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Critics weigh in as 'Motown' arrives in London.
'Motown: The Musical'; written by and based on record label pioneer Berry Gordy; has finally hit London's West End, and, while it received several Tony Award nominations following its run on Broadway in 2013, the reception across the pond has been mixed to say the least.
Not everybody is happy with Berry Gordy's life story
While the cast members have been ultimately praised for their exceptional talent, the story has left much to be desired in the eyes of many UK critics. The Londonist criticized the lack of full song performances and the over-likability of the character of Berry Gordy, branding it as 'nothing short of self-penned hagiography'. The Guardian insists the musical 'leaves all the key questions unanswered' and the Independent agreed. 'A monstrous feat of ego, Gordy really should not have been allowed to tell his own story', they added.
Continue reading: 'Motown: The Musical' Hits The West End! But Not Everyone's A Fan
The Temptations singer David Ruffin's older brother Jimmy Ruffin dies aged 78.
It's a sad day for Motown as it's announced 'What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted' singer Jimmy Ruffin passed away in hospital aged 78 on Monday (November 17th 2014), as confirmed in a statement by his family.
Jimmy Ruffin has died aged 78
A month before his death, reports arose that the crooner had been rushed to intensive care in a Las Vegas hospital seriously ill, though details are as yet unknown. While Ruffin was never lauded as one of the great Motown artists of his time, with his talents overshadowed by his late brother David Ruffin of The Temptations, his 1966 single 'What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted' became a worldwide sensation, with his next big break coming in the form of 'Hold On (To My Love)' fourteen years later.
Continue reading: Motown Loses Another Great As Jimmy Ruffin Passes Away In Hospital
Motown's chief songwriter Deke Richards has passed away following a battle with cancer.
Deke Richards, the lead writer for famed record label Motown who penned hit tracks for The Jackson 5 and Diana Ross, has died aged 68 following a battle with esophageal cancer. During his tenure with the label's songwriting and production team The Corporation, Richards (real name Dennis Lussier) wrote and produced the Jackson 5's first three No.1 singles, I Want You Back, ABC and The Love You Save.
He reportedly played in a backing band for Debbie Dean and met Barry Gordy when The Supremes played at the Hollywood Place in 1966. After impressing the Motown mogul, Richards was offered a contract as record producer and songwriter.
Working alongside Gordy, Alphonzo Mizell and Freddie Perren, Richards also provided Diana Ross & The Supremes with their pop hit 'Love Child' and wrote for Bobby Darin and Bonnie Bramlett. His final project was the mixing of eight unreleased tracks by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas for Universal Music Enterprises' three-CD box set '50th Anniversary: The Singles 1962-1972' which is slated for release on April 5.
Continue reading: Deke Richards, The Man Behind Motown's Biggest Hits, Dies Aged 68
Legendary soul band lose one of their founding members
Bobbie Smith of the soul group The Spinners, passed away on Saturday (March 16, 2013) at the age of 76. Smith’s manager released a statement, reported on today by Associated Press, to confirm that the soul singer had passed away as a result of complications from pneumonia and influenza. He had also been diagnosed with lung cancer back in November 2012. Smith was one of the founding members of The Spinners and remained a member even until last year, with the band performing regularly on the ‘oldies circuit,’ Los Angeles Times reports.
Bobbie Smith and Henry Fambrough were two of the band’s founding members and continued to perform together until recent times. They formed in high school, in 1957, along with George W. Dixon, Billy Henderson and Pervis Jackson. Their first top 10 hit came in 1961 with the track ‘That’s What Girls Are Made For.’
The Spinners later recorded for the legendary Motown label, though they were best known for their work with the arranger and songwriter Thom Bell, with whom they helped to define the distinctive Philadelphia soul sound. The Spinners had a number of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including their final hits, which were disco medleys of ‘Working My Way Back to You/Forgive Me Girl’ and ‘Cupid/I've Loved You for a Long Time.’
Bobby Rogers of the Motown group The Miracles has died.
Bobby Rogers, the soul singer and song writer who co-founded The Miracles and was a part of the first million-selling group Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, has passed away at the age of 73 after a long illness and complications with diabetes. His impact in the 1960s and 1970s on Motown popularity was undeniable and tributes from his loving friends and family have been flooding in.
Smokey Robinson left a message about his friend via his Facebook page. "Bobby Rogers was my brother and a really good friend. He and I were born on the exact same day in the same hospital in Detroit," he said. "I am really going to miss him. I loved him very much."
His cousin Claudette Robinson nee Rogers told the Detroit Free Press of her grief, saying "He had the sparkling personality that was loved by everyone. People always commented on the tall one with the glasses. He was personable, approachable and he loved talking to the women, loved talking to the guys, loved to dance, loved to sing, loved to perform. That was the joy of his life."
Continue reading: Bobby Rogers Dies Aged 73: Tributes Flood In For 'Miracles' Man
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