One of the most celebrated musical events of all time was the television special “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” that aired on May 16, 1983 featuring a cavalcade of mostly former Motown artists.
There was never a soundtrack album due to the complications involved in getting legal clearances from so many singers and musicians. There was a “Motown 25” VHS tape, but that hasn’t been easily attainable for a very long time.
“Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” is now available on a three-DVD set — seven and a half hours of entertainment! — meaning that much was not seen when the two-hour special originally aired.
“Motown 25” featured many historic moments, including the Jackson 5 reunion and the launching of “Michaelmania”; the playful Four Tops-Temptations “battle”; and the Diana Ross & the Supremes reunion that had to be cut short when Ross and Mary Wilson “got into it” onstage in front of a shocked audience. (That part was, of course, edited out!)
At one point, Diana Ross said, “Tonight, everybody came back.” Not really. Quite a few artists were not invited, including the Marvelettes, the Contours, the Funk Brothers, the Spinners, Brenda Holloway, the Vandellas (Martha Reeves was there) and others.
Eddie Kendricks was told that he wouldn’t be performing but he could purchase a ticket to be in the audience. Being an original member of the Temptations, he was insulted and turned the offer down.
Gladys Knight & the Pips chose to not perform because they still had issues with Motown and didn’t want to be hypocritical.
FANTASIA appears to enjoy “loving in the danger zone,” based on a previous relationship and her current situation. Her new boyfriend is Kendall Taylor, who is COO of a courier company in North Carolina, Fantasia’s home state.
Taylor had several skirmishes with the law from 1996 to 2007, including “possession of prescribed drugs with intent to sell,” “assault on a female” and “possession of a weapon.” But he says he has since found God.
Rather than gossip about her personal life, Fantasia says people should remember her in their prayers.
MANY PEOPLE know that of Diana Ross’ five children, Evan Ross is an actor, Tracee Ellis Ross is an actress, Rhonda Ross Kendrick is a real estate agent and part-time singer, and Chudney Ross is a business owner, writer and educator, but what about Ross Naess, her other son?
Well, he does not have to work if he chooses not to because his father, wealthy Norwegian shipping magnate Arne Naess Jr., left him and his brother Evan extremely well off financially. Ross Naess spends most of his time involved in his two favorite hobbies, mountain climbing and photography.
Kudos to Bill Cosby. Most celebrities on his level travel with an entourage, often including at least one bodyguard. But Cosby always travels alone and on a plane, for example, he never isolates himself, preferring to chat and joke around with fellow passengers.
DURING the peak years of Boyz II Men in the mid-1990s, the guys say they were working so hard that they missed out on a lot of things.
As Nathan Morris put it, “A lot of it was a blur, which really sucks. All we wanted to do was focus on being the best singers we could possibly be. I don’t think there was a day that something wasn’t going on. We were kind of like robots.”
The schoolhouse where Tina Turner was a student as a little girl from Nutbush, Tennessee, is now the Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School, featuring stage clothing, Gold and Platinum records, etc. Turner, who lives in Zurich, Switzerland, was not able to attend the opening ceremony.
Mavis Staples will celebrate her 75th birthday with a big concert Nov. 19 in her native Chicago. Among those performing will be Aaron Neville and Michael McDonald. Her birthday was actually on July 10.
The great Bette Midler has an album on the way (Nov. 4) titled “It’s the Girls” that pays homage to, among others, the Shirelles, Martha & the Vandellas, the Ronettes, the Andrews Sisters, the Marvelettes and the Supremes.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that Smokey Robinson once wrote a rather odd song titled “Our Lips Just Seem to Rhyme Every Time,” featured on a Marvelettes album.
MEMORIES: “No More Tears” (Anita Baker), “Boogie Fever” (the Sylvers), “I Get Lonely” (Janet Jackson), “Save the Best for Last” (Vanessa Williams), “Rub You the Right Way” (Johnny Gill), “Fake” (Alexander O’Neal), “Outstanding” (the Gap Band), “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” (Daryl Hall & John Oates), “I’ve Got Love on My Mind” (Natalie Cole).
BLESSINGS to Eddie Allen, William Andrews Jr., Keena Green Clinkscales, Yvonne Gullick, Rogers Foster, Mike Vargus, Kimmie Horne, Eric Merchant, L.J. Reynolds and Lois Reeves.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Willie Nelson: “You can’t do anything about things that have happened, and you can’t do anything about what’s going to happen tomorrow. All you can control is what’s going on around you right now.”
Let the music play!
Steve Holsey can be reached at Svh517@aol.com and PO Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.