The groovy history of Motown Records
The spirit of Motown -
The advent of Motown, not only as a record label but also as a genre, irrevocably changed the face of music in the mid-20th century onwards.
Where is "Motown"? -
The name "Motown" is an homage to the city where it was born: Detroit, Michigan, otherwise known as the Motor City, or Motor Town.
The Great Migration -
In the wake of the Jim Crow South, the first half of the 20th century saw an unprecedented move of African Americans from the Southern states to the North.
The rise of Black music -
Just before and during the advent of rock and roll, in the 1950s, the demand for traditionally Black music and its offshoots rose exponentially.
Peacock Records -
Peacock Records, founded in Houston, Texas, in 1949 by one Don Robey (pictured, middle), was the premier distributor of rhythm and blues for decades.
Vee Jay Records -
The Chicago-based Vee Jay Records was founded in 1953 by the husband-and-wife duo Vivian Carter and James Bracken.
Berry Gordy Jr. -
Raised in Detroit, Berry Gordy Jr. was intensely dedicated to music from a young age.
Berry Gordy Jr. -
After a military tour during the Korean War, Gordy Jr. returned to Detroit and began ghostwriting for early soul stars such as Jackie Wilson and Etta James.
The Marvelettes -
One of Motown Records' first successes came in the form of an all-girl recording act known as the Marvelettes.
Stevie Wonder -
Stevie Wonder is recognized as one of the most successful singer-songwriters of all time.
The Jackson 5 -
The Jackson 5, the family act that led to the meteoric rise of pop icon Michael Jackson, first signed to Motown Records in 1968.
The Miracles -
When Robinson first signed to Motown, it was as one fifth of The Miracles, a quintet that would become the label's very first success.
The Temptations -
Known for their fantastic dress sense and dancing skills, The Temptations proved to be one of Motown's greatest successes.
The Isley Brothers -
The Isley Brothers are famous for their impossibly long, successful, and diverse career that has spanned both numerous decades and labels.
The end of independence -
In 2005, Motown Records was swallowed up by label behemoth Universal Music Group after over four decades of independence and earth-shattering success.