The Temptations
Berry Gordy
Marvin Gaye
Diana Ross
Smokey Robinson
Rick James
Mary Wells

See also


Knowledge Identifier: &Motown



Record company originally founded by Berry Gordy, JrDDOTT and incorporated as '''Motown Record Corporation''' in Detroit, Michigan, United States, on April 14, 1960 add

Category: Music (3)

Founded in 1673.

Countries: United States (77%), (13%), United Kingdom (6%)

Main connections: The Temptations, Berry Gordy, Marvin Gaye

Linked to: Mercury Records, The Miracles, The Supremes, Four Tops




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Earl Van Dyke - "'Earl Van Dyke"' was an African American soul musician, most notable as the main keyboardist for Motown Records' in-house Funk Brothers band during the late 1960s and early 1970s


Pete Moore - "'Pete Moore"' is an African American soul singer, record producer, and songwriter, notable as the bass singer for Motown group "'The Miracles"' from 1955 onwards, and is one of the group's original members


Mary Wells - "'Mary Esther Wells"' was an American singer who helped to define the emerging sound of Motown in the early 1960s


Cholly Atkins - He choreographed for non-Motown artists as well, namely the dance routines of The Cadillacs in the 1950s, and the Sylvers, as well as The O'Jays during the mid-1970s, appearing with them on an episode of Soul Train


Jesse Drakes - In the late 1950s he played less jazz and more R&B music, touring with King Curtis and playing at the Motown studios in the 1960s


Gordy originally wanted to name the label "Tammy" Records, after the popular song by Debbie Reynolds from the 1957 film "Tammy and the Bachelor" starring Reynolds add something


Also in 1959, Gordy purchased the property that would become Motown's Hitsville U.S.A. studio add something


In 1959, Billy Davis and Berry Gordy's sisters Gwen and Anna started Anna Records add something


Tamla's first release, in the Detroit area, was Marv Johnson's "Come to Me" in 1959 add something


The Miracles' first, minor hit was their fourth single, 1959's "Bad Girl," released in Detroit as the debut record on the Motown imprint, and nationally on the Chess label add something


"'Motown Records"' was the name of Gordy's second record label; the first, "'Tamla Records"', began on January 12, 1959 add something


Gordy founded a second label, Motown Records, in September 1959 add something


Ewart Abner, who had been associated with Motown since the 1960s, became its president in 1973 add something


In the 1960s, Motown and its soul-based subsidiaries were the most successful proponents of what came to be known as "'The Motown Sound"'", a style of soul music with a distinct pop influence add something


Marvin Gaye - Following the band's separation in 1960, Gaye began working as a session drummer for the Detroit music label, Anna, before signing with Motown Records in 1961, adding an "e" to his surname


Melvin Franklin - Franklin was best known for his role as a member of Motown singing group The Temptations from 1960 to 1994


Marvin Gaye - Gaye was one of many who shaped the sound and success of Motown Records in the 1960s, becoming that label's top-selling solo artist of that decade with a string of hits including "How Sweet It Is ", "Ain't That Peculiar", "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and his duet singles with singers such as Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell


Paul Petersen - He recorded during the 1960s for Motown, including the singles "Chained" and "A Little Bit For Sandy"


Rick James - James' tenure with the Mynah Birds was interrupted after he was discovered recording with the group in Motown in the 1960s and surrendered to authorities serving out a one-year sentence in a prison in Buffalo


Shorty Long - Long was the only Motown artist besides Smokey Robinson who was allowed to produce his own recordings in the 1960s


Gladys Knight - She is best known for the hits she recorded during the 1960s and 1970s, for both the Motown and Buddah Records labels, with her group Gladys Knight & the Pips, the most famous incarnation of which included her brother Merald "Bubba" Knight and her cousins Edward Patten and William Guest


Edwin Starr - Starr lived in Detroit , Michigan, in the 1960s and recorded at first for the small record label Ric-Tic, and later for Motown Records after the latter absorbed Ric-Tic in 1968


On April 14, 1960, Motown and Tamla Records merged into a new company called Motown Record Corporation add something


