Over fifty years ago in 1959, a man named Berry Gordy launched Motown Records in Detroit, Michigan. Gordy had been a former auto worker who decided he wanted to become his own boss. Over the course of time Motown would sign on solo artists and musical groups who would eventually become very famous. Some included musical artists like Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and The Temptations. While no one disagrees that Motown contributed a lot to the music industry, some still wonder why Motown remains a household name and legacy today. You would think that after fifty years most people would forget about you. But this has not been the case for Motown. As a matter of fact, some would say that historic Motown has received more interest and attention today than it did during it’s early years. This has been proven by the number of stage plays and movies based on legendary Motown artists over the years. Gordy sold the record company to Boston Ventures and MCA in 1988. Despite this, most people still associate Gordy with Motown.
So just what has made Motown into such a legend? It might be the fact that Gordy started and created a successful company during a time when doing this was very uncommon for a black man. Although some progress had been made in race relations during the late 1950’s, there was still some serious racial issues going on in Detroit. Despite all this Gordy still managed to create a musical empire. So it’s not hard to see why his company has gained legendary status in Detroit and in many other parts of the country.
In should also be noted that many Motown artists have become legends themselves. Let’s take a look at a few of them. We’ll start with The Temptations, who became one of the most successful male groups in history. Some of their legendary hits included “Just My Imagination”, “My Girl” and “Cloud Nine”. In addition to group success, two individual members also became somewhat of musical legends in their own right. This was David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks.
Then there were solo performers like Marvin Gaye who became a legend also. Gaye was known for his smooth stage performances and sensual lyrics, which drove female fans crazy. Some of his legendary hits include “Mercy Me” and “What’s Going On”.
And let’s not forget one of Motown’s most popular singing groups, The Jackson Five. The group had numerous number one hits and helped Motown attract and connect with younger audiences. Some of their most memorable hits include “The Love You Save”, “ABC”, “Going Back to Indiana” and “I Want You Back”.
It is a combination of all the above that made Motown Records a legend.