Read, Watch, Listen: Motown

In January of 1959, a young man by the name of Berry Gordy, Jr. began his own music label (originally called Tamla Records), which grew into the powerhouse of Motown. From little Stevie Wonder to the Supremes, the Motown sound provided the soundtrack to American life in the 1960s and is still an incredible influence today. Listen and learn more about Hitsville, USA with the following:




Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story – David Maraniss

  • Despite everything that made Detroit great — from the auto industry visionaries, to influential labor leaders, to the hit-makers of Motown — shows how there were hints of the city’s tragic collapse decades before the riot, years of civic corruption and neglect took their toll.

Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Live of Motown’s First Superstar – Peter Benjaminson

  • Tells the life story of the first Motown solo superstar, including details about her marriages and love life and her battle with throat cancer.

Ready for a Brand New Beat: How Dancing in the Street Became the Anthem for a Changing America – Mark Kurlansky

  • Can a song change a nation? In 1964, Marvin Gaye, record producer William “Mickey” Stevenson, and Motown songwriter Ivy Jo Hunter wrote “Dancing in the Street.” The song was recorded at Motown’s Hitsville USA Studio by Martha and the Vandellas. Released on July 31, the song was supposed to be an upbeat dance recording, but events overtook it, and the song became one of the icons of American pop culture.

The Supremes: A Saga of Motown Dreams, Success, and Betrayal – Mark Ribowsky

  • Explores the rise and fall of this popular trio based on recollections from friends, family, and Motown contemporaries who were there when their songs were made, their hits climbed the charts, and the group faded away into history due to personal issues and professional strife.






22 Greatest Hits – Smokey Robinson

The Best of The Temptations

Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye: 15 Spectacular Performances

The Best of Stevie Wonder

The Ultimate Collection – Martha Reeves

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