If you’re a young person like me, you probably don’t remember when the 1983 special, MOTOWN 25 – Yesterday, Today, Forever aired on NBC. If you were old enough, then you probably remember seeing Richard Pryor as the host and when Michael Jackson moonwalked for the VERY. FIRST. TIME.
For whatever reason, the special never re-aired, even though it’s been an award winner (the George Foster Peabody Award and an Emmy Award for Best Variety Program) and, of course, one of the biggest moments in pop culture history. More than three decades later, the special is finally airing again.
PBS will show the special this Saturday, Feb. 28 at 8/7c, and will run throughout March. Not only that, but fans of the special will be able to buy 7 CD/3 DVD boxed set of the best of Motown,which Rolling Stone has stated also includes new stereo mixes of Motown’s classic tunes. Here’s more about the special and CD/DVD tie-in:
MY MUSIC presents, in association with TimeLife/StarVista and West Grand Media, the greatest performances from MOTOWN 25 on public television stations nationwide airing on Saturday, February
28, 2015 in two primetime back-to-back telecasts beginning at 8:00 P.M. Eastern/Pacific and 7:00 P.M. Central Time.
MOTOWN 25 was taped before a live audience and showcased virtually every key artist from the company’s inception, including Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Four Tops, The Miracles, The Supremes and others. The show also featured Motown inspired artist Linda Ronstadt, who performed a memorable duet with Smokey Robinson. As an added highlight, the evening was hosted by Richard Pryor, arguably the hottest comedian in the world at the time. As seminal event in pop culture history, this special would serve as the gold standard for all future televised concert events and go on to provide the back story for the Tony-nominated Broadway and touring play, Motown The Musical.
MY MUSIC Creator/Executive Producer TJ Lubinsky exclaims, “Motown 25 was a huge inspiration to me as a 13 year-old kid. When I saw The Miracles reunite on stage, I knew it was a moment that would set my life’s calling in all the work I do today. I’m beyond thrilled to bring this special to public broadcasting.”
MOTOWN 25 viewers who pledge to public television will have an opportunity to enjoy additional performances and features devoted to the landmark production. A single DVD issue of MOTOWN 25 offers the full original concert in newly remastered 5.1 surround sound and over an hour of bonus materials, including The Making of Motown 25 and a performers roundtable. An expanded 3-DVD set of MOTOWN 25 encompasses over six hours of extras, including four featurettes, Marvin Gaye rehearsal footage, performer and production roundtables and outtake songs from the original concert.
Music fans will also celebrate the most extensive audio collection ever assembled of Motown classics in the MY MUSIC 7-CD set Motown Big Hits & More, comprised of Motor City favorites from the 1960s and 1970s. Among the 132 song selections are alternate and extended versions, rare stereo mixes and hard to get tracks from the Motown vaults. All the beloved Motown artists are included: Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Surpremes, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, The Jackson Five, Mary Wells, The Temptations, The Spinners, Four Tops, Jimmy Ruffin, The Marvelettes, Jr. Walker & The All Stars, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Contours, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Isley Brothers and Edwin Starr.
Check out this clip below, detailing just how important Motown was not just to its musicians, but to America itself. Make sure to watch history happen again on PBS!