‘Motown Sound’ Is Music To Baby Boomers’ Ears

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Dr. Raul Romera, popular Phoenix physician and part-time Star Valley resident, celebrated his 60th birthday this past weekend.

As I was preparing his “must play” list for his birthday celebration at his Star Valley home on Saturday, it quickly became evident that the good doctor was a big “Motown” music fan.

The social hour was to be filled with music by Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells and Aretha Franklin. The dinner hour request list included music by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Temptations and Gladys Knight and the Pips. Dance music (in addition to Salsa and Merengue) was to include the big hits of the Four Tops, the Supremes and Martha & The Vandellas.

I thought, ‘Wow! This is going to be a great party’. And it was. People were up dancing before the dinner hour, during dinner (maybe the only time I’ve ever seen that happen) and until the last dance of the night. I was exhausted just watching them shimmy and shake the night away.

“Motown” (a portmanteau of motor and town) music has always been one of my favorite genres — perhaps for no other reason than I grew up with it.

In 1960, Berry Gordy, Jr. founded the Motown Record Corporation in Detroit, the “Motor City.” In 1972, he moved the company to Los Angeles.

But during those 12 years in Detroit, Motown became more than just a record company. It played an important role in the racial integration of popular music. During its first decade, Motown and its soul-based subsidiaries were the most successful proponents of what came to be known as The Motown Sound, a style of soul music with a distinct pop influence.

It’s no wonder it remains so popular today with us baby boomers.

This week’s music trivia question is: Can you match the following female “Motown” artists with their famous hits?

  1. The Supremes

  2. Martha & The Vandellas

  3. Gladys Knight & The Pips

A) Heat Wave

B) I Heard It Through The Grapevine

C) Baby Love

If you’re the fourth caller this week and have the correct answer, you’ll win two terrific prizes — a free lunch (sandwich, iced tea or coffee and a yogurt or sorbet dessert) at Uptown Espresso, courtesy of owners Chuck and Nancy Hallock, plus a CD featuring 20 of the top artists and songs of the Motown era.

Now, let’s check out how we did with last week’s music trivia question: Which of the following songs was NOT a Beach Boys hit? A) “Kokomo,” B) “Surf City,” C) “In My Room” or D) “Barbara Ann?”

The right answer was “Surf City,” which was a 1962 number one song for surf-pop-rock male vocal duo Jan & Dean, who also scored top 10 hits with “Dead Man’s Curve” and “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena.”

Congratulations to this past week’s first-time music trivia winner, Michelle Owens (no relation to Buck), who won a copy of the Techicolors’ (last week’s concert-in-the-park band) debut album, “Who Are You,” a “Best of the Beach Boys” CD and a certificate for three combo meals at Cousins Subs, courtesy of owner Rob Fanizza.

A little about Michelle: She was born in Benson, Ariz. and raised in St. David, midway between Benson and Tucson, where she was a member of St. David’s huge, 20-member graduating class in 1997.

Michelle met Grant, her husband, when the two were classmates at St. David. When I asked her if it was love at first sight, she replied, “Not even! He was obnoxious and the class clown. A real jock.” But time has a way of changing things, and when they were 16, the two were off (on Grant’s motorcycle) to their first date at Sonny’s Restaurant in Wilcox.

After graduation and living for a while in California, Michelle and Grant moved to Payson to help care for Michelle’s mother. The couple has two children, 15-year-old Justice, a student at Payson High School; and Marquessa, a third-grader at Julia Randall Elementary School.

A stay-at-home mom, Michelle enjoys spending time with her family, fishing and taking in the Saturday night concerts at Green Valley Park. Grant is the owner of “Gutter Done” gutter service. Their family attends the LDS Church.

Michelle says she enjoys all kinds of music, but leans toward contemporary and classic country. Her three favorite artists are George Strait, Garth Brooks and Rascal Flatts.

Have a wonderful week!

DJ Craig

Phone: 468-1482

Web site: www.DJCraigInPayson.com

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