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Motown Meets the Beatles Import

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Audio CD, Import, February 18, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

UK compilation containing legendary Motown artists' interpretations of the Beatles' classics. When the Fab Four first got together, their sets consisted of American Rock and Soul covers. Once they began writing their own music, they still continued to cover these songs that influenced them, including some early Motown favorites. Ironically enough, Motown's brightest stars began covering the Beatles once they became household names. This collection features 17 fine examples of these Soul drenched reinterpretations of Beatles tracks including cuts performed by Diana Ross & the Supremes, the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Jr.. Walker & the All-Stars, Syreeta and others. Spectrum.

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You'd think with the stable of great tunesmiths Motown employed in the '60s that there would be no need to go outside the family for songs. There was no denying the might of the Beatles catalog, however. So it makes sense that Berry Gordy, a man who wanted his brand of black music to be suitable for everyone, would marry his all-star roster to the music of Lennon and McCartney. Great songs, great singers--what could go wrong? Well, sometimes plenty. Listen to the Supremes gamely tackling "A Hard Day's Night," their harmonies trapped in a leaden arrangement that can't switch gears from Liverpool to Detroit. Or cringe as Diana Ross massacres Lennon's solo anthem "Imagine." Sometimes the singers overpower the material, as when the rough-and-ready Four Tops turn the understated "Eleanor Rigby" into a stomp. But sometimes it's sublime, as when Marvin Gaye envisions "Yesterday" as a hushed hymn, or Stevie Wonder revitalizes the already feisty "We Can Work It Out" by giving the tune a soul-drenched swagger. As an artifact of pop culture, this collection is fascinating. As a musical statement? Well, utilize your CD programmer. --Amy Linden

1. A Hard Day's Night - The Supremes
2. Eleanor Rigby - The Four Tops
3. We Can Work It Out - Stevie Wonder
4. Hey Jude - The Temptations
5. Yesterday - Marvin Gaye
6. The Long and Winding Road - Diana Ross
7. Come Together - The Supremes
8. She's Leaving Home - Syreeta
9. You Can't Do That - The Supremes
10. Fool On The Hill - The Four Tops
11. Michelle - The Four Tops
12. And I Love Her - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
13. Something - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
14. Let It Be - Gladys Knight & The Pips
15. Imagine - Diana Ross
16. My Love - Jr. Walker
17. My Sweet Lord - Edwinn Starr

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 18, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: August 8, 1995
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Universal I.S.
  • ASIN: B000001A7Q
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,142 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "monstr66" on June 14, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Track list is not correct. Here is the correct one:
1. A Hard Day's Night - Supremes
2. Eleanor Rigby - Four Tops
3. We Can Work It Out - Wonder, Stevie
4. Hey Jude - Temptations
5. Yesterday - Gaye, Marvin
6. Long and Winding Road, The - Ross, Diana
7. Come Together - Supremes
8. She's Leaving Home - Syreeta
9. You Can't Do That - Supremes
10. Fool on the Hill, The - Four Tops
11. Michelle - Four Tops
12. And I Love Her - Robinson, Smokey &
13. Something - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
14. Let It Be - Gladys Knight & The Pips
15. Imagine - Diana Ross
16. My Love - Walker, Jr.
17. My Sweet Lord - Starr, Edwin
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tuff Ghost on June 9, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Wow. Just found out this album was in existence. I now own it and i am pretty excited about it. If you're a fan of soul, Motown, and The Beatles then this disc should be yours.

Of course, if you're not a fan of soul, Motown, and/or The Beatles then avoid this like the plague.

I admit that a few of the songs are a bit mediocre and just plain not good, but otherwise, gobble it up. Goes down real smooth.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lozarithm on January 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Cunningly recycling a batch of album tracks by some of Motown's most prominent artists, recorded over a period of dozen years, the compilers have come up with another winner with this clutch of Beatles songs, which plays through with surprising cohesiveness. The Beatles loved Motown, and here they return the favour.

