Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever
Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever was a 1983 television special produced by Suzanne de Passe for Motown Records, to commemorate Motown's twenty-fifth year of existence. Interestingly, however, Motown was founded in 1959, meaning that a twenty-fifth anniversary special should have aired in 1984, not 1983.
The program was taped before a live studio audience on March 25 1983, and broadcast on NBC on May 16. Among its highlights were a Temptations/Four Tops "battle of the bands", a Jackson 5 reunion, Michael Jackson's performance of "Billie Jean" (and the first time he performs his trademark "Moonwalk" dance), and an abbreviated reunion of The Supremes, who performed their final #1 hit, "Someday We'll Be Together" from 1969.
Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" was a song he recorded for Epic Records in 1982, not a Motown song; he planned to attend and not perform on Motown 25 before he successfully negotiated his solo spot and the permission to sing a non-Motown song.
The Supremes reunion between Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Cindy Birdsong was cut short when Ross, frustrated by the fact that Wilson and Birdsong were taking the same steps foreward as her instead of staying in the back, turned around and pushed Wilson towards the back of the stage. In a few moments, Motown labelmates such as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and others filled the stage for an impromptu finale. Wilson invited Berry Gordy to come down from the balcony and join everyone onstage, but Ross snatched her microphone away and hissed "it's been taken care off," before inviting Gordy down herself.
By the time the reunion aired on May 16, the Ross/Wilson altercations had been excised from the special, but they were widely reported, resulting in bad publicity for Ross and a public perception of her as an egostical diva.
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