50th Anniversary Of The Motortown Revue

It was on this date in 1962 that the stars of Motown took to the road by bus to introduce themselves to audiences across America.  The Revue consisted of Motown roster artists including, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Mary Wells, The Marvelettes, Barrett Strong, and The Contours as headlining acts, and gave then-second-tier acts such as Marvin Gaye, Martha & The Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips and The Temptations the chances to improve their skills.

Once in a while the tour included other, no roster performers like,  Dusty Springfield, The Shirelles and Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles.

Racial tensions in the country were still strong and the artists would play befor mixed audiences in the northern states and either before separate audiences in the south or mixed audiences separated by police ropes.  However,  Motown artists are credited with being among those who broke down these barriers so later audiences would no longer be separated by color.

There were many occasions when the performers were threatened physically when travelling through the south.  Martha Reeves of Martha and the Vandellas, recalls travelling during the very first Motortown Revue:

(audio courtesy of Premiere Networks)

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