Berry Gordy Jr.
On November 28th, 1929, Berry Gordy was born in Detroit, Michigan. He is the second youngest of eight children. His father was a local entrepreneur that operated a grocery store, managed apartment buildings, and other small business ventures. His family was upper-middle class and all of his siblings were striving to become educated. However, Berry was a risk taker. He was intent on becoming rich at an early age and living his life in luxury. As a result, he dropped out of high school to become a professional lightweight boxer. During his stint as a boxer, he realized his love for music and understood the difference between the lives of the two occupations. He quickly redirected his focus back to music.
Berry served in the United States Army for several years. Upon his return, Gordy decided to open up a record store back in his hometown of Detroit. The record store was short lived as it failed just a few months later. Berry fell deeper in love with music during the operation of the store and began writing songs. He would give these songs to local artists building his reputation around the city. His sister, Gwen Gordy, was friends with a young music manager by the name of Al Green. She introduced him to her brother which started a partnership between the two music enthusiasts.
Gordy began writing songs for a lot of artists that eventually became hits. After a while, there were disputes between Gordy and Green about the compensation Berry was receiving from his hits. In the end, the two decided to go their separate ways. Not long after, Berry found a young artist by the name of Smokey Robinson. He realized that Robinson had the potential to become really successful and decided in 1957 that he would take the earnings he made from his partnership with Green to open up his own record label signing Robinson’s group the...