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By Steve McGarry
Mar 10, 2013
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Steve McGarry

Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy, Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan on November 28, 1929.  Having tried his luck as a boxer, he was drafted into the Army and served in the Korean War before working at an auto plant, where he fastened upholstery into cars.  

After early success as a record producer and songwriter - he co-wrote "Reet Petite" for Jackie Wilson - he borrowed $800 and launched his own record label in 1959.  Success came quickly, and his Motown stable of stars, which included The Supremes, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, dominated the charts worldwide during the '60s.

Relocating to Los Angeles in the early 1970s, the label continued to enjoy huge success through the likes of Stevie Wonder and The Jackson Five.

Gordy produced such movies as "Lady Sings the Blues" and "Mahogany" in the 1970s.  In 1988, the year he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he sold his interested in Motown, later divesting himself of his publishing company.

Two of his eight children have enjoyed pop success in their own right  -  Kennedy William hit the charts in the 1980s as Rockwell, and Stefan Kendal, known as Redfoo, formed the hit duo LMFAO with Gordy's grandson, Skyler, alias Skyblu.

2013 brings the Berry Gordy story - and all that unforgettable music - to the Broadway stage with the new show "Motown: the Musical," starring Brandon Victor Dixon.
Mar 24, 2013
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