Berry Gordy

10 who mined the talent and shaped the labels

A high school dropout who tried his hand at boxing before becoming a songwriter for Jackie Wilson, Gordy created Motown Records in 1959 and within four years had the nation’s strongest stable of R&B talent. But more than just signing acts, Gordy took his Ford company experience and applied the assembly line to songwriting, producing, costuming, dancing and even etiquette. In a small converted house in Detroit, he created a distinct style that appealed to listeners young and old, black and white, piling up a list of hits second to none in the ’60s. Those in his stable included songwriters Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland and the best house musicians in the land.

Key signings: Supremes, Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder

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