Greatest Motown Singers

The Top Ten
1 Marvin Gaye Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr.; April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984) was an American singer and songwriter. He helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an in-house session player and later as a solo artist with a string of hits, earning him the nicknames "Prince of Motown" and... read more

I am only 16 years old and have listened to many old Motown singers. They have all had a hit or two that caught my attention. The first time I heard Marvin's voice, I was instantly hooked. It is hard to explain in words. In a way, he had a simple voice, but it has a certain sound to it that makes people listen. I can hear the struggles in his voice.

You can't just listen to "Let's Get it On," "What's Going On," and "Sexual Healing." While those songs are certainly some of his best, he has many other unappreciated titles under his belt. I recommend the gold album on iTunes. It starts out with happy songs while he was becoming known, but as the album continues, he begins sounding more worried and depressed. He certainly has something for everyone.

2 Michael Jackson Michael Jackson (Michael Joseph Jackson; August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, dancer, and songwriter. He passed away from cardiac arrest caused by a propofol and benzodiazepine overdose on June 25, 2009. He donated (at least) a remarkable 500,000,000 dollars to charity. Michael... read more

He was simply magic! Five number 1 hits before graduating from grade school. Danced just as well as James Brown at the age of 5. Was the best Motown singer ever, best dancer, best choreographer ever, had the most fans in the world ever. Has the best-known TV performance at Motown 25, best pop artist ever, and was the most caring man on earth.

There are no words great enough to describe him. He was a true inspiration and will never ever fade from our lives. At first, there was Michael on record, then CD, then MP3, then iPod, and he will always be there no matter how much technology updates. An absolute angel. I love him forever.

3 David Ruffin (The Temptations) David Eli Ruffin was an American soul singer and musician most famous for his work as one of the lead singers of The Temptations during the group's "Classic Five" period as it was later known.

David was the best there was. The others were great, but David had the soul of his people and ancestors. Even Marvin Gaye said David had something great in his voice that Marvin himself lacked. I'm tired of all the negative talk I hear about David. A lot of people are hearing the same junk and are judging him, neglecting, and ignoring his legacy.

David gave us the voice and soul no other has given. I truly love this man. He wasn't perfect and made many mistakes, but who hasn't made mistakes? We all have made mistakes, so why do we expect that David should have been perfect? He was human and he was a man.

Now, this book "My Temptation" must have been written by some sicko. First of all, she made the statement that she could hear David telling her to write and publish the book. Now, why would David come to her in a vision, dream, or any other way and tell her to bash his name and legacy like that? Why would he want the world to remember him in that way? He wouldn't. So, we know this very troubled and psycho lady is lying. It's obvious he didn't love her and she is out for bloody revenge.

Now, if any woman should have been disappointed, it should have been Sandra, his wife. She doesn't talk about how she dated and purposefully got pregnant by him. But Sandra has kept her dignity and her true love for David by not smearing his name, memory, and legacy. That is why he married Sandra. He knew she was an honorable woman. He did not marry Jenna Sapia because he knew from the beginning she was after him because of his fame and fortune.

David was not a dumb man even though he might have done some dumb things, which we all do at some time or another. Now, this son David Jr. is just as bad as his mom. He raises hell and high water on his mother's side with this junk, yet he's busy trying to ride his way to fame on David Sr.'s accomplishments and talents. But like David Ruffin Sr. said, there ain't but one David Ruffin.

We know David Jr... more

4 Stevie Wonder Stevland Hardaway Morris, known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist.

Stevie was so versatile. From high energy like Signed, Sealed, Delivered and Superstition to low and smooth like Golden Lady, I Believe, and Boogie on Reggae Woman, his voice range was better than any other major solo recording artist in history. He really should be number 1. MJ may have been more popular, but Stevie had way better vocal abilities.

Stevie has had more influence than any of these singers, and his voice is easily the most varied, controlled, and emotionally powerful, though Marvin Gaye comes in at a close number 2. Combine that with his songwriting mastery, and you've got a veritable music god.

5 Smokey Robinson William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr. is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive.

I returned from Vietnam in July of '67. My best friend in high school was living in L.A. and graduating from college. His aunt owned a bar in L.A. Smokey was singing at the bar, and when he finished a set, he came over and sat with my friend Bill and me. He was a gentleman, and he liked my friend Bill. Bill graduated from college, was drafted, and was KIA in Vietnam six months later. I always wanted to let Smokey know this. Whenever I hear the great Smokey Robinson sing, I think of Bill Negrini.

