Continuing the celebration of Motown’s 50th anniversary, fans will decide which 50 songs from the classic Motown catalog will be heard on a forthcoming two-CD “fanthology.” The selections on Motown 50 Fanthology (Motown/UMe), to be released September 1, 2009, will be chosen by fans voting for their favorites on a special Website, http://classic.motown.com/vote . Voting begins immediately and will conclude July 15. The songs will be arranged on the CDs from 1 to 50, with #1 being the track with the most votes.
On the site, fans may choose their five most beloved songs from a list of more than 100 of Motown’s greatest recordings, from the label’s first major hit, 1960’s “Money (That’s What I Want)” by Barrett Strong, through Boyz II Men’s Motown–retro smash “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye To Yesterday”, with such classics as Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ “The Tears Of A Clown”, the Supremes’ “Stop! In The Name Of Love”, the Temptations’ “My Girl”, Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”, and Rick James’ “Super Freak” in between. One song is even offered in two versions: “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye and by Gladys Knight & The Pips. More than 40 artists are represented, including besides those already mentioned Diana Ross, Four Tops, the Jackson 5, the Commodores, Mary Wells, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, the Marvelettes and Lionel Richie.
In 2008, fans in the U.K. and internationally voted for their favorites, which were heard on their best-selling (approaching 700,000 sales) editions of Motown 50. The top three? Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas’ “Dancing In The Street” and the Supremes’ “Baby Love”. The chart-topping Motown 50 has gone Platinum, Gold, or Silver in 8 European Countries. The successful compilation reached Top Ten in 13 countries, including Denmark, the U.K., Finland, Norway, and Sweden, where it was number 1. Fans not only picked up physical copies, but Motown 50 also scored Top Ten spots on the Digital Chart in numerous countries as well.
For Motown 50 Fanthology, U.S. fans will be able to vote only once. The first 50 voters will receive a credit on the album and the first 500 voters will receive an “I Voted! Motown 50” collector’s edition bumper sticker. All voters will be entered in a random drawing for a grand prize—a trip for two to Hitsville, U.S.A., the original Detroit home of Motown, including flight, hotel, admission to the Motown Museum, and tickets to a forthcoming Motown gala event. The winner will be announced on August 17.
In addition, UMe/Motown has partnered with the People’s Choice Awards to offer fans the opportunity to vote for their favorite Motown artist of all time. Voting in this exclusive category will take place on the official People’s Choice Awards website, http://www.pcaVOTE.com, from June 24 until July 15. The winner, as voted on by the fans, will be featured in the upcoming “fanthology” album and recognized during the 36th Annual People’s Choice Awards in 2010. By voting in this special category on ww.pcaVOTE.com, voters have another chance to compete for the grand prize.
As an irresistible force of social and cultural change, Berry Gordy’s legendary Motown Records made its mark not just on the music industry but society at large, with a sound that has become one of the most significant musical accomplishments and stunning success stories of the 20th century. No other record company in history has exerted such an enormous influence on both the style and substance of popular music and culture. That influence is still being felt today, from pop to hip-hop, as Motown celebrates the 50th anniversary of the company’s founding.
Today, Motown is part of the Universal Music Group, with its classic recorded music catalog managed by Universal Music Enterprises (UMe).