BERRY GORDY, JR. Biography - Pioneers, Explorers & inventors


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A talented songwriter and producer, Berry Gordy Jr. has been credited with           
changing the course of contemporary music with his founding of Motown Industries.   
His keen eye for talent and his protective management style boosted the careers     
of great African-American musicians, and his business skill built Motown Records     
into the largest Black-owned enterprise in America.                                 
Berry Gordy, Jr. was born on November 28, 1929, in Detroit, Michigan. He was the     
seventh of eight children of Berry Gordy, a plasterer, and Bertha Gordy, an         
insurance agent. Gordy, Jr. attended Detroit Public Schools but dropped out of       
high school in his junior year. He was drafted into the Army to serve in the         
Korean War.                                                                         
Gordy, Jr. spent his early adult life exploring different professions. For a         
three year period beginning in 1948, he was a professional boxer. Thereafter, he     
opened a record store, which closed in 1955, and was a factory worker for Ford       
Motor Company, 1955 to 1959. It was in this later year that Gordy, Jr. was to       
make a radical change in his life that was to impact the music industry in a         
profound manner: he founded Motown Record Company in Detroit . In this capacity,     
he became the producer for African-American entertainers such as Smokey Robinson,   
Diana Ross, Steve Wonder and the Jackson Five. Gordy Jr. also produced several       
feature films, including Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Mahogany (1975) and The       
Last Dragon (1985). In 1988, Gordy Jr. sold Motown Industries for sixty-one         
Million dollars to MCA Incorporated.                                                 
Gordy Jr. has received numerous awards, including the Business Achievement Award     
from the Interracial Council for Business Opportunity (1967), an award for           
Outstanding Contribution to the Music Industry at the Second Annual American         
Music Awards (1975), the Whitney Young Jr. Award from the Los Angeles Urban         
League (1980), the Black Achievement Award from the Brotherhood Crusade (1988),     
the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science Award (1991), and the Black       
Radio Exchange Lifetime Achievement Award (1993). Gordy Jr. was inducted into       
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 20, 1988.