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Best Motown Songs
On The Acoustic

best motown songs

Welcome to my best Motown songs page where you'll find 30 plus songs on this page and links to nearly 70 more songs you can easily learn on the acoustic guitar.

Help yourself to the free chord sheets and demos, and if you need or want to purchase the full tutorial lessons, you can do so at a small fee from the prices listed above.

Artists on this page:
Al Green - Amos Wilburn
Ben E King - Boz Scaggs
Buddy & Ella Johnson
Clyde McPherson - Dorothy Moore
George Benson - Grayson Hugh
Howlin Wolf
Jimmy Cliff - Joe Cocker
Keb Mo - Lou Rawls
Luther Vandross - Maria Muldaur
Otis Redding - RB Greaves
Smokey Robinson
The Blues Brothers
The Fifth Dimension
The O'Jays

Click drop down menu to quickly access to the artists on this page.


Best Motown Songs
Chords, Lyrics, Demos, Tutorials

1. America The Beautiful - Keb Mo

america the beautiful keb mo

America The Beautiful is the last track from Keb's 2001 album Big Wide Grin. The lyrics to this one were written by Katherine Lee Bates and a church organists by the name Samuel A Ward wrote the music, but the two never met.

The poem was first published in 1895. In 1910 the song came together as one of America's patriotic songs. Keb Mo never released his version as a single.


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2. Back Stabbers - The O'Jays

back stabbers the ojays

Back Stabbers the song managed to reach #1 for The O'Jay's on the Hot Soul Singles chart back in 1972 and then climbed to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The song hails from the album of the same name.


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3. Cruisin - Smokey Robinson

cruisin smokey robinson

Cruisin was a single release by Smokey Robinson back in 1979 and peaked at #4 on the charts. It never made it onto an album until 2014 when it appeared on his Smokey And Frends album featuring Jessie J.

The song was his biggest hit outside of his work with The Miracles band.

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4. Dance With My Father - Luther Vandross

dance with my father luther vandross

Dance With My Father was a single from the album of the same name from 2003.

The song was co-written with Richard Marx and won song of the years and best male R&B award at the 2004 Grammy's.


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5. Evil (Is Goin' On) - Howlin Wolf

evil is goin on howlin wolf

Evil is a track from Howlin Wolf's first studio album which he strongly disliked when it was first recorded back in 1969.

Howlin Wolf had previously recorded the song first in 1954 and again in 1959. The song peaked at #43 on the US R&B charts.


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6. Fine Brown Frame - Lou Rawls

fine brown frame lou rawls

Fine Brown Frame appeared on Lou's 1989 album At Last. The song was performed as a duet with Dianne Reeves.

The song was never released as a single.


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7. Goin To A Go Go - Smokey Robinson

going to a go go smokey robinson

Going To A Go Go was an album in 1965 by The Miracles but referred for the first time as Smokey Robison & The Miracles. The album reached #8 on Billboards Top LP chart and

#1 on Billboards R&B albums charts. It was their only album in the top 10.  The song reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100.


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8. Grandma's Hands - Keb Mo

grandmas hands keb mo

Grandma's Hands hails from Keb mo's 2001 album entitled Big Wide Grin.

The song was written by Bill Withers but was never released as a single by Keb Mo.


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9. Hand It Over - Keb Mo

handitover

Hand It Over is a great track from Keb Mo's 1996 album Just Like You.

To my knowledge the song was never released as a single.


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10. I Second That Emotion - Smokey Robinson

i second that emotion smokey robinson

I Second That Emotion was the first song to chart for Smokey Robinson & The Miracles in 1967.

Smokey also re-released the song in 1978 from his live 1978 album Smokin.


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11. Let's Stay Together - Al Green

lets stay together al green

Let's Stay Together is a 1972 album released by Al Green and this track as the lead song. The single was released ahead of the album in 1971 and topped the Billboard 100 Chart.

The song also hit #1 on Billboards R&B chart. At the end of 1972, the song claimed Billboards Year End chart title for best R&B song.


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12. Lido Shuffle - Boz Scaggs

lido shuffle boz scaggs

Lido Shuffle hails from the 1976 album Silk Degrees and managed to hit #2 in Australia, #5 in Canada and #11 in the US.

Boz said the idea from the Fats Domino song The Fat Man.

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13. Life Is Beautiful - Keb Mo

life is beautiful keb mo

Life Is Beautiful is a song co-written by Keb Mi and Colin Linden and can be found on his 2006 album Suitcase.

This song was never released as a single.

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14. Look What You've Done To Me - Boz Scaggs

look what youve done to me boz scaggs

Look What You've Done To Me is a single from the 1980 film Urban Cowboy starring John Travolta.

The single peaked at #14 in the US. Scaggs co-wrote the song with David Foster.

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15. Lover Bird - Buddy & Ella Johnson

lover bird buddy ella johnson

Lover Bird is a track from the 1958 album from Buddy and Ella Johnson album called Sing Me.

I have no idea if this track was ever released as a single.

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16. Lowdown- Boz Scaggs

lowdown boz scaggs

Lowdown hit the airwaves in 1976 from Boz Scaggs and his album Silg Degrees. Of the 4 singles from this album, Lowdown was the highest ranking at #2 in Canada and #3 in the US.

Drummer Jeff Porcaro from the group TOTO was with Boz at this time and helped write this number.

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17. Midnight At The Oasis - Maria Muldaur

midnight at the oasis

Midnight At The Oasis was a 1973 single from Maria Muldaur when she released her debut album.

The song reached #2 in Canada, #6 in the US and #21 in the UK. The song and album were nominated for song and album of the year at the 1975 Grammy's.

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18. Misty Blue - Dorothy Moore

misty blue dorothy moore

Misty Blue was first recorded 10 years before Dorothy Moore recorded it by Wilma Burgess in 1966 and Eddy Arnold in 1967. Both were country hits.

In 1976 Dorothy Moore released her version. She didn't see the song as a hit when she recorded it but the song went on to become a top 10 hit is several countries, peaking the highest

at #2 in the US.

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19. On Broadway - George Benson

on broadway george benson

On Broadway was first recorded by The Drifters back in 1963 and had a #9 hit with the song. George Benson took a smooth jazz approach with his version and can be found on his 1978 album Weekend In LA.

The single release hit #7 on Billboard and #2 on the R&B charts. He also won a Grammy for best vocal performance with this song.


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20. One Less Bell To Answer - The Fifth Dimension

one less bell to answer the 5th dimension

One Less Bell To Answer was written for jazz singer Keely Smith in 1967. But in 1969 producer Bones Howe came across the tune and wanted The 5th Dimension to record the song as part of their 1970 debut album.

They recorded it, released it and peaked at #2 behind My Sweet Lord by George Harrison.


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21. One Scotch One Soda One Beer - Amos Wilburn

one scotch one soda one beer amos wilburn

One Scotch One Soda One Beer was recorded by Amos Wilburn in 1953. It eventually became part of several compilation albums.

The song was a top ten as a single release for Amos Wilburn.


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22. She Caught The Katy - The Blues Brothers

she caught the katy the blues brothers

She Caught The Katy was an old blues tune first recorded back in 1968 Taj Mahal, who co-wrote the song with James Rachell.

In 1980, The Blues Brothers brought the song back for their album and movie and according to John Belushi's widow, it was his favourite blues song.


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23. Sittin On The Dock - Otis Redding

sittin on the dock otis redding

Sittin On The Dock was Otis Redding's only #1 hit song and it happened after his death in 1967. The song hit the top of the charts in 1968.

The song hails from the album The Dock Of The Day.


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24. Spanish Harlem - Ben E King

spanish harlem ben e king

Spanish Harlem was the first hit from Ben E King as a solo artists after leaving The Drifters. The song peaked at #15 on the R&B chart and #10 on the Pop chart.

The track hails from the 1960 album of the same name.

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25. Sweet Home Chicago - The Blues Brothers

sweet home chicago the blues brothers

Sweet Home Chicago was first recorded by Robert Johnson back in 1936. In 1980 The Blues Brothers incorporated the song into the film and brought the song to a whole new audience. 


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26. Take A Letter Maria - RB Greaves

take a letter maria rb greaves

Take A Letter Maria was released by RB Greaves in September 1969. The song picked up airplay and by Nov the song sold a million copies.

In 1970 it had reached 2.5 million in sales. The track is from the album RB Greaves.


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27. Talk It Over - Grayson Hugh

talk-it-over-grayson-hugh

Talk It Over is a track from Grayson Hugh's 1988 Blind To Reason.

The song reached #3 in NZ, #4 in Australia and #19 in the US.


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28. Tears Of A Clown - Smokey Robinson

the tears of a clown smokey robinson

The Tears Of A Clown is a track from Smokey Robinson and The Miracles album from 1967 entitled Make It Happen. It was also re-released again a few years later as a single in the UK that reached #1.

The song was co-written with Stevie Wonder and was recorded with The Miracles.


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29. The Harder They Come - Jimmy Cliff

the harder they come jimmy cliff

The Harder They Come is a song from Jimmy Cliff with a reggae feel. In 1972 the song was recorded for the movie of the same name.

Cliff wrote the melody and lyrics after he agreed to take the lead role of a musician who tuned to crime. Madness, Rockers Revenge and Joe Jackson have all covered this number.


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30. These Arms Of Mine - Otis Redding

these arms of mine otis redding

These Arms Of Mine was a single from the 1962 album Pain In My Heart.

The song reached #20 on the US R&B chart. This song was Redding's first single release for Stax Records.


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31. We're All Alone - Boz Scaggs

were all alone boz scaggs

We're All Alone also hails from the 1976 album Silk Degrees but was not released as a single.

It was recorded by Frankie Valli in 1976 who had a hit with it as did Rita Coolidge the following year. This was a B-side for the Boz Scaggs single Lido Shuffle.


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32. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow - Ben E King

willyoustilllovemetomorrow

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow was written by Carole King and Gerry Coffin and was first recorded by The Shirelles in 1960. In 1962 Ben E King put the track on his album Ben E King Sings For Soulful Lovers.

He never released his version as a single.


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33. Who's Been Talkin - Howlin Wolf

whos been talkin howlin wolf

Who's Been Talkin is a track from Howlin Wolf's 2nd album released in 1962 called simply Howlin' Wolf.

All tracks on this album were previously released between 1960 and 1962 under the Chess label. Some people refer to this as the Rockin Chair album for obvious reason.

This number was not released as a single.


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34. You Are So Beautiful (To Me) - Joe Cocker

you are so beautiful joe cocker

You Are So Beautiful became a #4 hit in Canada and a #5 hit in the US for Joe Cocker back in 1975. 

The song hails from the album I Can Stand A Little Rain. Billy Preston co-wrote this song with Bruce Fisher and first released it in 1974.

This was Joe Cockers highest charting single.


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35. You Can Leave Your Hat On - Joe Cocker

you can leave your hat on joe cocker

You Can Leave Your Hat On was recorded by Joe Cocker but written by Randy Newman.

The track appears on the album Cocker from 1986 and was a top 40 in a few countries.


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36. You're Moving Me - Clyde McPhatter

youre moving me clyde mcphatter

You're Moving Me is a song recorded by Clyde McPhatter but I've been unable to track down when or what album the song hails from.

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Thanks for stopping by my best Motown songs page and I hope the info here was helpful.


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