After nearly seven decades in the entertainment industry, first at the helm of the Motown machine in the 1960s and 70s and now a larger multimedia empire, Berry Gordy has announced his retirement.
Gordy, 89, told the crowd who had gathered during Motown’s 60th-anniversary program in Detroit, “I have come full circle. It is only appropriate [to announce this] while here in Detroit, the city where my fairy tale happened with all of you.”
The announcement was the capper on a celebration of the history of Motown that had been on-going since the top of the year. A documentary film that aired on Showtime, a Grammy special and other events observed Gordy’s amazing accomplishments with Motown, the company that helped shape American culture as well as black music with names such as Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and more.
The house that was Motown’s headquarters on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit had been converted into a museum and recently underwent a $50 million expansion. Even though many believed Gordy had retired years ago after selling Motown in the 1980s (it is now a division of Capitol Records), he still remained a prominent figure at award shows and gatherings.
His speech wrapped a “Hitsville Honors” event featuring prominent performances from Motown’s past and present including the Temptations, the Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Big Sean, Kem and Ne-Yo.