Thursday, February 17, 2011

White House Motown Tribute: What's Wrong With This Picture?

   Wednesday morning I learned something pretty interesting.  Word got out that President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama (in conjunction with PBS) will host a concert for Black History Month. Entitled "The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House", the concert will take place on February 24 and broadcast on PBS station at 8 PM on March 1st. The acts include such musical talents as Smokey Robinson, Jamie Foxx, Nick Jonas, Ledisi, John Legend, Natasha Bedingfield, Sheryl Crow, John Legend, Amber Riley, and more.
   Sounds like an amazing show, right? I love that the Obama's find time to include such fun and entertaining events into their busy schedules.  There is just one teeny, tiny issue I have. That's the lineup for a Motown tribute??  What's wrong with this picture? Where is the Motown representation? The record label has such a rich history that includes producing a lot of tremendous talent.  How can you pay tribute to it without including more acts that helped bring it notoriety? I'm sure that Smokey will do a wonderful job but what about Stevie Wonder, the Jackson brothers(they probably need work), The Temptations(they still have one original member), or Boyz II Men(they're contemporary but they were signed to the label and released an album of Motown covers)? Despite any business differences or unresolved issues that may exist, they all started their climb to fame at Motown Records.

    I don't know about you all, but when it comes to tributes I want more than just a group of singers performing classic numbers from an artist or record label.  I want to see the subject of the tribute perform in some capacity (if possible). I also want the line up to make sense. Don't just get any artist with an ounce of talent to participate in a tribute. I'm sorry but Nick Jonas and Sheryl Crow seem kind of out of place to me.And while I'm on the topic(and being completely honest with you all), the talent picked for the Aretha Franklin tribute at Sunday's Grammy Awards was a bit odd to me as well. This is the Queen of Soul you're honoring.  Did all of those performers embody soul?? I'm just sayin'.

   I don't know.  Perhaps I am over thinking this.  Or maybe I'm letting my nostalgia for the "good old days" of Motown color my perception.  Maybe there will be lots of classic Motown acts in attendance simply enjoying a great show.  I'm certainly no insider to know all the details. ;-)

Readers, what is your take on this? Am I crazy?  Do you think the line up is solid? What other contemporary artists do you think can (literally) sing the praises of Motown. Let me know!

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