THE DIGITAL-ONLY COLLECTION IS AVAILABLE TODAY ACROSS ALL MAJOR STREAMING SERVICES
SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES, THE TEMPTATIONS, STEVIE WONDER AND JR. WALKER & THE ALL STARS EACH CONTRIBUTE THREE PREVIOUSLY UNAVAILABLE SONGS
DIANA ROSS & THE SUPREMES, GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS, MARVIN GAYE, BOBBY TAYLOR, EDWIN STARR, JACKSON 5, JIMMY RUFFIN, VALERIE SIMPSON AND MORE PROVIDE STAND-OUT UNHEARD TRACKS
20 SEPTEMBER 2019 (TORONTO, ON) — To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the celebrated label, Motown/UMe/Universal Music Canada, the country's leading music company, today released MOTOWN UNRELEASED: 1969, a digital only collection that contains 60 previously unreleased studio recordings made during 1969 including songs by Diana Ross & the Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and Jr. Walker & the All Stars and many more.
MOTOWN UNRELEASED: 1969 is available today, as The Motown Museum’s Hitsville Honors festivities begin in Detroit, to purchase or stream from all major download and streaming services in standard and Hi-Res Audio formats at https://classicmotown.lnk.to/Unreleased1969PR.
The collection captures the width and breadth of Motown’s iconic catalog, the richness of the label’s roster, and the diversity of material that was being produced at the time. The songs showcase a vision of the future that’s coming into focus, with seminal albums from Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and The Temptations on the horizon.
Owing to the non-stop recording activity at Motown’s studios, more than half of the tracks on MOTOWN UNRELEASED: 1969 are never-before-heard compositions, including the heart-breaking-yet-hopeful “I Had a Dream (Opus I),” written and produced by Ashford & Simpson for Gladys Knight & The Pips, recorded a year after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.; Stevie Wonder’s joyful “Mister Moon,” one of his first self-productions, infused with ecstatic falsetto harmonies; and “Pretty Little Brown Skin Girl,” a celebration of African-American beauty from The Temptations. Also among the jewels is “Touched by Love,” a Johnny Bristol production recorded by Bobby Taylor while he was grooming the Jackson 5 in advance of their first album.
“Motown is clearly evolving at this time,” said Harry Weinger, Vice President of A&R at Universal Music Enterprises, who oversaw the project. “There’s an opening for writers and producers to experiment with the Motown sound but, for certain topics, or musical ideas, or even artists, the company isn’t ready. Or, it’s a simple case of having only so many slots for releases. So, until now, those songs went unreleased.”
Additional tracks are unique covers of previously released songs, including several by Ivy Jo Hunter, one of the great unsung Motown writers and producers who re-works the hits he had created for other artists including “Dancing in the Street” and “Ask the Lonely.” The Jackson 5, just two months from debuting with “I Want You Back,” lay down a thrilling, up-tempo version of the Miracles’ “What’s So Good About Goodbye,” providing a fresh take of a Smokey Robinson classic. Diana Ross & the Supremes deliver an achingly beautiful version of “For Once In My Life,” an historic session that marks the last time Ms. Ross, Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong are together in the studio.
On other tracks, UMe’s A&R executives and studio engineers were able to repair technical issues on the original recordings that had prevented Motown from releasing the songs, including Kiki Dee’s “While They Watch” and “You're My World.”
The collection also includes five funky instrumental tracks by the Funk Brothers house band – surely highlighted by the Paul Riser production, “Moratorium” – recorded under the name of their indomitable leader, Earl Van Dyke.
All of the new collection’s tracks have been mastered for the first time at Studio 4 by Phil Nicolo from their original analog master tapes, which were individually selected by Motown A&R specialists from UMG’s secure storage facilities. Half the collection’s tracks were sourced from their original Motown mixes, while the rest were mixed for the first time for this release, by Obie O’Brien at Mixville USA and by John Morales at M+M Mix Studios.
Track credits available here: https://www.udiscovermusic.com/news/motown-unreleased-1969-rarities-out-now
Stream all of Motown’s greatest hits: https://stream.lnk.to/Motown.
MOTOWN UNRELEASED 1969
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