Motown has been called the sound that changed America. A sound that has become one of the most significant musical accomplishments and stunning success stories of the 20th century.
It’s a Motown Weekend on 100.1 WJRZ and below are some facts about the music that brought together people of all ages and races.
January 12, 1959 Berry Gordy founded Motown Records in Detroit, MI with a loan of $800 from his family.
Detroit had long been known as the “Motor City.” Gordy, in tribute to his hometown, used “town” in place of “city,” forming “Motor Town” and the perfect name for his company—Motown.
2648 West Grand Boulevard, home of Motown Records, was nicknamed Hitsville, U.S.A.
It is rumored that Gordy modeled his “hit factory” after the Detroit car assembly: “Make a good product, then make something similar, and make it quick.”
The company’s first signing was the Miracles, led by Smokey Robinson, and its first release was Marv Johnson’s “Come to Me,” January 21, 1959.
The Marvelettes scored Motown’s first US number-one pop hit, “Please Mr. Postman”.
Motown was the first African-American-owned record label to reach widespread national acclaim.
Motown has produced over than 180 No. 1 hit songs worldwide!
In the late 80′s and 90′s all of Motown’s major artists were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Berry Gordy himself was inducted in 1988. The Marvelettes are nominees this year.
Hitsville U.S.A is now home to the Motown Museum with tens of thousands of visitors per year.