Originally known as the Hitsville U.S.A. building, the Motown Museum honors the enduring and massive impact of the Motown Records Corporation. Located at 2648 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan, the museum is a historical salute to the immense impact its founder, Berry Gordy Jr.; personnel; artists and their music has had upon society.
Founded in 1959 by Gordy, a young, African-American songwriter, with a loan of eight-hundred dollars from his family, the Midwest label was able to excel as no other record business prior or since. With the company having recently celebrated its quinquagenary anniversary, the Motown Museum, as per its website, affirms that “No other record company in history has exerted such an enormous influence on both the style and substance of popular music and culture. With more than 180 No. 1 hits songs worldwide and counting, that influence is still being felt today, from pop to hip-hop.”
In 1959, Gordy, after forming his first record label, Tamla Records, purchased the property that would house his offices and it was there that he would develop his signature musical sound and style and administer his business affairs. Calling this property, “Hitsville U.S.A.”, Gordy also needed a name for his new company and label. Although Detroit is known as “The Motor City”, he felt that the word “city” belied the closeness he felt that was aligned with soul as well as rhythm and blues music, the genres of his music label. Also, the museum’s website states that Gordy, “ … in tribute to what he felt was the down-home quality of the warm, soulful people he grew up around, used ‘town’ in place of city, which gave him the contraction ‘Motor Town’ and the perfect name … ‘Motown’”.