How Motown and ‘The Big Chill’ Revolutionized the Music and Advertising Industries

  • Variety
Motown Records stumbled into the 1980s from the ‘70s, watching its greatest hitmakers return to the charts via other labels — Diana Ross at RCA, Marvin Gaye at Columbia and, of course, Michael Jackson and his brothers at Epic. Its fortunes perked up a bit in 1982 with hits from Lionel Richie and DeBarge, but overall, the label was on a downhill slide from its glory days.

Then came 1983.

That year saw two significant events restore interest in Motown and its peerless catalog (and fatten its bank balance) that would resonate for decades — and would also affect the way film, television and music intersect.

May 1983 saw the debut of NBC’s Emmy-winning “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever.” The show was watched by 34 million viewers and introduced Jackson’s moonwalk to the world — cementing his status as the world’s biggest superstar — but it also had a huge impact on the legendary Motown quintet the Temptations.
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