Berry Gordy

Birth Name
Berry Gordy III
Date of Birth
28 November 1929
Birth Town
Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

An American record producer, songwriter, record executive, film producer, and television producer, who is professionally known as Berry Gordy Jr. He was popularly known as the founder of the Motown record label and its subsidiaries which was the most prominent African American business in the United States at the time.

National Inheritance

The son of Bertha and Berry Gordy II, both successful business owners and entrepreneurs of their time. Being one of eight children in the family who would of had disposable income, although information is limited we can assume Gordy Jr childhood and living was poverty free but certainly a breeding ground and freedom in developing his entrepreneurial skills with both parents as examples to follow. Gordy Jr as a schoolboy appeared to show an exploring phase as he attempts to find his purpose or identify future prospects. In doing so he dropped out of high school to pursue a featherweight professional boxing career, before moving onto joining the US Army where he served in the Korean War from 1951 through till 1953.

Returning to Detroit where he opened his record company at this point Motown was founded. Gordy was at the peak of black music in Detroit, and he had already discovered Smokey Robinson. In the early 1960s, Motown records produced many hit songs including Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the street” And “My girl” by the Temptations. During this period Gordy also developed Motown’s first super active, The Supremes which later turned out to become one of the most successful female singing groups of all time.

Through his record corporation Motown he developed most of the great R&B musicians of the 1960s and through the 70s. Some great names like The Supremes, Diana Ross, The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, The Jackson five, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and more.

Gordy relocated Motown to Hollywood in the early 1970s  where he started producing films like Lady Sings the Blues which was screened in 1972. It featured Diana Ross in her film debut as Billie Holiday and towards the mid 1980s the business made over $100 million in revenue, with Motown releasing over 50 number one hits on the Billboard pop charts. Facing growing competition, he sold Motown in 1988, after which he wrote a book for Motown: The Musical. The book premiered on Broadway in 2013.

Berry Gordy received a lifetime honorary achievement at the AMA (American Music Awards) in 1975, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 1988, he also received the President’s Merit Award in 2008 from the Recording Academy and received a National Medal of Arts award in 2016.

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