Motown: Music, Money, Sex, and Power
The remarkable behind-the-scenes business story of the rise and fall of Motown Records
In 1959, twenty-nine-year-old Berry Gordy, who had already given up on his dream to be a champion boxer, borrowed eight hundred dollars from his family and started a record company. A run-down bungalow sandwiched between a funeral home and a beauty shop in a poor Detroit neighborhood served as his headquarters. The building's entrance was adorned with a large sign that improbably boasted "Hitsville U.S.A." The kitchen served as the control room, the garage became the two-track studio, the living room was reserved for bookkeeping, and sales were handled in the dining room. Soon word spread that any youngster with a streak of talent should visit the only record label that Detroit had seen in years. The company's name was Motown. Swirling around the political upheaval of the 1960s, the emergence of black entrepreneurship, the decline of some American cities, and filled with more intrigue than any soap opera writer could conjure, Motown's story is riveting.
Amazing anecdotes about [Motown's] early days...Posner presents the best and worst of this story with suitable glitter. And his book heightens a welcome new fascination with Motown's glory days.
- Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Supreme job...[Posner is] an investigative journalist who keeps his narrative in fine rhythm.
The most objective and thoroughly accurate history of the label to date, plus a detailed and complex portrait of its founder, Berry Gordy.
- San Francisco Chronicle
Probably the most comprehensive and reliable book about Motown and its stars.
- Minneapolis Star Tribune
Fascinating and Absorbing...Posner's excellent chronicle is highly recommended.
- The Charlotte Observer
Most of what Posner presents has been aired before, though seldom as relentlessly and with as much documentation. Like other '60s icons, Motown turns out to have had a side seamy enough to rival that of the Kennedys' Camelot. Posner roasts Motown to a turn to feed pop-culture fans' taste for destroying the idols they once worshipped. Delicious.