Founder and owner of the Tamla-Motown family record labels, Berry Gordy,
Jr., established Motown Records as one of the most important independent labels in the
early '60s. Assembling an industrious staff of songwriters, producers, and musicians,
Motown Records built one of the most impressive rosters of artist in the history of pop
music and became the largest and most successful independent record company in the United
State by 1964.
On November 28, 1929 Berry Gordy was born at Detroit's Harper Hospital. Gprdy was the seventh child born to Berry and Bertha Gordy/ The Gordys were an ambitious middle class with roots in Georgia farming and retailing. The family moved to Detroit in 1922 with their first three children. It was here that they established a successful construction and painting busines. that allowed the family to purchase a commercial building on the corner of St. Antione and Farnsworth Bery Gordy Sr also opened the Booker T. Washington grocery store From it he instilled the values of frugality, disciplne family unity and hard work that were so dear to Booker T. Washington. After studying business in college, Bertha co-founded the Friendship Mutual Life Insurance Company.
Gordy Dropped out of school in the eleventh grad to become a profesional boxer. At one time he even fought on the same card as the Brown Bomber Joe Lewis at Dtroit's Olympia Stadium. He ended a repectable career as a featherweight in 1950. After serving in the army in Korea from 1951 -1953 his love of jazz caused him to open the 3-D Record Mart House of Jazz. Obsessed with his love of jazz, gordy was to stubborn to stock the blues records that the neighborhood
Berry married Thelma Crawford and quickly had three children. It was after closing the store that Gordy went to work on the assembly line at the ford Lincoln-Mercury plant By 1957 he had quit that job to become a profesional songwriter.
One day Raynoma Liles and her sister auditioned for Gordy. Not
only did Gordy meet his next wife Raynoma, but he found a woman who could help him write.
hit records. Known around the company as Miss Ray, she had perfect pitch and could write
lead sheets. They soon formed the Rayber Voice Recording Company. For $100 they would do
whatever was necessary to hel a young singer make a record. From writing, arranging
rehearsing or recording a demo. In this way they were ble to find new talent. They also
put together the Rayber Voices. a studio group that backed most of Motown's first acts
Berry and Raynoma Gordy
In late 1957, Gordy had his first success with "Reet Petite" which was recorded by Detroit born Jackie Wilson who had at one time replaced Clyde McPhatter as lead singer of the Dominoes. The next year he wrote "Lonely Teardrops" for Wilson.57, Gordy had his first success with "Reet Petite," which was recorded by Detroit born o had replaced Clyde McPhatter as lead singer of the Dominoes. The next year he wrote "Lonely Teardrops" for Wilson.
Motown Alumni Association
Motown Albums Discography