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The Story of Motown

The Story of Motown

The Story of Motown

The Story of Motown


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Re-release of the first book ever published in America about the legendary Motown Record Company, with a new foreword by legendary music journalist Greil Marcus!

In January 1959 Berry Gordy borrowed $800 from his family and founded the Detroit-based record company that in less than a decade was to become the largest black-owned business in the United States. It also became one of the most productive and influential producers of popular music anywhere in the world, mainly by combining the best features of black and white American popular music.

Even a short list of the recording and performing talent that Gordy recruited, trained and produced for his company is awesome: Diana Ross, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells.

The Story of Motown is the story of Berry Gordy’s triumph over powerful, established financial interests, entrenched popular taste, bigotry and racism. By inventing a sound that appealed to whites as well as blacks, and that was immediately identifiable to an entire generation of listeners, Gordy demonstrated his genius as a producer; by breaking the exploitive practice of "cover" records, he helped black artists control their own music and share in the proceeds of hits; and by the sheer force of his will, courage, and intelligence, he demonstrated that a black man from the urban ghetto could aspire to and conquer the heights of traditional American business, including the movie business.

Unfortunately, while doing all of this, he also found new ways to exploit his talented artists and eventually lost many of them to companies that paid them more.

The Story of Motown is the story of the rise and fall of one of the most important cultural touchstones in American history

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781947856233
Publisher: Rare Bird Books
Publication date: 11/13/2018
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 943,771
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Peter Benjaminson is the author of three other books about the Motown Record Company and its artists: The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard (Lawrence Hill Books, 2008); Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Life of Motown’s First Superstar (Chicago Review Press, 2012); and Super Freak: The Life of Rick James (Chicago Review Press, 2017). A former reporter for the Detroit Free Press and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he is also the author of four books on non-Motown related subjects. He is now working with Bill Haley Jr. on a biography of Bill’s father, rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Bill Haley Sr.

Table of Contents

Foreword Greil Marcus 9

Introduction 13

Prologue 17

Chapter 1 The Gordys 19

Chapter 2 Gordy in the Ring 25

Chapter 3 Gordy in Transition 29

Chapter 4 The Gordy Family Sets up Shop 37

Chapter 5 Many Times 39

Chapter 6 The Motown Sound 45

Chapter 7 Starmaking Machinery 51

Chapter 8 Motown Pushes Forward 55

Chapter 9 The Motortown Revues 65

Chapter 10 Success 73

Chapter 11 Recruiting Gets Easier 83

Chapter 12 Motown Creates a Machine 89

Chapter 13 Motown Becomes a 'Conglamorate' 95

Chapter 14 Gordy Arrives 101

Chapter 15 Gordy and Ross 109

Chapter 16 Motown Moves and Changes 115

Chapter 17 Motown Goes Hollywood 121

Chapter 18 The Motown Plot 131

Chapter 19 Ups and Downs: Motown Branches Out 139

Chapter 20 Artists and Money 149

Chapter 21 Exodus 157

Chapter 21 Motown Matures 169

Chapter 23 Motown: The Seventies and Beyond 173

Afterword 175

Motown Top Twenty Hits: 1961-1971 177

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