Courtesy CBS/The Recording Academy/AEG Ehrlich VenturesThis Easter Sunday, Motown fans are in for a special treat as CBS airs Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration, saluting six decades of the iconic record label.
The televised event is set to feature performances from the likes of John Legend, Fantasia, Boyz II Men, Ciara and Motown legends such as Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Thelma Houston and Smokey Robinson.
Legend was tapped to pay tribute to the late Marvin Gaye, in what the show’s executive producer Ken Ehrlich calls a “21st century interpretation of some of the great moments of Motown.”
“We were fortunate in having Stevie and Smokey and Diana and Thelma Houston and a few of the other artists that date back to the really amazing early days of Motown,” Ehrlich tells ABC Radio. “And then, John Legend does a pretty amazing Marvin Gaye, and Ciara did a medley of more current Motown hits, and Ne-Yo the same way. So we were able to kinda bring yesterday and today together.”
A few highlights from the show also include a “Women of Motown” tribute featuring Meghan Trainor, Tori Kelly and Fantasia performing alongside Thelma Houston, and an “In Memoriam” segment with Stevie Wonder singing “Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer.”
“It’s about people that have left us,” Ehrlich says of the song. “It’s pretty emotional and pretty evocative. Stevie got very emotional and you can see that in the performance. He does some other stuff that’s up[tempo]…but this song just had something special.”
Enjoying the show from the audience: Motown’s 89-year-old founder, Berry Gordy.
“He was just having a ball, he loved it,” says Ehrlich. “We really appreciated his lending us the Motown legacy for a night.” (THE SMOKEY AND EHRLICH AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)
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