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The Monitors

A short-lived group, the Monitors had only one release on Motown from November 1965 to August 1968. The group consisted of Richard Street, Warren Harris, and Sandra and John Fagin (it's unclear whether the Fagins were siblings or a couple). Harris had attended Northwestern High School in Detroit with future Temptations Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, and Street; he joined Williams and Franklin in the Distants, but later quit -- after which, the Distants merged with the Primes and signed with Motown as the Temptations.

Street then reformed the Distants and waxed "Answer Me," on Thelma Records, as Richard Street & the Distants (a young Norman Whitfield produced both sides). He also wrote songs for the Thelma label, owned by Berry Gordy's first wife, and when the label folded he joined the Peps, a group including Joe Harris (who later sang with the Ohio Players, the Undisputed Truth, and, as a teen, Little Joe & the Moroccos). The Peps, like the Monitors, were exciting live and very visual, but couldn't translate that to recording success.

After Street formed the Monitors with Harris and the Fagins, the group debuted on VIP Records with "Say You," a coy, sweet ballad that lacked promotion. (The Temptations redid it on their Gettin' Ready album.) The next Monitor singles, "Greetings This Is Uncle Sam" and "Since I Lost You Girl," appeared within several months but did nothing to advance the Monitors' career. Motown iced them until April 1968 before releasing "Bring Back the Love." The label then switched the Monitors to its Soul imprint for the group's final single, "Step by Step," released in August 1968. Three months later Greetings! We're the Monitors, originally scheduled for release on VIP, surfaced on the Soul label. The album was kind of a disappointment as it didn't include all the B-sides from their five singles, and the material wasn't up to Motown's usual standards.

British producer Ian Levine resurrected the Monitors in the late '80s and recorded quite a few tracks with a revamped group consisting of Darrell Littlejohn (lead), Herschel Hunter, Leah Harris, and originals Harris and Maurice Fagin. (Street was unavailable, since he'd joined the Temptations in the '70s to replace Paul Williams.) These new Monitors sounded similar to the Miracles -- Littlejohn is Smokey Robinson's nephew, and had recorded with cousin Keith Burston as Keith & Darrell on Tamla Records, and as the Second Generation. ~ Andrew Hamilton
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Hitsville USA: The Motown Singles Collection (1959-1971)

Disc 1

1. Money (That's What I Want)

2. Shop Around

3. Please Mr. Postman

4. Jamie

5. The One Who Really Loves You

6. Do You Love Me

7. Beechwood 4-5789

8. You Beat Me To The Punch

9. Stubborn Kind Of Fellow

10. Two Lovers

11. You've Really Got A Hold On Me

12. Come And Get These Memories

13. Pride And Joy

16. Mickey's Monkey

17. Leaving Here

18. The Way You Do The Things You Do

19. My Guy

20. Devil With The Blue Dress

21. Every Little Bit Hurts

22. Baby I Need Your Loving

23. Dancing In The Street

24. My Smile Is Just A Frown (Turned Upside Down)

25. Needle In A Haystack

26. Baby Love

27. Come See About Me

28. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)

Disc 2

1. My Girl

2. He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'

3. Ask The Lonely

4. Shotgun

5. Nowhere To Run

6. When I'm Gone

7. Ooo Baby Baby

8. I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)

9. First I Look At The Purse

10. The Tracks Of My Tears

11. It's The Same Old Song

13. Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)

14. Uptight (Everything's Alright)

15. Don't Mess With Bill

16. Darling Baby

17. This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)

18. Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam)

19. Function At The Junction

21. Ain't Too Proud To Beg

22. What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted

23. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)

24. Love's Gone Bad

25. You Can't Hurry Love

26. Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

27. Heaven Must Have Sent You

Disc 3

1. Reach Out I'll Be There

2. (I Know) I'm Losing You

3. Standing In The Shadows Of Love

4. It Takes Two

5. The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game

6. Jimmy Mack

7. Bernadette

8. Ain't No Mountain High Enough

9. More Love

10. I Heard It Through The Grapevine

12. I Wish It Would Rain

13. I Can't Give Back The Love I Feel For You

14. Does Your Mama Know About Me

16. Love Child

17. For Once In My Life

18. Cloud Nine

19. I Heard It Through The Grapevine

20. Baby, Baby Don't Cry

21. Twenty-Five Miles

22. My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)

23. What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)

24. I Can't Get Next To You

25. Baby I'm For Real

26. Up The Ladder To The Roof

Disc 4

1. I Want You Back

2. The Bells

3. Get Ready

4. ABC

5. Ball Of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today)

6. The Love You Save

7. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours

8. War

9. It's A Shame

10. Ain't No Mountain High Enough

11. Still Water (Love)

12. I'll Be There

13. The Tears Of A Clown

14. Stoned Love

15. If I Were Your Woman

16. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)

17. What's Going On

18. Never Can Say Goodbye

19. Nathan Jones

20. I Don't Want To Do Wrong

21. Smiling Faces Sometimes

23. I Just Want To Celebrate

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