One Nation Under a Groove: Motown and American Culture

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University of Michigan Press, 2004 - Music - 244 pages
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In its heyday Motown Records was a household word, one of the most famous and successful black-owned businesses in American history, and, arguably, the most significant of all American independent record labels.

How it got to be that way and how it changed the face of American popular culture are the subjects of this concise study of Berry Gordy's phenomenal creation. Author Gerald Early tells the story of the cultural and historical conditions that made Motown Records possible, including the dramatic shifts in American popular music of the time, changes in race relations and racial attitudes, and the rise of a black urban population. Early concentrates in particular on the 1960s and 70s, when Motown had its biggest impact on American musical tastes and styles.
With this revised and expanded edition, the author provides an up-to-date bibliography of the major books that have been written about Motown Records specifically, and black American music generally. Plus, new appendices feature interviews with four of the major creators of the Motown Sound: Berry Gordy, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Marvin Gaye.

  

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Contents

Family Happiness
A Usable Black Present or the Lessons of Booker T Washington and Joe Louis
35
The Midwest as Musical Mecca and the Rise of Rhythm and Blues
67
The Shrine and the Seer
107
The Billboard Interview
139
The Diana Ross Interview
169
Interview with Stevie Wonder
187
Whats Really Going On with Marvin Gaye?
197
Notes
223
Selected Bibliography
225
Index
229
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Cornell University graduate Gerald Early is an essayist and professor at Washington University. Early was the director of African and Afro-American studies at Washington University and the director of the American Culture Studies Program. He was also named the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters in Arts and Sciences. His essays have been included in Harpers, The New Republic, and Hungry Mind Review. His books include One Nation Under a Groove: Motown and American Culture, Lure and Loathing: Essays on Race, Identity and Ambivalence of Assimilation, and Body Language: Writers on Sport. Early received the National Book Critics Circle Award for his book The Culture of Bruising: Essays on Literature, Prizefighting, and Modern American Culture.

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