"'Motown"' is a record company originally founded by Berry Gordy, Jr. and incorporated as "'Motown Record Corporation"' in Detroit, Michigan, United States, on April 14, 1960 add something


Mary Wells - After a reported 22 takes, Gordy signed Wells to the Motown subsidiary of his expanding record label and released the song as a single in September 1960; it eventually peaked at No 8 on the R&B chart in 1961, later crossed over to the pop singles chart, where it peaked at number 45


From 1961 to 1971, Motown had 110 top 10 hits add something


Diana Ross - Glown with Barbara Martin, the quartet signed with Motown Records under their new moniker, The Supremes, chosen by Florence Ballard, who was the only member to be present when the group was offered a name change.


Paul Williams (The Temptations) - Paul Williams and Kendricks joined Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, and Elbridge Bryant to form The Elgins, who signed to the local Motown label in 1961, after first changing their name to The Temptations


Stevie Wonder - Stevie Wonder's mother's authorized biography states that his surname was legally changed to Morris when he signed with Motown in 1961


Mary Wells - Wells became the first Motown female artist to have a Top 40 pop single after the Mickey Stevenson-penned doo-wop song, "I Don't Want to Take a Chance", hit No. 33 in June,1961


Barbara Martin - She and her groupmates, Diana Ross , Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, signed a recording contract with Motown founder Berry Gordy on January 15, 1961 as The Supremes, a name that Ballard had chosen from a list provided by Motown songwriter, Janie Bradford, and became part of the Motown stable of performers


Melvin Franklin - In March 1961, the Elgins signed with Motown Records under a new name; The Temptations


Cholly Atkins - After working as a freelance choreographer in 1962 for The Miracles, Atkins was hired by Berry Gordy to work as a Motown choreographer in 1964, and set about developing the routines that would later become the trademark moves of other Motown acts like The Supremes, The Temptations , The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & The Pips and others


Barbara Martin - Although Martin sang on many of the group's early singles, and most of the tracks on the group's first album, "Meet The Supremes", she is not pictured on the album cover, and never received any royalties from Motown after 1962


Amos Milburn - Berry Gordy gave him a comeback forum during 1962, issuing an album on Motown predominated by remakes of his old successes that is difficult to find today


Mary Wells - Wells' second album, titled "The One Who Really Loves You", was released in 1962 and peaked at No. 8 on the pop albums chart, making the teenage singer a breakthrough star and giving her clout at Motown


Mary Wells - With a string of hit singles composed mainly by Smokey Robinson, including "Two Lovers" , the Grammy-nominated "You Beat Me to the Punch" and her signature hit, "My Guy" , she became recognized as "'"The Queen of Motown"' until her departure from the company in 1964, at the height of her popularity


Gladys Knight - Gladys Knight & the Pips joined the Motown roster in 1966, and, although regarded as a second-string act, scored several hit singles, including "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", , "Friendship Train" , "If I Were Your Woman" , "I Don't Want To Do Wrong" , the Grammy *award winning "Neither One of Us " , and "Daddy Could Swear "


Rick James - In early 1966, the Mynah Birds auditioned for the Motown label in Detroit


Diana Ross - Motown initially conceived of a solo career for Diana Ross in 1966, but did not act on it until 1968.


In 1967 Berry Gordy purchased what is now known as "Motown Mansion" in Detroit's Boston-Edison Historic District as his home, leaving his previous home to sister Anna and husband Marvin Gaye add something


Kim Weston - Weston left Motown in 1967 and later sued the label over disputes about royalties


In 1968, Gordy purchased the Donovan building on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Interstate 75, and moved Motown's Detroit offices there add something


Rick James - During early 1968, James returned to Motown and became a songwriter and producer, writing under the assumed name "Rickie Matthews" and working with Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Canadian band Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers and The Spinners


Norman Whitfield - The first Temptations single to feature this new "psychedelic soul" style was "Cloud Nine" in late 1968, which earned Motown its first Grammy *award


Willie Hutch - In 1969, he signed with RCA Records and put out two albums before he was spotted by Motown producer Hal Davis, who wanted lyrics to his musical composition "I'll Be There", a song he penned for The Jackson 5


Janet Jackson - In March 1969, the group signed a record deal with Motown, and by the end of the year they had recorded the first of four consecutive number one singles.


