January 12 - Berry Gordy Jr. founds Motown Records

On this day in 1959, Berry Gordy Jr. helped change the music industry forever. Motown Records (previously Tamla Records) was founded and became the first record label owned by an African American to primarily feature African American artists who achieved crossover success. Motown is believed to have played an extremely important role in the racial integration of popular music. The record label was known for its own unique sound which combined soul music with pop influence.

Several mainstream artists have come from the Motown label over the last 40 plus years. The Supremes, Four Tops, Jackson 5, Boyz II Men, and the Commodores are just some of the highly successful acts to have come up through the Motown Record ranks. Boys II Men became the labels biggest client during the 90's as the R&B group produced 4 #1 singles during the decade including their hit single "I"ll Make Love to You" which spend 14 weeks at #1.

Today, Motown produces mainstream R&B/Soul Music as well as hip hop.


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