Tuesday, November 3, 1992

Hitsville USA box set released

First posted 12/1/2009; updated 11/16/2020.

Hitsville U.S.A.: The Motown Singles Collection 1959-1971

Various Artists

Released: November 3, 1992

Recorded: 1959 to 1971

Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, -- UK, 0.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: R&B/pop


Song Title by Act [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

Tracks, Disc 1:

  1. Money (That’s What I Want) [BARRETT STRONG] (1/25/60, 23 US, 2 RB)
  2. Shop Around [MIRACLES] (12/12/60, 2 US, 1 RB)
  3. Please Mr. Postman [MARVELETTES] (9/4/61, 1 US, 1 RB)
  4. Jamie [EDDIE HOLLAND] (1/13/62, 30 US, 6 RB)
  5. The One Who Really Loves You [MARY WELLS] (3/24/62, 8 US, 2 RB)
  6. Do You Love Me? [CONTOURS] (8/11/62, 3 US, 1 RB, 24 AC, sales: 1 million)
  7. Beechwood 4-5789 [MARVELETTES] (8/11/62, 17 US, 7 RB)
  8. You Beat Me to the Punch [MARY WELLS] (8/11/62, 9 US, 1 RB)
  9. Stubborn Kind of Fellow [MARVIN GAYE] (7/23/62, 46 US, 8 RB)
  10. Two Lovers [MARY WELLS] (12/1/62, 7 US, 1 RB)
  11. You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me [MIRACLES] (12/8/62, 8 US, 1 RB)
  12. Come and Get These Memories [MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS] (2/22/63, 29 US, 6 RB)
  13. Pride and Joy [MARVIN GAYE] (4/18/63, 10 US, 2 RB)
  14. Fingertips (Part 2) [STEVIE WONDER] (6/22/63, 1 US, 1 RB)
  15. Heat Wave [MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS] (7/10/63, 4 US, 1 RB)
  16. Mickey’s Monkey [MIRACLES] (8/17/63, 8 US, 3 RB)
  17. Leaving Here [EDDIE HOLLAND] (2/8/64, 76 US, *76 RB)
  18. The Way You Do the Things You Do [TEMPTATIONS] (2/29/64, 11 US, 11 RB)
  19. My Guy [MARY WELLS] (4/4/64, 1 US, 5 UK, 1 RB)
  20. Devil with the Blue Dress [SHORTY LONG]
  21. Every Little Bit Hurts [BRENDA HOLLOWAY] (5/2/64, 13 US, 13 RB)
  22. Baby, I Need Your Loving [FOUR TOPS] (8/15/64, 11 US, 11 RB)
  23. Dancing in the Street [MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS] (7/31/64, 2 US, 4 RB, 2 RB, sales: 1 million)
  24. My Smile Is Just a Frown (Turned Upside Down) [CAROLYN CRAWFORD] (2/13/65, 39 RB)
  25. Needle in a Haystack [VELVELETTES] (10/17/64, 45 US, 45 RB)
  26. Baby Love [SUPREMES] (10/3/64, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 RB, sales: 1 million)
  27. Come See about Me [SUPREMES] (11/14/64, 1 US, 27 UK, 3 RB)
  28. How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You [MARVIN GAYE] (11/4/64, 6 US, 49 UK, 4 RB)

