Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture, Personal Journals

Chart Positions

Personal Journals 16
Society & Culture 97

Desert Island Discs was created by Roy Plomley in 1942, and the format is simple: a guest is invited by Kirsty Young to choose the eight records they would take with them to a desert island


Berry Gordy

May 22nd, 2016

Episode 550 of 567 episodes

Kirsty Young's castaway is the producer Berry Gordy. He founded the Motown record label and his musical empire made worldwide stars of Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Jackson 5 and Marvin Gaye. The second youngest of eight children, he was brought up in Detroit. He left school at sixteen to become a Featherweight boxer, and served as a soldier in the Korean war before making music his career. His first foray into the music business was a jazz record store in Detroit but he was out of step with popular taste and he became bankrupt. It was whilst working on a a car production line that he came up with the idea of setting up a record label. The combination of his song-writing skills and entrepreneurial spirit took Motown music to the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and to the centre of American culture during a pivotal moment in America's civil rights history. He was friends with Dr Martin Luther King and recorded some of his speeches on the Motown label. Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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