Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
Berry Gordy and the Rise of Motown
Mus 210-220N/spring 2015
May 10, 2015
Motown was founded by Berry Gordy Jr, in 1959; Motown had 110 top 10 hits. Motown acts were enjoying a widespread popularity among black/white audiences alike where William “Smokey” Robinson stated “Into the '60s, I was still not of a frame of mind that we were not only making music, we were making history. But I did recognize the impact because acts were going all over the world at that time. I recognized the bridges that we crossed, the racial problems and the barriers that we broke down with music. I recognized that because I lived it. I would come to the South in the early days of Motown and the audiences would be segregated. Then they started to get the Motown music and we would go back and the audiences were integrated and the kids were dancing together and holding hands” William "Smokey" Robinson, is an R&B/pop singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive. Robinson was the founder and front man of the many of Motown’s vocal group. Motown Records recorded some of the most successful songs and groups in R&B and beyond, like Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder. (The Biography.com) Despite many challenges and social injustices Berry Gordy successfully made Motown Records, the most successful black owned music company in the history of the United States.
Berry Gordy Jr., was born in 1929 in Detroit, Michigan, Gordy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.Berry Gordy got his start as a songwriter for local Detroit acts such as Jackie Wilson and the Matadors. Wilson 's single "Lonely Teardrops", written by Gordy, became a...
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...to the largest black owned business in United States history. Mr. Gordy earned 367 million dollars in 16 years. Motown sold millions of albums between 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. Although Motown sold more in the 70’s and 80’s, Motown will always be remembered for the hits the produced in the 60’s because no other company had produced so many hits during that time. With Motown having celebrated its 50th Anniversary, the public’s desire for the Classic Motown material has not diminished. The legendary Motown vault is continually explored to unearth previously unheard material.
Berry Gordy Jr. (2015). The Biography.com. www.biography.com/people/berry-gordy-jr-9316017.
Mike Callahan. David Edwards.. (2012). The Motown Story. http://www.bsnpubs.com/motown/gordystory.html
The story of Motown Records. (2014). http://classic.motown.com/history
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