Berry Gordy tried his hand at boxing, owning a record store, working on an auto assembly line and being a soldier in the Korean War and, fortunately for the American music scene, really wasn’t happy with any of those career choices. He went on to become an American record executive, a songwriter, film producer, television producer and the founder of Motown Records, and, in the process, becoming one of the highest earning African-American business owners for decades.
In 1959, in Detroit, he took a family loan of $800 and bought a house at 2648 West Grand Boulevard and converted the garage into Studio A or Hitsville U. S. A. There with vision and innovation, he married black gospel songs with be bop and jazz and created a new sound that changed musical history.  Think of Gordy as the conductor of a train, one who introduced such legends as Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the Miracles, Martha and the Vandellas, Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Commodores and many more to welcoming pop music tracks and fans.
You are invited to hop aboard this music train for four performances at Waterbury’s Palace Theater, Friday, May 11 at 8 p.m., Saturday May 12 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m and Sunday, May 13 at 1 p.m. for a spectacular ride back in time, one stuffed with all the music of the 1960’s and beyond that made Berry Gordy such a legend. On this glory train, you will hear great tunes like “My Girl,” “I’ll Be There,” “You’re Nobody ’Til Somebody Loves You,” “Stop in the Name of Love” and “Sign, Sealed, Delivered,” and dozens more.
Berry Gordy had the unique ability to take a nobody walking in the front door and transform them, by teaching them how to talk, stand, dress, act with class and become a star. He could recognize talent, new and raw, and polish it to perfection.
For tickets ($59.50 and up), call the Palace Theater, 100 East Main Street, Waterbury at 203-346-2000 or online at www.palacetheater.org.
Come have your ticket punched for the brand new beat that came to town courtesy of a forward thinking Berry Gordy, the conductor of the train that proved to be so much more than just a little engine that could.
– Bonnie Goldberg
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