Motown: Music, Money, Sex, and Power
In 1959, 29-year-old Berry Gordy borrowed $800 from his family and started a record company. A run-down bungalow sandwiched between a funeral home ... Show synopsis In 1959, 29-year-old Berry Gordy borrowed $800 from his family and started a record company. A run-down bungalow sandwiched between a funeral home and a beauty shop in a poor Detroit neighbourhood served as his headquarters. The building's entrance was adorned with a large sign that improbably boasted "Hitsville USA". Word soon spread that any youngster with a streak of talent should visit the only record label that Detroit had seen in years. That company's name was Motown Records. In "Motown", Gerald Posner cuts through decades of unsubstantiated rumours and speculation to tell the real behind-the-scenes narrative of America's most exciting musical phenomenon. With an astonishing cast of characters who are familiar worldwide - Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and many others - the story of Motown is an American Greek tragedy: the rise and fall of an extended family. Posner presents for the first time the artists as they lived: as a clan of friends, lovers, competitors and foes, and how the hopes and dreams of one of them affected the lives of others at the label. The book tells the absorbing individual stories of kids, often from Detroit's inner-city projects, who quickly achieved remarkable success and then fought, often unsuccessfully, the demons that came with stardom - drugs, jealousy, sexual indulgence, greed and uncontrolled ambition. From their peaks in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the label controlled the pop charts and its stars were sought after even by The Beatles, to the inexorable slide caused by their failure to handle stardom, Motown is a glorious and troubling, but always riveting, look inside the music label that provided the unofficial soundtrack to an entire generation.