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Hitsville USA: The 20 greatest Motown singles

Yardbarker Logo By Hashim Hathaway of Yardbarker | Slide 1 of 21: In January 1959, a little-known songwriter named Berry Gordy took $800 he scrounged together from family — along with meager royalties he earned writing "Lonely Teardrops" for Jackie Wilson — to found Tamla Records, better known as Motown Records. Some 60-plus years later, Motown stands as a piece of living history — a flashpoint where African-American recording artists would find mainstream success. These include names like Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder and Rick James, along with a multitude of others. To celebrate the superior soul straight outta Hitsville, U.S.A., we share our list of the 20 best Motown singles ever made.

Six decades of the best from Hitsville, U.S.A.

In January 1959, a little-known songwriter named Berry Gordy took $800 he scrounged together from family — along with meager royalties he earned writing "Lonely Teardrops" for Jackie Wilson — to found Tamla Records, better known as Motown Records. Some 60-plus years later, Motown stands as a piece of living history — a flashpoint where African-American recording artists would find mainstream success. These include names like Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder and Rick James, along with a multitude of others. To celebrate the superior soul straight outta Hitsville, U.S.A., we share our list of the 20 best Motown singles ever made.

© Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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