Berry Gordy Junior, founder of Motown records
Songwriter ~ Producer ~ Label exec

Berry Gordy, Jr.

November 28, 1929, Detroit, MI

When Berry got out of the Army in 1953, he opened a jazz-oriented record store called the 3-D Record Mart that was financed by the Berry family. By 1955, the store had failed and Berry was working on the Ford automobile assembly line. While working on the line, Berry constantly wrote songs, submitting them to magazines, contests and singers. His first success as a songwriter came in 1957 when Jackie Wilson recorded ‘Reet Petite,’ a song he, his sister Gwen and Billy Davis (under the pseudonym of Tyran Carlo) had written. ‘Reet Petite’ became a modest hit and netted Berry $1000 for the song. Over the next two years he co-wrote four more hits for Wilson, ‘To Be Loved,’ ‘Lonely Teardrops,’ ‘That's Why,’ and ‘I'll Be Satisfied.’ Successful as a songwriter, Berry decided to produce his songs himself. ~ the Motown Story ~ retrieved November 20, 2012 ©

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Berry Gordy, Jr. ~ Inducted in the 1988 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame ~ Berry Gordy founded and presided over the musical empire known as Motown. As a young black man working in often inhospitable times, Gordy endeavored to reach across the racial divide with music that could touch all people, regardless of the color of their skin. Under his tutelage, Motown became a model of black capitalism, pride and self-expression and a repository for some of the greatest talent ever assembled at one company. The list of artists who were discovered and thrived at Motown includes the Supremes, Jr. Walker & the All-Stars, the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, and Martha and the Vandellas. But the artists alone were not the whole story by any means. Motown’s staff songwriting and production teams (e.g., Holland-Dozier-Holland) and in-house musicians (including such unsung heroes as bandleader/keyboardist Earl Van Dyke and bassist James Jamerson) contributed immeasurably to the Motown sound. The idea of a self-contained operation exuding soul from its every pore was all part of Gordy’s grand design. ~ 1988 © Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

As a Producer or co-producer

As a Writer or co-writer

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