The 50 Greatest Motown Hits of the ’60s and ’70s

In 1959, Detroit songwriter and record store proprietor Berry Gordy founded Tamla Records and opened a small recording studio that he nicknamed Hitsville U.S.A. The following year, he incorporated Motown Records – the name being short for Motor Town, a derivation of Detroit’s nickname, Motor City.

Motown soon released “Shop Around” by The Miracles, which became an R&B smash hit, and the company went on to become one of the most influential independent record labels – and one of the most successful Black-owned businesses in general – in American history. The label introduced numerous now-legendary recording artists to audiences, including Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Smokey Robinson, and during the ‘60s and ‘70s, pumped out dozens of top hits and often dominated the Billboard charts. (Here are the most dominant reigns in Billboard history.)

To determine the 50 greatest Motown singles of the 1960s and 1970s, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on historical Billboard Hot 100 chart performance. Songs released by the Motown Records label or its subsidiaries between 1960 and 1979 were ranked based on a custom scoring wherein a week at No. 1 on the Hot 100 is worth 100 points, a week at No. 2 with 99 points, and so on, up to a week at No. 100 worth one point. Supplemental data on chart entry dates and total time spent on the Hot 100 were also calculated using Billboard data.

Huge acts including the Temptations, the Supremes, the Jackson 5, and Marivin Gaye each have at least five songs on the list, while child prodigy and multi-instrumentalist Stevie Wonder appears with 13 hit singles.

In addition to the new acts that found success with Motown, a number of older acts recorded hit singles for the label, including the Four Tops, with their catchy single “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” and the Contours, with their 1964 hit “Do You Love Me,” written by Berry Gordy himself, which is No. 1 on our list.

Michael Jackson, the child star and lead singer of the Jackson 5, went solo with Motown in 1971 and continued a prosperous career, eventually becoming one of the biggest recording artists ever, as well as one of the many solo artists who were more successful than their bands. 

Source: Mike Lawn / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

50. “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder
> Original Hot 100 appearance: August 18, 1973
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 4 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 14 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

49. “The One Who Really Loves You” by Mary Wells
> Original Hot 100 appearance: March 24, 1962
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 8 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 17 weeks

Source: Evening Standard / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

48. “Stoned Love” by The Supremes
> Original Hot 100 appearance: November 7, 1970
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 7 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 14 weeks

Source: Zoran Veselinovic / Wikimedia Commons

47. “I Wish It Would Rain” by The Temptations
> Original Hot 100 appearance: January 13, 1968
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 4 for 3 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 14 weeks

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

46. “Baby Love” by The Supremes
> Original Hot 100 appearance: October 3, 1964
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 4 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 13 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

45. “The Love You Save/I Found That Girl” by Jackson 5
> Original Hot 100 appearance: May 30, 1970
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 13 weeks

Source: TriggerPhoto / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

44. “Ben” by Michael Jackson
> Original Hot 100 appearance: August 5, 1972
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 16 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

43. “Got to Be There” by Michael Jackson
> Original Hot 100 appearance: October 30, 1971
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 4 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 14 weeks

Source: Emma McIntyre / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

42. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder
> Original Hot 100 appearance: June 27, 1970
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 3 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 14 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

41. “ABC” by Jackson 5
> Original Hot 100 appearance: March 14, 1970
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 13 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

40. “Indiana Wants Me” by R. Dean Taylor
> Original Hot 100 appearance: September 5, 1970
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 5 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 15 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

39. “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by Four Tops
> Original Hot 100 appearance: September 3, 1966
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 15 weeks

Source: Getty Images / Archive Photos via Getty Images

38. “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder
> Original Hot 100 appearance: November 2, 1968
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 2 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 14 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

37. “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” by Marvin Gaye
> Original Hot 100 appearance: April 26, 1969
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 4 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 15 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

36. “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” by The Temptations
> Original Hot 100 appearance: October 14, 1972
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 16 weeks

Source: Evening Standard / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

35. “Fingertips – Pt 2” by Little Stevie Wonder
> Original Hot 100 appearance: June 22, 1963
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 3 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 15 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

34. “Where Did Our Love Go” by The Supremes
> Original Hot 100 appearance: July 11, 1964
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 14 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

33. “Daddy’s Home” by Jermaine Jackson
> Original Hot 100 appearance: December 9, 1972
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 9 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 18 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

32. “I Was Made to Love Her” by Stevie Wonder
> Original Hot 100 appearance: June 10, 1967
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 2 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 15 weeks

Source: Arnie Lee (Arnielee) / Wikimedia Commons

31. “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” by Four Tops
> Original Hot 100 appearance: May 15, 1965
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 14 weeks

Source: Evening Standard / Getty Images

30. “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye
> Original Hot 100 appearance: February 20, 1971
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 2 for 3 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 15 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

29. “Come See About Me” by The Supremes
> Original Hot 100 appearance: November 14, 1964
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 14 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

28. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Diana Ross
> Original Hot 100 appearance: August 8, 1970
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 3 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 14 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

27. “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder
> Original Hot 100 appearance: November 18, 1972
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 16 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

26. “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)” by The Temptations
> Original Hot 100 appearance: May 23, 1970
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 3 for 3 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 15 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

25. “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)” by The Temptations
> Original Hot 100 appearance: February 6, 1971
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 15 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

24. “Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder
> Original Hot 100 appearance: November 10, 1973
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 8 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 17 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

23. “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder
> Original Hot 100 appearance: April 2, 1977
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 3 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 17 weeks

Source: Chris Ware / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

22. “My Guy” by Mary Wells
> Original Hot 100 appearance: April 4, 1964
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 15 weeks

Source: Echoes / Redferns via Getty Images

21. “Smiling Faces Sometimes” by The Undisputed Truth
> Original Hot 100 appearance: June 26, 1971
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 3 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 18 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

20. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder
> Original Hot 100 appearance: March 17, 1973
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 17 weeks

Source: ShowBizIreland / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

19. “Love Hangover” by Diana Ross
> Original Hot 100 appearance: April 3, 1976
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 18 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

18. “Boogie on Reggae Woman” by Stevie Wonder
> Original Hot 100 appearance: November 16, 1974
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 3 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 17 weeks

Source: Echoes / Redferns via Getty Images

17. “Send One Your Love” by Stevie Wonder
> Original Hot 100 appearance: November 3, 1979
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 4 for 4 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 18 weeks

Source: David Redfern / Redferns via Getty Images

16. “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye
> Original Hot 100 appearance: November 23, 1968
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 7 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 15 weeks

Source: Fin Costello / Redferns via Getty Images

15. “You Haven’t Done Nothin” by Stevie Wonder
> Original Hot 100 appearance: August 3, 1974
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 19 weeks

Source: Central Press / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

14. “Someday We’ll Be Together” by Diana Ross & The Supremes
> Original Hot 100 appearance: November 8, 1969
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 16 weeks

Source: Evening Standard / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

13. “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder
> Original Hot 100 appearance: December 4, 1976
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 17 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

12. “I Can’t Get Next to You” by The Temptations
> Original Hot 100 appearance: August 16, 1969
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 17 weeks

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

11. “Got to Give It Up (Pt. I)” by Marvin Gaye
> Original Hot 100 appearance: April 16, 1977
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 18 weeks

Source: Larry Ellis / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

10. “Love Child” by Diana Ross & The Supremes
> Original Hot 100 appearance: October 19, 1968
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 16 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

9. “I’ll Be There” by Jackson 5
> Original Hot 100 appearance: September 19, 1970
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 5 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 16 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

8. “Get Ready” by Rare Earth
> Original Hot 100 appearance: March 14, 1970
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 4 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 20 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

7. “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes
> Original Hot 100 appearance: September 4, 1961
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 23 weeks

Source: RB / Redferns via Getty Images

6. “I Want You Back” by Jackson 5
> Original Hot 100 appearance: November 15, 1969
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 19 weeks

Source: Motown Records / Wikimedia Commons

5. “Touch Me in the Morning” by Diana Ross
> Original Hot 100 appearance: June 2, 1973
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 21 weeks

Source: Angela Deane-Drummond / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

4. “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye
> Original Hot 100 appearance: July 14, 1973
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 19 weeks

Source: Frank Barratt / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

3. “Dancing Machine” by Jackson 5
> Original Hot 100 appearance: March 16, 1974
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 2 for 2 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 22 weeks

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

2. “Love Machine (Part 1)” by The Miracles
> Original Hot 100 appearance: October 25, 1975
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 1 for 1 week
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 28 weeks

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1. “Do You Love Me” by The Contours
> Original Hot 100 appearance: August 11, 1962
> Peak position on Hot 100: No. 3 for 3 weeks
> Total time spent on Hot 100: 34 weeks

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