Berry Gordy, who built Motown Records into a multimedia empire in the 1960s and 1970s, has announced his retirement at age 89, reports Variety.
“I have come full circle,” he said onstage during Motown’s 60th anniversary program at Orchestra Hall in Detroit, where he founded and built the label with members of his family and many artists and executives form the local community. “It is only appropriate [to announce this] while here in Detroit, the city where my fairy tale happened with all of you,” he concluded, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The announcement caps a celebration of Motown’s anniversary, which has been going on all year, with a documentary, a Grammy special and other events observing Gordy’s enormous accomplishments with the company, which has not only shaped American culture with artists such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & the Supremes and, of course, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5.
Inspired by the assembly-line work of Detroit’s auto industry, where Gordy worked during his youth, he and Motown’s artists and staff cranked out hit after hit from the basement studio he’d built in Motown’s headquarters in a house on West Grand Boulevard. Motown went on to become America’s largest Black-owned company for many years, and that house is now a museum, which recently underwent a $50 million expansion.