Tracks, Disc 2:
  1. My Girl [TEMPTATIONS] (1/16/65, 1 US, 2 UK, 1 RB, 27 AC, sales: 2 million)
  2. He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’ [VELVELETTES] (1/30/65, 64 US, 21 RB)
  3. Ask the Lonely [FOUR TOPS] (2/6/65, 24 US, 9 RB)
  4. Shotgun [JR. WALKER & THE ALL STARS] (2/13/65, 4 US, 1 RB)
  5. Nowhere to Run [MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS] (2/2/65, 8 US, 26 UK, 5 RB)
  6. When I’m Gone [BRENDA HOLLOWAY] (3/6/65, 25 US, 12 RB)
  7. Ooo Baby Baby [MIRACLES] (3/27/65, 16 US, 4 RB)
  8. I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) [FOUR TOPS] (5/15/65, 1 US, 23 UK, 1 RB)
  9. First I Look at the Purse [CONTOURS] (8/14/65, 57 US, 12 RB)
  10. The Tracks of My Tears [MIRACLES] (7/10/65, 16 US, 2 RB)
  11. It’s the Same Old Song [FOUR TOPS] (7/31/65, 5 US, 34 UK, 2 RB)
  12. Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things [MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS] (7/26/65, 70 US, 22 RB)
  13. Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me) [KIM WESTON] (10/9/65, 50 US, 4 RB)
  14. Uptight (Everything’s Alright) [STEVIE WONDER] (12/18/65, 3 US, 14 UK, 1 RB)
  15. Don’t Mess with Bill [MARVELETTES] (1/15/66, 7 US, 3 RB)
  16. Darling Baby [ELGINS] (2/19/66, 72 US, 4 RB)
  17. This Old Heart of Mine [ISLEY BROTHERS] (2/19/66, 12 US, 3 UK, 6 RB)
  18. Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam) [MONITORS] (4/16/66, 100 US, 21 RB)
  19. Function at the Junction [SHORTY LONG] (9/24/66, 97 US, 42 RB)
  20. I’m a Road Runner [JR. WALKER & THE ALL STARS] (4/9/66, 20 US, 12 UK, 4 RB)
  21. Ain’t Too Proud to Beg [TEMPTATIONS] (5/28/66, 13 US, 21 UK, 1 RB, sales: 1 million)
  22. What Becomes of the Brokenhearted [JIMMY RUFFIN] (8/6/66, 7 US, 4 UK, 6 RB)
  23. How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You [JR. WALKER & THE ALL STARS] (7/30/66, 18 US, 22 UK, 3 RB)
  24. Love’s Gone Bad [CHRIS CLARK] (10/29/66, 41 RB)
  25. You Can’t Hurry Love [SUPREMES] (8/13/66, 1 US, 3 UK, 1 RB)
  26. Beauty Is Only Skin Deep [TEMPTATIONS] (8/20/66, 3 US, 18 UK, 1 RB, sales: 1 million)
  27. Heaven Must Have Sent You [ELGINS] (9/24/66, 50 US, 3 UK, 9 RB)

Tracks, Disc 3:
  1. Reach Out (I’ll Be There) [FOUR TOPS] (9/3/66, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 RB, sales: 1 million)
  2. I Know I’m Losing You [TEMPTATIONS] (11/19/66, 8 US, 19 UK, 1 RB)
  3. Standing in the Shadows of Love [FOUR TOPS] (12/17/66, 6 US, 6 UK, 2 RB)
  4. It Takes Two [MARVIN GAYE/KIM WESTON] (12/2/66, 14 US, 16 UK, 4 RB)
  5. The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game [MARVELETTES] (1/21/67, 13 US, 2 RB)
  6. Jimmy Mack [MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS] (2/3/67, 10 US, 21 UK, 1 RB)
  7. Bernadette [FOUR TOPS] (3/11/67, 4 US, 8 UK, 3 RB)
  8. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough [MARVIN GAYE/TAMMI TERRELL] (4/20/67, 19 US, 3 RB)
  9. More Love [MIRACLES] (6/17/67, 23 US, 5 RB)
  10. I Heard It Through the Grapevine [GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS] (10/21/67, 2 US, 47 UK, 1 RB)
  11. I Second That Emotion [MIRACLES] (11/4/67, 4 US, 27 UK, 1 RB)
  12. I Wish It Would Rain [TEMPTATIONS] (1/13/68, 4 US, 45 UK, 1 RB, sales: 1 million)
  13. I Can’t Give Back the Love I Feel for You [RITA WRIGHT]
  14. Does Your Mama Know About Me [BOBBY TAYLOR/VANCOUVERS] (4/20/68, 29 US, 5 RB)
  15. Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing [MARVIN GAYE/TAMMI TERRELL] (3/28/68, 8 US, 34 UK, 1 RB)
  16. Love Child [SUPREMES] (10/19/68, 1 US, 15 UK, 2 RB)
  17. For Once in My Life [STEVIE WONDER] (11/2/68, 2 US, 3 UK, 2 RB)
  18. Cloud Nine [TEMPTATIONS] (11/16/68, 6 US, 15 UK, 2 RB, sales: 1 million)
  19. I Heard It Through the Grapevine [MARVIN GAYE] (11/30/68, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 RB)
  20. Baby, Baby Don’t Cry [MIRACLES] (1/4/69, 8 US, 3 RB)
  21. Twenty-Five Miles [EDWIN STARR] (2/15/69, 6 US, 36 UK, 6 RB)
  22. My Whole World Ended the Moment You Left Me [DAVID RUFFIN] (2/15/69, 9 US, 2 RB)
  23. What Does It Take to Win Your Love? [JR. WALKER & THE ALL STARS] (5/17/69, 4 US, 13 UK, 1 RB)
  24. I Can’t Get Next to You [TEMPTATIONS] (8/16/69, 1 US, 13 UK, 1 RB, sales: 2 million)
  25. Baby, I’m for Real [ORIGINALS] (9/27/66, 14 US, 1 RB)
  26. Up the Ladder to the Roof [SUPREMES] (3/7/70, 10 US, 6 UK, 5 RB, 28 AC)

