The Second Disc

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What’s Going On: “Motown 25” Comes To DVD In New Box Set, Highlights DVDs

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Motown 25

On the evening of March 25, 1983, the Pasadena Civic Auditorium was alive with the sound of music – the Sound of Young America, to be more specific.  Motown Records was celebrating its 25th anniversary, and producer Suzanne de Passe wasn’t pulling any stops.  “Once in a lifetime” was as overused in 1983 as it is today, but the galaxy of stars assembled by de Passe couldn’t be described any other way: Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie and the Commodores, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, Martha Reeves, Junior Walker, The Temptations, The Four Tops, and the Jackson 5 were all there.  And the moment Michael Jackson broke out of the shadow of his brothers, once and for all, to show America the moonwalk, the evening billed as Motown: Yesterday, Today, Forever entered into the annals of history.  With host Richard Pryor presiding over reunion performances ranging from the warm (The Miracles) to the seemingly contentious (The Supremes), a Temps/Tops “battle of the bands” and even tribute performances from visiting stars like Adam Ant and Linda Ronstadt, Motown 25 was an event the likes of which wouldn’t be seen again.  The program aired on NBC-TV on May 16, 1983, and was subsequently issued on MGM/UA Home Video in 1991, but DVD release had eluded it…until now.  On September 30, the Emmy Award-winning Motown 25 will arrive from Time Life/StarVista (in conjunction with de Passe Jones Entertainment and Berry Gordy’s West Grand Media) in a variety of formats echoing Time Life’s lavish treatment of The Midnight Special and other titles.

The crown jewel of this campaign is the 6-DVD box set, which – in Time Life/StarVista tradition – will be an online exclusive at MOTOWN25DVDS.COM. It’s available there now for pre-order.  The release features an extended version of the show, with over 20 additional minutes not seen on the original broadcast, as well as a brand-new 5.1 surround sound mix. The 6-DVD set also includes nine newly-produced featurettes and additional bonus features including:

  • “Signed, Sealed, Delivered – The Making of Motown 25,” which tells the behind-the-scenes story of the making of the program, and offers new insights into the rise of Motown and its roster of super stars
  • “What’s Going On: Marvin Gaye”
  • “Come and Get These Memories: Inside Hitsville”
  • “Dancing In The Street: History of Motown”
  • Rare footage of Marvin Gaye ad-libbing at the piano prior to a soulful version of “What’s Going On”
  • Stevie Wonder rehearsal footage
  • A two-part Motown 25 Performers Roundtable featuring Smokey Robinson and Duke Fakir (Four Tops), Otis Williams (The Temptations) and Executive Producer Suzanne de Passe, taped at the location of the original concert, the Pasadena Civic Auditorium
  • A “Yesterday-Today-Forever” Production Roundtable with de Passe, Director/Producer Don Mischer and others
  • Over 25 exclusive interviews with performers and crew, including Claudette Robinson (The Miracles), Martha Reeves (Martha and the Vandellas), Smokey Robinson, Nelson George, Gloria Jones, Adam Ant, Ashford and Simpson, Buz Kohan (Head Writer), David Goldberg (Executive in Charge of Production), Mickey Stevenson (Former Head of A&R/Songwriter), Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Songwriters/Producers) and many more.

The box set, pictured above, is packaged with an exclusive 48-page booklet packed with information about the show and artists, production materials and never-before-scene photos from the production, essays on Motown performers, a copy of the original Motown 25 program, and more.

Two versions – a 3-DVD set and a single-disc release – will arrive to retail on September 30.  The 3-DVD set features the concert and over six hours of extras including four featurettes, the Marvin Gaye rehearsal footage, the Performer and Production Roundtables and more.  The single DVD features the newly-remastered concert and over one hour of bonus features.

About the only thing missing from this comprehensive campaign is an audio component, such as a new reissue of the 1983 version of the Grammy-nominated The Motown Story audio documentary or a first-time-ever actual soundtrack of the evening’s performances.  After the jump, we’ll break down the contents of each release for you!

Motown 25 today is still recognized as a major landmark in the company’s history; Berry Gordy even used the concert to frame his current Broadway hit Motown: The Musical.  Per the original press release, the contents of each release are as follows.  You can pre-order by clicking on links where active!  The retail releases arrive in stores on September 30, while pre-orders for the online-exclusive 6-DVD box are open now!

