In the late '60s, Berry Gordy, Motown founder and president, must have been disturbed by what he was hearing. After practically inventing Soul pop and riding it to the top of the charts, the machine was slipping. Suburban kids weren't buying Soul anymore. They were plunking down bucks for Hard Rock, Acid Rock and go knows what else. It was a ball of confusion. To top it off, Motown's attempts to keep up had been notoriously comical. What to do, what to do?
Meanwhile, the Sunliners were a hot Detroit covers band. Since the Motor City was Motown's home turf it should hardly be surprising that Rockin' Motown songs was successful.
Soon, the group was signed to Motown subsidiary Rare Earth and adopted the name. At the time they were one of the few white acts signed to the Motown family of labels. But these were desperate times. In short order, Rare Earth released a series of hits including "I Just Want To Celebrate," "(I Know) I'm Losing You" and their biggest one of all, a cover of the Temptations' "Get Ready.
Drummer/vocalist Pete Rivera was the only constant. In addition to Rivera, the early Rare Earth line-up consisted of Gil Bridges (reeds/vocals), John Persh (bass/vocals/trombone), Rod Richards (guitar), Ed Guzman (percussion) and Kenny James (keyboards). Band members came and went regularly through the early '70s with wholesale changes coming in '75, long after it mattered. Unable to establish themselves with their own material, Rare Earth's Rocked-up Soul covers soon ran its course.
P.S. On Rivera's Rare Earth web site he claims the group sold 25 million records. Sounds a little high. Perhaps Arthur Anderson, the accounting firm that handled Enron's books, did the counting.
"Best of Rare Earth - Millennium" has everything of interest and a lot that isn't.