Picks and Pans Review: Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever

updated 12/16/1985 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/16/1985 01:00AM

Various Artists

No record could capture the essence of this 1983 concert, which brought together Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and dozens of other performers who became successful on the Motown record label. The music itself, interspersed with old clips of the artists, was spectacular. But there seemed to be a real, visible spirit of celebration, particularly when the Four Tops joined the Temptations to sing a medley of the two groups' hits. This 130-minute tape includes about 30 minutes cut from the NBC telecast of the concert. Some of it was extraneous, such as country singer T.G. Sheppard's appearance singing Devil in the Bottle. But there also was an extended version of Gaye's What's Going On, part of an introspective yet scintillating set, and Wonder doing Uptight (Everything's Alright) and Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours. In the onstage finale, the performers, most of whom now record for other labels, gathered around controversial Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. While the reunion had more the aura of truce than reconciliation, it was still touching. (MGM/UA, $29.95)

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