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The Primettes


Detroit has long been known as “the Motor City” because it is a center of production for automobile companies. Berry Gordy Jr. used that nickname and gave it a twist by calling his record company “Motown.” Motown was also commonly known as Hitsville, U.S.A.

Berry Gordy Jr. was a successful young boxer when he was in his early twenties. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Gordy returned to his hometown of Detroit and opened a record store. When that business fell apart, Gordy worked at an auto factory, but he also began pursuing songwriting. The singer Jackie Wilson had a hit with a song that Gordy cowrote, called “Reet Petite.” Gordy continued writing for Wilson, and he soon found success writing for the Miracles, which featured his good friend, singer Smokey Robinson.

Gordy used his songwriting successes to begin a record company called Tamla. Within a year he was successful enough to start a second label, which he named Motown Records. The list of stars that recorded for the Motown label is incredible: Mary Wells, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, and many other chart-topping artists.

Additional topics

Musician BiographiesThe SupremesThe Primettes - No Stopping, Canadian Contest, The Primettes Meet Motown, Motown, The First Audition