Edwin Starr - War - Starr is most famous for his Norman Whitfield produced Motown singles of the 1970s, most notably the number one hit "War"


Marvin Gaye - Following the death of Tammi Terrell in 1970, Gaye went into seclusion, emerging the following year with "What's Going On" and its subsequent album, which helped to make him one of the first artists in Motown to break away from the reins of Motown's production company to be his own artist


Stevie Wonder - In 1970, Wonder co-wrote, and played numerous instruments on the hit "It's a Shame" for fellow Motown act The Spinners


David Ruffin - The single reached the US Pop & R&B "Top Ten." A third album, titled "David", was recorded in 1970-71, but was shelved by Motown and did not see a commercial release until 2004; his next official release for Motown did not arrive until 1973, when "David Ruffin" was released


Diana Ross - In May 1970, Diana Ross was released on Motown.


Stevie Wonder - In September 1970, at the age of 20, Wonder married Syreeta Wright, a songwriter and former Motown secretary


Harvey Fuqua - Around 1971, Fuqua left Motown and signed a production deal with RCA Records, having success particularly with the band New Birth


Diana Ross - In 1971, Motown released Ross's second album Everything Is Everything, which produced Ross's first UK number-one solo single, "I'm Still Waiting".


Diana Ross - In late 1971, Motown announced that Diana Ross was going to portray jazz icon Billie Holiday in a Motown-produced film loosely based on Holiday's autobiography Lady Sings the Blues written by Holiday and William Dufty.


Stevie Wonder - Reaching his twenty-first birthday on May 13, 1971, he allowed his Motown contract to expire


Mary Wells - In 1972, Wells scored a UK hit with a re-issue of "My Guy", which was released on the Tamla-Motown label and climbed to No. 14


Stevie Wonder - Wonder returned to Motown in March 1972 with "Music of My Mind"


The company moved all of its operations to Los Angeles in June 1972, with a number of artists, among them Martha Reeves, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and Motown's Funk Brothers studio band, either staying behind in Detroit or leaving the company for other reasons add something


Paul Williams (The Temptations) - By early 1973, Williams made his return to Motown's Hitsville USA recording studios, and began working on solo material


Charlene (singer) - In 1973, Charlene signed with Motown under the name "Charlene Duncan", and released her first single "All That Love Went to Waste" in January 1974


Willie Hutch - In 1973, Hutch started recording albums for Motown, releasing the "Fully Exposed" album that year


Norman Whitfield - In 1973, Whitfield left Motown to form his own label, Whitfield Records


Paul Williams (The Temptations) - However, after Williams' death was ruled a suicide in August 1973, Motown decided to shelve the sides, because the song "Feel Like Givin' Up" was just too literal to bear and the single was not released


Marvin Gaye - The strong reaction to the live version of "Distant Lover", an album track from "Let's Get It On", prompted Motown to remix the song and release it as a single in 1974 to keep up the demand for Marvin product


Marvin Gaye - Despite his promise not to tour following Tammi Terrell's death, due to pressure from fans and Motown, Gaye agreed to his first tour in four years, starting off at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 4, 1974


Leon Ware - Also in 1975, Ware and T-Boy Ross had started working on demos for Ware's second album to be released on Motown and a demo to secure T-Boy Ross a record deal


Vini Lopez - However by 1975 Lopez was leading his own band, Maddog & The Shakes, which featured Vinnie Roslin and DeSarno. The Shakes based their sound on Motown and Memphis and have been described as "one of the great unsigned Asbury Park, New Jersey bands of the mid-1970s"


Willie Hutch - Hutch recorded at least six albums for Motown, peaking with 1975's single "Love Power", which reached number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100


Diana Ross - In 1975, Ross again co-starred with Billy Dee Williams in the Motown film Mahogany.


