Three Surprising Facts About Berry Gordy

(Above Photo Credit: Bruce Glikas/

By Tristin Marshall


(Photo Credit: Barney Ales/Douglas H. Jeffery)

Berry Gordy Once Worked in Detroit’s Most Profitable Industry:

Before adding Motown as a pillar of success in the Detroit landscape, Gordy worked in the automotive business. He first removed nuts and bolts from black-hot steel casings at the Ford foundry, and then fastened upholstery and chrome strips to cars at the Lincoln-Mercury plant. While doing such monotonous work, Gordy was able to compose music ideas in his head–an early sign that a legacy was soon to be built.

Barney Ales, the former president of Motown and Gordy’s right-hand, had also worked in the automotive industry before Motown. According to the book Motown: The Sound of Young America, Ales worked the nightshift at Chrysler’s Dodge Main plant, lifting hot car fenders from one assembly line to another.


(Photo Credit:

He Produced Some Of The Most Classic Movies In African-American Film:

Gordy doesn’t just have an ear for music–he also has an eye for the silver screen. Gordy founded Motown Productions in 1968, and between 1975 and 1985 the company produced seven feature films. The catalog includes Mahogany, The Wiz which featured Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, and The Last Dragon, just to name a few.


(Pictured: LMFAO Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok/Reuters)

His Children Also Made Hit Records–27 Years Apart:

Known for the eerie and paranoid single “Somebody’s Watching Me,” 1980’s pop singer Rockwell is one of Gordy’s middle children, born Kennedy William Gordy. Released in 1984, the single reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and can still be heard frequently throughout the Halloween season.

Redfoo (Stefan Kendal Gordy), Gordy’s youngest son, along with SkyBlu (Skyler Austen Gordy), Gordy’s grandson, make up the duo LMFAO. The duo is know for the hit singles “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy And I Know It,” both of which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2011 and 2012, respectively.


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