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Motown: The Sound Of Young America

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The music of Motown defined an era. From The Jackson 5 and Diana Ross to Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy and his right-hand man, Barney Ales, built the most successful independent record label in the world. Motown not only represented the most iconic recording artists of its time and produced countless global hits, it created a cultural institution that rede ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Thames & Hudson Ltd. (first published September 2016)
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Lee Wellbrook
Apr 02, 2020 rated it liked it
An opportunity missed. The pictorial side of the book is wonderful - brilliant photos, montages of album covers, adverts and so on - and is almost worth the purchase price alone. However, the text is leaden (a thing happened and then a thing happened) and is almost entirely focussed on the story of Motown as a corporation rather than as a creative force. Given that it was written in conjunction with Barney Ales (head of sales for Motown), it is heavily slanted towards distribution deals, sales a ...more
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Motown sound is the music of my youth. I received an early introduction from my older sister and grew through the music of the 60's. I began the journey learning about the two men Berry Gordy and Barney Ales who are responsible for the development of the sounds of my time. Shroud businessmen and partners in transforming a generation through music and lyrics. The great tragedy is what has happened to Detroit during the past sixty years. The photographs are remarkable and stir vivid memories o ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Lots of beautiful pictures and album covers accompanying the story of Motown's creation, rise, and demise. Well, less a story than a mostly "this happened, then this happened" chronicle. I was excited to learn about Motown after reading Robert Gordon's excellent Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion on Motown's funky sibling record company in Memphis, but was disappointed that this lacked the narrative depth and cohesion of the Stax book. Still, a beautiful visual history of ...more
John Albers
Dec 13, 2020 rated it liked it
For the most part, the photographs were great, but the photos and the text did not line up. The author of the book is English, since he devotes a lot of pages to Motown acts on the British tv show Ready, Steady, Go and the sales of Motown product in England. The rise and fall of Motown is an interesting story, the source of television shows, movies and Broadway musicals. The book is good, but not great.
M Pye
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book with lots of anecdotes about the singers and the back-room people (Berry Gordy etc...) Lots of photos, so lots of heavy pages-- book was unwieldy to hold! My favorite photo was the Supremes meeting the Queen Mother!
Keith Evans
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bedrooms
High quality coffee-table book with a competent narrative but perhaps lacking real analysis of both the artists and the times. But worth it for the pictures which are for the main part excellent and occasionally spectacular.
Martin Raybould
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Marvellous photos - weak text.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: music, history
Loads of fabulous pictures but a barebones narrative clearly ‘authorised’. A wasted opportunity.
Prachtig boek, vooral vanwege de schitterende foto's. De tekst is helaas wat minder prettig leesbaar. ...more
Chris H
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating account, the history of one of the best known record labels in the history of popular music with loads of great photographs too.
Sandy Costanza
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Beautiful book!
Nov 04, 2016 added it
this is an amazing coffee table type bk. it has so many photos of people/places from the time period it covers--but so many of these people continued on making music. even if this is not your style--it is worth looking at. you could play group games trying to guess who did what--when. even pulling up music on your phone/computer. beautiful book with music people you never heard of & those who still make things happen today.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Adam White joins Motown founder Berry Gordy and Gordy's right-hand man Barney Ales to deliver a wonderfully written history of Motown. Hitsville U.S.A., an incredible building that housed the sounds of Motown, is featured upfront. A compilation of absolutely stunning iconic photographs of the stars of Motown plus album art and lavishly illustrated posters pay a tribute to the music that revolutionized a generation. ...more
Dec 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Gorgeous photos and spreads. Loved all the Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye photos. Information is rather dryly presented. Best for skimming the paragraphs and poring over the pictures. I need to spend some extra time learning about the 1967 Detroit uprising.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: misc-read
I won this book through Goodreads. A wonderfully written book filled with tons of information. A great look into all these great musicians and people.
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