Shiver’s latest celebration of groundbreaking pop airs on ITV on Sunday July 6th at 9pm.
Following on from previous Shiver celebrations of the hits of Abba, Elvis and the Bee Gees, The Nation’s Favourite Motown Song features interviews with a menagerie of Motown megastars including singers Smokey Robinson and Martha Reeves, and members of key groups like The Jackson 5, The Temptations, The Supremes, and the Four Tops.
Along the way the 90 minute special counts down Britain’s 20 favourite Motown hits in an exclusive ITV poll. The documentary mixes rich archive footage of songs like Dancing In The Street, Baby Love and The Tears of A Clown, with new interviews from some of Motown’s best-loved singers to paint a picture of how Motown grew from a tiny studio next to a funeral parlour into a musical movement that captivated the world.
The programme also features the songwriters, musicians and producers behind Motown’s greatest hits – as well as celebrity Motown fans like Dionne Warwick, Aloe Blacc, John Newman, Gabrielle, Michael Bolton and James Morrison.
The original hit factory, Motown was run out of a tiny studio in downtown Detroit. A business run by African Americans, Motown brought black music to the masses for the first time.
The distinctive sound and style of Motown quickly struck a deep chord outside America, filling dance floors across the world and entering Britain’s own musical DNA. DJ Tony Blackburn says, “As soon as I started playing Motown on the radio in 1964, people just loved it.” Tito Jackson adds, “Britain was so important to Motown. I don’t think they saw music as black or white, if it was a good song, they played it.”
The countdown, narrated by Craig Charles, also includes:
Uptight (Everything’s Alright) – the song that saved a teenage Stevie Wonder’s career
I Heard it on the Grapevine – the song James Morrison says is one of the best records ever made, saying: “You just feel at least twenty per cent cooler when you hear it.”
The Tracks of My Tears – writer and singer Smokey Robinson remembers the inspiration behind the song, “I was shaving in the mirror and thought ‘What if a person cried so much, if you looked closely, you could see the tracks that the tears have made.”
Papa Was A Rolling Stone – the song that The Temptations initially hated
Reach Out I’ll Be There– which the Four Tops asked not to be released as a single
I Want You Back – written for the Jackson brothers, Tito Jackson says, “We knew that was the song we needed. It had ‘hit record’ written all over it.”
Plus many more hits including: I Can’t Help Myself, My Guy, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted, You Can’t Hurry Love and My Girl
“Motown has a catalogue of music that’ll last forever because it’s all about getting people together, making people happy”. Martha Reeves – Martha & the Vandellas
All the songs from the programme are to feature on a brand new compilation album, The Nation’s Favourite Motown Songs released on Monday 7 July by Universal.