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Now when Smokey Robinson walks in Hollywood, he’ll have two stars to dust off. Robinson was on hand Friday as The Miracles received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The group’s frontman was previously honored with a star for his solo work. “I’ve had a star for the last 20 years or so, and it is way, way, way, way overdue” for The Miracles, Robinson said. A number of their Motown contemporaries were present, including Stevie Wonder, Motown founder Berry Gordy, and original Supremes member Mary Wilson.
A number of events this year mark the 50th anniversary of the legendary Motown record label. Yesterday in Detroit, Gordy and Robinson joined the “American Idol” finalists to tape a segment set to air next Wednesday.
The Gaslight Anthem rose out of the fertile punk and hardcore scene of New Brunswick, NJ, flaunting a unique style that melded the sounds of Bruce Springsteen, Wilson Pickett, and various Motown groups with the rough, emotional grit of Hot Water Music and Jawbreaker. The band — comprised of vocalist/guitarist Brian Fallon, bassist Alex Levine, drummer Benny Horowitz, and guitarist Alex Rosamila — began establishing a loyal hometown crowd after forming in 2005, and their soulful punk rock melodies attracted wider attention upon the release of their full-length debut, Sink or Swim, which droped in May 2007 via the local imprint XOXO Records. Although rough around the edges, the album presented plenty of energetic, sing-along songs that garnered accolades from punk zines, blogs, and fans alike. The increasing popularity was enough to score gigs with the likes of Against Me!, the Loved Ones, and the Draft, and by the end of 2007, the Gaslight Anthem had played over 200 shows. They recorded the four-song EP Señor and the Queen in Austin, having managed to secure some down time between tour dates, and the record surfaced on Sabot Productions in early February 2008. Meanwhile, the Gaslight Anthem announced their brand-new deal with the California-based indie label SideOneDummy Records.
Hailing from New Brunswick, New Jersey, The Gaslight Anthem’s anthemic tales of life, loss, family, heartbreak and youth have captured the imagination and hearts of fans and media everywhere. THE ’59 SOUND was hailed as one of the albums of 2008, with Kerrang! putting the band on the cover before ever having written a word about them, NME calling THE ’59 SOUND ‘one of the best albums of 2008′ and other immensely positive press coming from the likes of Q Magazine, Rock Sound, Big Cheese, Classic Rock, Clash, The Guardian and The Sun as well as from influential American magazines Rolling Stone, SPIN and Alternative Press.
Numerous spins on Radio One, Xfm and 6Music have contributed to this band’s meteoric and well-deserved success, and special BBC Radio One (with Zane Lowe) and XFM in-studio sessions aired recently.
The Gaslight Anthem’s latest single ‘Great Expectations’ off their critically acclaimed sophomore album, ‘THE ’59 SOUND’ is released on SideOneDummy records on March 23rd. This track was recently added to the Radio 1 upfront playlist. The band will also be playing numerous festivals across the world following their storming run of headline dates in the UK including a critically acclaimed NME Awards show at Shepherds Bush Empire.
MARCH HEADLINE DATES:
2nd Norwich @ Waterfront
3rd Nottingham @ Rock City
4th Dublin @ The Academy
April 19th Coachella (Indio, CA – USA)
May 23rd Sasquatch (George, WA – USA)
June 6th Rock Im Park (Nurburgring, Germany)
June 7th Rock Am Ring (Nuremberg, Germany)
June 13th Rock In Idro (Milan, Italy)
June 19th Nova Rock (Nickelsdorf, Austria)
June 20th Southside (Neuhausen, Germany)
June 21st Hurricane (Schessel, Germany)
June 24th Hove Festival (Hove, Norway)
June 28th Hard Rock Calling (London, UK)
July 3rd Vainstream Festival (Mannheim, Germany)
July 4th Vainstream Festival (Munster, Germany)
July 5th Ruisrock Festival (Turku, Finland)
July 9th BBK Alive (Bilbao, Spain)
July 12th T In The Park (Glasgow, Scotland)
The Detroit label – home to Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes and The Jackson 5, among many others – was founded by record producer Berry Gordy on January 12, 1959.
Gordy started the label, which was originally called Tamla, with an $800 loan from his family.
The first act signed was called The Matadors (later The Miracles), who’s lead vocalist was Smokey Robinson.
Motown’s Hitsville USA studio, a garage that Gordy purchased and renovated, was famed for its ‘production line’ recording process – with classic songs being churned out on an astonishingly regular basis.
Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’, The Marvelettes ‘Please Mr Postman’ and Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ were just some of the label’s most notable hits.
Motown also released Martin Luther King’s civil rights speeches on its Black Forum subsidiary label.
The label found enduring success across the world, and Motown songs continue to be covered and referenced by artists today.
Acts as diverse as George Michael, The Beatles, The Jam, The Beach Boys, The Slits and Delroy Wilson have recorded Motown covers.
To celebrate the 50th Birthday of Motown, NME.COM has dug out some of the best unheard classics from Motown, which you can hear on our blog now.
You can also read the stories behind 15 classic Motown songs at NME.COM/PHOTOS.
We’ve also got a host of stars – from Kings Of Leon to Ladyhawke – to pick their favourite Motown songs in the latest issue of NME, available on UK newsstands now.