The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House

By Jeffrey Buck

Motown took center stage once again when several of today’s top musical artists traveled to a special concert held at the White House this past Thursday.

A special gathering of past and present Motown legends put on what is being billed as an unforgettable performance in the East Room for President Barack Obama and the First Lady. The concert, entitled “The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House” will be featured nationwide tonight at 8 p.m. EST on PBS for everyone’s enjoyment.

The “In Performance at the White House” series has taken place during every presidential administration since the Carter Administration started it in 1978. This year’s theme is extraordinarily appealing because of its ties to our region and what the music label Motown did for our city and the artists that they produced.

The show, hosted by Jamie Foxx, who is also a performer, showcases some of today’s hottest talent in the music industry. Artists young and old from all different genres came together to do their own renditions of classic Motown songs.

The performers include:

Natasha Bedingfield
Sheryl Crowe
Nick Jonas
John Legend
Greg Phillinganes
Amber Riley
Smokey Robinson
Mark Salling
Jordin Sparks
Stevie Wonder

In a mash-up of performers, they tackled some of the all-time favorite songs that came out of that garage-turned-studio on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. Here is a song list in order of performances viewers can expect to hear and watch tonight:

“Get Ready; The Way You Do the Things You Do; Can’t Get Next to You; Ain’t Too Proud to Beg Medley”
Performed by Jamie Foxx, Nick Jonas, John Legend and Seal

“I Want You Back”
Performed by Sheryl Crow

“Can’t Help Myself”
Performed by Nick Jonas

“My Guy”
Performed by Ledisi

“I Heard it Through the Grapevine”
Performed by John Legend

“Stop! In the Name of Love”
Performed by Jordin Sparks, Natasha Bedingfield and Ledisi

“My Girl”
Performed by Seal

“Tracks of My Tears”
Performed by Natasha Bedingfield

“Living for the City”
Performed by Amber Riley

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”
Performed by Gloriana

“Just My Imagination” (Web Exclusive)
Performed by Mark Salling

“You Can’t Hurry Love”
Performed by Jordin Sparks

“You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”
Performed by Smokey Robinson and Sheryl Crow

“You Are the Sunshine of My Life”
Performed by Stevie Wonder

“Dancing in the Streets”
Full Cast

PBS is also offering viewers a “behind the scenes” look on their website, , so be sure to check out a sit down with Smokey Robinson and other videos posted online.

Your love of Motown doesn’t need to end here, folks. I recently paid a visit to the Motown Historical Museum at 2648 W. Grand Boulevard, also known as Hitsville, USA, which produced so many chart-topping records.

If you’ve never been, shame on you, you need to go. The tour guides know their stuff and you’ll leave there in awe of what was going on in Detroit when Berry Gordy was turning out hit after hit.

For more information on admission and hours be sure to check out their website:


About Jeffrey S. Buck

I'm currently a Project Manager at Cypress Partners, LLC in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. I graduated from Wayne State University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism. Looking to broaden my view of the world, I spent a semester abroad studying at the University of Salford, a Greater Manchester University in England. I enjoy doing an array of activities, including following Detroit sports teams, SCUBA diving, traveling, reading, playing tennis, hand-written letters and going to the movies. I am the co-founder of the Woodward Spine, a blog about Detroit and its surrounding communities. The Woodward Spine aims to inform its readers about relevant news and events through creative and informative posts in these core areas: news, opinion, entertainment, history, sports and development. The Woodward Spine serves the tri-county metro Detroit area, concentrating mainly on the communities that lie along the Woodward corridor.
This entry was posted in Detroit, Music, Things To Do, TV/Film and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House

  1. Courtney says:

    Came to yuor web blog through Bing. You already know I am subscribing to your rss feed.

  2. Do you have any video of that? I’d want to find out
    more details.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s