Detroit revived by Motown revival
The return of the famous soul music legend Motown Records to its birthplace Detroit has had an ebullient effect on the bankrupt city.
From the very first announcement of its coming back, people were running out their doors to tell their neighbors about it. The excitement grew as moving vans arrived with equipment and office settings to the Record labels new digs near the GM Renaissance Center (an apropos name for the change) in the rundown center of Motor City.
An electricity could be felt that energized the depressed inner city, once the vibrant, wealthy home of the auto industry. People for the first time in decades had something to be excited about.
Much of the heaviness brought about by the unemployment, the crime, the lack of business and other social demons that plagued the once huge metropolis seemed to dissipate with the announcement of the move. Within hours whole neighborhoods were out ‘Dancin in the Street‘ with everyone moving, grooving and singing Martha and the Vandellas eternal lyrics.
Motown, the entertainment franchise that was founded by Barry Gordy Jr. in 1959, was one of the first black-owned record businesses to hit the big time. Many of their singers, the Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and the Jackson Five, to name a few, became so famous and beloved that they are today considered pop and soul icons of the 1960’s and ’70’s.
These acts were popular because of their general upbeat and positive vibe; an innocence was inherent that was not found in regular rock and blues of the time. It was probably the most successful crossover music of American musical history, appealing to all races not only here, but around the whole world.
Within weeks of Motown’s return, the life also returned to Detroit. The economy improved, people stopped beating and stealing on each other, and the clouds parted allowing the radiant sun to spill forth its goodness upon the city people below.
Business started to pick up and people grew friendlier to each other. The was a joy on everyone’s faces and a spring in their step. New stores opened and people began to move back. Motown groups staged concerts in the parks which were filled to overflowing. Loudspeaker-mounted vans roamed the streets beating out the tunes that once made everyone in the nation dance. The town folk of the Motor City found their roots again and Detroit became a town again — a happy, healthy healed one.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful it this spoof really could come true?
Interesting factoid: Gordy originally wanted to name the record company ‘Tammy’ after the beautiful song Tammy sung by the very white Debby Reynolds, but the name was taken already.