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DETROIT – Berry Gordy founded what would become Motown Records a half-century ago with an $800 loan. Today, that would get you two tickets with a bit to spare to the Motown 50 Golden Gala.

For $200 more, you can attend a VIP event and a swanky party afterward.

The event is set for downtown Detroit Saturday, with a scheduled appearance by Gordy and planned performances by Aretha Franklin, The Temptations and duet partners Stevie Wonder and Kid Rock.

The high-wattage night is a fundraiser for the Motown Historical Museum — the original site of Motown Records Corp. — and tickets start at $350 apiece. A ticket that includes the pre-gala VIP reception and “Afterglow” party costs $1,000.

The gala is a regular event for the museum but it’s taking a higher profile this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the label’s founding.

The musical mingling of classic Motown artists like Wonder and The Temptations with non-Motown hometown heroes Franklin and Rock reveals the reverence for and relevance of the label, which had its run in Detroit from 1959 to 1972 before moving to Los Angeles. Detroit’s output included scores of hits, including “My Girl” by The Temptations, “The Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye.

Rock showed his affection for the Motown sound and city in his 2008 video for the song, “Roll On.” It features footage of his band in the former Motown studio on West Grand Boulevard. And Wonder performed this year on the Grammy Awards telecast with one of the music world’s hottest young acts, the Jonas Brothers, and the trio couldn’t hide their glee.

The gala also will include special tributes to Motown alumni who have died, including Michael Jackson. Gordy, at Jackson’s memorial service in July, talked about the 10-year-old prodigy he signed, calling him “the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”

Homecomings are rare these days for Gordy, who lives in California, but bonds remain: His sister, Esther Gordy Edwards, founded the museum now overseen by his great-niece, Robin Terry. He’s also a premier sponsor of the gala.

Gordy was cheered by hometown fans in March when he and best friend Robinson came back to the former Hitsville USA to meet with contestants on the smash Fox singing competition “American Idol.”

“I called it ‘Motown,’ rather than ‘Motor City,’ because there was more warmth here,” Gordy told reporters that day. “The town was just beautiful. … I may have left Detroit but wherever I go I carry Detroit with me.”

Via: Yahoo News