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January 4, 2013 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Are there any known Motown demo recordings from 1959-1968?

I love the place You and Me by Penny & The Quarters takes me to and would love to hear Motown classics performed in a similarly spartan environment. Are any demo recordings known to exist or in circulation? Thanks.
posted by timshel to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There's a demo of Brenda Holloway with the Supremes doing "Going to a Go-Go" from 1966, released on A Cellarful of Motown Volume 3.
posted by mykescipark at 3:33 PM on January 4, 2013

Best answer: The set-up of Motown during this period was such that songwriters would bring in tunes and the incredible house band would more-or-less work up arrangements and all on the spot. So, despite their being massive amounts of unreleased material, alternate takes or versions of different people singing the same tune, there aren't a lot of released demo recordings from this period, and there may not be too many that aren't released, either.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 5:53 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

The closest you're likely to get are A Cellarful of Motown! and Complete Motown Singles.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:10 PM on January 5, 2013

This is really late, but I wanted to add that you can look around for isolated tracks, which can be really enlightening. But they could be pulled at any time, and they're kinda hard to search for, but... it can be worth the effort. Vocal tracks are sometimes labelled as "acapella." There's also sites like, although that just seems to be embedded Youtube videos like these.

Ain't No Mountain High Enough: vocals, bass, drums (main), strings (which I barely noticed before)

I Want You Back: vocals, bass
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:15 AM on January 9, 2013

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