Great singer and an amazing poet! Tracks of My Tears is his finest work, but he has written many great songs which he's given away to other artists!

6 Gladys Knight Gladys Maria Knight, known as the "Empress of Soul", is an American singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman, humanitarian and author.

Berry Gordy should have given her more attention! What a beautiful woman with a tremendous voice and passion for her talent!

After Aretha, Gladys stands alone. Every song she sang came from a deep place that many could not only reach but stay!

I love Gladys's beautiful smile and fantastic voice.

7 Levi Stubbs (The Four Tops) Levi Stubbs was an American baritone singer, best known as the lead vocalist of the R&B group the Four Tops, a band known for a variety of Motown hit records and other songs created in the 1960s and 1970s.

You haven't heard this great man sing until you've heard what the Tops are NOT famous for! His interpretations of Honey and Climb Every Mountain, to name two, and unreleased tracks like Just A Little Love and Old Fashioned Man (all on YouTube) show how diverse, emotional, and varied his voice was.

No one does passion and emotion like Levi Stubbs. Listen to Ask the Lonely, Baby I Need Your Loving, I'll Never Leave Again, and I Believe In You and Me. Despite never wanting the limelight, he was and always will be known as part of the Four Tops. If people listen to these five odd tracks before voting, Levi Stubbs should be top and deservedly so!

8 Eddie Kendricks (The Temptations)

Eddie sang solos, leads, duets, background, soul, show tunes, R&B, Tin Pan Alley, and Disco. He out-sang Diana Ross on "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" and "I'll Try Something New." He set the template for every falsetto singer who came after him. A Grammy Award winner, he was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a Temptation. Eddie was in a class by himself.

I preferred his type of singing to David Ruffin. Ruffin clearly wanted to totally dominate every performance, but Eddie was too effortless, slick, and slippery for that cat! David's style now sounds OUT of date, and Eddie's swagger is in sync with today's R&B sound. I'm sure even Pharrell Williams would agree. Listen to one of his solo songs, "Intimate Friends." That cat purrs like some gangster pimp!

9 Diana Ross Diana Ernestine Earle Ross is an American singer, actress, and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group the Supremes.

I love Michael Jackson. He's my favorite artist in the world. I'm a massive fan, but I think Diana Ross is special when it comes to Motown. She's the queen of Motown for sure. She may even be the greatest Motown artist. She has many brilliant songs. She is so talented and she is special, really special.

Often underrated as a singer, her phrasing and unique soprano in the R&B platform are superb! Jazz, Motown, and Pop - that's some range!

Diana Ross is the image of a superstar. Her versatility, longevity, and sheer number of hits have proven that.

10 Martha Reeves

Love this group! They were the best!

The Contenders
11 Shawn Stockman
12 Edwin Starr
13 Jermaine Jackson
14 Tammi Terrell Tammi Terrell was an American recording artist, best known as a star singer for Motown Records during the 1960s, most notably for a series of duets with singer Marvin Gaye.
15 Mary Wells
16 Brenda Holloway
17 Wanda Rogers (The Marvelettes)
18 Paul Williams (The Temptations)

Super underrated. One of the greatest voices of time. He could take your standard pop songs and turn them into soul masterpieces. The heart and soul of The Temptations. What a voice!

Paul Williams had a great voice,full of Soul and church on his day he was the best.

19 Barbara McNair

She needs to be recognized as a great singer and stunningly beautiful, Motown did not know what they had.

20 Bobby Taylor

Have You All forgotten the voice range on the cut "I Am You're Man", "Does You're Mama Know About Me", And my personal favorite "Malinda". Bobby Taylor Ranks right behind David Ruffin

21 Rick James Rick James was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, James began his musical career in his teen years in various bands and groups before entering the U.S. Navy to avoid being drafted in the early 1960s.
22 Jean Terrell
23 Jimmy Ruffin
24 Janelle Monae Janelle Monáe Robinson, known professionally as Janelle Monáe, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and model signed to her own imprint, Wondaland Arts Society, and Atlantic Records.

She is such an amazing singer and I wish people would listen to singers like her then that rap hip hop crap is so popular and I don't know why.

25 G. C. Cameron

It's a shame is my favorite oldie, this kid can sing listen to It's A Shame live

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