MOTOWN 25 (6-DVD Box Set) (Online Exclusive)

Price: $79.95 / Run time: approx. 16 hours / Pre-orders available now

  • 6 DVDs in deluxe collector’s packaging, featuring a 48-page collector’s book and a copy of the Motown 25 Program; extended version of Motown 25 with over 20 additional minutes not seen in the original broadcast; new 5.1 surround sound
  • Fourteen hours of specially-created featurettes, in-depth interviews and more
  • Nine featurettes including: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Making of Motown 25,” “What’s Going On: Marvin Gaye,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There: The Temptations and Four Tops,” “Come and Get These Memories: Inside Hitsville,” “Dancing In The Street: History of Motown,” “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me: The Miracles,” “My Guy: Smokey Robinson,” “I Heard it Through the Grapevine: Motown Sound,” and “Motown 25 Reboot: The 5.1 Surround Sound Mix”
  • 2-Part Motown Performers Roundtable featuring Smokey Robinson, Duke Fakir, Otis Williams and Suzanne de Passe; the “Yesterday-Today-Forever” Production Roundtable featuring de Passe, Suzanne Coston (Producer), Don Mischer (Director/Producer), David Goldberg (Executive in Charge of Production) and Buz Kohan (Head Writer) and a Songwriters Roundtable (1983).
  • Exclusive Interviews with: Suzanne de Passe, Don Mischer, Suzanne Coston, Duke Fakir, Otis Williams, Claudette Robinson, Martha Reeves, Gloria Jones, Smokey Robinson, Ashford and Simpson, Adam Ant, Nelson George, Michael Lovesmith, Iris Gordy, Motown Records Songwriters/Producers Norman Whitfield and Holland Dozier Holland, Motown Executives including Shelly Berger, Russ Terrana (Engineer), Janie Bradford, Mickey Stevenson and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Songwriters/Producers), Motown 25 writers Buz Kohan, Ruth Robinson and Don Waller, David Goldberg, George Schlatter (George Schlatter Productions), Rick Ludwin (former Head of NBC Specials)

MOTOWN 25 (3 DVDs) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. Links TBA)

Price: $39.95 MSRP / Run time: 7 hours, 38 minutes

  • 3 DVDs in deluxe collector’s packaging
  • Extended version of Motown 25 with over 20 additional minutes not seen in the original broadcast; new 5.1 surround sound
  • Over six hours of hours of specially-created featurettes, in-depth interviews and more.
  • Marvin Gaye Rehearsal Footage
  • Four featurettes including: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Making of Motown 25,” “What’s Going On: Marvin Gaye,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There: The Temptations and Four Tops,” “Come and Get These Memories: Inside Hitsville”
  • 2-Part Motown Performers Roundtable; the “Yesterday-Today-Forever” Production Roundtable
  • Exclusive Interviews with: Suzanne de Passe, Don Mischer, Duke Fakir, Otis Williams, Claudette Robinson, Martha Reeves

MOTOWN 25 (1 DVD) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. Links TBA)

Price: $19.95 MSRP

  • Extended version of Motown 25 with over 20 additional minutes not seen in the original broadcast; new 5.1 surround sound
  • Over an hour of bonus programming, including “Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Making of Motown 25” and Part 1 of the Motown Performers Roundtable

7 Responses

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  1. Hope the 6 DVD set is available for us in the UK

    Alex Stassi

    August 20, 2014 at 13:09

    • So do I! Please let me know when the 6 dvd box set is available to buy in the UK

      Tracey

      October 11, 2014 at 08:19

  2. What – no Blu-ray treatment?

    scarecrowbike

    August 20, 2014 at 13:14

  3. Do you know if there will also be a stereo layer for the DVDs. I do not like the mix down approach for listening to stereo when there is only a 5.1 layer. Joe

    Joe F

    August 20, 2014 at 13:54

  4. I hope they show some love to the follow-up special: “Motown Returns To The Apollo”…

    Rob Maurer

    August 20, 2014 at 13:57

  5. I guess we won’t be getting the unedited Supremes reunion…

    Tom

    August 21, 2014 at 09:12

    • I’m guessing we won’t EVER get that.

      mackdaddyg

      August 21, 2014 at 09:41


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