On Sunday, April 21, CBS will be airing Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration to celebrate the historic record label, Motown Records. Hosted by Cedric the Entertainer and Grammy Award winner Smokey Robinson, the two-hour network special will air at 8 p.m. ET. In addition to the star studded list of performers, the special will air archival footage showing how some of Motown’s most famous songs came to be, and how the label, owned by Universal Music Group, was able to succeed against the extreme racial resistance of the time.
The broadcast special was taped at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on February 12, and those in attendance were treated to watching one of the most impressive line-up of performers since the 2019 Grammys. The list of singers that will be performing on Sunday night’s special include: Boyz II Men, Lamont Dozier, Fantasia, Brian & Eddie Holland, Tori Kelly, John Legend, Little Big Town, Ne-Yo, Pentatonix, Martha Reeves, Diana Ross, Valerie Simpson, Mickey Stevenson, Meghan Trainor and Stevie Wonder, who as reported by the Detroit Free Press, had so much performing during the live show, his planned 12-minute set stretched to 45 minutes. However, it will be trimmed back down to 12-minutes for Sunday night’s broadcast.
Sister act Chloe X Halle will be singing “Please, Mr. Postman,” while Ciara will perform Rick James’ big hit “Superfreak.” One of the most anticipated performances of the night will be Thelma Houston singing her hit, “Don’t Leave Me This Way.”
Motown Records was originally founded in 1959 by Barry Gordy, and its original name was the Tamla Group before becoming incorporated in 1960. Based in Detroit, Michigan, Motown Records new name was inspired by the city’s nickname as the “Motor State,” and Gordy’s goal with label was to bring people together through great music. Gordy, 89, succeeded in a way that no one was able to do in the late 20th century. The incredibly talented artists of Motown created music that transcended race at a time when America was incredibly divided through segregation and violence.
Many of the world’s most successful artist came through Motown, including Diana Ross & the Supremes, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson & the Jackson 5, the Marvelettes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Lionel Richie & the Commodores, and Teena Marie.