Motown Legend Berry Gordy Helped to Create a Trailblazing New Sound in American Music at Motown

Motown Legend Berry Gordy Helped to Create a Trailblazing New Sound in American Music at Motown

Berry Gordy is touted for launching the careers of such hit makers as Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, and countless other music greats.

In addition to being a talented songwriter, the music industry icon was an innovator who created a business model for entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry as founder of Motown Records. He formed his musical empire in 1959, overseeing all of its operations from a Detroit house dubbed “Hitsville U.S.A.

Gordy had received an $800 loan from his family’s Ber-Berry Co-operative. The co-op was the brainchild of his eldest sister Esther, and it provided seed money for the establishment of Berry’s first record company, Tamla, in 1959, which became Motown Record Corp. in 1960.

In 1973, BLACK ENTERPRISE debuted its annual ranking of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses, referred to as the BE 100, a compilation of those companies that had grown more than a million dollars annual in sales. For more than a decade, Motown Industries was the sales leader on every BE 100s list, with a sales increase from $40 million to $91.7 million.

Gordy:  The Music, The Magic

During Gordy’s reign from 1959 to 1988, when he sold the company, Motown generated hundreds of hit singles. In 1966, the company’s “hit ratio,” the percentage of records released that made the national charts, reached 75%, an astounding figure. Gordy was inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, for his outstanding achievements in the music industry. His breakout film, Lady Sings the Blues, which starred Diana Ross as Billie Holiday, garnered five Academy Award nominations.

In February 2011, President Barack Obama honored Gordy with a “Salute to Motown” evening at the White House. Gordy’s unparalleled contribution to music and popular culture is chronicled in his autobiography, To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown and is the basis of the hit Broadway stage production Motown the Musical, which, according to, is currently playing in London’s West End.