Motown Music Company Detroit Reviews
Motown Sound Jul 26, 2008
Learning and viewing the historic of Motown Record that were lead by an African American business owner by Berry Gordy during 1959-1972 in Detroit, Michigan. There is a Museum and Studio. Studio is "Hitville USA building and next door is a museum. I really enjoying the events and I know you will too. Believe me you like the classic motown record.
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 huge success; however, Gordy did not feel he made as much money as he deserved from this and other singles he wrote for Wilson. He realized that the more lucrative end of the business was in producing records and owning the royalties.
In 1959, Billy Davis and Berry Gordy's sisters Gwen and Anna started Anna Records. Davis and Gwen Gordy wanted Berry to be the company president, but Berry wanted to strike out on his own. Therefore, in 1959, he started Tamla Records, with an $800 loan from his family. Gordy originally wanted to name the label "Tammy" Records, after the popular song by debbie Reynolds Tammy's in Love. When he found the name was already in use, he decided on Tamla instead. Gordy's first signed act was The Matadors, a group he had written and produced songs for, who changed their name to The Miracles when Tamla signed them. Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson became the vice president of the company (and later named his daughter "Tamla" and his son "Berry" out of gratitude to Gordy and the label). Many of Gordy's family members, including his father Berry, Sr., brothers Robert and George, and sister Esther, had instrumental roles in the company. By the middle of the decade, Gwen and Anna Gordy had joined the label in administrative positions as well.
Also in 1959, Gordy purchased the property that would become Tamla's Hitsville U.S.A. studio. The photography studio located in the back of the property was modified into a small recording studio and the Gordys moved into the second floor living quarters. Within a few years, Motown would occupy several neighbouring houses with administrative offices, mixing, mastering and rehearsal studios.
Among Tamla's early artists were Mable John, Barrett Strong and (on the Motown label) Mary Wells. Tamla's first release was Marv Johnson's "Come to Me" in 1959. Its first hit was Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)" (1959), which made it to #2 on the Billboard R&B charts; its first #1 R&B hit was "Shop Around" by the Miracles in 1960. "Shop Around" peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, and was Motown's first million-selling record. Also in 1960, Gordy launched Motown Records as a sister label. Because of the "Motown" name's association with "Motor City" Detroit, the blanket record company under which both Motown Records and Tamla Records operated was incorporated as "Motown Record Corporation". A year later, The Marvelettes scored Tamla's first US #1 pop hit, "Please Mr. Postman." By the mid-1960s, the label, with the help of songwriters and producers such as Robinson, William "Mickey" Stevenson, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Norman Whitfield, was a major force in the music industry.
The first white act to record for Motown was the Valadiers. In 1961, their recording of "Greetings, This Is Uncle Sam," although popular in the East and the Mid-West, barely made the charts nationally. The song was also a modest hit for the Monitors a few years later.
From 1961 to 1971, Motown had 110 Top Ten hits, and artists such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Four Tops, and The Jackson 5, were all signed to Motown labels. The company operated several labels in addition to the Tamla and Motown imprints. A third label, which Gordy named after himself, featured The Temptations and Martha and the Vandellas. A fourth, V.I.P., released recordings by The Velvelettes and The Spinners, and a fifth, Soul, featured Jr. Walker & the All Stars and Gladys Knight & the Pips (who were the first act to have been successful before joining Motown, as 'The Pips' on Vee-Jay). Many more Motown-owned labels released recordings in other genres, including Workshop Jazz (jazz), Mel-o-dy (country), and Rare Earth (rock). Under the slogan "The Sound of Young America", Motown's acts were enjoying widespread popularity among black and white audiences alike.
In Britain, Motown's records were released on various labels: at first London (only the Miracles' "Shop Around"/"Who's Lovin' You" and "Ain't It Baby"), then Fontana ("Please Mr. Postman" by the Marvelettes was one of four), Oriole American ("Fingertips - Pt. 2" by Little Stevie Wonder was one of many), EMI's Stateside ("Where Did Our Love Go" by the Supremes and "My Guy" by Mary Wells were Motown's first British top-twenty hits), and finally EMI's Tamla-Motown ("Ain't That Peculiar" by Marvin Gaye among many others)
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