Tamla Motown Records
Berry Gordy Jr. had a dream, and in 1959 with a loan of $800 he started Motown records in Detroit. The name Tamla and Motown derived from the Debbie Reynolds hit film' Tammy' and Motown was the nickname of Motor Town, home of Ford Motors in Detroit. He became the president of the black American company, with music from the ghetto, which was danceable and became mainstream with its own original Motown sound. Success did not come overnight, with a vocal group called the Miracles and the classic '" Money (That What I Want)" originally issued on Anna records, Berry struck gold. The lead singer and song writer Smokey Robinson persuaded Berry Gordy to manufacture and distribute his own records. "Shop Around" was written by Smokey and became the first million seller for the label. The Detriot Sound. The Young Sound of America was dominated by the production and writing talent of Holland, Dozier and Holland in the early sixties. As well as groups such as the Four Tops, Temptations, Supremes, Marvelettes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and Jr. Walker and the All Stars, he attracted the talent of Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Ruffin and the Isley Brothers. Hit followed hit "You've Really Got A Hold On" , "Mickey's Monkey", Miracles,"Pride And Joy", "Can I Get A Witness", Marvin Gaye, "Finger Tips, "Uptight (Everythings Alright)" Stevie Wonder,"Love Is Like A Heat Wave"," Dancing In The Street", Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, "Where Did Our Love Go", "Baby Love", Supremes , "My Guy", Mary Wells, "Baby I Need Your Lovin", "I Can't Help Myself", Four Tops, "My Girl, "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" Temptations,"I Heard it Through the Grapevine" Gladys Knight and the Pips, "This Old Heart of Mine" (Is Weak For You) Isley Brothers.
As well as the Tamla and Motown labels he also developed Gordy-Soul-VIP. The first artist to be issued on the Soul label was Shorty Long. William Stevenson produced "Devil With A Blue Dress On". In 1966 he recorded "Function At The Junction" which became a chart hit. He went on to record four singles and two albums and remains a very under rated talent who died in a boating accident in June 1969. During the sixties Motown was not the only successful label in Detroit. Ric Tic the label owned by Ed Wingate had an impact on the chart seen and Motown bought them out, now with artist such as Rare Earth, Laura Lee, J.J.Barnes, Edwin Starr and the Fantastic Four more hits followed. Edwin Starr had the biggest hits on Gordy with "25 Miles" "War" (sold over 3 million copies) and "My Weakness is You". Originally on Golden World he moved to Ric Tic, hits included "Agent OO Soul", "Stop Her On Sight" and the catchy "Headline News".
Mean while back in the UK, the early Motown records were issued on a variety of labels, as we shall see in the continuing story in Part Two of The Tamla Motown Records Story