I am a sucker for musical theatre and so it was no surprise that I again found myself at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne, this time to see Motown the Musical which was written by Berry Gordy the guy who set up initially Tamla records in January 12, 1959 then incorporated it into the Motown Record Corporation in April 14, 1960.
His early artist signings included Eddie Holland, Mable John, The Miracles and perhaps the better-known Mary Wells who had a big hit in 1994 with ‘My Guy’. This was followed the next year with Motown’s first US number one hit, ‘Please Mr. Postman’ by the Marvelettes.
The success of Motown continued and between 1961 and 1972 they enjoyed 110 top 10 hits. Berry added what we considered as household names to his record label such as the Supremes, the Four Tops, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.
In the UK, initially Motown’s records were released under various labels such as Fontana and EMI’s Stateside label, however eventually EMI created the Tamla Motown label and the Supremes ‘Stop in the Name of Love’ was the first hit in 1965.
Berry relocated his empire from Detroit to Los Angeles and went into the movie business and made two hit films starring the love of his life Diana Ross. The first was a Billie Holiday biographical film ‘Lady Sings the Blues’ in 1872 which won her a Golden Globe Award, followed in 1975 with ‘Mahogany’. The stage musical highlighted the love affair between Berry and Diana which resulted in the birth of their daughter Rhonda in 1971.
During the two-hour show one got to understand the life and success of Berry Gordy and the whole Motown scene and in many ways it, to a lesser degree, reflects the growth of Primasonics International which was also ‘my baby’. I am very proud of the international growth the company has achieved over the last 21 years with sales in well over 70 countries worldwide, and in a very wide range of industries and applications. Everyone connected with the company are very proud of our achievements and look forward to an exciting and innovative future.