Magazine September 9, 2019, Issue

Motown

Singing legend Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records, pose at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, Calif., October 11, 2001. (Fred Prouser/Reuters)
In the hurly-burly of politics, we usually don’t stop to note our simple, unadorned love of the things that make this country so marvelous. That’s what we’ve asked our contributors to our latest special issue, "What We Love about America," to do.

A sign in the window of its modest headquarters offered a big boast: “The Sound of Young America.” The only thing the slogan lacked was a proper amount of ambition. In the 1960s, Motown Records became the sound of all America, producing hit after hit on Detroit’s musical assembly line — and creating some of the finest pop songs ever written.

Founder Berry Gordy Jr. barely could play an instrument, but he possessed a genius for knowing what both black and white Americans wanted to hear on their radios. Half a century later, dozens of Motown hits remain standards: “My Girl,”

To Read the Full Story
John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

In This Issue

What We Love About America

U.S.

American Men

American men — with few exceptions — treat you like a human being, in a free, natural way, because they’ve done it from the nation’s youth.

Books, Arts & Manners

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