America’s best defense is its best export, whether material or ideological, and even a pop-culture critic specializing in film might have to admit that the foremost representative of America’s exports is its popular music — particularly the variety that issued from Detroit, beginning in 1959 and into the 1980s, by way of the Motown Record Corporation.
Beloved by and ingrained in listeners throughout the world, Motown music (the term derived from Detroit’s renown as the Motor City, the automobile-production capital of the world) still transmits American thought, language, and identity. Motown, with its distinctive rhythms and variety of local voices, uniquely …
This article appears as “Motown” in the July 27, 2020, print edition of National Review.
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