There is music for the mind, and music for the soul. Motown is both of those things for me. When I was in my early 20s I started to explore more oldies. Prior to that it was music I was stuck listening to in the car on the radio while my parents drove us to Myrtle Beach for vacation.
But as I grew up I gained a significant appreciation for music of all genres. And I fell in love with Motown. There have been several significant record labels that helped market popular American music, but Motown was the first that was run by a minority. Barry Gordy was a visionary and his Detroit, MI recording studio made some of the best pop music of all time. Motown Records dominated radio play in the 60s, 70s and even into much of the 80s. Dozens of number 1 hits, number 1 records, Grammy awards and more.
The Supremes took what the Ronettes created and made the music explode in a way never heard before. The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, The Jacksons, Chi-Lites and Mary Wells are just a few of the dozens of artists launched into our culture by Motown. Motown started to slow down when Gordy moved the business from Detroit to L.A. to venture into other medias. But it’s impact is still being felt in popular music today.
Joining me to discuss the importance of Motown in this episode is Peter Benjaminson. Benjaminson is “the” Motown historian. He’s published four books about the record label and its artists. Benjaminson’s new book, The Story of Motown, New and Revised Edition, is due out this September. It was an honor to chat with Benjaminson and learn even more than I thought I could know about the impact of Motown.
Learn more about Benjaminson and his works on Motown on his website: http://www.peterbenjaminson.com.
Listen to Episode 4 Here: