Berry Gordy
American record producer
Berry Gordy
Berry Gordy, Jr. is an American record producer, and songwriter. He remains best known however as the founder of the legendary Motown record label, as well as its many subsidiaries.
Berry Gordy's personal information overview.
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Our American Songbook: The Gershwins, Smokey And Gordy, And The Grammys
Huffington Post - 9 days
On this past Sunday, over 26 million viewers watched the live broadcast of the Grammy Awards Ceremony for 2016. On the Friday before the Grammys, a much smaller audience viewed the PBS airing of a pre-recorded presentation of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song to Smokey Robinson. Both of these events were musically spectacular with talent in abundance. What made them even more special are what they and the latest additions to our American songbook say about this nation and its people. The Grammys were a testimony to the diversity that is America, the music that Americans appreciate, and the critical role that music plays in shaping our culture today. The Gershwin Prize was a testimony to the evolution of this country and the role that music has played in that evolution. The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize is named after the Gershwin brothers, George and Ira, whose parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants to the U.S. The Gershwins were a songwriting team o ...
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Huffington Post article
Joseph Fiennes As Michael Jackson Makes Paris Jackson Want To 'Vomit'
Huffington Post - about 1 month
The controversy over casting Joseph Fiennes to portray Michael Jackson for an upcoming comedy show continues. The trailer for the episode “Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon” of the British TV show “Urban Myths,” which features Fiennes as Jackson, dropped Wednesday ― and the blowback has been excruciating.  For context, this is what Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson looks like: A Michael Jackson podcast called “The MJ Cast” sent out a call to arms to boycott the upcoming show and asked Jackson’s daughter, Paris Jackson, for her thoughts. Boycott culturally insensitive #UrbanMyths & contact @SkyArts Director @PEdgarJones ( J. ✊ #AngerIntoAction — The MJCast (@TheMJCast) January 10, 2017 @ParisJackson Thoughts on this portrayal of Michael? So many fans r sickened by it. Able to hit this original tweet up with a RT? J. — The MJCast (@TheMJCast) Januar ...
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Huffington Post article
Detroit Just Named A Street After Stevie Wonder, And He's Thrilled
Huffington Post - 2 months
Stevie Wonder moved out of Detroit years ago, but he’ll always have a home in Motown ― and now he can also lay claim to his very own street. The legendary musician joined Mayor Mike Duggan Wednesday for the public unveiling of “Stevie Wonder Avenue,” a renamed portion of Milwaukee Avenue north of downtown. The new name is marked with a street sign at the corner of Woodward Avenue. Prepping for the #StevieWonder street dedication ceremony today at Woodward and Milwaukee in #Detroit. #Street4StevieDetroit A photo posted by carlotta.tutt.holloway (@carlottath) on Dec 21, 2016 at 8:27am PST “This is just an amazing moment,” Wonder said at the dedication, his brother and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) by his side. “I’m going to freeze this moment … and remember it forever.” "Signed, Sealed, Delivered..." RT @wjrradio: Stevie Wonder Avenue! #street4stevieDetroit @ChrisRenwickWJR — Dave Lambert (@DLambertsOnline) December ...
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Huffington Post article
Raynoma Gordy Singleton, an Early Motown Force, Dies at 79
NYTimes - 3 months
Ms. Singleton, Berry Gordy’s second wife and his partner in the label, helped run some operations, wrote arrangements, produced records and even signed Stevie Wonder.
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NYTimes article
Obama awards arts medals to Mel Brooks, Audra McDonald, Berry Gordy - 5 months
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama awarded 24 American giants of the arts and humanities with medals on Thursday, lauding their accomplishments - and sharing some laughs.
