Compilation release: Various Artists - The Complete Motown Singles Volume 12A: 1972
Label: Universal
Release date: 1 July

The Complete Motown Singles - the acclaimed, long-running series encompassing every Motown single release of the Detroit era - begins its final phase this year with Volume 12A, a 5-disc set of the company’s output from the first half of 1972. The collection contains 113 remastered tracks with a 130-page book that chronicles the story of the year in which Motown uprooted from Hitsville and moved west.

The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 12A: 1972 features Motown expanding into other creative areas. The Four Tops recorded A Simple Game in London with the Moody Blues, while the Jackson 5 and lead singer Michael respectively covered the 1950s hits Little Bitty Pretty One and Rockin’ Robin. MJ also delivered I Wanna Be Where You Are while Marvin Gaye, a year removed from his landmark album What’s Going On, recorded a politically-tinged single, You’re The Man.

Martha Reeves & the Vandellas released their final single, Tear It On Down. Smokey Robinson & the Miracles began their official goodbye with We’ve Come Too Far To End It Now, while Stevie Wonder had a new beginning, issuing the independently-minded single Superwoman and producing his then-wife, Syreeta. The Commodores, a new group from Alabama, debuted on MoWest with the track The Zoo (The Human Zoo). Jr. Walker & the All Stars hit with the sublime Walk In The Night.

This volume features not only hits and B-sides, but rare tracks from a wide variety of artists: David Ruffin, the Supremes, the Temptations, Undisputed Truth, Blinky, Bobby Darin, the Devastating Affair, Eric & the Vikings, Thelma Houston, Rare Earth, Sisters Love, Edwin Starr, Frankie Valli, and more. And, as is expected in this series, Vol. 12A is in “album” style packaging, with a bonus 7” vinyl single – this time, with two songs by the Blackberries never actually issued as a 45. The book features two essays: an introduction by the twin brothers Russ and Ralph Terrana, two key members of the Motown engineering staff, and an overview by Susan Whitall, a longtime writer for The Detroit News, plus detailed track-by-track histories by co-producers Keith Hughes and Harry Weinger, and Grammy®-nominated Bill Dahl. 

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