Leon Ware - Best known for crafting the hit album, "I Want You", originally recorded for Ware, until friend and Motown icon Marvin Gaye was assigned to the album in 1976


Teddy Pendergrass - One of the group's important singles was their original version of the Philly soul classic, "Don't Leave Me This Way", which turned into a disco smash when Motown artist Thelma Houston released her version in 1976


Rebbie Jackson - When The Jackson 5 parted with their record label Motown in 1976, they signed to CBS Records and rebranded themselves as The Jacksons


Rebbie Jackson - The shows premiered in June 1976, and featured all of the siblings excluding Jermaine, who had chosen to stay with Motown


Leon Ware - Released in September 1976, it did not chart at all due to no promotion by Motown


Willie Hutch - He left Motown in 1977 for Norman Whitfield's Whitfield Records


Diana Ross - In 1977, Motown acquired the film rights to the Broadway play The Wiz, an African-American reinterpretation of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Although teenage Stephanie Mills, a veteran of the play, was originally cast as Dorothy, Ross convinced Universal Pictures producer Rob Cohen to have Ross cast as Dorothy.


Sylvester (singer) - It was here that his show caught the attention of Nancy Pitts, wife of Motown producer Harvey Fuqua, and Fuqua subsequently signed Sylvester onto a solo deal with Fantasy Records in 1977


Diana Ross - In 1979 Ross hired former collaborators Ashford & Simpson, who had left Motown in 1973 due to contractual issues with Berry Gordy, to overlook the production of her next album, The Boss.


Cholly Atkins - Atkins would, in fact, continue working with Motown artists well into the 1980s


Paul Williams (The Temptations) - Both of his solo recordings were later released by Motown on Temptations-related compilations in the 1980s and 1990s


Diana Ross - Diana Ross's landmark 1980 album, diana, was her final LP for Motown before leaving for RCA the following year.


Diana Ross - In 1980, Ross hired Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of the group CHIC to overlook production of her final contractual Motown album, diana.


Norman Whitfield - In the early 1980s, Whitfield began working as a producer for Motown again, helming The Temptations' 1983 hit single "Sail Away" and the soundtrack to "The Last Dragon"


Stacy Lattisaw - Lattisaw continued recording into the late 1980s, signing to Motown in 1986


Ross left Motown for RCA Records from 1981 to 1988, but returned in 1989 and stayed until 2002 add something


Will Downing - Downing, who eventually recorded for Motown, graduated with Massenburg in the class of 1981


Rick James - His best-selling recording, 1981's "Street Songs", sold over three million copies helping to renew sagging fortunes in Motown


Diana Ross - In 1981, Ross decided not to renew her Motown contract only to discover that everything she thought she had owned was only leased to her by Berry Gordy.


Marvin Gaye - Motown remixed the album and issued it on January 15, 1981


Teena Marie - Contacted by Epic Records in the Fall of 1982 after expressing dismay over her Motown contract, Teena Marie signed a worldwide deal with the Columbia Records subsidiary that allowed her to establish her own publishing company, Midnight Magnet


Willie Hutch - Hutch returned to Motown in 1982, where he scored the disco hit, "In and Out", that same year and recorded a song for the film "The Last Dragon" in 1985


Teena Marie - In 1982, Teena Marie got into a heated legal battle with Motown Records over her contract and disagreements about releasing her new material


Pharez Whitted - Since 1982, Whitted has performed throughout the United States and overseas, including gigs at the 1988 Presidential Inauguration, The Arsenio Hall Show, The Billboard Music Awards, Carnegie Hall, and the MoTown Music Showcase


Marvin Gaye - When word got around that Gaye was planning a musical comeback and an exit from Motown, CBS Urban president Larkin Arnold eventually was able to convince Gaye to sign with CBS. On March 23, 1982, Motown and CBS Records negotiated for Gaye to be released from Motown


Rick James - James' relationship with Robinson began shortly after James signed with Motown and in 1983, the duo recorded the hit "Ebony Eyes"


