*Remember the 45 RPM records? My Aunt Jacqui once told me her grand kids found a box of them in her closet one day, and thought they were frisbees. My how things have changed!
In the 1960’s when Motown was turning out records like a water faucet, radio stations were playing both sides of a 45 disc. So, members of the same household would go out and buy one title, and another family member would buy the other title – of the same record! Case in point: My father bought “If This World Were Mine” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, and my sister Debra bought “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You” – same record!
Another household did the same with “I Wish It Would Rain” and “Truly, Truly Believe” by The Temptations. Then there was “Tracks Of My Tears” and “A Fork In The Road” by The Miracles (before they became Smokey Robinson & The Miracles); “My Baby” and “Don’t Look Back” by The Temptations, “Don’t Know Why I Love You” and “My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder, and several others.
I’d like to especially acknowledge that perhaps the first Motown act on this trend was The Miracles. “Shop Around” was the A-side, but “Who’s Lovin’ You” was just as strong on the B-side. The same goes for “Happy Landing” and “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me.” The B-side of Smokey & The Miracles’ “Doggone Right” was the memorable “Here I Go Again.”
In Detroit, just the mention that The Tempts, The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Four Tops, Martha & The Vandellas; had a new song out, we went straight to the record store (if we had a dollar) to buy it without first hearing it. That’s how much confidence we had in the Motown productions.
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*In a 2015 phone interview with Motown songwriter Sylvia Moy just before she passed away, she told me: “In addition to my music studies, I also sang opera and was a soloist for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. I also studied a lot of French which influenced one of Stevie’s signature songs ‘My Cherie Amour’.” She said, “That song was recorded long before it was released. It was the B-side of ‘Don’t Know Why I Love You’ which wasn’t doing too well. A DJ began playing the B-side, and the rest was history.” Well whether it was the A-side, or the B-side, either way we didn’t lose – they are both great songs!
There are several other titles I could name, but you can reflect and come up with your own for discussion and reminiscing.
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon); two insightful books that speak to our moral conscience in times like these. Email: [email protected]