Vintage Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

15 12 2010

I just found this old video of The Miracles from 1967. At this point they were just billed as The Miracles. It wasn’t until later, that Smokey’s named was brought to the fore.  Despite The Miracles being Motown’s first really successful group, Berry Gordy decided it was clever marketing to lead with Smokey’s name. After all, he  was one of the biggest songwriters and producers in the business. In their almost 20 years, The Miracles charted over 50 hits, 26 of which reached the top ten. Not to mention that Smokey has written and/or produced countless other hits for Motown.

I’m not exactly sure where this footage is from, but it’s a great little medley of two early 60’s classics, “(Come ‘Round Here) I’m The One You Need” and “More Love”. Whether you’re a Motown fan or not, it’s hard to deny that this was truly a great era in music.

While we’re checking out some vintage Smokey, here are just a few more. The first is “You Really Got A Hold On Me”. While the second is “I Second That Emotion” …and in color no less! Take a look at these dance routines. They’re where it’s at, no?

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Heard It Through The Grapevine

5 04 2010

I just found this video from the 1980 Montreux Jazz Festival. It’s Marvin Gaye doing “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”. This song from his 1968 album of the same name has become one of his signatures. It was also recorded by a few other Motown artist like Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, as well as Gladys Knight & The Pips. It’s a good performance but more so it’s just some funny footage of Marvin in a red and black tux accompanied by huge band… there’s at least 15 people up on this stage. There is also a faux phone call in the beginning that is hilarious. This performance was originally recorded for a concert video that is now available on DVD.

The California Raisins

The people at California Raisins used this tune for countless clay-mation commercials, most of which aired during Saturday morning cartoons in the 80’s. They are very typical of what you might remember from those days. Below are just a few:

Classic CR Commercial

1986 CR commercial

1989 CR commercial

Workmen CR commercial

Michael Jackson CR commercial

1988 Ray Charles CR commercial

Pointer Sisters CR commercial

Alt Versions/Ref Links:

Check out Gladys Knight’s version. The tempo is kicked up A LOT compared to other version and her inflection and cadence  is much more gospel inspired. This is a solid live performance from 1972.

There is also a Creedence Clearwater Revival version too. You can see CCR’s version live here.

Smokey’s version, perhaps the best of all of them.

The simplified 1968 version from Marvin Gaye, he plays keys for most of the tune.

More info on the Motwon hit “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”








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