Berry Gordy

Photo by Kingkongphoto & from Laurel Maryland, USA – Berry Gordy, CC BY-SA 2.0,

American Record Producer and Songwriter • Born November 28, 1929 • Motown / R&B

Fast Facts

  • Gordy worked at the Lincoln-Mercury plant and got the idea to produce records in an assembly line style.
  • Berry Gordy started Motown Records on January 12, 1959. He used an $800 family loan to get started.
  • Motown is named after the nickname for Detroit, “Motor City.”
  • Gordy thought about songwriting at all hours of the day, and even called up Smokey Robinson at 3:00 am to re-record a track!
  • Gordy had “Quality Control” meetings and only the very best recordings made it to the market.
  • Gordy’s assembly line production style included songwriting, recording, costumes, choreography, and stage presence. 
  • Motown artists toured the segregated south in the 1960s where they saw and experienced racial violence.
  • Motown Records were produced from 1959 through the 1980s.

Popular Motown Artists

  • Smokey Robinson, songwriter
  • Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team
  • Diana Ross and the Supremes
  • The Temptations
  • The Four Tops
  • Martha and the Vandellas
  • Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
  • Jackson 5

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