Motown

Motown

The sound of young America masterminded by Berry Gordy.

Cultural Origin

1959 in Detroit, MI

Prominent Artists

Martha and the Vandellas, The Marvelettes, The Four Tops, The Jackson 5, Gladys Knight and the Pips

Influenced By

Gospel, Rhythm & Blues, Jump Blues, Doo-Wop

Later Influenced

R&B, Funk, Disco, Hip Hop

Motown record label on vinyl LP.
Motown record label on vinyl LP.

About The Genre

Berry Gordy started Motown in January 1959 with an $800 family loan. He placed a sign on the headquarters reading "Hitsville U.S.A." Whether this was out of confidence or prophecy, the slogan proved to be spot on.

Motown produced some of the best-selling and most iconic acts of the 1960s and beyond. Names like The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles became etched in the nation's collective consciousness.
The crossover success achieved by Motown artists was unlike anything that came before. They truly were "the sound of young America."

Trivia/Famous Lyrics

DId you know...

And then she said, just because you've become a young man now
There's still some things that you don't understand now
Before you ask some girl for her hand now
Keep your freedom for as long as you can now
My mama told me, you better shop around

"Shop Around" by  Berry Gordy Jr / William "Smokey" Robinson Jr.


Each day through my window I watch her as she passes by
I say to myself you're such a lucky guy
To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true
Out of all the fellows in the world she belongs to me
But it was just my imagination
Runnin' away with me
It was just my imagination runnin' away with me

"Just My Imagination" by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong


Artists from this genre

Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye

Equally sensual and poetic, a singer-songwriter unrivaled.

Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson

Leader of The Miracles, songwriter, and Motown pioneer.

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder

His name says it all. He is indeed a wonder.

The Supremes

The Supremes

They set the mold for female r&b and pop vocal groups.

The Temptations

The Temptations

Impeccable harmonies and fine-tuned stage choreography.

MORE Genres from this era

Cool & Post-Bop

Cool & Post-Bop

The term covers subgenres like hard bop and free jazz.

Soul

Soul

Combines rhythm and blues and gospel music styles.

Psychedelic Soul

Psychedelic Soul

Soul gets high.

Rock

Rock

Rock loses the roll but gains amplitude and attitude.