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The Sound of Young America

Adam White


Ten years in the making: this is the definitive visual history of Motown, the most successful independent record company in the world

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Motown: The Sound of Young America is the definitive, beautifully produced visual history of Motown, the most successful independent record company in the world.

Motown became a prolific and hugely successful production line of suave, sassy and sophisticated music through the 60s, 70s and 80s. This exceptional book features extensive specially commissioned photography of treasures gathered from the archives. It also captures the graphic and design iconography that underpinned Motown’s extraordinary creativity.

Packed with fresh insights gleaned from scores of interviews with key players, this revealing book delves into the workings of the Motown machine and details how a dedicated team of backroom believers, white and black, turned a small family business into a popular music powerhouse. This was the home of Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, The Temptations and many more.

Motown: The Sound of Young America is a spectacular labour of love befitting an incredible story.

Awarded a Certificate of Merit in the category of Best Historical Research in Record Labels, from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence 2017

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'Delves deep into the secret life of Detroit’s revered home of soul ... An illuminating path into a familiar story … an essential Motown work'

'The definitive history of the Detroit-based record company … this is a riotous and political celebration of a great American brand'

'An excellent, no expenses spared publication'
Soul Source

'The story of the record label that produced more US No1s than The Beatles, Elvis and The Stones … it’s all covered in this visual history'

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Further Details


Format: PLC with acetate jacket

Size: 27.7 x 21.6 cm

Extent: 400 pp

Publication date: 14 March 2016

ISBN: 9780500518298

Contents List

Foreword by Andrew Loog Oldham • Infographic: Motown At A Glance • Prelude: The Fire This Time • In the Beginning • We Don't Serve Colored People • L'Amour Fou & A Sore Thumb • Meet The Supremes • Ready, Steady, Go! • Nowhere to Run • Fill Your Head with Dirt • Sun Country • Three Floors & No Roots • The Last Star • Epilogue • Picture Credits • Index

About the Author

Adam White has written about music and the music industry for more than 40 years. He scripted a US radio documentary, ‘The Motown Story’, which was Grammy nominated in 1983, was editor-in-chief at Billboard, and co-authored The Billboard Book of No. 1 R&B Hits. He was vice-president of communications at Universal Music Group International from 2002 to 2012.

Barney Ales was Berry Gordy’s indispensable right-hand man and the company’s ultimate insider. Ales rose to become executive VP, but stayed in Detroit in 1972, when Gordy moved Motown to California. Three years later, Ales rejoined the company, and he served as its president from 1975 to 1978.

List of Contributors

Barney Ales, Andrew Loog Oldham