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PHOTO ESSAY

Motown

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2648 West Grand Boulevard

Motown headquarters. Courtesy of Wayne State University Motor City Collection.

The origins of the storied "Motown sound" lay in an otherwise unremarkable building in Detroit, Michigan. In 1959, after securing an $800 loan from his family, Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. purchased a two-story home at 2648 West Grand Boulevard and converted the first floor into a music studio. Dubbed "Hitsville, USA," the first headquarters of the Motown Record Company would be responsible for an exceptionally disproportionate—given its small size and relative isolation—number of pop and R & B hits throughout the 1960s. (In 1968 the studio moved to a high-rise downtown before decamping for Los Angeles in 1972.) The original house on West Grand Boulevard still stands, and in 1985 was converted into the Motown Historical Museum by Gordy's sister Esther Gordy Edwards.

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