Today, I have been randomly assigned a Motown compilation record entitled Million Performance Songs. Released in 1986 for radio and television station broadcasts, this collection celebrates some of Motown’s songs that have been performed a million times or more.
This is not turning out to be the most exciting record I have covered so far. While the songs are all time-tested Motown classics, as the title implies, these songs have been heard millions of times. There’s nothing new here to discover nor is there any song in this lot that I haven’t heard in a long time. Tune to any oldies station and you’ll eventually hear every single one of the tracks.
But still… they’re good songs. This collection has “Dancing In The Street” and “(Love Is Like A) Heatwave” by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, “Stop! In The Name Of Love”, “You Can’t Hurry Love”, “Where Did Our Love Go” and “Someday We’ll Be Together” by Diana Ross & The Supremes, “My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” and “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye, “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes, “My Eyes Adore You” by Frankie Valli, “Baby I Need Your Loving” and “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” by the Four Tops and “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” by Brenda Holloway. You can’t really fault this line-up of classics.
I listened to this collection and was adequately entertained by the popular favorites. But as I continued, I kept thinking about that episode of Growing Pains. You know – the one where Jason and Carol Seaver were chaperoning the Motown-themed school dance? That’s literally what was going through my mind: the parents fighting over who’ll DJ, Ben trying to find a pinball machine that pays out money, Carol almost hooking up with Boner (ha!) and Mike chasing after a girl with a terrible voice.
Overall this is a nice collection of songs, but I would probably trade it in for these same songs on fourteen individual 45’s. This way, I can satisfy my Motown fix in smaller doses. (Also: way more collectible.)
(NOTE: Yes, there is a Volume II to this collection on my shelf. I decided to tackle it separately whenever it’s randomly assigned. I can only take so much of the Seavers’ misadventures playing out in my head for one day.)