“Berry Gordy embodies that rare combination of creative genius, entrepreneurial excellence and fearless proponent of social change,” said President/CEO of The Recording Academy Neil Portnow. “By bringing the heart and soul of Motown to the world, he opened the ears of music fans and opened doors for music makers who have become the most revered and beloved artists of all time. We are honored to pay tribute to an icon who has shaped popular music with his artistry, drive, and unparalleled ability to identify and develop young talent.”
As a young man, Gordy had a devoted love for music and aspired to be a songwriter. He found national success co-writing Jackie Wilson’s “Reet Petite,” “To Be Loved,” and “Lonely Teardrops.” In 1959, with an entrepreneurial spirit, Gordy took an $800 loan from his family and started a small record company in the Motor City of Detroit and called it Motown Records. As a songwriter and producer, with a keen sense of musical talent, he nurtured such artists as Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross & the Supremes, the Temptations, and Stevie Wonder. In 1991, he received the Trustees Award from The Recording Academy.
Gordy’s visionary talent does not end with cultivating music stars. When he brought Motown Records to Los Angeles in 1972, he parlayed his talents into television and film. Hit television shows such as “American Bandstand” and “The Ed Sullivan Show” featured Motown recording artists. His first film, Lady Sings The Blues starring Diana Ross, earned four Academy Award® nominations. He made his directorial debut with his sophomore film, Mahogany.
The 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on “GRAMMY Sunday,” Feb. 10, 2008, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live in high-definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on CBS from 8 – 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).