Detroit is the birthplace of Motown: an American record company and an American cultural phenomenon. Home to some of the most celebrated musicians, their work has played an important role in the racial integration of popular music. The success of artists like Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, and Lionel Richie eventually created a new genre, “Motown Sound”, soul music with a distinct pop influence. Motown set the records, broke the records, and did so while crossing boundaries— the artists revolutionized how African American people were perceived culturally.
The Miracles’ “Bad Girl,” written by Berry Gordy and William “Smokey” Robinson, is released under license to Chess Records.
Berry Gordy buys a two-story house at 2648 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit, and puts up a sign to signal his intentions: Hitsville U.S.A.
The “Gordy Star Attractions Show” makes its debut, featuring the Miracles, Marv Johnson and Mable John, among others.
Berry Gordy Jr. launches Tamla Records with an $800 loan from the Gordy family savings fund, and releases Marv Johnson’s “Come To Me.”
The Miracles’ first national hit, “Shop Around” is released, after Berry Gordy summons the Miracles to the studio at 3 a.m. to re-record the song.
After singing with the Moonglows, Marvin Gaye moves to Detroit and, through group leader Harvey Fuqua’s contacts, joins Motown.
"Bye Bye Baby" is the debut Motown single by 17-year-old Mary Wells, who wrote the song herself.
First released on Tamla Records, Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want)” is a hit when nationally distributed by Anna Records.
Motown ends the year with its first No. 1 on the pop charts: “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes.
“Oh Mother Of Mine,” the Temptations’ debut for Motown Records, is issued on the company’s Miracle label.
Berry Gordy signs Little Stevie Wonder after an impressive audition at Hitsville by the 11-year-old, playing several instruments.
The Supremes sign to Motown, with their first 45 on the Tamla label, “I Want A Guy,” released in March.
Marvin Gaye has his first Top 50 pop hit with “Stubborn Kind Of Fellow.”
The first “Motortown Revue” package tour of more than two dozen cities begins in Washington, DC.
The Gordy label gains its first Top 20 success with “Do You Love Me” by the Contours.
Motown issues “Dearest One” by Lamont Dozier, his first song written with Eddie and Brian Holland.
Motown kicks off its new U.K. license deal with EMI Records with the release of Martha & the Vandellas’ “Heat Wave”.
Little Stevie Wonder’s The 12 Year Old Genius Recorded Live is Motown’s first No. 1 album, as “Fingertips – Pt. 2” tops the Hot 100.
The Four Tops sign to Motown, and begin recording in Studio A at Hitsville.
The Marvelettes’ “Locking Up My Heart” is released to become an early chart success for the Holland/Dozier/Holland team.
The Temptations get together with Smokey Robinson at Hitsville’s Studio A to record a new song, “My Girl.”
The Supremes begin their run of five consecutive No. 1 hits with “Where Did Our Love Go”.
“My Guy” by Mary Wells becomes Motown’s fourth No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the company's first major U.K. hit.
Motown launches its Soul label with Shorty Long’s “Devil With The Blue Dress” whilst Jimmy Ruffin and Jr. Walker & The All Stars join the roster.
Brenda Holloway opens for the Beatles at the group’s historic concert at Shea Stadium, New York.
The Supremes make their triumphant debut at New York’s Copacabana nightclub.
The Four Tops achieve Motown Records’ tenth No. 1 with “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch).”
The Tamla Motown label is launched in the U.K., while Martha & the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, the Miracles and the Supremes begin touring England, Scotland and Wales.
Motown takes its thirteenth Top 10 pop hit of the year with the Temptations’ “(I Know) I’m Losing You.”
The Four Tops’ “Reach Out I’ll Be There” is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The latest Motown star to play New York’s Copacabana is Marvin Gaye.
Temptin’ Temptations is the first of the group’s two Top 20 albums this year; the second is Gettin’ Ready.
Gladys Knight & The Pips’ “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” is No. 1 on the R&B best-sellers and No. 2 on the pop charts.
Motown takes ten of Billboard’s top 100 best-selling albums, including Diana Ross & the Supremes’ Greatest Hits at No. 1.
“Reflections” is the first release to feature new billing for Motown’s prime attraction: Diana Ross & the Supremes.
Motown releases Stevie Wonder’s “I Was Made To Love Her” to become his biggest hit since “Fingertips – Pt. 2.”
Motown takes half the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, including the Top 3 with Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross & the Supremes.
The Jackson 5 audition for Motown, and the Temptations gain a new lead singer.
Motown Record Corp. officially opens its new Detroit headquarters in downtown’s Woodward Avenue, moved from West Grand Boulevard.
The Four Tops’ Greatest Hits takes the top slot in the U.K. from the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Billboard reports Motown’s announcement that Diana Ross will leave the Supremes for a solo career, with Jean Terrell to join the “new” Supremes.
Motown throws a launch party in Los Angeles for the Jackson 5, and unveils its new rock label, Rare Earth, in Detroit.
Motown earns its first Grammy® award with the Temptations’ “Cloud Nine.”
America’s No. 1 single this entire month is “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye.
Motown triumphs with its seventh No.1 of the year on the Billboard Hot 100 with Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ “The Tears Of A Clown.”
Tamla-Motown takes a quarter of the U.K. Top 20 with hits by Edwin Starr, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Diana Ross and Jimmy Ruffin.
With “I Want You Back,” the Jackson 5 score the first of four consecutive No. 1 hits this year.