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Adam White's Motown Book Is A Stunner
Huffington Post - 5 months
Adam White's stunning new coffee-table book Motown: The Sound of Young America (Thames & Hudson) is a 400-page non-stop heat wave of compelling narrative and enthralling images about a company whose musical brilliance and chart dominance was matched by its impact on American history. White, a former Billboard editor, has collaborated with Barney Ales -- the right-hand man of Motown founder Berry Gordy almost from the beginning -- to tell the inside story of how Gordy and his creative team of black writers, musicians and producers made the records while Barney and his mostly white team of "backroom believers" made sure those records got played and that the bills got paid. The Miracles during a show in the early 1960s Motown Records Archives. Courtesy of the EMI Archive Trust and Universal Music Group. Adam's encyclopedic knowledge of soul music and deep appreciation for the cultural/political meaning of Motown are as good as it gets. What makes Motown: The Sound of You ...
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Huffington Post article
How to Fill up 1,000 Concert Seats the Midtown Men Way
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Christian Hoff at my rooftop Photo credit: Michael Hull of In late June 2015, I had a chance to interview Christian Hoff, a Tony Award winner and one of the four members of the Midtown Men band. Hoff, along with his three multi-talented band members, were previously part of the the original Jersey Boys. Today, the Midtown Men band can fill a 750 to 1,000 seater venue with fans of old school music, from all age groups. In their fifth season now, Hoff, Daniel Reichard, Michael Longoria and Tony Award nominee J. Robert Spencer revitalize their audiences with live musical performances from the 60s. Apart from performing in select cities, The Midtown Men occasionally offer a symphonic interpretation of shows that they host with re-known ensembles such as Philly POPs. From left to right: Pat Palumbo, Hoff's manager, Christian Hoff and Judy Sahagian Photo credit: Will Fang of Growing naturally The quartet ran the Jersey Boys band back in ...
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Huffington Post article
Map of Motown: the sites that made the legendary Detroit label
Guardian (UK) - about 1 year
Berry Gordy’s label reshaped pop forever, and this guide highlights the spots around the Motor City that were home to his biggest stars Launched in 1959, Motown Records would release some of music’s most unforgettable soul and pop records of the next three decades. A defining moment for any first-time visitor to Detroit is squeezing into Studio A, a small room where the Temptations, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and “Little” Stevie Wonder recorded their global hits. Today the building at 2648 W Grand Boulevard is a museum that preserves, not just the label’s story, but also artefacts, founder Berry Gordy’s second-floor apartment, and the rear studio, dubbed Hitsville USA, which still has the candy machine intact in the hallway. Related: Motown - the sound that changed America: from the archive, 1 May 1972 Continue reading...
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Guardian (UK) article
The Reason Smokey Robinson Wrote 'My Girl' Had Nothing To Do With A Girl
Huffington Post - over 1 year
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Huffington Post article
Motown creator Berry Gordy charts his musical trajectory
LATimes - almost 2 years
Motown Records didn't release every indelible pop-soul hit from the '60s and '70s, although sometimes that's how it seemed. The Drifters' "On Broadway," for example, was one that got away, to Atlantic. Berry Gordy, the Detroit auto plant worker, onetime aspiring prize fighter and failed jazz record...
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LATimes article
<em>Dear Governor Cuomo</em>: A Conversation with Natalie Merchant, Plus Catching Up with Freda Payne
Huffington Post - over 2 years
A Conversation with Natalie Merchant Mike Ragogna: Natalie, what have you been up to lately beyond the new album? Natalie Merchant: I've become extremely active in the fight against hydraulic fracking in New York. Where are you based? MR: Iowa, though I grew up in New York, so this concerns me as well. NM: Well, New York is sitting on the Marcellus Shale, which has huge reserves of natural gas, but the only way to extract them is by exploding the bedrock a mile or two under the surface and pulling the gas up using hundreds of millions of gallons of freshwater which will then be contaminated. It's also extremely radioactive down there. We're watching what's happened in other states with the contamination of aquifers and the devastation of previously rural areas that are now highly industrialized. There's also quite a bit of contamination of the air that occurs with hydraulic fracturing. Anyway, I've been involved in that, and I made a film called Dear Governor Cuomo, beca ...
