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Barbara McNair

Brenda Holloway had one genuine rival in the Motown glamour stakes. The delectable Barbara McNair from Racine, Wisconsin, even went into the annals as...

Marv Johnson

When Berry Gordy first started his Motor Town touring spectaculars (the precursors of the celebrated Motown revues) Marv Johnson was a headliner on an...

Elgins, The

The Elgins were a quartet - three males (two of whom had originally signed to Motown as part of The Downbeats) and female lead...

Velvelettes, The

The Velvelettes were formed by Bertha Barbee at Western Michigan University in the early 60s, with Cal (Carolyn) Gill ending up as the lead...

Edwin Starr

Charles Edwin Hatcher was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1942. He and his cousins, soul singers Roger and Willie Hatcher, moved to Cleveland, Ohio,...

Chris Clark

Chris Clark was a 17-year-old, 6-foot platinum blonde when she arrived at Motown's Detroit headquarters in 1963 to audition for Berry Gordy Jnr. The Motown...

Berry Gordy Jr

Berry Gordy's family, like thousands of others, had moved from the southern states of the USA to Detroit, whose automobile industry in the years...

Supremes, The

In 1961 three teenage girls, Florence Ballard, Diane Ross (not until later would she be known as Diana) and Mary Wilson, began a journey...

Spinners, The/Detroit Spinners

Despite scoring a transatlantic hit in 1970 with It's A Shame (co-authored by Stevie Wonder), The Spinners remained overlooked at Motown in favour of The Temptations...

Smokey Robinson (& The Miracles)

William 'Smokey' Robinson was born on 19 February 1940, the son of a municipal truck driver from what he called "the suave part of...

Motown

With an $800 loan from his family and a roster of unknown young Detroit singers, former record shop owner Berry Gordy Jnr (pictured below) started...

Jimmy Ruffin

Jimmy Ruffin was born in Collinsville, Mississippi in May 1936. He sang with his family's gospel group, led by his minister father, before moving...

Jackson 5, The/The Jacksons

Given the built-in obsolescence of pop stars, it is remarkable that the singer who made the biggest impact in 1970 should have still made...

Tammi Terrell

Tammi Terrell (real name: Tammy Montgomery) appeared in talent shows at the age of 11 and signed a recording contract when she was 15. In...

Chuck Jackson

Chuck Jackson racked up a string of uptown New York soul monsters on Scepter's subsidiary label Wand in the early 60s, but by 1967,...

Temptations, The

The early history of The Temptations parallels that of The Supremes. The group actually started life as The Primes while The Supremes were called The Primettes....

Michael Jackson

The King of Pop is a lofty title for any person to live up to, but there's no doubt that Michael Jackson was qualified. He...

Marvin Gaye

Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. (inspired by Sam Cooke, he added the "e" to his surname when he began his musical career) was born in Washington...

Marvelettes, The

Hailing from the low-income Detroit suburb of Inkster, the 17-year-old girls who came together as The Marvelettes (originally The Casinyets - a corruption of...

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Automatic Teller Machines (ATM’s)

Before Automatic Teller Machines (ATM's) were everywhere you had to withdraw your cash from a large building with human tellers and queues. OK, so...

Hooked Generation, The (1968)

A trio of dope peddlers meet their Cuban contacts off the coast of Florida to exchange dollars for narcotics. But instead of giving the money...

Suburban Wives (1971)

This pseudo-documentary British sex comedy presented seven stories of marital infidelity told from the women's point of view. Sarah Eva Whishaw John Peter May John's boss Barry Linehan Kathy Heather Chasen Secretary Gabrielle Drake Photographer Robin Culver Sarah's...

Downliners Sect, The

Don Craine (real name Mick O'Donnell) and Johnny Sutton had previously been in a Twickenham band called The Downliners. Following the demise of this band,...

Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers

One day in 1955 Richard 'Ritchie' Barrett heard The Premiers, a young multi-racial vocal group from the Bronx, singing on the stairs of a...

World of Beachcomber, The

1 9 6 8 -  1 9 6 9 (UK) 19 x 30 minute episodes This surreal Spike Milligan vehicle was adapted from the long-running humorous 'Beachcomber'...

Super President and Spy Shadow

1 9 6 7 - 1 9 6 8 (USA) James Norcross was the President of the United States (POTUS) and when he wasn’t busy running...

Bermuda Shorts

Bermuda Shorts were the strangest male fashion fad to come along in the 1950s. Businessmen would actually wear the big, baggy shorts to work during...