The 1983 TV special Motown 25 was a defining moment in TV for many. Michael Jackson was at one of the highest peaks in his career and he slayed the crowd with hit after hit. It was also the moment when the world first discovered what Moonwalking was, as Jackson demonstrated it for the first time publicly on “Billie Jean.” Despite that pop cultural moment, the show was crammed with a slew of stellar performances: a temporarily reunited Jackson 5 singing “I Want You Back,” Marvin Gaye delivering a poignant “What’s Going On” (he would be killed just a year later) and Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross offering one of the best duets in modern memory with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
Hosted by Richard Pryor, the collection of talent at Motown’s 25th anniversary show was rivaled only by 1985’s Live Aid concert for the decade’s best show. Time Life has just released a massive 6-disc collection of the concert, featuring the show in its entirety, along with 20 additional minutes that never made the air, along with an additional 14 hours of added features (the original televised concert was just over two hours). This set also includes a 48 page collector’s book. One of televised music best moments is finally getting a proper re-introduction.