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Berry Gordy To Retire; Motown Founder Bows Out After 6 Decades D5FRa
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    Berry Gordy To Retire; Motown Founder Bows Out After 6 Decades

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    The Last Outlaw
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    PostThe Last Outlaw Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:07 pm

    From Brian McCollum of The Detroit Free Press

    The Chairman has stepped down — and likely taken his final bow in Detroit.

    Berry Gordy To Retire; Motown Founder Bows Out After 6 Decades $

    Berry Gordy, the Detroit native who built Motown Records from a shoestring operation into a music, film and television empire, told a hometown crowd Sunday night that he is at last retiring.

    "I have come full circle," he said onstage during Motown's 60th anniversary program at Orchestra Hall. "It is only appropriate (to announce this) while here in Detroit, the city where my fairy tale happened with all of you."

    The enterprising Gordy helped revolutionize American and global culture via Motown, shepherding young Detroit talent and eventually churning out stars such as Diana Ross & the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and The Jackson 5.

    Although Gordy sold the record label in 1988 and later parceled off its song-publishing arm, the 89-year-old has remained very much in the business of Motown. In recent years, his creative pursuits have included a Broadway musical and a Showtime documentary about the company.

    He's also been closely involved with the Motown Museum's $50 million expansion campaign, including a $4 million donation to the project last month.

    Speaking to an Orchestra Hall audience that included many of the key figures who have been part of his six-decade Motown journey, Gordy said Sunday that he has contemplated retirement for some time.

    "For years, I dreamed about it, talked about it, threatened it," he said.

    Berry Gordy To Retire; Motown Founder Bows Out After 6 Decades $

    Gordy's announcement was the dramatic conclusion to a nearly 40-minute speech that found him frequently veering from his written remarks to share old anecdotes, interact with Motown colleagues in the audience, and get "sentimental," as he put it.

    He told familiar stories, like the life-changing moment as an 8-year-old when Detroit boxer Joe Louis defeated Germany's Max Schmeling. And he bantered with Motown's Mickey Stevenson, seated in the front row, recounting the time he loaned his car to the roguish A&R chief for a lunch trip — only to have Stevenson and the vehicle disappear for two days.

    There were poignant, reflective moments — including an admission that he has only recently come to fully grasp "the love" directed toward him and Motown's legacy.

    "I was too busy to understand it, to appreciate it," he said.

    Gordy, visiting Detroit from Los Angeles for the weekend's 60th anniversary celebration, also took part in a Sunday afternoon groundbreaking as the Motown Museum embarks on expansion construction. There, he was joined by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and others.

    Berry Gordy To Retire; Motown Founder Bows Out After 6 Decades $

    "This trip to my hometown Detroit has been overwhelming to me," he said Sunday night.

    Gordy's speech capped the "Hitsville Honors" program, a lively, 3½-hour show that featured performances by Motown veterans (The Temptations, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves) and younger acts such as Big Sean, Kem and Ne-Yo.

    The evening also included a series of awards, including the Motown Legacy honor presented to him by director-writer Lee Daniels (Empire). Daniels earlier had saluted Gordy's production of Lady Sings the Blues, the 1972 Billie Holiday biopic starring Diana Ross, as inspiration for his career path.

    Daniels has embarked on his own Holiday film — The United States vs. Billie Holiday — and said that's what led him to Detroit this weekend.

    "No way I was going to shoot this movie without kissing (Gordy's) ring," he said.

    An up-and-coming songwriter, Gordy founded the company that would become Motown in 1959, with support from his entrepreneurial family that included an $800 starter loan. It went on to become America's biggest black-owned corporation.

    Gordy, who has lived in L.A. since moving his operations there in the early 1970s, will turn 90 in November.

    Berry Gordy To Retire; Motown Founder Bows Out After 6 Decades $

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    PostKyng Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:26 pm

    Well, after such a long life of service with the label, I think he deserves to enjoy his retirement.

    Congrats to him on a successful career Smile !
    The Last Outlaw
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    PostThe Last Outlaw Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:01 pm

    @Kyng wrote:Well, after such a long life of service with the label, I think he deserves to enjoy his retirement.

    Congrats to him on a successful career Smile !

    I couldn't agree with you any more than I already do. Berry Gordy put out hits and hit makers. He deserves to go out and go out on top.

    Thank you Berry Gordy for all the music Motown has made famous.

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    PostKyng Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:31 pm

    Yep, definitely agree there Smile .

    You got any favourites?
    The Last Outlaw
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    PostThe Last Outlaw Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:47 pm

    Temptations
    Four Tops
    The Supremes
    Smokey Robinson
    Marvin Gaye
    Tammi Terrell
    Diana Ross (solo)
    The Jackson Five
    Michael Jackson (solo)

    ... just to name a few...

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