This paper will be an updated version of my last paper which talked about a portion of Barry Gordy's background, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Temptations and their start at Motown. How Motown was the first American music label owned by an African-American, the first music label to successfully market black artists to white mainstream audiences. How Motown was responsible for discovering, mentoring, and perfecting a lot of American popular music's most influential and successful artists and the best albums and artists and what new artists have entered Motown.
Berry Gordy Jr., the founder of Motown Records, was born in 1929 in Detroit Michigan, also known as the Motor City. Motown was the first American music label owned by an African-American. It was also the first music label to successfully market black artists to white mainstream audiences, and was responsible for discovering, mentoring, and perfecting a lot of American popular music's most influential and successful artists. Motown Records was one of the most successfully black owned music businesses in the United States during this time. But he wasn’t just the owner of this record label he was also a boxer, a record store owner, an assembly line worker and a soldier in U.S. Army during the Korean War until he realized that the music business was right for him. Berry Gordy started Motown Records in January 1959 with only an $800 loan from his family. Today Berry Gordy is 84 years old and just celebrated birthday on November 28th. This year he appeared in a commercial for the Chrysler 300 car. It appears that he’s being chauffeured. The car passes many iconic places such as Hitsville USA. The car eventually gets to the FOX theatre and promotes Motown: The Musical. (Commercial will be provided in the PowerPoint Presentation).
Berry Gordy was also a songwriter, that’s how he linked up with Jackie Wilson, also known as “Mr. Excitement”. He had the chance to meet with a local aspiring singing group called “the Miracles”, which led him to linking up with William “Smokey” Robinson. Gordy and Robinson brainstormed on the idea of Motown, which is a name derived from the nickname of the city Detroit, “the Motor City”. Gordy co-wrote the song “Money (That’s what I want) by Barrett Strong. With the royalties he received from this song, he purchased a white frame house located at 2648 West Grand Boulevard with a sign reading “Hitsville USA”. This would be Motown’s headquarters for the next ten years. They built a studio in the garage which became the place where numerous smash hits were produced and recorded. Today Hitsville USA is now a museum. The museum was founded by Esther Gordy Edwards (Gordy’s older sister) in 1985. This museum is one of Southeast Michigan’s most popular tourist attractions. The museum is home to an array of Motown artifacts, pictures and other memorabilia. It is also a non-profit organization.
It wasn’t long before a...