Stevie Wonder - Wonder was the first Motown artist and second African American musician to win an Academy *award for Best Original Song for his 1984 hit single "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from the movie "The Woman in Red"


Tommy Faragher - In 1985 Faragher produced the Vanity album "Skin on Skin" for Motown giving him a top ten R&B single with his composition "Under the Influence" co-written with Robbie Nevil & Tony Haynes


Charlene (singer) - In 1985, the release of "The Last Dragon" through Motown brought together Motown signed talents


Rick James - James continued to score hits with Motown into 1985 but by the end of that year he had begun to have struggles with the label


Rick James - Following the release of "The Flag" in 1986, James left Motown and signed a lucrative deal with Warner Bros, releasing the album, "Wonderful", in 1988, which yielded the R&B hit, "Loosey's Rap"


Rick James - Following James' descent into drug abuse and his exit from Motown, the Stone City Band and the Mary Jane Girls both dissolved in 1987


Garry Glenn - Later, he joined the Motown roster, which released his second album, "Feels Good To Feel Good" in 1987, which was moderately successful


Michael Bolton - One of his first major hits was his 1987 interpretation of the Otis Redding classic, "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay." Always interested in soul and Motown classics, Bolton's success with that song encouraged him to tackle the standard "Georgia On My Mind," with which he had another hit.


During the 1990s Motown was home to successful recording artists such as Boyz II Men and Johnny Gill, although the company itself remained in a state of turmoil add something


Robinson left the label in the early 1990s, and the Temptations left a second time in 2004 add something


In 1991, Motown sued MCA to have its distribution deal with the company terminated, and began releasing its product through PolyGram add something


Mary Wells - In 1991, Wells brought a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Motown for royalties she felt she had not received upon leaving Motown Records in 1964 and for loss of royalties for not promoting her songs as the company should have


In 1994, Busby was replaced by Andre Harrell, the entrepreneur behind Uptown Records add something


Willie Hutch - Hutch left Motown again by the end of the decade and by 1994 had moved back to Dallas


Marvin Gaye - In 1997, Motown issued a shelved late 1970s Gaye ballads album, titling it "Vulnerable"


By 1998, Motown had added stars such as 702, Brian McKnight, and Erykah Badu to its roster add something


In December 1998, PolyGram was acquired by Seagram, and Motown was absorbed into the Universal Music Group add something


The band's career and work is chronicled in the 2002 documentary film "Standing in the Shadows of Motown", which publicised the fact that these musicians "played on more number-one records than The Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, and The Beach Boys combined add something


Lawrence Joseph - His essay on Motown music and Rhythm and Blues, "The Music Is," which originally appeared in "Tin House", was included in "Da Capo Best Music Writing 2003", chosen by Guest Editor Matt Groening


Norman Whitfield - Alongside his Motown lyrical collaborator Barrett Strong, he was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2004


Bruno Mars - Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, Mars signed to Motown Records in 2004, in a deal that "went nowhere"


In 2005, Massenburg was replaced by Sylvia Rhone, former CEO of Elektra Records add something


Diana Ross - In June 2006, Motown released the shelved Blue album, which peaked at number 2 on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart.


Bruno Mars - Mars had an unsuccessful stint with Motown Records, but signed with Atlantic Records in 2009


Melissa Suffield - She appeared in a Motown medley for Children in Need 2009


Phil Collins - In October 2009, it was reported that Collins was to record a Motown covers album


As of summer of 2011, Universal Motown has been separated from Universal Motown Republic Group, has reverted to the original Motown brand, has hired Ethiopia Habtemariam as its Senior Vice President, and is now operated under the The Island Def Jam Music Group add something


Stefano Langone - On February 8, 2012, Langone performed in a Motown music tribute at Carnegie Hall


On April 1, 2014, Universal Music Group announced the dissolution of the IDJMG; subsequently Motown would relocate back to Los Angelas to this time operate under the mantle of the Capitol Music Group add something


Motown Records was inducted into Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame class of 2018 on June 3, 2018 at the Charles H. Wright Museum add something


In 2019, Motown left Capitol Music Group and signed deal with Republic Records add something