Berry Gordy: ‘Industry Icon’

Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award

Saying the word “Motown” conjures up vivid memories of a sound, a place in time and a perfectly defined image, all of which can be attributed to one man, Berry Gordy. The one-time pugilist put Detroit on the map at the turn of the ’60s, scoring his first chart-topper with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Shop Around” and quickly establishing Motown as the nation’s premiere independent record label. While the label’s output was always unquestionably rooted in R & B, Gordy refused to let his artists be ghettoized, positioning Motown as the home of “The Sound of Young America.” That slogan proved to be accurate, since acts like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, the Supremes and the Jackson Five transcended categorization and made Gordy — a man gifted with unique talents for discovering, writing for and producing such acts — the most prominent African-American mogul in the music business.

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