The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


Detroit Music Scene

1959

"Come to Me," by Mary Johnson, is the debut release on the Tamla label. Founded by Berry Gordy, Tamla is the first of several labels under the umbrella of his Motown Records Corporation.

1959

"Bad Girl" by the Miracles, is the first single released on the Motown label. The name is a concentration of Motor Town, a reference to Detroit’s status as the center of the auto industry.

1959

Berry Gordy moves all of Motown’s operations into a two-story house at 2648 West Grand Boulevard, which he christens "Hitsville."

1961

Motown signs the Primettes, a girl group just out of high school. They change their name to the Supremes.

1961

"Shop Around," by the Miracles, is Motown’s first national hit, reaching Number Two on the Billboard chart and topping Billboard’s hot R&B singles list for eight weeks.

1961

Motown’s 12-year-old prodigy, Little Stevie Wonder, tops the pop charts with "Fingertips (Pt. II)." Recorded in concert, it is the first live single in history to reach Number One.

1961

"Please, Mr. Postman," by the Marvelettes, becomes Motown’s first Number One pop hit and second million-seller.

1964

Martha and the Vandellas release "Dancing In the Street," a highlight of Motown’s early years.

1965

"Back in My Arms Again" tops the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, making the Supremes the only American group to release five Number One hits in a row.

1966

The Four Tops earn their second Number One single and the biggest hit of their career with "Reach Out, I’ll Be There."

1967

"I Heard It Through the Grapevine," written by Marvin Gaye and recorded by Gladys Knight and the Pips, rises to Number Two. Exactly a year later, Gaye’s own version will become the top song in the country.

1968

A young singing group, the Jackson 5, auditions for Berry Gordy. Fronted by nine-year-old Michael Jackson, they are signed on the spot.

1968

Motown Records occupy the three top spots on Billboard’s Hot 100, an unprecedented feat.

1969

The Temptations with Motown its first Grammy for "Cloud Nine."

1970

Diana Ross leaves the Supremes to go solo.

1970

With the success of "I’ll Be There," the Jackson 5 become the only group in history whose first four records went to Number One.