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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Author: Larvester Gaither

Women’s contributions to the making of Motown: Solo artists

Starting in the early 1960s, female artists embarked upon solo careers with the Motown label. The first to be signed to the label was Mable John, a blues vocalist born in Bastrop, Louisiana. Slow melodic songs like “No Love” and “Who Wouldn’t Love a Man Like That” stood firmly in the blues genre yet only appealed to a limited, mature audience and did not translate into commercial success.

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Women’s contributions to the making of Motown: Girl Groups

The Marvelettes, a girl group consisting of Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, Juanita Cowart and Wanda Young, recorded Motown’s first number one pop hit, “Please Mr. Postman.” The upbeat song topped both the pop and R&B charts, making the Marvelettes one of the first all-girl groups in the industry to achieve such a feat.

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Women’s contributions to the making of Motown: The Duets

Perhaps no other record label in America’s music history performed a more significant role in fashioning Rhythm and Blues’ assimilation into the country’s popular culture than Motown Records. Founded by Detroit songwriter Berry Gordy, Jr. in 1959, Motown (originally named Tamla Records) began producing hit records almost from its inception and continued to do so throughout the sixties.

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