VIP

(“The neglected one”)

**This is a discography for VIP Records – other Motown labels are listed here. If you’re looking for a full list of every Motown single, try the Master Index instead!**

Formed at the tail-end of 1963, initially to promote West Coast artists and California-recorded material (shades of MoWest almost a decade later), VIP Records shared a broad musical philosophy with the “Big Three” Motown labels (Tamla, Motown and Gordy), but ended up as the neglected stepchild of the Motown family, a remainder bin for records Motown didn’t know what to do with.

As a result, the VIP roster ended up full of lesser-known acts, many of them white pop and rock signings, and the VIP discography is accordingly stacked with under-promoted non-hits that Motown wasn’t likely to dedicate much sales and marketing effort to breaking. It was said that if your record came out on VIP, it was a clear indicator of how much of a priority your career was (or, more accurately, wasn’t) with the Motown top brass. Rarely has a label name seemed more ironic; in Motown’s eyes, VIP artists were anything but VIPs.

Which isn’t to say that the VIP catalogue is necessarily inferior to its better-funded, better-promoted, more-famous label brethren. The likes of the Velvelettes, Chris Clark, the Elgins, R. Dean Taylor, the Spinners, Chuck Jackson and the Monitors all cut some excellent sides for VIP, and the label served a useful purpose for releasing some splendid underappreciated gems which couldn’t get over the Tamla/Motown/Gordy quality control (i.e. “predicted hit/sales potential”) threshold. Perhaps as a result of this necessary “pressure valve” role, VIP lasted well into the early Seventies as other Motown subsidiary labels fell by the wayside.

For the first couple of years, VIP singles came out with an incredibly naff-looking cheap yellow label which just screamed “budget”, before a considerably smarter and much more professional-looking orange/white/brown design took over in the mid-Sixties.

The first VIP single release was Patrice Holloway’s Stevie in December 1963. Fittingly, only a few copies were pressed before the single’s release was cancelled. VIP went on to put out nearly sixty singles before the label’s final release, the perhaps appropriately-titled Feel Like Givin’ Up by Posse, in February 1972.

Here’s a list of the VIP Records singles that have been covered on Motown Junkies so far.

VIP RECORDS: SINGLES DISCOGRAPHY (1963-65)

* This catalogue number was already used for the Velvelettes’ Needle In A Haystack and thus seems unlikely, especially as there is no VIP 25014


(Click a song title to read a full review of that side. NB: The coloured numbers after each title indicate the highly subjective mark out of ten I gave that song on the day I happened to write about it. They weren’t intended to be taken too seriously.)

4 thoughts on “VIP”

  1. Jeff Hinkel said:

    Motown rules !!!!!!!!

    Like

  2. Have ‘Heaven must have sent you/Stay in my lonely arms ‘ by The Elgins on V.I.P. Label .As its not on your list ,have you any idea how many were pressed and what the value might be ?

    Like

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