(CBS) – Motown Records founder Berry Gordy is responsible for helping establish the sound of a generation all while creating one of the most influential and successful record companies in history.
We sat down with Gordy at his California home.READ MORE: Winning Lotto 47 Ticket Worth $1.43 Million Sold In Warren
He spoke about Motown’s impact on American culture in the 1960s and his friends who turned out to be some of the greatest entertainers the world has ever seen.
Berry Gordy, founder of Motown records said, “I mean, I was a failure at (laugh) everything until I was, like, 29 years old. And but I was I never gave up. You know, I just, I knew that there was something that I had.”
At the Gordy home in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles.
The lessons start early, both the music and the history, Berry Gordy, 92 and now retired, hasn’t lost perspective, even after a lifetime of success.
Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1929, Gordy was the seventh of eight children.
After an attempt at professional boxing, a tour of duty in the army, a failed record store, and work on an automobile assembly line, Gordy picked up his pen and started writing music.
He was introduced to Jackie Wilson at a Detroit nightclub by his sister.READ MORE: Meijer Offering Free Delivery On Orders $35 And More
Their early collaboration led to the smash -hit: “lonely teardrops” in 1959.
Gordy said, “coming up I was just most fascinated with girls, you know, and so I wanted to write about my feelings. Because, I said, “wait a minute: if I feel that way, there must be a lotta people in the world that feel that way. Far as history was concerned– we always dreamed big. When you dream there’s no limit.”
Gordy said, “most people said the sky was the limit. But we said, “it’s not the limit, it’s the first step, you know?
Over the next decade, and armed with a fresh sound. Motown Records would flourish.
Diana Ross was the epitome of an artist that you might want, or dream about, or pray for. Do you know? When I told her about the world of show business, and what she had to do, and she just told me, “berry, if you think it, I can do it.”
Gordy said, “you know, I fell in love with this person. But I was not easy on her, I was not I was the career that came first. You know, black people were looked down upon in a lot of instances around the world. And I said, “lookit: we are going to call each other “black” because that’s beautiful. Black is beautiful.
Gordy said, “Marvin Gaye was so tough on me because he had– he was so brilliant in ways that he didn’t even know he was brilliant in. Marvin came to me and he wanted to do this thing about police brutality, I’m sayin’, “Marvin, you know, you’ve got a wonderful career. You’ve got “how sweet it is to be loved by you.” you’ve got two or three other songs that were big hits that– and the women love you and you’re a sex symbol.”
Gordy went on to say, “look, B.G., you gotta let me do this because I want to waken the minds of mankind. I’ve got to, you’ve gotta let me do it.” and I said, “okay, Marvin,” I said, “there’s a way,” I said, “if you’re right, I’ll learn something. And if I’m right, you’ll learn something.” and it turned out he was right.”MORE NEWS: Tenants Fed Up Over No Heat & Hot Water At The Sapphire Apartments, Management Responds
Gordy, said, “well, with I’m thrilled with that, I’m just thrilled with that. And I’m thrilled with my life, period. You know, I’m thrilled with my life, period. I– as I tell other people, but I count my blessings all the time, you know, I call, I’m thrilled.”