Thursday, April 27, 2017


purchase [Phil Collins]
purchase [The Supremes]

Like more than one of my fellow bloggers, I am going to stretch the bounds of the theme - with an original from the 60s and its cover from the 80s - in essence, spanning the 70s.

While the end of the 60s brought us some major transformative musical trends -  consider the move away from the accepted AM radio 3-minute format, various musical styles that tore apart the standard I-IV-V chord structure that rock and blues were built on, musical instruments that expanded the choice of sounds that could be produced and recording studio improvements that changed the sound envelope that was possible before 1970 -  Motown headed into the 70s doing more or less  what they did in the 60s. Whether this can be called decline or just stasis in the face of all the changes happening around them is a point for debate. 

Apparently, Motown was aware that they couldn't go on peddling "Little" Stevie Wonder much longer - in 1970, he was 20 years old. I recently read an obit for Slyvia Moy, who is credited with "taking on" the project of (successfully) revamping Wonder's output. 

I refer to Stevie Wonder partly because he was the subject of my last post, so I was still stuck back there, but also because his situation was somewhat indicative of the Motown predicament at the time.

Can't Hurry love - originally by the Supremes (renamed Diana Ross and the Supremes the year after releasing the song - and then back to just The Supremes a few years later) - made it to the top of the charts in 1966. It hit the top of the charts again in 82/83 when Phil Collins re-made it.

Collins explains that one of his goals in the 80s version was to try to recreate a similar sound with studio equipment that had gone through 15 years of updates - he terms it a "remake".

One more cover, from the Dixie Chicks:

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