Playlist: The Motown Machine

There is no other label in the history of music quite like Motown. Not only did founder Berry Gordy perfect the art of the musical “assembly line,” but he did it in a way that actually produced incredible records with a distinct, often imitated sound. There was never anything lacking in a Motown record. Between the incredible songwriting teams, producers, and a lineup of artists so talented game changing that it’s almost too difficult to comprehend. The label’s hey day may have been from the very late 50s through to the very early 70s, but Motown never stopped producing hits and hit makers. In fact, most people probably don’t even realize how many popular acts were actually signed to them! Here is a playlist, 100 songs long, that celebrations the machine that is Motown. It not only highlights the label’s iconic era, but recognizes its progression and impact beyond it. Listen to it in order, but as always, feel free to put it on shuffle for a unique, but still incredible experience. Here’s to Motown and all of the exceptional music its produced.


  • The Contours “Do You Love Me?”
  • Barrett Strong “Money (That’s What I Want)”
  • Stevie Wonder “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”
  • Smokey Robinson & The Miracles “The Tracks Of My Tears”
  • The Supremes “You Can’t Hurry Love”
  • The Temptations “My Girl”
  • Mary Wells “My Guy”
  • Marvin Gaye “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”
  • Gladys Knight & The Pips “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”
  • The Four Tops “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)”
  • Jackson 5 “I Want You Back”
  • Martha Reeves & The Vandellas “Dancing In The Street”
  • Jr. Walker & The All Stars “Shotgun”
  • The Marvelettes “Please Mr. Postman”
  • Edwin Starr “War”
  • Diana Ross “Love Hangover”
  • Rick James “Super Freak”
  • Boyz II Men “Motownphilly”
  • The Commodores “Brick House”
  • Michael Jackson “Got To Be There”
  • Jimmy Ruffin “What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?”
  • Stevie Wonder “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)”
  • The Temptations “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”
  • Thelma Houston “Don’t Leave Me This Way”
  • Dazz Band “Let It Whip”
  • Lionel Richie “All Night Long (All Night)”
  • DeBarge “Rhythm Of The Night”
  • Rockwell “Somebody’s Watching Me”
  • Mary Jane Girls “In My House”
  • The Four Tops “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”
  • Smokey Robinson & The Miracles “I Second That Emotion”
  • Marvin Gaye “Let’s Get It On”
  • David Ruffin “Walk Away From Love”
  • The Supremes “Stop! In The Name Of Love”
  • Jackson 5 “ABC”
  • Martha Reeves & The Vandellas “Nowhere To Run”
  • Rare Earth “Get Ready”
  • The Isley Brothers “This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)”
  • The Velvelettes “Needle In A Haystack”
  • Gladys Knight & The Pips “Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)”
  • The Commodores “Easy”
  • Stevie Wonder “Superstition”
  • Rick James “Give It To Me”
  • Diana Ross “Upside Down”
  • Michael Jackson “I Wanna Be Where You Are”
  • Eddie Kendricks “Keep On Truckin'”
  • Teena Marie “I Need Your Lovin'”
  • Smokey Robinson “Crusin'”
  • The Originals “Baby, I’m For Real”
  • The Temptations “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”
  • 98 Degrees “The Hardest Thing”
  • India.Aire “Video”
  • Erykah Badu “Bag Lady”
  • Boyz II Men “I’ll Make Love To You”
  • Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On”
  • The Four Tops “Bernadette”
  • The Supremes “Where Did Our Love Go?”
  • Smokey Robinson & The Miracles “Shop Around”
  • Mary Wells “Two Lovers”
  • The Marvelettes “Playboy”
  • The Commodores “Lady (You Bring Me Up)”
  • Jermaine Jackson “Let’s Get Serious”
  • Dazz Band “Joystick”
  • Bonnie Pointer “Heaven Must Have Sent You”
  • Edwin Starr “Twenty Five Miles”
  • Jackson 5 “I’ll Be There”
  • Martha Reeves & The Vandellas “(Love Is Like A) Heatwave”
  • Jr. Walker & The All Stars “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)”
  • Lionel Richie “Hello”
  • Stevie Wonder “I Wish”
  • Rick James “Mary Jane”
  • Boyz II Men “End Of The Road”
  • Brian McKnight “Back At One
  • Michael Jackson “Rockin’ Robin”
  • Smokey Robinson “Being With You”
  • The Spinners “It’s A Shame”
  • Teena Marie “Square Biz”
  • Johnny Gill “Rub You The Right Way”
  • Diana Ross “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”
  • David Ruffin “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)”
  • Eddie Holland “Leaving Here”
  • The Undisputed Truth “Smiling Faces Sometimes”
  • The Commodores “Three Times A Lady”
  • Gladys Knight & The Pips “If I Were Your Woman”
  • The Temptations “The Way You Do The Things You Do”
  • The Supremes “Baby Love”
  • Jackson 5 “The Love You Save”
  • The Four Tops “Standing In The Shadows Of Love”
  • Smokey Robinson & The Miracles “Ooo Baby Baby”
  • Lionel Richie “Say You, Say Me”
  • DeBarge “Who’s Holding Donna Now?”
  • Mary Wells “You Beat Me To The Punch”
  • Diana Ross “Touch Me In The Morning”
  • Erykah Badu “Didn’t Cha Know”
  • 98 Degrees “Because Of You”
  • Boyz II Men “On Bended Knee”
  • Smokey Robinson “Baby That’s Backatcha”
  • Michael Jackson “Ben”
  • Lionel Richie and Diana Ross “Endless Love”
  • Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

One thought on “Playlist: The Motown Machine

  1. Pingback: Songs I Wish Everyone Knew: “Needle In A Haystack” by The Velvelettes | Hidden Under Headphones

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