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Huffington Post article
Mariah Carey Channels Jessica Rabbit In Plunging Dress
Huffington Post - about 3 years
Va va voom, Mariah Carey! Carey performed at the BET Honors at Warner Theatre in Washington DC Saturday night (Feb. 8) in a very revealing dress. The singer took the stage in a plunging black gown to debut a new song, "You're Mine," reports The event honored Aretha Franklin, Berry Gordy, Kenneth Chenault, Carrie Mae Weems, Ice Cube, and Nelson Mandela, with performances by Jennifer Hudson, Janelle Monae, Tamar Braxton, Smokey Robinson and more. See shots from Carey's sexy performance below: The BET Honors will air Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. EST.
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Huffington Post article
'Motown The Musical' Tour Scheduled For Detroit Residency
Huffington Post - about 3 years
NEW YORK (AP) — The musical about the Motown sound is going home. Producers of "Motown the Musical" said Thursday that the show's national tour will play Detroit's Fisher Theatre for four-weeks between Oct. 21-Nov. 16. The show about Berry Gordy tells the story of how his Motown Records empire rose and fell and then rose again. It uses dozens of songs, including "War," ''What's Going On?" ''My Girl," ''Dancing in the Streets" and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." The show earned four Tony Award nominations. In addition to the show's home on Broadway, the national tour will kick off in Chicago on April 22. Other stops in the next two years include Minneapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; San Francisco; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Los Angeles; Houston; Atlanta; and Charlotte, N.C. ___ Online: .
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Huffington Post article
Anna Gordy Gaye Dead: Marvin Gaye's Ex-Wife Dies At 92
Huffington Post - about 3 years
Anna Gordy Gaye, the sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy and ex-wife of the late singer Marvin Gaye, has died. She was 92. According to TMZ, sources close to the family revealed that Gordy Gaye died at her Los Angeles home from natural causes and was discovered by family members at around 3 a.m. Friday. Following a 14-year union with the iconic crooner, Anna divorced Marvin Gaye in 1977. The public split inspired the recording of Gaye’s double album "Here, My Dear" -- an album whose existence was mandated by the terms of the divorce settlement, which also required Marvin to pay royalties from the project toward Anna's alimony. During a 1979 interview with People magazine, the Grammy Award winner credited his marriage to Anna for saving his Motown career. "I do believe the fact that I was married to Berry Gordy's sister saved me from getting my contract ripped up several times,” Gaye said. “Let's face it, I'm a little strange by most standards. I truly feel I'm an artist and I ...
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Huffington Post article
A Woman Is a Sometime Thing
Huffington Post - about 3 years
Because it includes a multitude of art forms, artists who create new works of musical theatre face a unique set of challenges: Can they find a topic which will appeal to modern audiences? Can they achieve a balance between words and music that will effectively tell their story? After workshopping a new piece of musical theatre and trying to fine tune it, can they whittle the piece down to just the right length that will keep an audience involved and entertained? Once a show has found its 'legs," can they let go of their "baby" long enough for it to find an audience of its own? All of this is much easier said than done. Bay area audiences were recently treated to the world premieres of two new works of musical theatre which were warmly greeted by audiences. Although each piece focuses on a woman trying to cope with an excessive amount of emotional baggage, one is almost minimalist in nature while the other is a more complex, musically robust, and troubled piece of work. ...
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Huffington Post article
Orioles set to play in Civil Rights Game vs. Astros on May 30
blank - about 3 years
Eclipse Award winner Victor Carrasco winless in first journeyman outing The 2014 Civil Rights Game will be played between the Houston Astros and the Orioles at Minute Maid Park on May 30, Major League Baseball announced Monday. The Civil Rights Game events pay tribute to those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans. Maya Angelou , Berry Gordy and Jim Brown will be honored at the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon during the game.
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Maya Angelou, Berry Gordy, Jim Brown to receive MLB Beacon Awards on May 30 in Houston
Brandon Sun - about 3 years
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Maya Angelou, Berry Gordy and Jim Brown will be honoured at the 2014 MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon in May. Major League Baseball announced Monday that the iconic author-poet, music business maven and football legend will receive awards May 30 in Houston before the annual Civil
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Brandon Sun article
Aretha Franklin, Berry Gordy among BET honorees
Yahoo News - about 3 years
ATLANTA (AP) — Legendary singer Aretha Franklin and Motown founder Berry Gordy will be honored at the 2014 BET Honors.
