"Motown Junk" was released on 21 January 1991 by record label Heavenly, the band's first release on this label. It peaked at number 94 on the UK Singles Chart. Despite its relatively poor charting, the single gained the band much attention from the press.
In 2008, the band added a "Johnny Boy Anniversary Mix" free embedded version to their official website, which featured spoken dialogue by Richey Edwards.
In 2011, Heavenly re-released "Motown Junk" to sell at the Manic Street Preachers gig on 21 May 2011 and at the Berwick Independent Marker.
The track has long been a live favourite throughout their career.
The title track shows the band during their pinnacle of iconoclastic attitude, such as in the lyric, "I laughed when Lennon got shot". The "Motown" in the title refers to famed 1960s and 1970s label Motown Records. The song also displayed their diverse cultural scope with a Public Enemy-sampling intro and an outro sample of The Skids.