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The life and career of berry gordy jr

Berry Gordy: Biography, Family & Songs

Early life Berry Gordy Jr. He was not the first businessperson in the family; both parents worked for themselves, his father as a plastering contractor, his mother as an insurance agent.

As a child Gordy was interested in music, and his song "Berry's Boogie" won a talent contest. However, he did not receive much formal training in music—only a little on the piano and merely a week on the clarinet. Gordy dropped out of Northeastern High School during his junior year to pursue a career as a boxer.

Between 1948 and 1951 he fought fifteen matches, twelve of which he won, but his boxing career was cut short when he was drafted to serve in the U. His love for the jazz of Stan Kenton 1912—1979Charlie Parker 1920—1955and Thelonius Monk 1917—1982 influenced the records he tried to sell more than his customers' requests and his business soon failed. Gordy worked for his father for a short period and then on an assembly line at the Ford Motor Company.

He did not find the work interesting, and as he worked he wrote songs in his head, some of which were recorded by local singers.

The record company Decca Records bought several of his songs, including "Reet Petite" and "Lonely Teardrops," and when Gordy compared the money he made for writing the songs to what Decca made from the minor hits, he realized that writing the songs was not enough.

  1. In 1975 the Jackson Five announced that they would be moving to Epic Records when their Motown contract expired.
  2. And this time she said no.
  3. The veteran choregrapher Cholly Atkins taught stagecraft and the elaborate dance steps — busy hand movement; a nice tight grouping for the television cameras — for which Motown groups like the Temptations and the Supremes became renowned.

He needed to own them. Hits the big time At the suggestion of a friend, teenage singer William "Smokey" Robinson 1940—Gordy borrowed seven hundred dollars from his father and formed his own company to make and sell records. Motown Records was headquartered in a house on Detroit's West Grand Boulevard, where Gordy slept on the second floor and made records on the first.

Berry Gordy Jr

In time the company grew, with nine buildings on the same street housing its various branches, such as Jobete, music publishers; Hitsville, USA, a recording studio; International Talent Management, Inc.

The song sold more than a million copies, and with that record Gordy's company launched the most successful and influential era in the history of popular music.

Berry Gordy Jr. Biography

What came to be called the Motown Sound was a musical form that combined classic African American gospel singing with the new rock-and-roll sound that was being shaped by Elvis Presley 1935—1977 and the British band the Beatles. Motown Records made more than 110 number-one hit songs and countless top-ten records, including "Please Mr.

Berry Gordy, Jr.

Troubles arise By the mid-1970s, though, some of the Motown artists had begun to resist Gordy's tight control and began to break up Gordy's "family" of stars. The first to leave was Gladys Knight and the Pips. In 1975 the Jackson Five announced that they would be moving to Epic Records when their Motown contract expired. Ross's move was especially surprising and bitter for Gordy because in 1972 he had moved his headquarters to Los Angeles, California, to begin a career in film, not only for himself, but so he could turn Ross into a movie star.

In 1975 Gordy directed Ross in Mahogany, the story of an African American fashion model's rise to fame. Although the film did well at the box office, it was not nearly the critical success of Lady Sings the Blues.

He told the newspaper Daily Variety that he wanted to make sure that the history of Motown remained alive. Esther Edwards, Berry Gordy's sister, was also interested in preserving Motown's history. She had saved hundreds of boxes of Motown items, including original music scores, posters, and photographs, and until 1988 most of them were stuck to the walls with thumbtacks.

In late 1994 a plan was announced to make a tribute album to Gordy. Even though Gordy was oftentimes recognized as an entrepreneur, he was first and foremost a song-writer. Gordy's talents as a songwriter and entrepreneur and his huge contribution to popular music were recognized in 2001, when he was inducted into the Independent Music Hall of Fame.

  • Realizing the tough life of a boxer compared to the classier life of a musician, he devoted all his energies to songwriting;
  • He was not the first businessperson in the family; both parents worked for themselves, his father as a plastering contractor, his mother as an insurance agent;
  • Lady Sings the Blues, which he produced and for which she was nominated for an Oscar.

For More Information Davis, Sharon. Pop Gordy Tells His Story. City Cool and Solid Gold.