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Yahoo News article
Berry Gordy Backs Oprah After Golden Globes Diss
Huffington Post - about 3 years
Berry Gordy has been privately sticking up for Oprah Winfrey in Hollywood since she was snubbed by the Golden Globes.
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Huffington Post article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Berry Gordy
  • 2016
    Age 86
    In 2016, Gordy received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama for "helping to create a trailblazing new sound in American music.
    More Details Hide Details As a record producer and songwriter, he helped build Motown, launching the music careers of countless legendary artists. His unique sound helped shape our Nation's story."
  • 2013
    Age 83
    Gordy received the Songwriters Hall of Fame's Pioneer Award on June 13, 2013.
    More Details Hide Details He is the first living individual to receive the honor.
  • 2011
    Age 81
    On May 15, 2011, it was announced that Gordy was developing a Broadway musical about Motown.
    More Details Hide Details The show is said to be an account of events of the 1960s and how they shaped the creation of the label. Gordy hoped that the musical would improve the reputation of Motown Records and clear up any misconceptions regarding the label's demise. Motown: The Musical began previews at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on March 11, 2013, and began regular performances there on April 14. The musical closed in January 2015, with the possibility of returning in the summer of 2016. Gordy, who was married and divorced three times, has eight children: Hazel Joy, Berry IV, Terry James, Kerry Ashby, Sherry, Kennedy William, Rhonda Suzanne, and Stefan Kendal. His publishing company, Jobete, was named after his three eldest children, Joy, Berry and Terry.
  • 2009
    Age 79
    At the age of 79, Gordy spoke at the memorial service for Michael Jackson in Los Angeles, on July 7, 2009.
    More Details Hide Details He suggested that "The King of Pop" was perhaps not the best description for Jackson in light of his achievements, referring to him instead as "the greatest entertainer that ever lived."
    On March 20, 2009, Gordy was in Hollywood to pay tribute to his first group and first million-selling act, the Miracles, when the members received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
    More Details Hide Details Speaking in tribute to the group, Gordy said: "Without the Miracles, Motown would not be the Motown it is today."
  • 1998
    Age 68
    Gordy was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1998.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1990
    Age 60
    Berry married Grace Eaton on July 17, 1990; they divorced in 1993.
    More Details Hide Details Gordy is a vegan.
  • 1988
    Age 58
    Gordy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
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    Gordy sold his interests in Motown Records to MCA and Boston Ventures on June 28, 1988, for $61 million.
    More Details Hide Details He later sold most of his interests in Jobete publishing to EMI Publishing. Gordy wrote or co-wrote 240 of the approximately 15,000 songs in Motown's Jobete music catalogue. However, the true test of the label's worth would come a few years later, when Polygram paid over $330 million (Diana Ross was given shares in this version of the label) for the Motown catalog. (Though the current label bearing its name is a shell of its former self, the Motown sound is now practically a genre of its own). Gordy published an autobiography, To Be Loved, in 1994.
  • 1985
    Age 55
    In 1985, he produced the cult martial arts film The Last Dragon, which starred martial artist Taimak and one of Prince's proteges, Vanity.
    More Details Hide Details Although Motown continued to produce major hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s by artists including the Jacksons, Rick James, Lionel Richie and long-term signings, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, the record company was no longer the major force it had been.
  • 1984
    Age 54
    Following the funeral of Marvin Gaye on April 5, 1984, Gordy declared Gaye "the greatest of his time" and stated the singer "had no musical equals", comparing his talents to that of Billie Holiday.
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  • 1972
    Age 42
    In 1972, Gordy relocated to Los Angeles, where he produced the commercially successful Billie Holiday biography Lady Sings the Blues, starring Diana Ross (who was nominated for an Academy Award) and Richard Pryor, and introducing Billy Dee Williams (cast in a role originally for Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops).
