Within a few years of Motown creating a new generation of stars and proclaiming itself to be “The Sound of Young America” during the 1960s, other artists recognized the appeal of the hits from Hitsville U.S.A., and began covering those songs. (Actually, the Beatles recorded three Motown hits before most people in the U.S. knew who they were.) Below is a selection of the biggest remakes, based on their Billboard chart peaks.

The Beatles aside, America’s Johnny Rivers was among the first to prosper that way. His revivals of the Four Tops‘ “Baby I Need Your Loving” and the Miracles’ “The Tracks Of My Tears” were both Top 10 hits in 1967. Soon afterwards, Vanilla Fudge’s heavy-metal rendering of “You Keep Me Hanging On” and Blood, Sweat & Tears’ brassy spin on Brenda Holloway’s “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” charted strongly.

Today, it’s no secret that hundreds – more likely, thousands – of singers and musicians in every genre have revisited the Motown songbook, and many have done well in the process. Among those who reached the Billboard Top 20 with such remakes: Kim Carnes, David Bowie & Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Gloria Gaynor, Rod Stewart, Suave, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Phil Collins, Sweet Sensation and Kim Wilde. But the most popular? The ten titles below…



Things you need to know. This time: the biggest remakes
(ranked by chart peak on the Billboard Hot 100*)

  • “I’ll Be There,” MARIAH CAREY with TREY LORENZ (1) 1992
  • “Please Mr. Postman,” THE CARPENTERS (1) 1975
  •  “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” KIM WILDE (1) 1987
  • “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS (2) 1969
  • “Endless Love,” LUTHER VANDROSS & MARIAH CAREY (2) 1994
  • “Baby I Need Your Loving,” JOHNNY RIVERS (3) 1967
  • “My Baby,” LIL’ ROMEO (3) 2001
  •  “Until You Come Back To Me,” ARETHA FRANKLIN (3) 1974
  • “I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By,” METHOD MAN & MARY J. BLIGE (3) 1995
  •  “Shop Around,” CAPTAIN & TENNILLE (4) 1976

*Ties broken by weeks in Top 10