Berry Gordy

Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award

Gordy is the founder of Motown, the hit-making enterprise that nurtured the careers of Diana Ross and The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, and many other musical legends.  The “Motown sound” reached out across a racially divided, politically and socially charged country to transform popular music.

In the 1960s, Gordy transcended barriers by booking his artists on shows like American Bandstand and The Ed Sullivan Show. As a songwriter, Gordy has written and co-written 240 songs for his Jobete Music publishing company’s Motown catalogue.  He is also a producer, director, entrepreneur, teacher and visionary, who was actively involved in the Civil Rights movement, releasing an LP of the recorded speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. entitled “The Great March to Freedom.”  His films include Lady Sings the Blues, which garnered five Academy Award nominations, and Mahogany.

Along with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, Gordy has been honored with many accolades, including his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, the GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons’ President’s Merit Award in 2008 and an honor from President Barack Obama with a “Salute to Motown” evening at the White House in 2011.  Gordy’s unparalleled contribution to music and popular culture is chronicled in his autobiography, To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown.