Photo credits: Motown Records Archives
In the 1960s, the Motown Sound revolutionized the American music landscape. The man behind it all was Berry Gordy Jr., founder of Motown Records, who was born in Detroit on Nov. 28, 1929 (Jones, 2013).
Before he became a music mogul, Gordy worked on the creative side of the entertainment business. He started as a songwriter for local R&B artists. In 1959, he formed Tamla Record Company and established the Motown record label. The following year, the company released a record called Shop Around by The Miracles.
This record reached the number one and two spots, respectively, on the R&B national and Billboard pop charts. Gordy went on to make music history with legendary artists and groups such as Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.
Other big names Gordy worked with included The Four Tops, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Jackson 5, and others. All of these names produced an ongoing list of number one and top 10 hits for Motown Records.
Gordy also ventured into film with the critically acclaimed Lady Sings the Blues in 1972 and moved Motown’s headquarters to Hollywood. Other Gordy films included Mahogany, The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars, The Wiz and other productions.
Some of Gordy’s stars eventually moved on to other labels. In 1988, he sold his company to MCA, Inc. for $61 million (Jones, 2013).
Reference: Jones, J. (2013, November 28) This Day in Black History: Nov. 28, 1929. Retrieved from https://www.bet.com/news/national/2013/11/28/this-day-in-black-history-nov-28-1929.html#:~:text=In%20the%20’60s%2C%20the%20Motown,28%2C%201929.
*BlackThen.com writer and historian Victor Trammell edited and contributed to this report.