Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Analysis - Berry Gordy

As everyone knows, Berry Gordy was a founder of Motown record. In my blog, first of all I introduce brief explanation of Berry Gordy, then introduce a time-line and some music videos so that we can understand how he grew up and see how he succeed the Motown story.

Berry Gordy

The Motown story began in Detroit where Gordy was born in 1929. As he grew up, he dreamed of creating music that could touch by all around people, regardless of the color of skin. His belief toward music was extremely tight so he never gave up. The tight belief brought his first success as a song writer in 1957, when Brunswick Records bought a song of his called “"Reet Petite"” for Jackie Wilson. Gordy reinvested his songwriting success into producing.Then 1959 He decided to borrow $800 from his family's loan fund to start his own record label, called Tamla. He started out Tamla record which was later changed to Motown record. Motown generated literally hundreds of hit singles. Thanks to his huge endeavor and talent as a songwriter, manager and producer, black music would never again be dismissed as a minority taste. It was him that brought black and white people together by music.


1922 His parents had migrated to Detroit from Milledgeville, Georgia

1929 Berry Gordy, Jr., who was born in Detroit Michigan on November 28, he was the seventh of eight children of Berry, Sr. and Bertha Gordy.
1950 He was drafted by the United States Army for the Korean War.
1953 He married Thelma Coleman after his return from Korea. He opened a jazz-oriented record store called the 3-D Record Mart.
1954 His first child was born, a daughter Hazel Joy. They had two other children, named Berry IV and Terry.
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.
1957 His first success as a songwriter. Jackie Wilson recorded "Reet Petite". "Reet Petite" became a modest hit and netted Berry $1000 for the song.

1957 At a Detroit talent show, he saw a group the Miracles and decided to record them."Get a Job," titled "Got a Job,"

1959 Gordy decided to take total control of his songs, so on January 12, he borrowed $800 from his family's loan fund to start his own record label, called Tamla. First release was Mary Johnson's "Come to Me". The song was picked up by United Artists and it became a mid-sized hit.

1959 Berry Gordy moves all of Motown’s operations into a two-story house at 2648 West Grand Boulevard, which he christens “Hitsville.”

1959 Mary Johnson's "You Got What It Takes" became his first production to break into the pop Top 10.

By the late 1950s, Detroit was perhaps the largest city in the United States that did not have a strong independent record company. With the establishment of Motown, the local talent had an outlet, and they starting showing up at the Motown offices.
1960 A local girl singing group named the Primettes auditioned for Gordy. He was impressed with the group, but asked them to finish school and then come back. The Primettes came back to Motown after graduating, and were signed in January 1961. The group's name was changed to the Supremes, and they had their first release on Tamla in April of 1961.
1960 A producer for Motown, Robert Bateman, arranged an audition for singer Mary Wells.
1961 Berry released a song she had written called "Bye Bye Baby" in December of that year. Berry discovered another singing group called the Distants, changed their name to the Temptations, and released their first record on a new subsidiary label called Miracle.

Gordy had established the foundation for the success of Motown for many years to come. With the Miracles, Four Tops, Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, Supremes (still hitless to this point) and the Temptations, he had 6 of the best vocal groups on record.
1968 The Jackson 5 audition at Motown’s Detroit headquarters for a number of label executives. Berry Gordy was not present, but he signed them after viewing the audition tape.
1969 The Jackson 5 were signed to Motown.
1970 six of the 14 Motown singles that reached the Top 10 went to #1. They were "ABC" and "The Love You Save" by the Jackson 5.

1972 He moves the office to Los Angeles from Detroit . Its most creative days were the 13 years from 1959 to 1972.
1973 Berry Gordy resigned as President of Motown Records to become Chairman of the Board of Motown Industries.
During the 1980's, Motown continued to sell massive numbers of albums.
1988 Berry Gordy sold Motown Records to a partnership between MCA and Boston Ventures,.
1988 He gained the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony award.

The reason why Berry Gordy could succeed was because he knew how to produce good music. According to a website (http://rockhall.com/inductees/berry_gordy_jr/bio/)He instituted an internal program of “"quality control,"” including weekly product evaluation meetings, that he modeled after Detroit’s auto-making plants. At the same time, the working environment was sufficiently loose and freewheeling to foster creativity. In Gordy’s words, “"Hitsville had an atmosphere that allowed people to experiment creatively and gave them the courage not to be afraid to make mistakes."” ” According to this statement, we can imagine that he decided the managements by not alone, by discussion. This was a way of his management and this was the one of the reasons that he could succeed. Motown generated literally hundreds of hit singles but there is a thing that have to be more valued than money. It is his character. He did dreamed of creating music that could touch by all around people, regardless of the color of skin. This belief made him move. Therefore his accomplishment has to be admired forever because it was him that brought black and white people together.

Works Cited

"Berry Gordy Jr Biography | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum." The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum | RockHall.com. Web. 09 Nov. 2010. .

"Berry Gordy." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 09 Nov. 2010.

Edwards, David. "The Motown Story." Both Sides Now Publications' Home Page. Web. 09 Nov. 2010. .

Friedlander, Paul, and Peter Miller. Rock & Roll: a Social History. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2006.