Berry Gordy Jr. : A Self-Made Visionary
By Len "Muddy" Mardeusz
Berry Gordy’s dream was to establish a label crossover between R&B and Pop music. Under his guidance the label began to slowly thrive, it had all the necessary ingredients. Berry Gordy put together a great roster of young artists; an outstanding production team in the persons of Lamont Dozier and Eddie and Brian Holland. They were known as Holland/Dozier/Holland. Gordy put together a house band, the Funk Brothers who were central in establishing “the Motown sound”. As an independent Motown, Berry Gordy’s label was able to achieve what so very few main stream record companies could: credibility with fans while charting top hits.
In the beginning of the Supremes, there were some false starts—Gordy who had signed the female quartet, decided to move Diana Ross to lead vocals. He then assigned the group to his incredible writing and production team
Holland/Dozier/Holland. It was the right move. The team gave the group their first #1 hit, “Where Did Our Love Go.”
Berry Gordy had the idea, vision to foresee somewhat further up the music road, where the fans R&B, and Pop genres all crossed paths. The foresight allowed him to build a multi-billion Independent Record company, Motown Records. The many African-American artists that were a part of Motown Records is immense, their musical talents astounding. The Chi-Lites, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Supremes, the Commodores, this Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, Mary Wells and so many more. In 1963, Berry signed a music prodigy, a 12 yr. old Steveland Morris. Gordy dubbed him Stevie Wonder and the rest is history. Smokey Robinson, who Berry Gordy called the “Soul of Motown” , whose big hit “Tears Of A Clown” brought the label in to middle America.
Today that two story frame house, with a recording studio in the basement and sigh that reads, “HITSVILLE USA” is still standing, now as a Historical site. A tribute to a young man who had a dream, Berry Gordy,Jr. Berry Gordy has been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Song Writers Hall of Fame and he has received a Pioneer Award. Jimmy Webb said, “Berry Gordy not only created a record label he created a genre.”
Len “Muddy” Mardeusz peace”.