The A-Z of Motown: Learn your ABCs the Motown way

A. ABC By The Jackson 5

What better way to start the alphabet than with our ABCs? It was this song that knocked The Beatles off the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released in 1970!

B. Baby Love by The Supremes

C. Cruisin’ by Smokey Robinson

As well as hitting number 1 in the U.S Cash Box Top 100, Cruisin’ was also a huge hit in New Zealand, reaching number 1 in 1979.

D. Dancing in the Street by Martha & The Vandellas

“It reminds me of my younger days, back when there was a sense of neighbourhood spirit and the sense of being a part of something. I think with the fast paced nature of the modern times, life can sometimes slip past you and this song just reminds you to take a breath, and enjoy the soulfulness of life itself!” (Kirsty from

E. Easy by Commodores

F. First I Look at the Purse by The Contours

Written by Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers, the Contours track peaked at #12 on the Billboard’s R&B chart.

G. Get Ready by The Temptations

“Sassy and spectacular as it is, it was actually the last song Smokey Robinson wrote and produced for the Temptations. No song feels more marvellously Motown.” (Lela from

H. Happy Birthday by Stevie Wonder

This great track was written as part of the campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday, leading to the creation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Day in 1983.

I. I Want You Back by The Jackson 5

“I’ve never known this to come on and the dance floor not be flooded- it’s absolutely irresistible! Just such a happy, uplifting song! Always brings a bit of sunshine to my ears!” (Katie from

J. Jr. Walker & The All Stars

K. “Keep your freedom for as long as you can now” – “Shop Around” by The Miracles

This was Motown’s and Smokey Robinson and The Miracles first million-selling single, released in 1960.

L. Lonely Teardrops by Jackie Wilson

Written by Berry Gordy alongside his sister, Gwendolyn Gordy and Roquel “Billy” Davis, the song was a smash hit. The success of Jackie Wilson’s songs spurred Berry Gordy to start his own label resulting in the birth of Motown!

M. Master Blaster by Stevie Wonder

“It was difficult to pick my favourite Stevie Wonder song but this one always makes me want to get up and dance.” (Frankie from

N. “No wind, No rain, Nor winter’s cold can stop me, babe” – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Diana Ross

O. Ooo Baby Baby by The Miracles

P. Please Mr Postman by The Marvelettes

There is a funny reason behind why I love this song, when I was at school a remix of the original came out and my group of friends and I were obsessed with it. It became one of those songs we always put on in the car when we all first passed our driving tests.” (Frankie from

Q. “Quit talking Square Biz”- Square Biz by Teena Marie

R. Reach Out I’ll be There by The Four Tops 

S. Superstition by Stevie Wonder

“It’s just such a great arrangement, the brass is phenomenal in this and that bassline is just pure funk! It’s utterly infectious!” (Katie from

T. Too Many Fish in the Sea by The Marvelettes

“This song works as well as a regenerating bar of chocolate for breakup recovery gifts. Even with Wanda leading the whole affair, all of the ladies have a vocal moment in the sun here (perhaps the earliest trace of girl power?).” (Lela from

U. Upside Down by Diana Ross

“Nile Rodgers wrote this song with Diana Ross and last summer I saw him and CHIC in concert. They played this song and it was an unforgettable moment in my life.” (Frankie from

V. “Vote for me and I’ll set you free”- Ball of Confusion by the Temptations

W. Where did our Love Go by The Supremes

“I love this song because the Supremes are the epitome of a Motown girl band, this song was their breakthrough song which kicked off their massive careers. It is an upbeat song that everyone can sing and dance to yet the lyrics are written really well and it’s actually very meaningful.” (Amy from

X. The world is rated “X” – Marvin Gaye

Y. You Really Got a Hold on Me by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles 

Z. Zoom by the Commodores– “I’d like to fly far away from here”

A poignant love song from Commodores multi-million selling, self-entitled album, written by group members, Ronald LaPread and Lionel Richie along with producer, James Anthony Carmichael.

What’s YOUR favourite Motown song? Let us know in the comments below!

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