Songwriters and Lyrical Perspectives

I’m playing Motown music in the shop this week.  Why? My husband Jesse and I spent a couple of days in Saugatuck, MI.  We ate breakfast in a cool spot that was playing the sounds of Motown.  Jesse never stopped moving his shoulders to the beat.  I’ve noticed when people walk in the shop they immediately begin to sing or move their shoulders.  Yesterday a guy walked in and I was singing I Heard it Through the Grapevine by Gladys Knight and the Pips and he joined in as a Pip.  It was fun, but we’re not going on the road anytime time soon.

He asked how I knew the lyrics, since I “seemed so young.”  (Hey, that’s what he said! I don’t make up this stuff!)  I told him how my mom played Motown records when I was a kid from a big console in the living room.  I think Gladys Knight was her favorite, which is probably why I know all the words to the entire album! Yes I said album.  I asked him how he learned all the words and moves of the Pips.  He told me how he remembers Motown music as the soundtrack during the Vietnam war.  “Black people weren’t afraid to speak out through music during a time of civil change in our country.  Although a white man, I enjoyed the creative, yet socially conscious lyrics of Motown, greatly”, he said.

So now as I listen to Motown in the shop…I don’t just see my mom’s living room, but I try to interpret the lyrics with a different perspective; from songwriters with an important message to share.  At the heart of something good is always a good script.  Which is why I can’t wait until Motown: The Musical comes to Broadway next spring!


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