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Photo of Motown recording studio
Studio with piano and microphones used by Motown recording artists

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Motown Historical Museum
A Local Legacy

Where is Hitsville USA? It's in Motown, which is short for "Motor Town," which is a nickname for Detroit, the Motor City and home of the U.S. auto industry.

Motown also happens to be the name of one of the best-known recording labels in the world. During the 1960s, Motown artists like the Supremes, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles dominated the pop charts.

Visitors to the Motown Historical Museum in Detroit, Michigan, experience some of the excitement of Motown's early years. The original location of the Motown Record Corporation in Hitsville USA is a restored site that traces the story of the company's growth from its modest beginnings to the world's largest independent record manufacturer.

Barry Gordy is the father of Motown. In 1959, he purchased a two-family flat in Detroit, and christened it "Hitsville USA." He lived upstairs and operated what became known as the Motown Record Corporation downstairs. Recordings were made in a former photography studio attached to the house. The birthplace of the famous Motown sound began in the reception lobby, where young hopefuls such as the Supremes and the Temptations waited to audition.

The next time you hear a song like "Stop! In the Name of Love" or "My Girl," think about how the Motown sound has influenced today's music.

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