Motown 50 January 13, 2009Posted by Wheneva Whateva in Black Is Beautiful, I Heart Music.
Tags: berry gordy, commodores, diana ross, four tops, gladys knight, jackson 5, lionel richie, marvin gaye, miracles, motown, records, smokey robinson, stevie wonder, supremes, tamla, temptations
Motown Records celebrated 50 years on January 12. The record label was founded by Berry Gordy in Detroit, Michigan in 1959 as Tamla Records. It was the first record label to be owned by and African-American and feature African-American singers and musicians who acheived crossover sucesss. Legendary acts signed to the label include The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Jackson 5, Gladys Knight, and the Commodores.
Many of the early hits known as the “Motown sound” were written by Holland-Dozier-Holland (Eddie & Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier) and were backed by a group of studio musicians known as “The Funk Brothers.” It’s first #1 hit was The Miracles’ “Shop Around.” The label had 110 Top Ten hits from 1961 to 1971.
By the 1970s Motown shifted its operations to Los Angeles and branched out to include movie production. Films released through Motown Productions include Lady Sings the Blues, Mahagony, and The Wiz.