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  • Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever [VHS]
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Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever [VHS]

31 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Adam Ant
  • Format: Color, NTSC, HiFi Sound
  • Language: English
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM/UA Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: January 30, 1990
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301972317
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,513 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

From Wikipedia: Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever was a 1983 television special produced by Suzanne de Passe for Motown Records, to commemorate Motown's twenty-fifth year of existence. (Motown was founded in January 1959, meaning that a twenty-fifth anniversary special should have aired in 1984, not 1983. One could argue that Gordy's vision of what would become "Hitsville U.S.A." was conceived in 1958, considering the month of Motown's founding.) The show was also co-written by de Passe along with Ruth Adkins Robinson who would go on to write shows with de Passe for the next 25 years, including the follow up label tributes-through "Motown 40," Buz Kohan was the head writer of the threesome. The program was taped before a live studio audience at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California on March 25, 1983,[1] and broadcast on NBC on May 16. Among its highlights were Michael Jackson's iconic performance of "Billie Jean", a Temptations/Four Tops "battle of the bands", Marvin Gaye's inspired speech about black music history and his memorable performance of "What's Going On", a Jackson 5 reunion, and an abbreviated reunion of Diana Ross & the Supremes, who performed their final #1 hit, "Someday We'll Be Together" from 1969.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A longtime Motown fan on October 11, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
I had the pleasure of watching this incredible program when it originally aired on NBC (May 16, 1983). Like cheese and fine wine, it gets better with age. Great sets by Stevie Wonder, Four Tops/Temptations, Lionel Richie and the original Jackson Five/Michael Jackson.

Since this was the first time in 8 years that the original Jackson Five appeared together, it looked as if Michael and brother Jermaine had a reunion/reconciliation of sorts. Jermaine, as we recall, was/is married to Berry Gordy's daughter. That kept him at Motown (in the interest of domestic tranquility) when his brothers left for greener pastures.

Another reason for this being a classic is that several of the performers have passed, and their work has been preserved; e.g., Melvin Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, Lawrence Payton & Obie Benson (of the Four Tops)to name a few. There's also a neat segment about the songwriters that made it all happen.

Note to previous reviewers: THIS IS AVAILABLE ON DVD. If Amazon.com doesn't have it at this time, it won't be long until they do. (I found the DVD on a major online auction website)
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 27, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Even though this show is 20 years old, it was great to watch it. Despite his problems, Michael Jackson was a performer to be reckoned with. That Billie Jean performance never gets old. This video also has one of Marvin Gaye's last performances. Knowing his fate and watching his perfomance is almost haunting. There were so many great performers at Motown so I'm still baffled as to why they spent so much time featuring acts like Linda Ronstadt and those dancers when they could have featured more performances by Martha Reeves and the Commodores. Finally, we also see the performance by Diana Ross that marked her downfall. Too bad most of her behavior was edited out. Her bump and grind on Where Did Our Love Go is something that could have used some editing. I don't understand why Motown won't release this special on DVD along with their other products like the Jackson 5 cartoon and Lady Sings the Blues.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
How is it possible that this is not out on DVD yet? It was one of the highest rated events in television history. Not just Michael Jackson, who is deservedly the most remembered part of the show, but the late Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, the incredible Temps/Tops faceoff, and many other elements demand that this piece of black culture and history be placed on a medium that will preserve it as it was meant to be.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bexter on June 27, 2009
Format: VHS Tape
I have MOWTOWN 25 on the original VHS & BETA release but, as others have said, I have worn it out from overplay (not even worth converting to DVD for me).

MGM STUDIOS originally released this video...maybe they will now realize how very important it is to share this once-in-a-lifetime event with current and future generations since MJ's passing. Not only was it an EVENT for the most famous "moonwalk" since July 1969 but this episode has Marvin Gaye's last televised performance, The Supremes and even the very first appearance of DeBarge (they went on to have some great songs still sampled by current R&B artists today).

If you came to AMAZON wanting to purchase the DVD and find that the studio has not released it...THEN, leave a message. The only way to get one made is to request it!

We'll miss ya MJ.
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Format: VHS Tape
Why Motown kept this spectacular, history-making night of musical entertainment locked in their vaults for over 30 years is a mystery. Though LP, VHS, and LaserDisc recordings exist, no DVD of it was released until 2014, when an edition with hours of retrospective interviews came out. I recommend you search for this title in that format; there's still no CD or Blu-ray edition. The live two-hour television special, recorded in Pasadena, California, in March of 1983, both honored Motown founder Berry Gordy and benefited research on sickle-cell anemia. Hosted by comedian Richard Pryor, it featured prime performances by Motown's greatest stars (only Gladys Knight and The Pips were absent).

Among the program's many highlights are Michael Jackson doing "Billie Jean" and his first recorded moonwalk, Marvin Gaye singing "What's Going On" in one of his final performances (he was killed less than a year later), a Temptations/Four Tops "battle of the bands," and a reunion of Diana Ross & The Supremes on "Someday We'll Be Together." There are long medleys by Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and The Jacksons, and hits from Martha Reeves ("Heat Wave"), Mary Wells ("My Guy"), Junior Walker ("Shotgun"), The Commodores ("Brick House"), and José Feliciano (who pays tribute to the dying Jackie Wilson with "Lonely Teardrops"). A couple of young, lesser-known acts round out the program: DeBarge and High Inergy.

Non-Motown performers take the stage, too: Linda Ronstadt for two lovely duets with Smokey Robinson ("Ooh Baby Baby" and "The Tracks of My Tears") and Dick Clark to talk about how the television show "American Bandstand" helped break Motown to a wider audience.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MAXIMILLIAN MUHAMMAD HALL OF FAME on February 4, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
what a Night it was 20 years back on Motown 25.Marvin Gaye,Diana Ross&The Supremes,Four Tops&Temptations,Stevie WOnder,all the Great Motown Writers&Producers,clips of other Greats.but the Highlight for Me was the Jackson 5 they tore the Joint Up&then Michael Jackson ripped the Place into bits with His Award Winning Performance of "Billie Jean".I'll never forget that show still the Best Tops with Me.
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