- Berry Gordy
Infobox Musical artist
Img_size = 150
Name = Berry Gordy, Jr.
Background = non_performing_personnel
Born = birth date and age|1929|11|28
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
R&B, soul, pop
Record executive, songwriter, record producer, film producer, and television producer
Years_active = 1957–1999
Label = Motown
Associated_acts = The Corporation,
Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson
Berry Gordy, Jr. citebook |last=Bayles |first=Martha |title=Hole in Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music |url= |accessdate=2008-01-08 |year=1996 |publisher=University of Chicago Press |isbn=0-2260-3959-5 |pages=461 pages |chapter=page 151–152 |chapterurl=http://books.google.com/books?id=iyx7toBG6XYC&pg=PA152&lpg=PA152&dq=%22berry+gordy+ii%22&source=web&ots=d4HQpD0OPR&sig=IIv9SwVZ_4Vj-c53OxD0ywD4fmg] (born
November 28, 1929, Detroit, Michigan) is an American record producer, and the founder of the Motown record labeland its many subsidiaries.
Gordy, Jr. was the seventh of eight children born to the middle class family of Berry Gordy II (a.k.a. Berry Gordy, Sr.) and Bertha Fuller Gordy, who had relocated to Detroit from
Milledgeville, Georgiain 1922. Gordy was brought up in a tight-knit family with strong morals. His siblings were Esther, Anna (born 1922), Bertha, Gwen, Louyce, and Robert L. Gordy (born 1931). They were all born in Detroit, Michigan.
Berry Gordy II (1888–1978) was the son of Berry Gordy I and a woman named Lucy. Berry Gordy I was the son of James Thomas Gordy, a white farmer, and a female slave in Georgia. This James Thomas Gordy (1828–1889) was also, by his wife Harriet Emily Helms, the great-grandfather of James Earl Carter, Jr., the 39th President of the
United States, making Berry Gordy III and Jimmy Carter second half-cousins. It is also through James Thomas Gordy (and James' great-grandfather Andreas Presley) that Berry Gordy and Jimmy Carter were sixth cousins to Elvis Presley.
Berry Gordy, Jr's older siblings were all prominent black citizens of Detroit. Berry, however, dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade to become a professional boxer in hopes of becoming rich quick, a career he followed until 1950 when he was drafted by the
United States Armyfor the Korean war.
After his return from Korea in 1953, he married Thelma Coleman. He developed his interest in music by writing songs and opening the 3-D Record Mart, a record store featuring
jazz music. The store was unsuccessful and Gordy sought work at the Lincoln-Mercuryplant, but his family connections put him in touch with Al Green, owner of the Flame Show Bartalent club, where he met singer Jackie Wilson.
In 1957, Wilson recorded "Reet Petite," a song Gordy had co-written with his sister Gwen and writer-producer Billy Davis. 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 four 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.
Motown Record Corporation
Gordy reinvested his songwriting success into producing. In 1957 he discovered Smokey Robinson and The Miracles and began building a portfolio of successful artists. In January 1959, Gordy, using a $800 loan from his family, founded an R&B label called Tamla Records, which produced Marv Johnson's first hit, "Come To Me." This was picked up for national distribution by United Artists Records who also released the artist's more successful follow-up records such as "You Got What It Takes", co-produced and co-written by Gordy.At Robinson's encouragement, Gordy created
Motownon December 14, 1959. Barrett Strong's " Money (That's What I Want)," besides appearing on Tamla, charted on Gordy's Anna label from February 1960. The Miracles' hit " Shop Around" peaked nationally at #1 on the R&Bcharts in late 1960 and at #2 on the pop charts on, January 16, 1961and established Motown as an independent company worthy of notice. The following year, the Marvelettes' "Please Mr Postman" made it to the top of both charts.
Gordy did not cultivate Caucasian artists, although some white artists were signed, such as Nick and the Jaguars, Rare Earth, The Valadiers, Debbie Dean and Connie Vandyke. He also employed several white workers and managers at the company's headquarters named Hitsville USA on Detroit's West Grand Boulevard. He largely promoted
African-Americanartists but carefully controlled their public image, dress, manners and choreography for across-the-board appeal.
His 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
Mary Wells, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Gladys Knightand The Pips, The Commodores, The Velvelettes, Martha & the Vandellas, Stevie Wonderand The Jackson 5.
In 1968, Gordy moved to
Los Angeles, California, and expanded Motown's offices there, following the riots in Detroit. In June 1972, he relocated the entire Motown Records company to LA, closing the Hitsville studios which had produced a long string of worldwide hits. The following year, he reorganized the company into Motown Industries, an entertainment conglomerate that would include record, movie, televisionand publishing divisions.
