Can You Name These Hit Motown Songs From the Singer and Lyrics?


By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Remember which classic group crooned "Tracks of My Tears," or "My Girl?" Know all the words to "What's Goin' On?" or "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by the iconic Marvin Gaye? Can you name that one thing The Supremes warned that just can't be hurried, or the person that The Marvelettes cautioned you should never mess with? If you consider yourself a devoted Motown fan, you might have what it takes to ace this quiz!

Berry Gordy Jr. didn't find tremendous success as a musician or songwriter early in his career, but things changed when he started a label he named Tamla Records in January 1959. He incorporated the company as the Motown Record Company the next year and went on to forge one of the most successful hit-making factories in the history of the music industry. 

Gordy brought bands into his Detroit studio, appropriately named Hitsville U.S.A., round the clock, having them record songs that blended soul and pop to form what is now known as the Motown Sound. Over the next two decades, Motown produced 79 records that hit the Billboard Hot 100 charts and developed such beloved artists as Diana Ross, The Four Tops, and The Temptations. 

Think you know everything there is to know about the music and artists of Motown? Take our quiz to find out!

The Temptations sang "I've got sunshine on a cloudy day /When it's cold outside/I've got the month of May." What's this Motown hit?

"My Girl" is a distinct Motown song. It was a 1965 hit for The Temptations.


Mary Wells sang "Like birds of a feather we stick together." What's this Motown hit?

"My Guy" was a huge hit back in 1964. The film Sister Act revised it a bit and called it "My God" instead.


The Four Tops sang "Now if you feel that you can't go on/ Because all of your hope is gone..." What's this Motown hit?

"(Reach Out) I'll Be There" is a 1966 hit for The Four Tops. This one's categorized under 'soul' music.


The Marvelettes sang "There must be some word today/ From my boyfriend so far away." What's this Motown hit?

"Please Mr. Postman" is the big hit song from the album of the same and was sung by The Marvelettes. This one has a doo-wop vibe to it.


The Miracles sang "Before you ask some girl for her hand now/ Keep your freedom for as long as you can now." What's this Motown hit?

"Shop Around" was a hit for The Miracles in 1960. Aside from starting Motown, Berry Gordy Jr. also penned songs like this one, with co-writer Smokey Robinson.


Marvin Gaye sang "You see, war is not the answer/ For only love can conquer hate." What's this Motown hit?

"What's Going On" is Marvin Gaye's thought-provoking hit released in 1971. Its songwriters were inspired by the police brutality in the Bloody Sunday incident.


Jimmy Ruffin sang "But happiness is just an illusion/ Filled with sadness and confusion." What's this Motown hit?

"What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" is such a sad soul song. But it was a hit in 1966 for Jimmy Ruffin.


Barrett Strong sang "Your love is such a thrill/ But your love won't pay my bills." What's this Motown hit?

"Money (That's What I Want)" is a very direct song and was a hit for Barrett Strong in 1959. It's actually the very first Motown hit too, co-written by Berry Gordy Jr. himself.


Edwin Starr sang "What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!" What's this Motown hit?

"War" was a 1970 hit for Edwin Starr. It's a clear anti-Vietnam War protest song, and one of the most popular from that sub-genre of music.


Smokey Robinson and the Miracles sang "Now if there's a smile on my face/ It's only there trying to fool the public." What's this Motown hit?

"The Tears of a Clown" was a huge hit single for Smokey Robinson and the Miracles in 1970. But it was recorded way earlier and included on an earlier album of the group's.


Martha and the Vandellas sang "Oh, it doesn't matter what you wear/ Just as long as you are there." What's this Motown hit?

"Dancing in the Street" was a Motown hit of Martha and the Vandellas' in 1964. Mick Jagger and David Bowie covered it successfully in 1985.


The Supremes sang "But is her sweet expression/ Worth more than my love and affection?" What's this Motown hit?

"Stop! In the Name of Love" was The Supremes' huge 1965 hit. Diana Ross was the lead vocalist of the girl group.


The Jackson 5 sang "Won't you please let me back in your heart?" What's this Motown hit?

"I Want You Back" is The Jackson 5's 1969 hit single. Little Michael Jackson belts out the hopeful lyrics perfectly.


Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell sang "Just call my name; I'll be there in a hurry/ You don't have to worry." What's this Motown hit?

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" was a 1967 hit sung by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. The two had a lot of successful duets, until the untimely death of Terrell due to a brain tumor.


Stevie Wonder sang "Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past." What's this Motown hit?

"Superstition" was a hit for Stevie Wonder in 1972. This one's a soul and funk mash-up.


Jr. Walker and the All Stars sang "Shoot 'em 'fore he run now..." What's this Motown hit?

"Shotgun" was a hit for Jr. Walker and the All-Stars back in 1965. This one's a favorite of filmmakers, having been included in many film soundtracks.


The Commodores sang "She's mighty-mighty, just lettin' it all hang out." What's this Motown hit?

