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Hitsville USA and the Motown Museum

Even if you didn’t grow up in the 60s and 70s, everyone has heard of Motown and the musical success they had. Hell, Motown jump-started Michael Jackson’s career and I know people have heard of him.

I’m an 80s child, so I’ve heard of The Temptations, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and many other Motown artists; but something I didn’t know was that all of those initial artists grew up within a block or two of each other! The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Four Tops, the Vandellas, The Contours and The Spinners – they all grew up on the streets of Detroit!

That may not be shocking to some, but you don’t hear of many musicians being from Detroit these days. The only ones I can truly think of, off the top of my head, are Kid Rock, Madonna, Uncle Cracker, and Eminem. That’s it. I’m sure there are more, but these Motown artists are larger than life; to think they came from our little corner of the world is truly mind boggling. In a good way, I promise. *grin*

Initially, I didn’t even realize there was a Motown Museum; but as soon as I heard of it, I knew I had to go. Can I just say that if you think you know all about Motown, you really don’t. What Barry Gordy did with Motown in those early days is truly fascinating to hear about. Did you know that every single produced out of Motown went through a “quality control” process? Producers, engineers, artists, hell even a few secretaries and janitors, would all get together in the legendary Studio A to critique and dissect each single. Not until every single person thought the song was a hit would it get to be produced. It’s no wonder that Motown went on to earn so many number one singles.

It wasn’t just the music that would get polished either. The majority of the initial recording artists on the Motown line were still all very young. I’m talking minors here – Stevie Wonder was 11 and running around the halls – all of whom were from the streets of Detroit. Many of them couldn’t read or write sheet music, and even thinking they knew about social graces would be giving them a lot of credit. But Gordy knew they were going to need more than just their music to be a success and he made sure they got it. In one of the seven houses Gordy purchased as part of Motown, one of them was for Artist Personal Development, where the artists learned about grooming, poise, and social graces, they received vocal coaching and choreography – everything they would need to be “fit for kings and queens”.

My whole experience at the Motown Museum was truly one of a kind. The Motown Museum can only be witnessed via a guided tour and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. The sheer amount of knowledge passed on was mind blowing and made me realized how little I actually did know.  I want to say that I wouldn’t necessarily bring small children, but that would definitely depend on your child. The museum has a strict policy of no touching and no cameras, and considering that the tour lasted a good hour and a half (which honestly didn’t feel like it was that long), it might be a bit much for those who tend to get rambunctious during guided tours. Now if you’re little one is a music geek and already has an appreciation for music, and Motown in particular, than that might be a different story. The tour guides are quite knowledgeable and are really good about keeping the tour moving.

In either case, if you’ve never been to the Motown Museum, you really need to make an effort to go. You won’t regret it!

Visit the Motown Museum:
Address: 2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10AM–6PM

Price: Adults: $13 | Youth: (5-17yo) $8 | Seniors: (62yo+) $8

Jackie LE
Author: Jackie LE

Jackie is a stay at home mom to two adventure loving boys; a wife to a husband who is very tolerant of her reading addiction; and the owner of Literary Escapism where she has actively promoted books since 2006. Since introducing her boys to the world of superheroes and Doctor Who, she has realized that she is a bigger geek than she knew. She loves exploring and finding new adventures to take her boys on, and it turns out they love checking out the unknown as well.