Heat Wave

“Heat Wave” – Joan Osborne with The Funk Brothers

From the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002). The story of The Funk Brothers, a group of Detroit-based session musicians who performed the backing to most Motown recordings from 1959 until the company moved to Los Angeles in 1972. Its members are considered among the most successful groups of studio musicians in music history. Among their hits are My Girl, I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Baby Love, I Was Made to Love Her, Papa Was A Rolling’ Stone, The Tears of a Clown, Ain’t No Mounttain High and Heat Wave.

Funk Brothers With Stevie Wonder

Some combination of the members played on each of Motown’s 100-plus U.S. R&B number one singles and 50-plus U.S. Pop number ones released from 1961 to 1972. There is no undisputed list of the members of the group. Some have claimed that virtually every musician who ever played on a Motown track was in some way related to The Funk Brothers. There are 13 Funk Brothers identified in Paul Justman’s 2002 documetary Standing in the Shadows of Motown. These 13 members were identified by for the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and were recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  In 2007, the Funk Brothers were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame.  

The Funk Brothers

Here, Joan Osborne pumps up one of the great songs from the Funk Brothers backing Martha and the Vandellas on the best-selling song “Heat Wave” from the 60s. A powerful summons back to the present of a powerful song from the 60s. Joan is the right person for the task. The song lives on in the powerful voice of Joan backed by The Funk Brothers. A powerful song in our age of wimpy, stupid songs. No arguement by words is appropriate. The only argument is through music. And the contrasting music of our time today and the music of Motown, Martha and the Vandellas, The Funk Brothers and Joan Osborne. A period of our history brought back by the powerful performance of Joan Osborne above and the true “Motown” sound from The Funk Brothers.

What music today can hold even a small candle up to this fire and passion?

2 thoughts on “Heat Wave

  1. Thank you for the trip back in the time machine, bringing back memories of all those riffs and bass beats that made people and groups like the Four Tops, Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gay, and Smokie put out music that could easily change one’s attitude or feelings in a matter of minutes.

  2. What a way to start my morning, first cup of coffee, and listening to Joan Osborne singing Heatwave!!
    Fantastic music, and yes, it takes you back in time to the music then and the wonderful beat of it, and the singers.
    Loved this John. Thank you, Barbara

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