    More Details Hide Details Initially the studio, over Gordy's objections, rejected Williams after several screen tests. However, Gordy, known for his tenacity, eventually prevailed, and the film established Williams as a major movie star. Berry Gordy soon after produced and directed Mahogany, also starring Ross and Williams.
  • 1965
    Age 35
    Gordy had a daughter with Motown artist Diana Ross, with whom he had an intimate relationship from 1965 through the 1970s:
    More Details Hide Details Gordy's eighth and youngest child is a son born to Nancy Leiviska. He is known by his stage name, Redfoo, as one member of the duo LMFAO (the other member is Skyler Gordy, born August 23, 1986, and known professionally as SkyBlu; he is the grandson of Gordy and Thelma Coleman through their son Berry IV and his wife, Valerie Robeson):
  • 1960
    Age 30
    In the spring of 1960 he married Raynoma Mayberry Liles (they were divorced in 1964).
    More Details Hide Details They had one child: With Jeana Jackson, Gordy had one daughter: With his then-mistress Margaret Norton, Gordy had a son who would later become more popularly known as Motown musician Rockwell:
    In 1960, Gordy signed an unknown singer, Mary Wells, who became the fledgling label's first star, with Smokey Robinson penning her hits "You Beat Me to the Punch", "Two Lovers", and "My Guy".
    More Details Hide Details The Miracles' hit "Shop Around" peaked at No. 1 on the national R&B charts in late 1960 and at No. 2 on the Billboard pop charts on January 16, 1961 (No. 1 pop, Cash Box), which established Motown as an independent company worthy of notice. Later in 1961, the Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman" made it to the top of both charts. Gordy's gift for identifying and bringing together musical talent, along with the careful management of his artists' public image, made Motown initially a major national and then international success. Over the next decade, he signed such artists as the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Jimmy Ruffin, the Contours, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Commodores, the Velvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5. Though he also signed various white acts on the label, he largely promoted African-American artists but carefully controlled their public image, dress, manners and choreography for across-the-board appeal.
    Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)" initially appeared on Tamla and then charted on Gordy's sister's label, Anna Records, in February 1960.
    More Details Hide Details The Tamla and Motown labels were then merged into a new company, Motown Record Corporation, incorporated on April 14, 1960.
  • 1959
    Age 29
    In 1959, with the encouragement of Miracles leader Smokey Robinson, Gordy borrowed $800 from his family to create an R&B record company.
    More Details Hide Details Originally, Gordy wanted to name the new label Tammy Records, after the song recorded by Debbie Reynolds. However, that name was taken, and he chose the name Tamla Records. The company began operating on January 21, 1959. "Come to Me" by Marv Johnson was issued as Tamla 101. United Artists Records picked up "Come to Me" for national distribution, as well as Johnson's more successful follow-up records such as "You Got What It Takes", co-produced and co-written by Gordy. His next release was the only 45 ever issued on his Rayber label, featuring Wade Jones with an unnamed female backup group. The record did not sell well and is now one of the rarest issues from the Motown stable. Berry's third release was "Bad Girl" by the Miracles, the first release on the Motown record label. "Bad Girl" was a solid hit in 1959 after Chess Records picked it up.
  • 1957
    Age 27
    Gordy reinvested the profits from his songwriting success into producing. In 1957, he discovered the Miracles (originally known as the Matadors) and began building a portfolio of successful artists.
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    In 1957 Wilson recorded "Reet Petite", a song Gordy had co-written with his sister Gwen and writer-producer Billy Davis.
    More Details Hide Details It became a modest hit, but had more success internationally, especially in the UK, where it reached the Top 10 and even later topped the chart on re-issue in 1986. Wilson recorded six more songs co-written by Gordy over the next two years, including "Lonely Teardrops", which topped the R&B charts and got to number 7 in the pop chart. Berry and Gwen Gordy also wrote "All I Could Do Was Cry" for Etta James at Chess Records.
  • 1953
    Age 23
    He had three children with his first wife, Thelma Coleman, whom he married in 1953 (they were divorced in 1959):
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1929
    Born on November 28, 1929.
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