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Indie crib-sheet - Motown records
"My own dream for a hit factory was . . . shaped by principles I learned on the Lincoln-Mercury assembly line. . . . I wanted the same concept for my company, only with artists and songs and records [instead of cars]. I wanted a place where a kid off the street could walk in one door an unknown and come out another a recording artist -- a star."
Berry Gordy

Detroit's Motown Records were the Black American label of the 1960s. Between 1961 and 1971 they had over 110 top 10 US hits, and established Soul music as an international phenomenon. Berry Gordy founded the business by borrowing $800 of family money in 1959 and sold it for $61 million in 1988!
Motown logo
FACT!
Motown producers believed steadfastly in the "KISS principle" ("keep it simple, stupid")

FACT!
The session musicians used on much of Motown's amazing output were known as the Funk Brothers.  They were paid basic wages despite providing that classic Motown sound.

FACT!
Berry Gordy quit his job as an $85 a week upholstery trimmer when he saw Tamla records was going somwhere.

FACT!
During its halcyon heydays, Motown racked up more chart-topping singles than The Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, and Elton John combined!

• Key releases:
Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On (1973)
Diana Ross and the Supremes - Where Did Our Love Go? (1964)
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - Going To A Go-Go (1965)
Stevie Wonder - Up-Tight (1966)
Jackson 5 - ABC (1970)

• Key artists:
Smokey Robinson
Stevie Wonder
Jackson 5
Diana Ross and the Supremes
Marvin Gaye
The Four Tops


Other indie crib-sheets:
CreationRough TradeBeggars
Def Jam | MotownSub PopWarp
Tom Robinson BBC Introducing
Unsigned talent online with Tom


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