Berry Gordy Jr., Smokey Robinson and More Look Back on Motown’s History and Its Future
After nearly 60 years of delivering classic hits, the stars of Motown came together to celebrate. “In life, great relationships bring happiness, and happiness is the greatest thing in the world,” Berry Gordy Jr., who founded Motown, told exclusively told Closer Weekly at an event promoting the new documentary Hitsville: The Making of Motown. “It’s about the relationship between Smokey Robinson and me.”
In 1958, Berry produced the first song Smokey ever recorded with the Miracles, “Got a Job.” The single did well, but Smokey felt that his group was shortchanged on their royalties and suggested that Berry start his own record label. “Shortly after that, he started Motown,” recalls Smokey. “And the rest is history.”
Motown pushed boundaries and helped racially integrate popular music in the 1960s. Along the way it made stars of the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5 and more. “This was a beautiful, loving company that emerged when the world really needed it,” says Gabe Turner, a director of Hitsville. “It’s about a core group of people taking on the world together.”
Mary Wilson, an original member of the Supremes who will now compete in the Dancing With the Stars season 28 cast, recalls how the artists felt like family. “We used to have Christmas parties at Motown before we all became famous.” she tells Closer. “We used to all sing together.”
Today there still “ain’t no mountain high enough” for Motown. “It’s been 60 years and we’re still here,” Smokey says. “Kids that haven’t even been born yet are going to know about it.”
Be sure to check out Hitsville: The Making of Motown when it premieres Saturday, August 24, on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET.
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