Are you tired of listening to the same songs played over and over again on the radio? Are you constantly disappointed with the level of real talent of the current pop artists out there? Seek solace in the music from a time when skill, versatility, and soul were actually necessary to excel in the music industry.

 

This week’s Motown themed picks for your essential oldies playlist are…

 

1. “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” – The Temptations

The Temptations 1966 album "Gettin' Ready"

The Temptations 1966 album “Gettin’ Ready” (wikipedia.org)

This classic Motown song off The Temptations’ 1966 album “Gettin’ Ready” is definitely a groove. The sudden transition it makes from silence to soul in the first five seconds that you turn on the song makes you immediately want to move. The barbershop quartet harmonies in this song add a smooth, upbeat, and easy feel to the song. Whether you sing this one into a hairbrush or blast it with family and friends, it is an essential addition to your oldies playlist.

 

 

 

2. “You Send Me” – Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke's 1958 Self-Titled LP

Sam Cooke’s 1958 Self-Titled LP (songsofsamcooke.com)

“You Send Me” marked Sam Cooke’s official transition from gospel to secular pop music. The track appeared first on his self-titled breakout album and topped charts upon its release in 1958. Cooke came into copyright issues with his previous record label over this song, but he protected himself by claiming the song was written by his brother, Charles L.C. Cooke. This sweet and soulful love song stirs nostalgia for a simpler time and makes love seem sweet and innocent.

 

 

 

3. “What A Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong, "What A Wonderful World" (allmusic.com)

Louis Armstrong, “What A Wonderful World” (allmusic.com)

This classic song evokes the strongest extremes of emotion at the same time; profound happiness and profound sadness. The result is a bittersweet masterpiece. The unique rough quality of Louis Armstrong’s voice contrasted with the sweetness of the lyrics and the wistfulness of the tune makes the song really unique. The song is featured in Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s ukulele rendition of the song “Over The Rainbow.”

 

 

 

4. “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” – Ella Fitzgerald

1956 collaborative album "Ella and Louis" (moneymusic.com)

1956 collaborative album “Ella and Louis” (moneymusic.com)

Ella Fitzgerald’s elegantly strong and steady Jazz vocals are showcased by this easy and upbeat tune. Louis Armstrong’s uniquely rough vocals behind Fitzgerald’s smooth sound create the balance to make this song seem effortlessly perfect. To hear more of this perfect combination, check out more songs off of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s collaborative album “Ella and Louis.”

 

 

 

 

5. “Dr. Feelgood” – Aretha Franklin

Aretha's 1967 album "I Never Loved A Man the Way I Love You" (allmusic.com)

Aretha’s 1967 album “I Never Loved A Man the Way I Love You” (allmusic.com)

This song is the definition of soul. The song builds from an almost gospel-like bluesy beginning to the powerful moments where we get to hear the famous Aretha pipes. This song first appeared on the same masterful 1967 album, “I Never Loved A Man the Way I Love You,” which brought us her infamous song, “Respect.” For more bluesy soul-tearing songs listen to her 1968 album “Lady Soul.”

 

 

 

What are the songs on your essential oldies playlist? Who are the Motown legends that you love? Leave a response in the comments below or shoot me a tweet @JenksUOhMeASoda