The Golden Age Of The Motown Sound

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The Golden Age of the Motown Sound By Vivian M. Baulch / The Detroit News March 1, 2000 That man, of course, was Berry Gordy Jr. Smokey Robinson saw something in Gordy, too, and urged him to start his own recording company. In 1959, Gordy borrowed $800 from his family and "Motown" was born. "It is probably true to say that Motown was as much Robinson's company as it was Gordy's, although Gordy was unquestionably the head of the company," author Sharon Davis wrote in her book, 'Motown, the History.' By 1972 Berry Gordy was the richest black man in America with an annual income in excess of $10 million. Berry Gordy Jr.: The genius behind Motown. Berry Gordy was born in Detroit in 1929. His parents had migrated to the city in 1922 attracted by the job opportunities. Berry Gordy Sr.'s grandmother had been a slave in Georgia, his grandfather a slaveowner. Berry Jr. was the seventh of eight children of Bertha and Berry Sr. Love and family ruled for the large Gordy clan. After attending Northeastern High, Berry Jr. chased a dream of becoming a professional boxer. He even once fought on the same card as Joe Louis. He served in the Korean War and returned to Detroit to work at Ford's Mercury plant, earning $85 a week. Bored with his assembly line job, he spent all his free time writing songs. Later, on borrowed money, he bought the home at 2648 W. Grand Blvd. that later became Hitsville USA. Success came quickly. The Motown Revue at New York's Apollo Theater in October, 1962, showed the world that the new Motown sound was a major force to be reckoned with. By 1966, three out of every four Motown releases made the charts. The stars were polished by Motown's "Motown U pros" who taught them how to dress, stand, wear makeup, and do the motions with style, poise and grace. The history of Motown is a

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