WHAT IS MOTOWN 25?
“Motown 25: Yesterday, Today and Forever” was a pretty huge deal when it hits NBC back in 1983. The biggest stars of Motown with a smattering of the year’s biggest talents just blew out. Plus, you had the debut of the Moonwalk. That is some TV history in the course of what should’ve been a standard TV concert show. Time Life and StarVista have brought together a three disc that shows you every aspect of the production. Some have been talking about the Rehearsal Version on Disc 2 where you get to hear Marvin Gaye deliver an amazing version of What’s Going on that very few people have seen to this day.
While the show originally came on the air when I was 2, I had the fortune of seeing it on early VHS recordings in those ugly old clamshells. Over the years, I would marvel to the casual nature of Richard Pryor hosting job. No one gives Pryor credit for being able to transition between edgy comic and mainstream entertainer so well. They want to frame that crap with jabs at “The Toy” or “Superman III”. The man held his own with some major musical talents. But, if anything this show wasn’t about Pryor or any of the non musicians. This was Motown ending the classic era and showing the world that they were going to take over the televised image of music. They just had some kinks to work out.
Michael Jackson became a visual icon with this event, all the while everyone else forgets about the small oddities that made up the rest of the show. Marvin Gaye provided a strong performance, while Stevie Wonder and others handed medleys of their studio hits. Then, there was Jose Feliciano introducing Adam Ant. If I could find another weird segue, I don’t know how it would be possible. Feliciano made sense, as he was covering material from a deceased artist. Diana Ross was there and performed in the show.
The DVD comes with featurettes, bonus footage and roundtables about the event on the third disc as the special features. The A/V Quality is lovingly restored for this release. However, I wish the source material allowed for a proper HD upgrade. Oh well, I’ll take what I can get. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to all fans of Motown.
RELEASE DATE: 9/27/16
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- Video - 85%85%
- Audio - 88%88%
- Supplemental Material - 94%94%
- Show Score - 89%89%
The Plot Thus Far
Celebrating the first quarter century of the little company that founder Berry Gordy Jr. turned into Hitsville, U.S.A., his history-making success story deserved a history-making concert—MOTOWN 25: YESTERDAY, TODAY, FOREVER! It debuted on NBC on May 16, 1983, and the morning after became an immediate water-cooler sensation. The highlight that caused the most talk was Michael Jackson’s world premiere of his moonwalk (aka “six seconds that changed the world”) but MOTOWN 25 had an abundance of other buzz-worthy moments, too—reunions by the Miracles, the Supremes and the Jackson 5; the first battle of the bands between Four Tops and The Temptations; and the hottest comedian in the world at the time, Richard Pryor, as host. Motown 25 was not simply a 2-hour TV special…it was a flashpoint cultural event!
The show deservedly won an Emmy Award, but has been unseen for over 20 years, until today. Available now in an expanded 6-DVD deluxe version, it features 5.1 Surround Sound that reveals the music to its fullest potential. Major Motown artists perform their hits at this once-in-a-lifetime concert:
The Tears of a Clown Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
Uptight (Everything’s Alright) Stevie Wonder
Baby I Need Your Loving Four Tops
What’s Going On Marvin Gaye
My Girl The Temptations
I Want You Back The Jackson 5
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough Diana Ross
Billie Jean Michael Jackson
Plus Mary Wells, Martha Reeves, Junior Walker and many more!
6-DVD Deluxe Edition in a special collector’s box — now released on DVD!
This Emmy-winning program had it all: Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, The Supremes, Lionel Richie, Commodores, The Temptations, Four Tops, Mary Wells, Martha Reeves, DeBarge, Jr. Walker, Jose Feliciano & more! Plus Richard Pryor, Dick Clark, Billy Dee Williams & others!
An extended version of MOTOWN 25 with 30 additional minutes not seen on the original broadcast.
Brand new 5. 1 Surround Sound
Exclusive 48-page color booklet includes behind-the-scenes photos and production materials
A copy of the MOTOWN 25 program
Plus more BONUS features and insider’s info—over 14 hours of extras, including:
Never-before-seen rehearsal footage of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” with Michael going through his paces in a t-shirt and jeans.
Marvin Gaye rehearsing his masterwork, “What’s Going On,” in a version perhaps as powerful as the one in the NBC broadcast.
Roundtable discussions with MOTOWN 25 producers and performers (taped at the location of the original concert, The Pasadena Civic Auditorium) with Smokey Robinson, Duke Fakir (Four Tops)