September 2019: 60th Anniversary of Motown Records

WHEREAS, for 60 years, Motown Records has been one of the greatest influences on both the style and substance of popular music and culture; and,


WHEREAS, Motown has not only made its mark on the music industry, but also on society at large with a sound that became one of the most significant musical accomplishments and stunning success of the 20th century, touching people of all ages and races; and,


WHEREAS, legend of Motown Records began on January 12, 1959, when a young African American songwriter, Berry Gordy Jr., founded the Motown Records Corporation, a combination of the words “Motor City” and “Town” to express his down-home quality of the warm and soulful people he grew up around; and,


WHEREAS, a producer, innovative entrepreneur, and teacher, Berry Gordy was inspired from his earlier job on the assembly line to create a place where any aspiring artist could walk in through one door and come out the other a star, which would become a reality of Motown; and,


WHEREAS, the young songwriter Berry Gordy barrowed $800 to start his independent record label from his family savings club called the Ber-Berry Coop, led by his parents Berry and Bertha Gordy, who were successful entrepreneurs that owned several businesses, such as a Booker T. Washington grocery store, one of the only African American grocery stores in Detroit at that time, and a painting business; and,  


WHEREAS, over the next decade, many chart-topping artists, musicians, and groups, including Martha and the Vandellas, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, and Stevie Wonder, became a part of what would become known as the Motown Sound; and,


WHEREAS, throughout the sixties, Motown produced a catalog of songs that could not be rivaled, including “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me,” “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” and “I Can’t Help Myself,” having 79 records in the Top 10 of the Billboard’s Hot 100 chart between 1960 and 1969; and,


WHEREAS, Motown’s influence is still felt today, with more than 180 No. 1 hit songs worldwide and counting, bringing together pop and soul, white and black, old and young; and,   


WHEREAS, to this day, tens of thousands of visitors pass through Hitsville U.S.A., now Motown Museum, each year to enjoy and appreciate the place where their favorite artist and groups recorded the “Motown Sound”, which is a testament to Detroit’s enduring legacy; and,


WHEREAS, as a state that gave birth to this greatest pop music hit factory also known as the “Sound of Young America,” it is an honor to recognize and congratulate Motown Records as it celebrates 60 years of innovation, success, and influence across our state and nation;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of the state of Michigan, do hereby proclaim the month of September 2019 as the 60th Anniversary of Motown Records.