Tracks, Disc 4:
  1. I Want You Back [JACKSON 5] (11/15/69, 1 US, 2 UK, 1 RB)
  2. The Bells [ORIGINALS] (2/7/70, 12 US, 4 RB)
  3. Get Ready [RARE EARTH] (3/14/70, 4 US, 20 RB)
  4. ABC [JACKSON 5] (3/14/70, 1 US, 8 UK, 1 RB)
  5. Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today) [TEMPTATIONS] (5/23/70, 3 US, 7 UK, 2 RB)
  6. The Love You Save [JACKSON 5] (5/30/70, 1 US, 7 UK, 1 RB)
  7. Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours [STEVIE WONDER] (6/27/70, 3 US, 15 UK, 1 RB)
  8. War [EDWIN STARR] (7/11/70, 1 US, 3 UK, 3 RB)
  9. It’s a Shame [SPINNERS] (7/25/70, 14 US, 4 RB)
  10. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough [DIANA ROSS] (8/8/70, 1 US, 6 UK, 1 RB, 6 AC)
  11. Still Water (Love) [FOUR TOPS] (8/29/70, 11 US, 10 UK, 4 RB)
  12. I’ll Be There [JACKSON 5] (9/19/70, 1 US, 4 UK, 1 RB)
  13. The Tears of a Clown [MIRACLES] (10/17/70, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 RB)
  14. Stoned Love [SUPREMES] (11/7/70, 7 US, 3 UK, 1 RB, 24 AC)
  15. If I Were Your Woman [GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS] (11/28/70, 9 US, 1 RB)
  16. Just My Imagination Running Away with Me [TEMPTATIONS] (2/6/71, 1 US, 8 UK, 1 RB, 33 AC, sales: 2 million)
  17. What’s Going On [MARVIN GAYE] (1/21/71, 2 US, 1 RB)
  18. Never Can Say Goodbye [JACKSON 5] (4/3/71, 2 US, 33 UK, 1 RB)
  19. Nathan Jones [SUPREMES] (5/8/71, 16 US, 5 UK, 8 RB, 29 AC)
  20. I Don’t Want to Do Wrong [GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS] (6/5/71, 17 US, 2 RB)
  21. Smiling Faces Sometimes [UNDISPUTED TRUTH] (6/26/71, 3 US, 2 RB, 34 AC)
  22. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) [MARVIN GAYE] (6/10/71, 4 US, 1 RB, 34 AC)
  23. I Just Want to Celebrate [RARE EARTH] (7/17/71, 7 US, 30 RB)

Total Running Time: 5:03:03


4.591 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)

Quotable: “A definitive overview and introduction to one of the most groundbreaking labels in pop music history” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


About the Album:

“A well-assembled box set containing just some of Motown's most golden and definitive classics. Nobody knew Motown Records was going to take off in the way it did. Berry Gordy intended to use his artists to break down the then racial barriers, intending to encapsulate a golden and distinct sound that would not only please a black audience but would too appeal to whites. Berry Gordy’s visions for the company paid off. Key artists like Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder attracted a huge following from both blacks and whites.” IP “Motown remains a key landmark in the history of black music and also made a significant impact in pop music all together. Never has there been a record label that has managed to capture and encapsulate such a unique, distinct sound with such a wide range of diverse singing talents.” IP

“The golden Motown sound ceased to exist after its headquarters move from Detroit to L.A.,” IP but they “did so many things well in the ‘60s and early ‘70s” RW that, even at four discs and 103 songs, “collectors could have used a more comprehensive set.” STE

“There are a handful of wonderful lesser-known songs here, such as the Contours’ First I Look at the PurseSTE and “surprisingly rare features on here such as a version of I Can’t Give Back the Love I Feel for You by Rita Wright (later covered by Diana Ross on her Surrender album) and some offerings from the over-looked Brenda Holloway.” IP However, “the main strength of the 103-track box is that it features all of the biggest songs from Motown’s golden era in one place.” STE

Things kick off with “the effective, bluesey Money (That’s What I Want) by Barret Strong, Motown’s debut release. There is a raw, earthy feel to the classic that has stood the test of time impecably well. There is a strong injection of rock and roll on Motown’s early releases though they found a more commercially favorable sound with vast elements of pop neatly blended into the production with The Marvelettes famous classic, Please Mr. Postman,” IP the first #1 hit for Motown.

