"Live every day like it’s your last. "


Personal tools

Sign in with

Follow Us On...
More News...


Berry Gordy Jr

From EntrepreneurWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Berry Gordy Jr's Social Links


A rags-to-riches story, Berry Gordy Jr was born in Detroit’s inner city in 1929. The son of a plastering contractor, Gordy dreamed of making it big through one of his two main passions: boxing and jazz. After a short-lived boxing career, Gordy turned to the music industry and opened a record store devoted to jazz music. Unfortunately, the Detroit community was less into jazz and more interested in rock ‘n’ roll at the time, causing Gordy’s store to go under.

While Gordy was forced to take a job at Ford Motor Co., his dream of a career in the music industry and desire to reach across the racial divide was still well and alive. With his entrepreneurial spirit in full force, Gordy began writing songs and selling them to local artists and music labels. His hard work paid off when he grabbed the attention of singer Jackie Wilson, who would go on to record several Gordy songs, including the big hit “Lonely Teardrops” and “Reet Petite.” These successes were enough to inspire Gordy to quit his job at Ford and once again try his hand in the music industry.

With the support of his family and an $800 loan from them, Gordy founded his record label, Hitsville USA, in 1959. In 1960 he would change the name to Motown, an homage to Detroit’s nickname, Motor Town. With a knack for searching Detroit’s street corners and dark nightclubs for acts, Gordy quickly built an impressive label around talented, young black performers. Motown’s first major hit was “Way Over There” by a teenage sensation named William “Smokey” Robinson. Gordy’s list of steady performers and Motown-signed artists would grow to include Marvin Gaye, the Contours, the Prime (which would be famously known as the Temptations), Diana Ross and the Supremes, Martha Vandella and the Spinners, Jackson Five, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and a 9-year old blind boy, Stevie Wonder. Gordy’s artists and Motown Records would go on to dominate the charts throughout the 1960s, the success of which led Gordy to open Tamla-Motown Records in London in 1965.

Gordy moved Motown Records from Detroit to Hollywood in the 1970s, founding a motion picture division around the same time. However, the 1970s were not as kind to Motown as the previous decade had been. While Gordy continued to find success with other entrepreneurial endeavors, Motown Records began to lose its big stars and Gordy eventually sold the label to MCA and Boston Ventures in 1988. Gordy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and today remains active in the music industry by writing songs, producing, and devoting his time to Detroit’s Motown Historical Museum.

Companies and Investments

Hitsville USA (Founder), Motown Record Corporation (Founder), Motown Industries (Founder), Tamla-Motown Records (Founder), 3-D Record Mart (Founder), Workshop Jazz (Founder),

Lessons Learned

At the start of this career in the music industry, Gordy learned an important lesson when a publisher he was dealing with refused to pay him: Having no control meant having no power. This would shape how he approached all future dealings and was a turning point in him founding his record label.

Gordy’s style of music was dubbed “the Sound of Young America” and was the first to bridge the race barrier and bring people of different backgrounds and color of skin together.

Gordy believed that music could touch all people. He therefore devoted his life to using music to reach across the racial divide.

Pride and self-expression are just as important as talent in the music industry.

Because of Gordy’s efforts and Motown, “black music” would no longer be dismissed as a minority taste.

Gordy believed in the power of education, insisting that all of his Motown artists attended in-house finishing school. This schooling would give the men and women of Motown the tools to put their best foot forward onstage and in social situations.

Gordy believed in giving each and every one of his artists the tools to experiment with creativity and the courage to not be afraid of making mistakes.

Gordy played an integral role in the Civil Rights Movement, even releasing an album with Martin Luther King Jr's famous "I Have a Dream" speech on it.

Inspiring Quotes

Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Berry Gordy Jr 's Quotes

Motown educated people through song. You have no control over your emotions when you hear a song—it makes you dance, makes you sing, makes you happy, sad

Berry Gordy Jr

Dont judge yourself by others standards ... have your own. And dont get caught up into the trap of changing yourself to fit the world. The world has to change to fit you. And if you stick to your principles, values and morals long enough, it will.

Berry Gordy Jr

I have this ability to find this hidden talent in people that sometimes even they didnt know they had

Berry Gordy Jr

Motown was about music for all people - white and black, blue and green, cops and the robbers. I was reluctant to have our music alienate anyone

Berry Gordy Jr

I didnt want to be a big record mogul and all that stuff. I just wanted to write songs and make people laugh

Berry Gordy Jr

Influential Books


Martin Luther King, Jr.