Stevie Wonder's We Can Work It Out is probably the stand-out listen, with an exuberance that made it a natural choice for a single in 1971, and one can also detect his influence in then-partner Syreeta's definitive cover version of the usually over-treacled She's Leaving Home. The Temptations' Hey Jude, from Puzzle People, comes with a suitably distinctive Norman Whitfield production, and Marvin Gaye's Yesterday is also a highlight. The Four Tops are called upon to deliver cabaret versions of three Paul McCartney ballads. Though none have the classic hallmark Levi Stubbs touch, Eleanor Rigby comes closest.

Both the original Supremes tracks come from a 1964 curio entitled A Little Bit Of Liverpool and ought to be great. They have lots of gusto and fire, and are great fun, but the sound is muddy and the production sounds hurried, leaving a sense of what might have been with a little more trouble and care. Diana Ross appears again on Let It Be's The Long And Winding Road. Come Together comes from the 1970 incarnation of the Supremes led by Jean Terrell and is an excellent Frank Wilson production.

George Harrison's Something is well handled by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (from Natural Resources) and Gladys Knight and the Pips' version of Let It Be is another stand-out, equaling Aretha's version of Paul McCartney's tribute to his mother Mary.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Todd and In Charge VINE VOICE on February 14, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Man. Oh man. I don't want to be too harsh on this collection, because these artists are great and so is the music they are covering.

But man. Oh man. Words cannot describe the butchering some of these classics receive. Listen to The Temps destroy "Hey Jude" and you will know what I mean. On second thought, don't. "Imagine" is a timeless classic, except in this cover version by Diana Ross. I hasten to put any version of a Beatles classic in the same category as Captain Kirk's delirious rendition of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," but we are getting close. I won't even mention the Supremes' cover of "Come Together." There goes ol' flat top, indeed.

That doesn't mean there aren't some solid tracks here. Marvin Gaye's version of "Yesterday" is moving and elegant. Syreeta is sweet in her take on "She's Leaving Home." And the other tracks are either ok, inoffensive, or mildly enjoyable.

But for me I saw this collection as evidence of some of the flaws of the Motown approach. Overuse of tamborines, too much sweetener applied, songs reduced to mid-tempo numbers, regardless of lyrics or structure.

In short, this record is a curio, worth purchasing only if you are trying to round out your collection of either Motown or the Beatles.

Oh, and to hear Diana passionately sing about "toejam football."
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mike Handley on July 5, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Although I was very disappointed with a couple of the covers (the Temptations' "Hey Jude" and the Four Tops' "Eleanor Rigby"), I'd still recommend this CD for folks who miss the good ol' days of Motown ... artists we love, singing some of the greatest songs ever written.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MAXIMILLIAN MUHAMMAD HALL OF FAME on April 1, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is Fantastic.Marvin Gaye Rips Up Yesterday and The Four Tops Sprinkle Mad Soul to Eleanor Rigby one of My Favorite Beatle songs.also Michelle&Gladys Knight&The Pips Take on Let It Be.this is a Must.MOTOWN does The Four Lads From LIVERPOOL JUSTICE.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "ab_wilson" on June 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This CD is a winner! If you are a Beatles fan and enjoy unique covers of their hits, then you'll love this. If you're a Motown fan who jams to Stevie and Diana, these versions will rock your ears. Awesome and a must for any collection!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter Durward Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 5, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In the sixties and early seventies, it was common practice to include plenty of cover versions on albums, and Motown were no exception. Seventeen of the best Beatles covers by Motown acts (including three songs from after the break-up) were brought together in this fascinating collection.
Nearly all the songs are classics. You can't do that, from one of the Beatles early album, is by far the least well known. Some of the songs are more true to the originals than other, but among the more distinctive are Eleanor Rigby, sung with real feeling by the Four Tops, and Yesterday, which Marvin Gaye was obviously determined to make his version different from the hundreds of others, and succeeded brilliantly.
While many of these tracks are available elsewhere, it is great to have them all together. If you enjoy either Beatles tribute albums or sixties Motown, you will enjoy this too. If, like me, you enjoy both, this is essential.
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