Happy Birthday to Berry Gordy, Jr., the record producer, songwriter and founder of the Motown label, who turns 87 today. His gift for identifying and producing musical talent, and the careful management of his artists’ public image, made Motown an industry powerhouse–and a musical genre in itself. And, what a lineup of stars he managed. WATCH a video…
He signed such artists as the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5. Gordy, who also wrote hundreds of songs, published an autobiography, To Be Loved, in 1994. In the second video below, Gordy talks about seeing Michael Jackson for the first time.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- New Zealand became the first country in which women voted in a national election (1893)
- In Haverhill, Massachusetts, scrap-metal dealer Louis B. Mayer opened his first movie theater (1907)
- American-born socialite Lady Astor was elected as a Member of the Parliament in the UK and became the first woman to sit in the House of Commons (1919)
- The Grand Ole Opry began broadcasting in Nashville, Tennessee on WSM radio as the Barn Dance (1925)
- Gaining independence today: Panama from Spain, 1821; Mauritania from France, 1960; East Timor from Portugal (1975)
- The Rolling Stones released the album Let It Bleed (1969)
- In the wake of Velvet Revolution protests, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announced it will give up its monopoly on political power (1989)
- President Bill Clinton signed a bill that ended the federal speed limit of 55 mph (1995)
And, great things happen for Albanians on this date! Over the years, they gained their independence from the Ottoman Empire (1912), they were liberated by the Albanian partisans (1944), and they voted for their new Constitution by referendum in 1998. They celebrate this day as Flag Day.