Motortown Revue | 1965 on Flickr.
Concert poster (“The Biggest Show of Stars for ‘65”) featuring a number of top and mid-tier Motown acts performing at the Vets Memorial Auditorium, Columbus, OH, 1965
“The Biggest Show of Stars” concert series (which in some markets was sometimes billed as the “Motortown Revue”) was the name given to the package concert tours of Motown artists in the 1960s. Early tours featured Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Mary Wells, The Marvelettes, Barrett Strong, and The Contours as headlining acts, and gave then-second-tier acts such as Marvin Gaye, Martha & The Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips and The Temptations the chances to improve their skills.
Motown’s entire roster, and occasionally non-Motown performers such as Dusty Springfield, The Shirelles and Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles, were featured on the tours. Most of the venues for the early Motortown Revue tours were along the “chitlin’ circuit” in the eastern and southern United States. In the Deep South racism became an issue, as the mostly African American performers were sometimes attacked or threatened by local white residents. While in the north the Motown artists generally played to mixed audiences, in the South, white and black audiences either attended separate shows, or were allowed to attend the same show as long as each race stayed on either side of a police-guarded rope that divided the performance hall. Motown artists are credited with being among those who broke down these barriers so later audiences would no longer be separated by color.
Globe Poster Printing Corporation, historically one of the nation’s largest showcard printers, has been telling the story of American music and entertainment through bright and iconic posters since 1929. Globe began by printing posters for vaudeville acts, movie theaters, drag races, burlesque houses, and carnivals and became known for its work with R&B, soul, and jazz performers—including James Brown, B.B. King, Otis Redding, Ike and Tina Turner, Billie Holiday, and Solomon Burke—as well as gospel, rock, hip hop, funk, and go-go acts. Source: Maryland Institute College of Art.
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