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Detroit has long been a center for musical talent. Back to the 1920s Detroit was one of the great jazz centers of America. Many names came out of Detroit and the city drew many names from across the country, as just this portion of this mural depicts.

But Detroit would come to be known for another sound, Motown.

Founded by Berry Gordy, Jr., the Motown label took the nation by storm from “Hitsville, USA” an old house on Grand Boulevard. Starting in 1959 as the first African American owned music label with acts such as Jackie Wilson and The Matadors Motown exploded through the sixties. Some of the other early artists included Mabel John, Mary Wells, Barret Strong, Smokey Robinson The Miracles and The Marvelettes.

In the 1960s Motown had 110 top 10 hits from artists such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Jackson 5, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Often they were backed up by the in house band, The Funk Brothers. Motown’s popularity spread across racial and cultural lines in an era of racial segregation in the United States as Motown became "The Young Sound of America". At the same time the likes of Aretha Franklin brought a version of soul to the American public, independent of Motown.

In 1972 Motown moved to Los Angeles where it eventually faded away.

But that wasn't the end of music in the Motor City. Still the city produced a rich mix of talent. Iggy Pop and The MC5 helped create the genre of punk rock and Alice Cooper brought on the era of "Shock Rock". Grand Funk RR was one of the first great hard rock bands out there who joined names like Mitch Ryder, Marshall Crenshaw and ? & the Mysterians as Detroit originals. Bob Seger helped create the "heartland rocker" with his focus on the blue collar man. And Ted Nugent, "The Motorcity Madman", scored success in the metal scene.

One of pop musics biggest names, Madonna, just happens to be from Detroit And recently Kid Rock, Uncle Kracker, The White Stripes, The Von Bondies, Esham and Eminem have all been products of the Motor City.

And two decades after the sound of Motown swept the nation another new sound, Techno came out of Detroit. Developed by "The Belleville Three", Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, the sound quickly grew into a world wide phenomenon.

And on top of all of that Detroit maintains one of the healthiest local music scenes of any city in the United States. And as a result Detroit also has some of the most rabid music fans in the world and often pack the numerous music venues spread across the city. So without a doubt Detroit will continue to give music to the world and hold on to the title of Detroit Rock City.

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Additional Photos by Paul Mastrogiacomo (pamastro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2680 W: 165 N: 2694] (7290)
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