motown 50-50

Some late night channel surfing over Thanksgiving weekend turned up a PBS documentary on the heyday of Motown Records – a none too subtle reminder that 2009 is the 50th anniversary of the landmark pop-soul label.

Motown’s hitmaking legacy extended for decades. But what it accomplished between 1961 and 1973 forever shifted the perception of black music in white America.

Though decidedly pop oriented when compared to more regionally specific soul labels like Stax and Atlantic, Motown had a remarkably deep roster of talent, including a number of artists that would make huge strides as producers and songwriters.

While we perhaps best remember the more innocent sound of singles fashioned by and for The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas and The Miracles in the ‘60s, Motown’s unsung triumph was its ability to adapt to the social fabric of a changing generation in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.

Motown’s credo, almost from its onset, was The Sound of Young America. But when Young America began to mature and open its eyes and ears to a troubled world, Motown’s finest grew up, as well. The Norman Whitfield-produced Temptations albums, along with a string of superlative records by Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, kept Motown’s often-proclaimed “golden age” alive until the early ‘70s.

If you grew up during the Golden Age of Motown, the label’s music was everywhere. If you didn’t, here is a primer sampler of essential Motown singles, the majority of which were No. 1 hits on pop as well as R&B charts. Actually, a proper list would be twice as long. But limiting it to 50 seemed to best fit the occasion.

And so, Happy Anniversary, Motown. Here are 50 of your finest hits to toast 50 years with.

 1. Martha and the Vandellas: Dancing in the Street (1964)

 2. Marvin Gaye: What’s Goin’ On (1971)

 3. Stevie Wonder: Living for the City (1973)

 4. The Temptations: My Girl (1965)

 5. Diana Ross and the Supremes: You Keep Me Hangin’ On (1966)

 6. The Four Tops: It’s the Same Old Song (1965)

 7. Jimmy Ruffin: What Becomes of the Brokenhearted (1966)

 8. The Temptations: Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone (1972)

 9. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles: The Tracks of My Tears (1965)

10. Junior Walker and the All Stars: Shotgun (1965)

11. Stevie Wonder: Uptight (1966)

12. Marvin Gaye: Ain’t That Peculiar (1965)

13. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles: I Second That Emotion (1967)

14. The Temptations: Cloud Nine (1968)

15. Stevie Wonder: For Once in My Life (1968)

16. The Four Tops: Reach Out I’ll Be There (1966)

17. The Temptations: I Can’t Get Next To You (1969)

18. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell: Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing (1968)

19. Gladys Knight and the Pips: If I Were Your Woman (1970)

20. Diana Ross and the Supremes: I Hear a Symphony (1965)

21. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles: Shop Around (1960)

22. The Temptations: Ball of Confusion (1970)

23. Marvin Gaye: Inner City Blues (1971)

24. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles: The Tears of a Clown (1970)

25. Stevie Wonder: Superstition (1972)

26. The Temptations: Get Ready (1966)

27. The Four Tops: Baby I Need Your Loving (1964)

28. Edwin Starr: War (1970)

29. Marvin Gaye: Let’s Get It On (1973)

30. Diana Ross and the Supremes: Stop! In the Name of Love (1965)

31. The Marvelettes: Please Mr. Postman (1961)

32. The Four Tops: I Can’t Help Myself (1965)

33. Marvin Gaye: Mercy Mercy Me (1971)

34. Mary Wells: My Guy (1964)

35. The Jackson 5: I Want You Back (1970)

36. The Temptations: Psychedelic Shack (1969)

37. Diana Ross and the Supremes: Reflections (1967)

38. The Four Tops: Bernadette (1967)

39. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles: Ooo Baby Baby (1965)

40. Gladys Knight and the Pips: I Heard It Through the Grapevine (1967)

41. Marvin Gaye: I Heard It Through the Grapevine (1968)

42. Diana Ross and the Supremes: Someday We’ll Be Together (1969)

43. The Jackson 5: The Love You Save (1971)

44. Stevie Wonder: Higher Ground (1973)

45. Junior Walker and the All-Stars: What Does It Take (1969)

46. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (1967)

47. The Temptations: Masterpiece (1973)

48. The Jackson 5: ABC (1970)

49. Marvin Gaye: Trouble Man (1972)

50. Diana Ross and the Supremes: Where Did Our Love Go (1964)

Stolen property recovered in Alameda, but questions linger

Oakland Tribune July 7, 2011 | Janet Levaux An Alameda resident recovered a stolen bike trailer just two days after it was taken recently, thanks to the efforts of a local resident. Other items found with the trailer, though, apparently were not handled correctly by Alameda police, prompting a review of the matter by the department.

Mary Grace Basco realized her bike trailer — but not her bike — was missing from her condominium courtyard on June 24. She then went to a local flea market and several recycling centers with a photo of it. “I had a hunch that someone might use it for their kids, sell it or use it to for hauling,” she said.

Basco also posted a notice on the Internet-based Alameda Parents Network, through which she found out that Alamedan Jennifer Solomon had her bike taken from the driveway of her home on June 25. “I sent her a photo of my trailer,” said Basco.

On June 26, as Solomon finished crossing the Park Street Bridge, she spotted a bike trailer matching Basco’s and called Basco and the police. Basco identified the trailer and pressed charges against a woman who had been sitting near it in a parking lot on Blanding Avenue. Police identified the woman as Dianna Ware, 25, a transient. “We made the arrest, and she was charged with possession of stolen property,” said Lt. Sean Lynch, head of the investigations bureau. see here bike trailer site bike trailer

Basco and Solomon soon realized that bags of miscellaneous items found with the trailer had been left behind. “We found lots of stuff, including some controlled substances — prescriptions,” said Solomon, so she called the police. The police returned and took a bag of medicine.

Solomon visited the area on June 27 and June 28, only to find that many items — including a new cell phone — had not yet been removed.

“I then took what I considered to be stolen property to the next City Council meeting to share my concerns.” Lynch said the police department is reviewing the matter. “Our policy regarding the handling of property, recovered or stolen, was apparently not followed,” he said. “We are taking administrative action, which includes the appropriate training and discipline.” In general, the police department’s policy is designed to ensure that recovered property is “properly handled and documented,” Lynch explained. “We do our best to handle each call to the best of our abilities,” he said. “If we fall short, we will take corrective steps to meet up to the standards.” Solomon says the police and residents could benefit greatly from a community meeting. Advice on how to avoid having items stolen and the importance of keeping track of serial numbers is always helpful, for instance, she and Basco say. “If there’s more we can do to help the police, we would like to do it,” said Solomon.

Lynch says the department already has resources and activities in place for community-oriented policing. “We try our best to inform the public and get public input on these issues. We take them seriously,” he said.

For her part, Basco says she appreciates the help she received in recovering her bike trailer. “This experience showed me that you need cooperation to move ahead.” Janet Levaux

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