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摩城 Motown

摩城(Motown)音乐是一种商业化的灵歌音乐,几乎和灵歌音乐在60年代同时发展起来。由于它兴起于“摩托城”(Motown Town)底特律,所以被称为“摩城音乐”。
1960年,黑人青年Berry Gordy Jr.在底特律创办了一家专门小型唱片公司——“摩城”公司,从一开始就专门制作黑人音乐。 Gordy按照自己的理念,聘请了几位制作人主要制作便于传唱的流行歌曲,在歌曲中加入一些福音歌的成分,使其听起来有点像灵歌,但是又比灵歌要精细、流行。Gordy的坚持使得公司在十年中推出一大批知名黑人歌手以及一系列的热门歌曲。到60年代末,“摩城”公司从一家小小的独立制作公司发展成由黑人拥有的全美最大的唱片公司,它的唱片销量在60年代超过了美国任何一家公司。
摩城公司的运作模式采取了创作和表演相分离的方式。摩城的歌手很少自己创作歌曲,公司聘请专业制作者和制作人专门为他们创作歌曲。这种针对市场而创作的带有商业倾向音乐的“摩城”歌曲,旋律上口,音乐清新,不但使人更加容易接受,同时也为公司创造了品牌;但也有人认为成功商业化的“摩城”歌曲在音乐上失去了很多黑人音乐的本质。The Motown label crafted a uniform house sound so instantly identifiable that "Motown" unequivocally became a style unto itself. During the '60s, Berry Gordy, Jr.'s Detroit label became the biggest independent in the music industry, thanks to its smooth, sophisticated blend of R&B and memorable pop melodies. At Motown, the pop side of the equation took on greater importance than ever before, which helped make the records accessible to a wider audience; their velvety elegance helped cement black popular music firmly into mainstream American culture. Motown often utilized the same core session musicians on their records, which helped lay the Motown sound's basic rhythmic foundation of bouncing bass and echoing drums. But their arrangements were frequently lush and elaborate, adding strings, horns, woodwinds, piano, extra percussion, or whatever else might enhance the music's urbane stylishness. This polished pop craftsmanship, when matched with the smoothly soulful vocals of the Motown artist roster, became ubiquitously popular during the early '60s, with songwriters like Smokey Robinson and the team of Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Brian Holland turning out one gem after another with almost assembly-line regularity. When Holland, Dozier and Holland left the label in a dispute over royalties, producer Norman Whitfield became a major figure at Motown, keeping the label in step with the harder, funkier direction much soul music was heading in. In 1970, the Jackson 5 became superstars with a funky bubblegum-soul that began to break away from established Motown formulas, and during the rest of the decade, performers like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder took greater control of their own music, investing it with their own personalities and helping break up the standardized Motown blueprint. It's that blueprint, which brought artists like the Temptations, Four Tops, and Supremes stardom, that people mean when they describe music as "Motown."



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