Today marks the official 50th anniversary of Motown Records, and members of some of the label’s most famous acts were on hand in the Motor City to help kick off what will be a year-long celebration for the famed label. The Four Tops’ Abdul “Duke” Fakir and members of the Miracles, Martha & the Vandellas and Rare Earth will spend the week at the Motown Historical Museum, housed in the original Hitsville Headquarters. Plus, today was officially named Motown Day in the city of Detroit.
It was 50 years ago that Motown founder Berry Gordy first borrowed $800 with the hopes of starting his own label and founded Tamla Records, which would be incorporated as Motown in 1970 and produce its first hit a year later. “Fifty years is a wonderful anniversary,” Fakir told Billboard.com. “You’ve got to give credit to the songs, but of course you’ve got to give credit to Berry Gordy for the vision. He had the whole vision, and he made it come true.” Berry will not be on hand for the festivities, but said in a statement, “Motown music was for everybody, and it grew out of love. It has spread around the world and has become part of the culture and consciousness in all seven continents, and it all started right here.”
To honor the anniversary, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will house the exhibition “Motown: The Sound of Young American Turns 50,” plus Gordy has a documentary about his famed label in the works, along with a Broadway musical and a Marvin Gaye exhibit. In all, it promises to be a busy year for Hitsville USA. As we get ready to partake in the celebration, we ask our readers to tell us their favorite Motown hits.