"Brick House" is a 1977 hit of The Commodores. Yep, that's the group where Lionel Richie was before going solo.


The Spinners sang "I'm sitting all alone, by the telephone/ Waiting for your call, when you don't call at all." What's this Motown hit?

"It's A Shame" is a 1970 hit for The Spinners. Yes, the Motown sound knows no gender when it comes to messed up love -- or who messed up!


Gladys Knight and the Pips sang "It's sad to think, we're not gonna make it/ And it's gotten to the point where we just can't fake it." What's this Motown hit?

"Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye)" was a 1972 hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips. But after this song, they left the Motown label.


The Velvelettes sang "Well, you may think their love is true/ But they'll walk right over you." What's this Motown hit?

"Needle in a Haystack" is a 1964 hit by the girl group, The Velvelettes. The member line-up of this group kept changing until they disbanded.


The Isley Brothers sang "Each time you break away, I fear you've gone to stay." What's this Motown hit?

"This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)" is a 1967 hit for The Isley Brothers. This kind of soul-pop sound is a product of Motown-inspired songwriters.


Brenda Holloway sang "Every night I wonder why/ You treat me cold." What's this Motown hit?

"Every Little Bit Hurts" is a 1964 hit single by Brenda Holloway. But she recorded it way earlier, and did another recording when she joined Motown.


Rick James sang "She's a very kinky girl/ The kind you don't take home to mother." What's this Motown hit?

"Super Freak" is proof of the Motown sound's evolution through decades since this song was a hit in 1981. It was sung by Rick James, but younger listeners probably recognize the rhythm more from MC Hammer's 1990 sampling of it in "U Can't Touch This."


The Contours sang "You broke my heart 'cause I couldn't dance." What's this Motown hit?

"Do You Love Me" is a playful hit of 1962 sang by The Contours. The song became a hit again in 1988 after it was featured in the film Dirty Dancing, a year before.


The Temptations sang "Please don't leave me girl/ Don't you go." What's this Motown hit?

"Ain't Too Proud to Beg" by The Temptations was a hit back in 1966. But younger listeners might be more familiar with the 1992 TLC song with the same title, only stylized as "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg."


Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and The Miracles individually sang "I bet you're wonderin' how I knew/ 'Bout your plans to make me blue." What's this Motown hit?

Though "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" is primarily identified with crooner Marvin Gaye, two other Motown acts recorded earlier versions of this song. But '80s kids would probably recognize this song better because the song used for The California Raisins commercial.


Smokey Robinson and the Miracles sang "I don't like you, but I love you/ Seems that I'm always thinkin' of you." What's this Motown hit?

"You Really Got a Hold on Me" is a 1962 hit by The Miracles and was penned by its lead vocalist, Smokey Robinson. It's another Motown song that was heavily used and included in soundtracks of films and TV shows.


The Supremes sang "She said, love don't come easy/ It's a game of give and take." What's this Motown hit?

"You Can't Hurry Love" is another defining song from The Supremes and was a hit for them back in 1966. But Phil Collins also made his cover version that was popular in 1983.


The Jackson 5 sang "It's easy as, 1 2 3/ As simple as, do re mi." What's this Motown hit?

"ABC" is a playful 1970 hit single by The Jackson 5. It's noted for dislodging The Beatles' "Let It Be" off the top of the charts that year.


The Four Tops sang "I can't help myself/ I love you and nobody else." What's this Motown hit?

"I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" is a 1965 hit by The Four Tops. Motown songs like this one sound a bit desperate, if analyzed using today's pop culture sensitivity, but they were just plain cute when they first came out!


Diana Ross sang "Boy, you turn me/ Inside out." What's this Motown hit?

When a former Motown girl group member goes solo, she can still have hits. This is what happened to Diana Ross, formerly of The Supremes, when she hit it big with "Upside Down" in 1980.


Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston sang "One can wish upon a star/ Two can make a wish come true." What's this Motown hit?

There are a lot of pop culture products entitled "It Takes Two," from songs to films. As for this Motown hit, it was big in 1966 for Marvin Gaye; it was a duet with Kim Weston.


Marvin Gaye sang "And if you feel like I feel baby/ Come on, oh come on, ooh..." What's this Motown hit?

“Let’s Get It On” is a 1973 hit which became a national anthem for sexy-time goings-on. And it worked for many generations, as echoed by Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor in their 2015 tribute song "Let's Marvin Gaye and Get It On."


Diana Ross & The Supremes sang "Through the hollow of my tears/ I see a dream that's lost/ From the hurt that you have caused." What's this Motown hit?

The Supremes rebranded themselves and became Diana Ross & the Supremes. The 1967 song "Reflections," is one of those songs released under this rebranding.


Charlene sang "I've been to Georgia and California/ And anywhere I could run." What's this Motown hit?

A solo singer named Charlene recorded "I've Never Been To Me" in 1977, which was a flop. But for some strange reason, the record gained a second wind in 1982 and became a hit after a DJ put it on air again.


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