Berry Gordy Biography

Berry Gordy lives the American dream


Watch this video

Berry Gordy talks about Marvin Gaye

Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy is the man behind famed record label Motown, possibly the biggest contributor to American and worldwide popular culture ever.

Gordy became obsessed with songwriting already at the age of 7. This focus on the song, the tune, what people sang and danced along to, was to become the secret behind his unrivaled success.

During the 50s, Berry struggled as he joined the army, worked in a car production plant, as well as owned and lost a jazz record shop to the new emerging R&B genre.

A determined Berry learned from his mistakes and had the vision to take the formula of the car plant and apply it to songwriting.

He knew songwriters made money and that the right records, with popular tunes, sold. In 1959 he created an R&B record company with the vision of a house band, a studio, different singers and a record label all operating in the same house, like a car production line.

This record company operated under many different names but has become known to the masses as Motown.

His legacy is so enormous it can’t just be summed up in a few words, so here’s a glimpse of what he did.

Berry Gordy discovered, signed and released albums and singles by these ten well-known artists and bands.

  1. Jackie Wilson
  2. Lionel Richie
  3. Martha and The Vandellas
  4. Marvin Gaye
  5. Smokey Robinson
  6. Michael Jackson
  7. Stevie Wonder
  8. The Four Tops
  9. The Supremes
  10. The Temptations

That’s a pretty impressive list… Remember how Berry knew the secret to his success was the song, the tune, what people would sing and dance along to?

These are just twenty of the tunes that he released.

  1. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Tarrell
  2. Can I Get A Witness – Marvin Gaye
  3. Dancing In The Street – Martha And The Vandellas
  4. Easy – The Commodores
  5. Get Ready – The Temptations
  6. Hello – Lionel Richie
  7. I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
  8. I Want You Back – Jackson 5
  9. I Wish – Stevie Wonder
  10. Jimmy Mack – Martha And The Vandellas
  11. Master Blaster (Jammin’) – Stevie Wonder
  12. Money (That’s What I Want) – Barrett Strong
  13. My Girl – The Temptations
  14. My Guy – Mary Wells
  15. Papa Was A Rolling Stone – The Temptations
  16. Reach Out (I’ll Be There) – The Four Tops
  17. Superstition – Stevie Wonder
  18. The Tears Of A Clown – Smokey Robinson
  19. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
  20. You Can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes

Looks to me like his vision of a car factory’s production line, with a focus on writing songs worked out!

Berry Gordy really lived the American dream, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

Related Pages

Money (That’s What I Want) – Guitar Lesson

‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ is a song written by Motown Record Executive Berry Gordy. First performed by Barrett Strong, it has since been covered by many.

On the original, the main guitar riff stays as the rest of the band moves from F to Bb. This has not been maintained on most cover versions.

As you learn this in the course, I’ll show you several ways you could play this song, including how to improvise a solo.

Preview video lessons: Money (That’s What I Want)

Money (That’s What I Want) – Lyrics

The best things in life are free
But you can give them to the birds and bees
I need money (that’s what I want)
That’s what I want (that’s what I want)
That’s what I want (that’s what I want)

For complete lyrics, go to Money (That’s What I Want) lyrics.

Sign Up Now

A monthly subscription with access to all acoustic and electric step by step lessons, each one designed to bring your guitar playing skills to the next level.

Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

To sign up now, go to Monthly Subscription