Diana Ross & the Supremes play their final show together at the Frontier Hotel, Las Vegas.
Motown’s latest TV stars are the Jackson 5, front and center in their own special, Goin’ Back To Indiana, and a cartoon series, The Jackson 5ive.
Motown's new L.A.-based label, MoWest, has its first chart entry with Tom Clay's "What The World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin and John".
One of Motown’s greatest music milestones, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On album, is released.
Motown wins its second-ever Grammy® award, for Dr. Martin Luther King’s album, Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam.
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles play their final concerts together in Washington, D.C.
Stevie Wonder kicks off a 50-date itinerary opening for the Rolling Stones, and the Jackson 5 begin a nationwide summer tour in New York.
Marvin Gaye performs What’s Going On in its entirety at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
The Commodores’ debut Motown single, “The Zoo (The Human Zoo),” is released on the MoWest label.
“Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye is his first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 since “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.”
Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions album is released, three days before the musician is involved in a traumatic auto accident in North Carolina.
Diana Ross scores her first solo No. 1 album with the soundtrack from Lady Sings The Blues, in which she plays the late jazz singer, Billie Holiday.
Motown’s 30th No. 1 hit, “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” by the Temptations, takes three Grammy® awards.
Motown is No. 1 on the album charts once more, with Stevie Wonder’s Fulfillingness’ First Finale.
Jimmy Ruffin’s 1966 smash, “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted,” is a U.K. Top 10 hit for the second time.
Motown declares this to be “Diana Ross Month,” with her new album, Live At Caesar’s Palace, at its centerpiece.
Stevie Wonder is honoured with five Grammy® awards, including Album of the Year for Innervisions, and two for “Superstition.”
Diana Ross’ second feature film, Mahogany, directed by Berry Gordy, opens in New York.
“Slippery When Wet” becomes the Commodores’ first Top 20 success on the Billboard Hot 100 as the group’s popularity grows.
Smokey Robinson’s third solo album, A Quiet Storm, is released, later to inspire an entire music radio format.
Stevie Wonder makes a second consecutive sweep of the Grammy® awards, this time with Fulfillingness’ First Finale.
Stevie Wonder’s Songs in The Key of Life begins a 14-week run at the top of the Billboard album charts.
Marvin Gaye performs his first-ever concerts in the U.K., selling out London’s Royal Albert Hall and adding a show at the London Palladium.
The Supremes enjoy their final Top 40 hit on the pop charts with “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking.”
Disco rules. Among the winners are the Miracles ("Love Machine") and Diana Ross ("Love Hangover"), both with No. 1 hits.
The Supremes – Mary Wilson, Susaye Greene, Scherrie Payne – perform their last concert together, at London’s Theatre Royal.
Marvin’s Live At The London Palladium climbs into the Top 3 of the album charts as “Got To Give It Up” heads for No. 1.
“Don’t Leave Me This Way” by Thelma Houston is the first Motown single to reach No. 1 on the pop, R&B and dance charts.
Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” becomes his fifth No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and Motown’s 40th.
Here, My Dear, Marvin Gaye’s emotional farewell to his first wife, Anna, is released.
Motown Productions premieres its newest movie, The Wiz, starring Diana Ross and co-starring Michael Jackson and Richard Pryor.
“Three Times A Lady,” written by Lionel Richie, is the first No. 1 on the pop charts for the Commodores.
Rick James’ first Motown album, Come Get It, is released, featuring his breakthrough hit, “You And I.”
Stevie Wonder performs music from his first movie soundtrack, Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants, at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.
A Motown hit from the 1960s returns to the limelight as Bonnie Pointer’s update of “Heaven Must Have Sent You” reaches the Top 20.
Teena Marie is Motown’s newest hitmaker as “I’m Just A Sucker For Your Love,” written and produced by Rick James, debuts on the R&B charts.
Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson hit the charts with their four-way tribute to Berry Gordy’s late father, “Pops We Love You.”
A tribute to reggae godfather Bob Marley, “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” becomes Stevie Wonder’s 22nd Top 10 smash.
Jermaine Jackson has a new Top 10 hit with “Let’s Get Serious,” written and produced by Stevie Wonder.
Re-signed to Motown, the Temptations are chartbound once more with “Power,” co-written and co-produced by Berry Gordy.
Motown’s newest international success is “With You I’m Born Again” by Billy Preston & Syreeta, a Top 3 hit in the UK.
Diana Ross & Lionel Richie’s “Endless Love” begins its nine-week run at No. 1 to become one of Motown’s all-time top-selling singles.
Street Songs by Rick James hits the Top 5 of the album charts, going on to sell more than three million copies.
Motown kicks off a year-long celebration of Smokey Robinson’s 25th anniversary in showbiz, following his biggest-ever solo hit, “Being With You.”
Marvin Gaye’s final album for Motown, In Our Lifetime, is released.
The first single from Lionel Richie’s latest album, “Truly” is his first No. 1 as a solo singer/songwriter.
The Dazz Band are Motown’s newest hitmakers as “Let It Whip” becomes a Top 5 smash on the pop charts.
Charlene’s “I’ve Never Been To Me,” co-produced by Berry Gordy, is a Top 3 success, almost five years after its first release.
Motown announces that Stevie Wonder has re-signed with the company, and prepares the release of his Original Musiquarium I set.
To experience more of Motown's history, consider visiting our source www.classic.motown.com
An NBC-TV special, Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, celebrates the artists and music of the company’s extraordinary quarter-century.