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Top 5 Motown Artists Of All Time

Mara Hyman |
February 10, 2014 | 2:16 p.m. PST

Associate Entertainment Editor

In honor of Black History Month, here are some of the Motown artists and bands that have had the greatest impacts on music:

1) The Jackson Five

This is an obvious choice. One of the greatest pop acts of the '70s (and possibly all time), the brotherly ensemble produced hits such as "ABC" and "I'll Be There." They were known for their ability to appeal to both black and white audiences. The youngest brother, Michael, famously left the group to start a solo career, but the band will always be remembered as an integral part of Motown's history.

Here is a performance of their classic song "I Want You Back," highlighting young Michael's smooth voice.

2) Marvin Gaye

Considered by many as the "Prince of Motown," Marvin has sung some of the most timeless Motown hits including "Heard it Through the Grapevine" and "How Sweet it is." He climbed the pop charts in the '60s and '70s and captured people's hearts with his soulful voice and range.

Check out this performance of his timeless classic, "Let's Get it On."

3) Diana Ross and The Supremes

While known primarily for her solo career, Diana started out as the frontwoman of The Supremes. What made the group unique was that, rather than adopt tendencies of famous male Motown groups, they were the first black female singers to embrace a more feminine image. They achieved popularity not only in the United States, but all over the world.

Here are highlights of performances of the hit songs "Reflections" and "Lady is a Tramp." Such classy ladies.

4) Smokey Robinson

The frontman of The Miracles, William "Smokey" Robinson is well known not just as a singer, but as a songwriter and producer. He penned hits for artists such as The Temptations and Marvin Gaye. Though he eventually went solo, the group churned out hits such as "I Second That Emotion" and "Baby Baby Don't Cry."

Check out a snippet of a performance of their hit song "Shop Around," classy outfits and all.

5) Stevie Wonder

It's impossible to round out a list like this without including the incredible Stevie Wonder, who recently performed alongside Pharrell Williams at this year's Grammy Awards. He quickly rose to fame in the '70s with hits like "Isn't She Lovely" and "You Are the Sunshine of My Life." To this day he has a great ear for music, a smooth voice, and knows how to jam out on the piano.

Here is a performance of one of his most famous songs from 1973, "Superstition."

Reach Associate Entertainment Editor Mara Hyman here.



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