“Hitsville U.S.A.” is the nickname given to Motown’s first headquarters and recording studio. The house (formerly a photographers’ studio) is located at 2648 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan, near the New Center. The house was purchased by Motown founder Berry Gordy in 1959. After purchasing the house, Gordy converted it into the record label’s administrative building and recording studio. Following mainstream success in the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s, Gordy moved the label to Los Angeles and established the Hitsville West studio there as a part of his focus on television and film production as well as music production. Today, the “Hitsville U.S.A” property operates as the Motown Museum, dedicated to the legacy of the record label, its artists, and its music. The museum occupies the original house and an adjacent former residence.
West Grand Boulevard
In 1959, Gordy formed his first label, Tamla Records, and purchased the property that would become Motown’s Hitsville U.S.A. studio. The photography studio in the back of the property was modified into a small recording studio open 22 hours a day (closing from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. for maintenance), and the Gordys moved into the second-floor living quarters. Within seven years, Motown would occupy seven additional neighboring houses:
- Hitsville U.S.A., 1959: (ground floor) administrative office, tape library, control room, Studio A; (upper floor) Gordy living quarters (1959–1962), artists and repertoire (1962–1972)
- Jobete Publishing office, 1961: sales, billing, collections, shipping, and public relations
- Berry Gordy Jr. Enterprises, 1962: offices for Berry Gordy, Jr. and his sister Esther Gordy Edwards
- Finance department, 1965: royalties and payroll Bed Bug Exterminator Detroit
- Artist personal development, 1966: Harvey Fuqua (head of artist development and producer of stage performances), Maxine Powell (instructor in grooming, poise, and social graces for Motown artists), Maurice King (vocal coach, musical director, and arranger), Cholly Atkins (house choreography), and rehearsal studios
- Two houses for administrative offices, 1966: sales and marketing, traveling and traffic, and mixing and mastering
- ITMI (International Talent Management Inc.) office, 1966: management
By 1966, Motown had hired over 450 employees with a gross income of $20 million.
Edwards received several requests for the Hitsville building to receive visitors. She and her secretary put up posters and gold records. She also carefully preserved Studio A. Since 1985, the Hitsville U.S.A. building has been the site of the Motown Museum in Detroit, Michigan, dedicated to the legacy of the record label, its artists, and its music. On October 23, 1988, Michael Jackson donated a black fedora and studded white right-hand glove, along with $125,000, the net proceeds of the first show of his Bad World Tour on October 24 in The Palace of Auburn Hills, to the Motown Museum. Edwards’s granddaughter Robin Terry maintains involvement as both board chair and CEO.
Address: 2648 Berry Gordy Jr. Boulevard, 2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI
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