Berry Gordy, Jr., was born in Detroit Michigan on November 28, 1929. He was the seventh of eight children of Berry, Sr. and Bertha Gordy. Berry Gordy, Jr. dropped out of the school after his junior year to become a professional boxer; he decided to get out of the fight game at about the time the Army drafted him in 1951. In 1953, he married Thelma Coleman and in 1954 his first child was born, a daughter Hazel Joy. By 1959 they had two other children, named Berry IV and Terry. They divorced in 1959 (Edwards and Callahan).
In 1953, he opened a jazz orientated record store called 3-D Record Mart. In 1954, the stored failed and Gordy began working for Ford Motor Company on the assembly line. This is where it all began. His first success as a song writer came in 1957 when Jackie Wilson recorded “Reet Petite”. Over the next 2 years he co-wrote four more hits for Wilson. Being successful as a song writer, Gordy decided to produce his songs himself. In 1958, Berry produced a record by Eddie Holland titled “You”, which was released on Mercury records. Kudos records issued four more Gordy production, two of which are significant to the Motown story: the first Mary Johnson release, titled “My Baby O,” and a Brian Holland (Eddie’s brother) vocal, titled “Shock”. With Smokey Robinson and the Holland brothers, Berry had discovered three incredible songwriters and producers Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson later became life long friends (Edwards and Callahan).
On January 12th, 1959 Berry decided to take control of his songs, he borrowed $800 from his family’s loan fund to start his own record label, called Tamla. He wanted to call his label
“Tammy,” after a Debbie Reynolds film but it was already taken. Tamla Records was located at 1719 Gladstone Street in Detroit. Berry had produced 2 hits for the group the Miracles which were titled “Get a Job” and “I Cry “. The Miracles third release was issued on a... [continues]
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