56
  118. 2 Love Hangover Diana Ross 3:43
  119. 3 I Want You Marvin Gaye 3:53
  120. 4 Just to Be Close to You Commodores 3:25
  121. 5 Down to Love Town The Originals 5:53
  122. 6 Don't Leave Me This Way Thelma Houston 5:39
  123. 7 I Wish Stevie Wonder 4:12
  124. 8 Got to Give It Up (Pt. 1) Marvin Gaye 4:7
  125. 9 Sir Duke Stevie Wonder 3:52
  126. 10 Easy Commodores 4:17
  127. 11 You Can't Turn Me Off (In the Middle of Turning Me On) High Inergy 3:29
  128. 12 Too Hot Ta Trot Commodores 3:27
  129. 13 You and I Rick James 3:6
  130. 14 Three Times a Lady Commodores 3:35
  131. 15 The Boss Diana Ross 3:47
  132. 16 Sail On Commodores 3:50
  133. 17 Still Commodores 3:41
  134. 18 Send One Your Love Stevie Wonder 4:1
  135. 19 Pastime Paradise Stevie Wonder 3:26
  136. 1 Cruisin' Smokey Robinson 4:24
  137. 2 Let's Get Serious Jermaine Jackson 3:32
  138. 3 I'm Coming Out Diana Ross 5:18
  139. 4 Upside Down Diana Ross 4:1
  140. 5 Master Blaster (Jammin') Stevie Wonder 5:7
  141. 6 Being With You Smokey Robinson 3:57
  142. 7 Give It To Me Baby Rick James 4:6
  143. 8 Super Freak Rick James 3:23
  144. 9 One Day in Your Life Michael Jackson 4:10
  145. 10 Endless Love Diana Ross 4:25
  146. 11 Lady (You Bring Me Up) Commodores 3:58
  147. 12 That Girl Stevie Wonder 5:11
  148. 13 Let It Whip Dazz Band 4:3
  149. 14 I've Never Been to Me Charlene 3:52
  150. 15 Do I Do Stevie Wonder 10:28
  151. 16 Lately Stevie Wonder 4:5
  152. 1 Truly Lionel Richie 3:17
  153. 2 You Are Lionel Richie 4:3
  154. 3 My Love Lionel Richie 4:1
  155. 4 All This Love DeBarge 4:7
  156. 5 Cold Blooded Rick James 4:25
  157. 6 All Night Long (All Night) Lionel Richie 4:17
  158. 7 Time Will Reveal DeBarge 4:11
  159. 8 Somebody's Watching Me Rockwell 3:54
  160. 9 Hello Lionel Richie 4:6
  161. 10 Stuck On You Lionel Richie 3:8
  162. 11 I Just Called to Say I Love You Stevie Wonder 4:20
  163. 12 Penny Lover Lionel Richie 3:44
  164. 13 Nightshift Commodores 4:18
  165. 14 In My House The Mary Jane Girls 3:54
  166. 15 Rhythm of the Night DeBarge 3:52
  167. 16 Glow Rick James 4:26
  168. 17 You Wear It Well DeBarge 3:53
  169. 18 Don't Look Any Further 4:1
  170. 1 Part-Time Lover Stevie Wonder 4:12
  171. 2 Say You, Say Me Lionel Richie 3:58
  172. 3 Go Home Stevie Wonder 4:7
  173. 4 If You Should Ever Be Lonely Val Young 4:12
  174. 5 Overjoyed Stevie Wonder 3:41
  175. 6 Who's Johnny [From Short Circuit] El DeBarge 4:8
  176. 7 Dancing on the Ceiling Lionel Richie 4:31
  177. 8 Love Will Conquer All Lionel Richie 4:14
  178. 9 Ballerina Girl Lionel Richie 3:35
  179. 10 Just to See Her Smokey Robinson 3:58
  180. 11 Tina Cherry Georgio 5:5
  181. 12 Skeletons Stevie Wonder 5:24
  182. 13 You Will Know Stevie Wonder 4:59
  183. 14 Dial My Heart The Boys 4:18
  184. 15 Lucky Charm The Boys 3:53
  185. 16 Girl I Got My Eyes on You Today 4:55
  186. 17 Where Do We Go From Here Johnny Gill 4:10
  187. 18 Dreamin' Guinn Family 3:28
  188. 1 Rub You the Right Way Johnny Gill 4:12
  189. 2 My, My, My Johnny Gill 4:2
  190. 3 Crazy The Boys 4:0
  191. 4 Wrap My Body Tight Johnny Gill 3:41
  192. 5 It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday Boyz II Men 3:6
  193. 6 I Love Your Smile Shanice 4:22
  194. 7 Uhh Ahh Boyz II Men 3:46
  195. 8 Do It to Me Lionel Richie 4:28
  196. 9 End of the Road Boyz II Men 5:48
  197. 10 I'll Make Love to You Boyz II Men 3:52
  198. 11 On Bended Knee Boyz II Men 5:28
  199. 12 Take Me Higher Diana Ross 4:15
  200. 13 4 Seasons of Loneliness Boyz II Men 4:51
  201. 14 A Song for Mama Boyz II Men 5:1
  202. 15 Stay The Temptations 4:45
  203. 16 Liar Profyle 3:57
  204. 17 Bag Lady Erykah Badu 4:4

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