Friday, January 09, 2009

Motown Records 50th Anniversary: Temptations "Get Ready"

Next Monday is Motown Records 50th Anniversary. The city of Detroit is getting ready to celebrate some of the finest songwriting and most talented performers that the world has ever known, and in the middle of this cold, snowy winter with its dire economic news, the timing couldn't be better to revisit these inspiring songs and the people who made it all happen.

Car show? Yeah, sure. But your 50th only comes around once. From the Freep-

Get ready for a winter blast of warm nostalgia. A slew of anniversary activity is afoot, including events at the Motown Historical Museum, on the airwaves and on record store shelves.

For Detroit -- the city that gave the label talent, a work ethic and its very name -- the good vibes come at a good time. While the city has maintained a dicey relationship with Motown since the label's departure for California in 1972, the bonds remain deep.

The 50th commemoration will remind the world that Detroit isn't all mayoral scandals and auto industry crises.

"This time, we get to celebrate," said Detroit City Councilwoman Martha Reeves, the veteran Motown star. "Maybe we get to heal some of the tension, ease some of the bad feelings. It's good timing."

The hardest part about posting on this is that there were so many monster, all-time favorite, classic songs that it is difficult to select which ones to feature. Most of the clips on YouTube are lip-sync versions from dance shows, such as the one above from 1966. It's either that, or newer "reunion" tours, and I would rather show these groups as they were in the era when they were at the top.

So here is the first offering, fittingly enough, the Temptations "Get Ready".

The original Temptations version of "Get Ready", produced by Smokey Robinson, was designed as an answer to the latest dance craze, "The Duck". The Temptations' falsetto Eddie Kendricks sings lead on the song, which Robinson produced as an up-tempo dance number with a prominent rhythm provided by Motown drummer Benny Benjamin. In the song, Kendricks informs his lover to "get ready" because "I'm bringin' you a love that's true". The song made it to number one on the U.S. R&B singles chart, while peaking at number twenty-nine on the pop charts.