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BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROFILE (BERRY GORDY) February 12, 2015

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RW Hitsville

 

BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROFILE     (BERRY GORDY)

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Ms. Bobbie Jones

 

BH Gordy 2He was a young, talented and gifted young man and he had a plan, but before his plan could be activated he would endure the harsh reality of the dark, dank and rush of the Detroit automotive assembly line.  Berry Gordy was a young man who took his dream and put it into action and by the time it was all said and done the Motor City would be on the map once again and it would have nothing to do with an automobile

Gordy was born in the city of Detroit in 1929 in the early years of the depression and who’s to say, maybe this could have been the reason for his drive later in life but in any case one can rest assured that enduring the hardship and struggles of a depression can truly change a person’s life and I am sure it played a major role in how Gordy’s life would unfold.

Although, Gordy grew up with a father with some striking ambitions of his own BH Gordy BoxerGordy was a High School dropout.  While Gordy’s father was running several businesses and managing apartment buildings young Gordy divided his attention between writing music which he had a knack for and plotting out his rise in the boxing world.  Gordy may have had some success in the lightweight boxing world but with all due respect I am sure the world gave a sigh of relief when he chose to focus and developed his music writing talents because history shows us this was a better bet.

 

With the piano being Gordy’s instrument of choice he set out on his journey to write songs and music that he loved and imagined others would love as well.  A hit maker right from the beginning as he wrote songs for the R&B singer Jackie Wilson (Lonely Tear Drops) that shot to the top of the charts and created a different sound and made the ladies jump every time that song was played on the radio.  Someone else was jumping as well when that song played and it was Gordy.  To let Gordy tell it he thought he was going to be rich forever after that hit song.

 

As you might imagine that was not quite the case for Gordy, lots of money nor quick fame were forth coming and soon a surly dispute and falling out would end the working relationship between Gordy and Wilson.   But, Gordy’s musical dreams were not done yet.  A little house that would be called Hitsville was in his future and many young talented artists would grace that house with their presence and soon the music of Motown would change not just Detroit but the world.

BH  15 temp 2As I write this it is hard for me to even imagine life without songs such as I Wish It Would Rain by (The Temptations), or I heard it through the RW GladasGrapevine, by (Gladys Knight) and (Marvin Gaye).  Talk about the soundtrack to someone’s life, Motown had it and for many of us it’s revolutionary sound to this day is unmistakable.

Martha and the Vandellas, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops, and yes, I know you know these artists and if you don’t this is a perfect time to get to know them – check out video below.

 

 

Gordy took his experience working on the assemble line and put it toRW Motown work at Motown.  He turn out hit after hit with assembly line like precision and then there was no turning back.

One of the first hits that came from the Motown Label was Money (That’s what I want) which over the years has been recorded by many artists including The BeatlesShop Around by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles was another big hit for Motown and a cross over hit.  But check out the video below for some songs that will really take you back.

When it came to running Motown Gordy was a serious business man, and he may have been too serious for some.  During his years at Motown Gordy made sure to encourage a competitive atmosphere mostly in hopes that it would help the artists at the label keep coming up with number one hits.  But all that competition would weigh heavy on some of the artist and the stress of it all would soon take its toll.

Gordy and some of his family members had some cleaver ideas to help Motown stand out from the rest.  One of those cleaver ideas was to implore Maxine Powell and her finishingRW DRoss school for all the artist at the label.  Maxine Powell was employed by Motown to help polish the acts that stepped out of the Hitsville studios and that she did.  When you think of the Surpremes and the Temptations and how they moved and acted when in public, style and grace were their trademark and that was all thanks to Ms. Powell.

In the late 60’s Holland/Dozie/Holland the hit making writing team left the competitive, laced with favoritism & sleeping with artists halls of Motown and sued Gordy for 20 million dollars.  I suppose some traits within a business may make it successful but at what cost?

The early 70’s would give way to Diana Ross and the Supremes splitting up which would be the beginning of the end for Motown.  Gordy in his efforts to leave all the bad luck behind left the city of Detroit and moved to LA, there he attempted to launch the acting career of Miss Ross however, her acting nor their love affair lasted.  Although Gordy and Ross had one child together they never married but they remained good friends till this day.

Ross 1Motown may have had its ups and downs but nothing BH Ross & Gordycan take away from the fact that during its hay-day Motown was the most listen to and most recognized black own label and it’s artist till this day still rank among the best.  Gordy did not do too shabby himself after selling the Motown Label to MCA in 1988 for a record 61 million dollars Gordy could rest assured in knowing that he managed to take a small 800 dollar family loan and turned it into hit making gold.

 

Photos provided by:      Goggle Images

Videos provided by:       You Tube

Copyright (c) Ms. Bobbie Jones – February 12, 2015

All Rights Reserved

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