Rare Earth was NOT the first all-white group signed by Motown. Wikipedia cites The Rustix, The Dalton Boys, and The Underdogs as predecessors on the label; I actually have a couple of Underdogs tracks on some compilations.
But the group, which had started up in high school as “The Sunliners”, decided, after seven years to change the name of the band to “Rare Earth”, and ended up as clearly the most successful white band on the label.
Motown Record Corporation approached Rare Earth in the latter part of 1968 to sign a recording contract. At first the group was reluctant to sign because of knowing of other white groups and artists before them that had not had any success… It was when Motown decided they wanted to launch a new division of Motown to cater to white artists that Rare Earth started to seriously consider signing.
Motown did not have a name for the new division… so jokingly, the band suggested the name Rare Earth. Unbelievably they agreed.
On 20 Hard to Find Motown Classics, Volume 1 (1990), there appears Get Ready (pop #4, soul #20 in 1970) and (I Know) I’m Losing You (pop #7, soul #20 in 1970), both songs previously recorded by the Temptations. Both Rare Earth covers did better on the pop charts than did the Temps, whose pair of #1 soul hits only went to #29 and #8, respectively, on the pop charts in 1966.
20 Hard to Find Motown Classics, Volume 2 (1990) includes I Just Want To Celebrate (#7 pop, #30 soul in 1971) and Born To Wander (#17 pop, #48 soul) in 1971.
Get Ready was also the name of Rare Earth’s second album (#12 pop), with the title song, written by Smokey Robinson, taking up the whole second side. Ecology, the third album (#15 pop), featured Born To Wander and a nearly 11-minute version of I’m Losing You.
Many years later, Get Ready and Ecology were on a twofer CD, which I bought, but the Ecology songs were obviously shortened. They substituted the album version of I’m Losing You with the three-minute single version, and trimmed Eleanor Rigby and other songs, which really ticked me off.
I Just Want to Celebrate was on the fourth album, One World (#28 pop).