The Music of Berry Gordy

Posted on December 9, 2011

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As the founder of Motown Records, Berry Gordon is the kind of person whose name is forever etched in the music industry. With an ear for talent and vision to create a powerhouse label, Gordy made a name not only for himself, but for several other artists who owe their careers to him.

Motown Records was one of the most successful black-owned companies in the United States in the early 1960s. But without Gordon, none of these would have been possible. He was the one behind every chart-topping record, leading then unknown artists like Diana Ross and The Supremes, Michael Jackson, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and countless others to legendary stardom.

Based on his successes, who would believe that Gordon was a high school dropout who pursued a career in boxing in hopes of getting rich? The seventh of eight children, the music mogul first became a professional boxer. However, his aspirations in the ring were cut short when he was drafted by the United States Army for the Korean War.  He developed an interest in writing music after his draft.

Gordon opened a record store and became a songwriter before deciding to get into producing. In 1957, he discovered The Miracles and from then on built a portfolio of successful artists. When he finally saved enough money, Gordon started Motown, a milestone in the African American entertainment industry. Through this, Motown’s impresario and the dean of the classic rhythm and blues style fathered “Motown Sound,” a definitive and unique blend found only in his music and artists.

Gordon is a visionary label founder who created a truly modern style embraced by everyone, both black and white. Through his entrepreneurial ventures, he was able to create timeless music that shaped the culture and history of African Americans all over the world.

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Posted in: Entrepreneurs