The Sound Of Motown - 50 Years On

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20151226

Imagine one show with the Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, little Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and the Earl Van Dyke Sextet - what a line-up. That was how it was in 1965 - on a TV programme called Ready Steady Go when they recorded a programme dedicated to this new music coming from Detroit - entitled the Sound of Motown. Vicki Wickham, the producer of the 1965 original 'RSG! The Sound of Motown' for Rediffusion TV, in conversation with the legendary founder of Motown, Berry Gordy, and chaired by Paul Gambaccini talking about this momentous show and how it came about.

And to mark this event Radio 2 are re-creating that show recorded 'as live' in front of a select audience in the BBC Radio Theatre. While they share their memories, contemporary artists perform their versions of some of the songs from that show including; Lemar, Shaun Escoffrey, Dionne Broomfield and Lucy Jules - backed by the Leo Green Experience (musicians and backing singers).

This influential TV special was hosted by Dusty Springfield and was recorded at the Rediffusion TV studios in London on April 1965. This special was mainly Dusty Springfield's idea, she was a big fan of the music and suggested the idea to Vicki Wickham, RSG's producer. It was Dusty Springfield's inclusion in the show as the host which sealed it - but still a brave decision for the time. A whole programme dedicated to black artists plus Dusty was totally ground-breaking in the 60's.

The TV special was very successful and is historically important as it did much to establish Motown to a mass audience in the UK. It launched Motown in the UK and made their artists into household names this side of the Atlantic.