Berry Gordy

Born: November 28, 1929, Detroit, Michigan,

Company: Motown Record Corporation,

Industry: Media,

Position: Founder,

Country: United States

Berry Gordy, the founder of the Motown Records, one of the most successful black owned companies in the United States.

In 1960 at the suggestion of friend, William "Smokey" Robinson, Gordy borrowed ~ $800 from his father and formed his own company to manufacture and market records.

Motown Records was headquartered in a row house on Detroit's West Grand Boulevard, where Gordy slept on the second floor and made records on the first.

In time the company expanded, with nine buildings on the same street housing its branches: Jobete, music publishers; Hitsville USA, a recording studio; musical accompanists; International Talent Management Inc; the Motown Artist's Development Department (the embodiment of Gordy's personal interest in his performers, where they were taught to eat, dress, and act like polished professionals); and the Motown Record Corporation, an umbrella for several labels of Motown, including Gordy, Tamla, VIP, and Soul (the last being reserved for the hit song-writing machine of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland).

His gift for identifying and bringing together musical talent, along with the careful management of his artists' public image, made Motown initially a major international success. Over the next decade, he signed such artists as Mary Wells, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Ruffin, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Commodores, The Velvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, Rick James, and The Jackson 5.

Gordy sold his interests in Motown Records to MCA and Boston Ventures on June 28, 1988 for $61 million. He also later sold most of his interests in the Jobete publishing concern to EMI Publishing.
Tags: Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, Entrepreneur Male, Film & Television, Music, United States