Motown Records: Motorcity’s Most Famous Record Lable Turns 65
My mother LOVED Motown! She was really into all sorts of music and being born in 1955, she grew up with some of the best out there and lived in the times of what we all know as classics today. She always joked that when she died she wanted a CD player with all her music so she could listen to it for eternity. Well, sadly part of this wish came true when she passed from a two-year-long cancer battle at the age of 42 in 1998. So per her wishes, we buried her with some of her music. All the Motown! Mostly because my stepdad and I weren’t fans. Now that I am older I have a bigger appreciation for it. So this one is for you Mom!
The freewheeling soul we know and love as the Motown Sound was hammered out in a music factory in the heart of Detroit, the Motor City. Between 1959-72, groups including Martha and the Vandellas, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Jackson 5, the Temptations, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and the Four Tops recorded hit after danceable hit in the label’s recording studio on Grand Boulevard. Over the decades, the label and its subsidiaries would go on to produce music that put R&B and soul at the forefront of American pop music and make legends. In honor of this big anniversary take a look at some of the early days of the record label.
Songwriter and producer Berry Gordy poses for a portrait circa 1958
Motown Records exterior, Detroit, MI, circa 1965
House musicians Robert White and Joe Messina in the recording studio in the 1960s
Berry Gordy played the piano as a group, including Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder, joined in singing together at Motown Studios, circa 1964
The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and Martha & The Vandellas toured together on the ‘Tamla-Motown UK Tour,’ circa March 1965
The Supremes at Le Bouget airport Paris, Berry Gordy Jr. taking a picture, 1965
Smokey Robinson outside of Motown Records, circa 1966
If you want to relive some of this great music, here is a great playlist!