“A vast selection of Martha Reeves’ finest recordings turn up here from the sassy Come and Get These Memories, the pop masterpiece Heat Wave…and the rolling Dancing in the Streets.” IP Of course, there’s also “the unforgetable classic, Nowhere to Run.” IP “Just listening to the sheer volume and power of Reeves voice makes you appreciate her often over-looked vocal talents.” IP

While Martha & the Vandellas overshadowed the Marvelettes, they were, in turn, “overshadowed by Motown’s biggest act, Diana Ross and the Supremes.” IP “Ross had a much softer soprano which had soulful qualities, oozing heavy emotion and genuine feeling that showed subtle hints of a raw vulnreability in her vocal delivery and neatly surfboarded along Motowns complex musical arrangements.” IP Early number ones like Baby Love, Come See About Me, and You Can’t Hurry Love are featured, although there are other major #1’s from the Supremes which don’t make the cut (“Stop! In the Name of Love,” “You Keep Me Hanging On”). There seems to be more emphasis on later hits of their career, such as “the raw, gritty Love Child and their breathtakingly beautiful ballad, Someday We’ll Be Together.” IP There’s also Stoned Love, “possibly their best post-Ross recording featuring Jean Terrell as lead vocalist.” IP

“There is oddly only one offering from Diana Ross’ solo career with the absolutley magnificent, golden soul classic, Ain’t No Mountin High Enough. Ashford and Simpson always knew how to make good records for Diana Ross and that tracks is one of the many landmarks in her career. You just get goose bumps as that exalting and rip-roaring climax builds and Diana effectivley talks through the verses, emphasising her truly sensual vocal style.” IP

“Holland-Dozier-Holland was the main driving force behind a lot of Motowns most golden classics. They wrote and assembled some of the most remarkable pieces of music for both Diana Ross [and the Supremes] and the fantasic Four Tops.” IP “Lead singer of The Four Tops Levi Stubbs’ rocketing voice was just amazing and even managed to give you goose bumps. Several of their most famous classics turn up here including their pair of U.S chart toppers, I Can’t Help Myself and the hauntingly atmospheric Reach Out (I’ll Be There).” IP

“The Temptations were one of Motown’s hottest and most versatile acts. The splitting of lead vocal duties between the smooth, sensuous sound of Eddie Kendricks falsetto combined with the explosive volume of David Ruffins more forceful delivery marked an interesting transistion in their work. Tracks like the jamming Get Ready and My Girl respectivley show up on this box set though also highlights some of their most exciting work from the early ‘70s with the undertones of hot, pulsating funk on Cloud Nine, which saw Dennis Edwards being lead vocalist after the swift departure of David Ruffin and the utterly fantastic classic, Ball of Confusion, divulging into contemporary social issues.” IP

While the Temptations performed the song, “My Girl” was also a showcase for Smokey Robinson, “a key artist at Motown who wrote some timeless music and was generally an all-round and highly versatile entertainer.” IP He also lent his skills to Mary Wells’ My Guy and other major Motown hits. “Some of his most enthralling work [with his own group, the Miracles], is on here such as the infectious sounds of The Tears of a Clown and the breathtakingly beautiful, The Tracks of My Tears.” IP

“Stevie Wonder was a sheer genius and some of his greatest work is included here, from the masterpiece production of Fingertips to the playful funk of Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.” IP Of course, the real gems of Wonder’s career were yet to come after the years covered by this box with funkier songs like “Superstition” and “Higher Ground” and socially-conscious hits like “Living for the City” and “You Haven’t Done Nothin’.”

“Marvin Gaye was another one of Motowns definitive artists. His work progresed from the formulaic sounds of Motown on tracks like Stubborn Kind of Fellow to the masterpiece of I Heard It Through the Grapevine to the profound political statements expressed on the timeless What’s Going On that is deservedly included on here.” IP

“Amongst other familiar classics are the fantastic and the at-the-time controversial nature of Edwin Starr’s rip-roaring War, the beautiful This Old Heart of Mine by the highly underated The Isley Brothers, the sensational Shotgun by Junior Walker and the All Stars who bought a unique touch of Jazz to their mainstream sound of Soul/R&B/Pop, …[and] ABC by The Jackson 5 (featuring a young, nasal sounding Michael Jackson).” IP

“That the running order begins with…‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ and ends with Marvin Gaye’s statement of concern Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) says a lot about how far the company moved in its golden decade – but no more so than what the same two cuts’ differences in sound get across. The company was able to blend the smooth and the harsh in ways that few other pop entities have ever mastered, thereby getting over not only to the feet and the wallet, but to the heart.” RW

“The box itself could have been packaged with a little more care (there are no artists listed on the back of the individual discs, only songs), but Hitsville USA stands as a definitive overview and introduction to one of the most groundbreaking labels in pop music history.” STE Hitsville USA “is both superb and timeless but also essential to any serious Soul/R&B collection.” IP

Notes: A second box set was released a year after this one to cover the years 1972 to 1992.

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