Motown to celebrate 50th birthday in January


In the space of a few weeks, first Madonna and Kate Bush turned 50 … then Michael Jackson. Pretty soon there’ll be dancing in the street “everywhere around the world” when Motown Records celebrates its 50th birthday on January 12, 2009.


Universal Music – which now owns the legendary label – plans to get everyone in the mood for Motown’s half-century celebrations by launching a special 50th Anniversary CD on December 1, 2008.


The new compilation will uniquely feature songs chosen by Motown fans themselves after they were invited to vote for their favourites in an online poll.


Universal plans to release “many different versions” of the compilation album across the globe, saying this approach is designed to “reflect each country’s favourite songs and celebrate the enduring popularity of Motown across the planet.”


Other Motown celebrations are being lined up throughout the whole of 2009 under the banner: Motown 50 – Today, Tomorrow, Forever.


Berry Gordy Jr. founded the label as Tamla Records on January 12, 1959, with a loan of $800 from his family. The company was incorporated as Motown Record Corporation in 1960.


Vocal group The Matadors were the first act to be signed to Tamla by Gordy. They went on to find fame after changing their name to The Miracles.


By the mid-1960s, the groundbreaking Motown Sound had spread worldwide. And the label’s distinctive sound still resonates today – 180 Number 1 singles later – with Motown hits continuing to appear in TV commercials, TV shows and movies.

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