In the '70s, Gordy produced the successful film "Lady Sings the Blues" starring
Diana Ross. The film also starred Richard Pryor, and introduced Billy Dee Williams. The studio rejected Williams after several screen tests, but Gordy, known for his gut-feeling tenacity, won out. Williams became a star and Ross was nominated for an Academy Award. (Williams would also go on to portray Gordy in the 1992 miniseries .) Berry Gordy soon after produced and directed "Mahogany," also starring Diana Ross. In 1985, he produced the cult martial artsfilm " The Last Dragon", which starred martial artist Taimakand one of Prince's girls Vanity.
Although Motown continued to produce major hits throughout the 70s and 80s by artists like 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 previously.Gordy sold his interests in Motown Records to MCA and Boston Ventures on
June 28, 1988for $61 million. He also later sold most of his interests in the Jobete publishing concern to EMI Publishing.
Gordy was inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Famein 1990 and published an autobiography, "To Be Loved", in 1994. The character Curtis Taylor, Jr. in the Broadway musical " Dreamgirls" (and its film adaptation) is loosely based upon Gordy and his dealing with The Supremes. Selvin, Joel (Dec. 25, 2006). " [http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/living/16315885.htm?source=rss&channel=journalgazette_living Songs, story don't reflect Motown world] ". "The Journal Gazette". Retrieved on Jan. 1, 2007.]
Gordy—who married and divorced three times, to Thelma Coleman, Raynona Singleton, and Grace Eaton—has seven children: Hazel Joy, Berry Gordy IV, Kennedy, Kerry, Rhonda, Stefan and Terry James. (His publishing company, Jobete was named after his three oldest children, Joy, Berry and Terry.)
Rhonda Ross Kendrickis the daughter of Gordy and his most successful female Motown artist, Diana Ross, with whom he had a five year relationship. Kennedy Gordy is the son of Berry Gordy and Berry's ex-girlfriend Margaret Norton. Kennedy is better known as the Motown musician Rockwell. Gordy's daughter Hazel was once married to Jermaine Jackson. He recently bought a retirement home in Palm Desert, California.
Gordy delivered the commencement address at
Michigan State Universityon May 5, 2006 and at Occidental Collegeon May 20, 2007. He received an honorary degreefrom each school.
Gordy was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1998.
* [http://www.boxrec.com/boxer_display.php?boxer_id=199464 Boxing Record]
* [http://www.history-of-rock.com/motown_records.htm History of Rock bio]
* [http://www.rockhall.com/hof/inductee.asp?id=111 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bio]
* [http://www.iconnect.net/home/bsnpubs/gordystory.html The Motown Story information on Berry Gordy]
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Berry Gordy Jr. — Berry Gordy Jr. (* 28. November 1929 in Detroit) ist ein amerikanischer Musikproduzent, der durch die Begründung der Motown Musikrichtung bekannt wurde. Wirken Berry Gordy war der Begründer des heute noch existierenden Schallplatten Labels… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Berry Gordy — (2010) Berry Gordy Jr. (* 28. November 1929 in Detroit) ist ein US amerikanischer Musikproduzent, der durch die Begründung der Motown Musikrichtung bekannt wurde. Inhaltsverzeichnis … Deutsch Wikipedia
Berry Gordy — (2010) Berry Gordy Jr (né le 28 novembre 1929 à Détroit) est un producteur américain qui a fondé le label Motown et ses multiples filiales. Sommaire … Wikipédia en Français
Berry Gordy — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Berry Gordy es un empresario musical de Estados Unidos. Nació en Detroit, el 28 de noviembre de 1929. Su padre trabajaba como contratista en pintura y enyesado, y su madre en una inmobiliaria. Fue el séptimo de una… … Wikipedia Español
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Gordy family — Gordy Ethnicity African American Current region Detroit, Michigan Information Place of origin United States Notable … Wikipedia
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Gordy (disambiguation) — Contents 1 In entertainment 2 As a surname 3 As a given name 4 … Wikipedia
Gordy, Berry, Jr. — ▪ American businessman and musician born Nov. 28, 1929, Detroit, Mich., U.S. American businessman, founder of the Motown Record Corporation (Motown) (1959), the most successful black owned music company in the United States. Through Motown, he … Universalium
Gordy, Berry,Jr. — Gor·dy (gôrʹdē), Berry, Jr. Born 1929. American music producer who founded Motown Records (1959) and inspired the “Motown sound,” popular music heavily influenced by soul and rhythm and blues. * * * … Universalium