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To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown Paperback – December 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 445 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books (December 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446602361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446602365
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,214,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As founder and president of Motown Records, Gordy launched and developed the careers of many of the most talented pop musicians of our day, including Mary Wells, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. He here recounts how, in 1959 with a $800 loan from his family, he started the label he ultimately expanded into an entertainment empire, despite the racial prejudices he and his staff encountered. In 1988, he sold Motown to MCA for $61 million. His self-portrait, not surprisingly, is more flattering-many will consider the book an apologia-than the blistering memoirs written by several Motowners, among them Martha Reeves's Dancing in the Streets, coauthored with Mark Bego; and his former wife Raynoma Gordy Singleton's Berry, Me, and Motown. On his part, though, the 56-year-old Gordy is blithely generous to all: "I've seen how important family always was to me, whether it was the family I grew up with, the Motown family or my family today of eight children and ten grandchildren." Photos. Author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Founder of the Motown empire, Gordy has written a revealing autobiography dealing with the interplay between his private life and his recording and motion picture ventures. He begins with his childhood in Detroit and his forays into music as owner of a jazz-record store and successful songwriter for singer Jackie Wilson. Citing civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and the auto assembly lines as inspirations, Gordy charts the rise of the Motown hit machine, which manufactured a close-knit stable of well-groomed African American performers-including the Supremes, the Temptations, and the Jackson 5-who brought a gospel-based pop to white America during the Sixties and Seventies. Throughout the book, the music entrepreneur portrays his personal life and his business as inseparably connected, including comments about his five-year affair with Diana Ross. He ends with the sale of Motown in 1988. Though offering little new information, this believable and highly readable account of the most successful African American- owned entertainment operation will be requested by Motown fans. Recommended for most public libraries. [This should complement the regrettably out-of-print story of Motown, Berry, Me and Motown by Raynoma Gordy Singleton, Gordy's wife and business partner.-Ed.]-David Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattl.
--David Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Ms. Ross' book also sold poorly.
VINCENT P TARSITANO
I learned a great deal about the finest Record Label ever created with the finest artist and the finest songs.
!!!!!!!!!
I hope to one day shake his hand and personally thank him for this.
David F. Arrich

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By VINCENT P TARSITANO on April 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Like his main protege' Diana Ross' book SECRETS OF A SPARROW, I found this autobiography, TO BE LOVED, a bit too self-flattering and unapologetic.

Berry Gordy's story is extremely fascinating, his accomplishments in, and contributions to, American music are absolutely gargantuan. He deserves a great deal of credit for having created the conditions for an unmatched musical legacy to flourish. The lore surrounding the founding and early development of his great musical empire is almost as wonderful and engaging as the music itelf. You DO get some of that here.

Gordy also explains many of his business decisions. From most accounts, Mr. Gordy and his family were astute business people. However, Gordy's single-mindedness could often cause him to ignore or underplay some of the artist's gifts, appeal and marketability. For example, great as Diana Ross' star potential was, other female artists, even within the Supremes, were not as fully developed as they deserved to be, while Diana was given "special" opportunities in the way of extraordinary classes [beyond Motown's famous Artist Development]in modeling, etc. Was this purely a "business" decision? In the meantime, artists such as Kim Weston and Brenda Holloway, both quite gifted vocally, and very attractive physically, basically languished at the label.

Gladys Knight and The Pips, while having had moderate success at Motown, but not given that "extra push," absolutely exploded after they left the label, had huge sales, and were awarded several Grammy awards.

The Spinners fared even worse at Motown. But after they left the label they had phenomenal success in the early-mid seventies with singles and album sales. Many of those singles are considered r&b classics.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm amazed at the almost uniformly positive reviews of this book by other readers here. Berry Gordy accomplished a great deal by founding Motown Records, no question about it (what he did for African American culture in general is immeasurable); what I object to is his (predictible, but no less shocking) glossing over of many unpleasant facts in this book. The fact is, Gordy was a mean and ruthless businessman who stomped on countless others in his rise to the top (the part he played in the downfall of Florence Ballard alone is unforgivable); his warm and fuzzy recounting of his and Motown's story simply reads false to me. Better books on this subject are J. Randy Taraborelli's Motown book, his biography of Diana Ross, and the two Mary Wilson autobiographies. Those read quite a bit more convincingly.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is great for those who don't know the truth about the humblebeginnings of Berry Gordy and his Detroit empire. Berry Gordy gives us no insight into the recording sessions and no credit to the background singers, or the background musicians. Oh he compliments them for being a part of the Motown success story this book is nothing more than a couple of recollections of Motown history and for that it deserves 3 stars. He does not get into what really happened between Florence and Diana and Mary and that fateful day of her dismissal...There is no mention of how the recording sessions went with Holland-Dozier_Holland, Mickey Stevenson, Ashford and Simpson and others. The early picture of the Supremes as the Primettes is worth the price of the book alone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Boki on February 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hold Berry Gordy in high reverence. There is no single figure in the entertainment business with the kind of impact that he has made in this world. From his early talents as a key songwriter for "Mr. Excitement Jackie Wilson", I wasn't even aware then that Berry would begin affecting my love of music. One of the first artists I ever saw live was none other than Jackie Wilson. I had to be 6 yrs-9 yrs old at the time. Slowly his influence would captivate me as he discovered the genius of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joel Moorefield on February 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Who else would you want to hear the Motown story from other than Berry Gordy? Everyone has their story but it's best to hear from the person that started it all. There doesn't appear to be a detail that was missed. Berry Gordy shares his failures as well as his success which makes it a very balanced book. I have a whole new respect for him after reading this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Does the man not know what a condom is? Not a very evenhanded account of Gordy or Motown. Very little is mentioned about the HDH lawsuit and almost nothing about his shameful treatment of Florence Ballard. That being said, what is there is fascinating, as is Berry Gordy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just how do you compress a story like Motown into a biography with its huge cast of characters? I think Berry Gordy has managed to pull off a highly readable account of one of the world's most remarkable music stories. There are several Motown books out there, but this is one of its essential chapters.

Given the way the music business has evolved or devolved, the most striking thing about reading the book now is Berry Gordy's unique place in time. Motown was a phenomenon, and the book gives us some insight into the building blocks and maelstrom that it was. Yes, it was a hits factory - Hitsville - to be precise, and Gordy proudly illustrates his work ethic. Like the Hollywood Studio System, it churned out the songs and provided an infrastructure and system for popular artists to find fame. Did it profit everyone as much as it should? No. But it launched careers and an American musical institution. And that is Berry Gordy's legacy.

Interestingly, this is as much a story about business lessons as it is a biography. The most fascinating insights are about Gordy's views on work, and opportunities. Gordy recognises himself as being an enterpreneur, but also a leader, who with his hardworking and talented team, were also faced with tough choices. He had to make decisions - some right, some wrong, but he made them. Most of all, he does a good job in addressing how the business changed and why Motown ran its course.

What is clear is that Motown would not have existed without Berry Gordy as the catalyst. Like Marvel Comics and Stan Lee - the writers and artists who would create a universe were all sums of the whole.

Motown is just a part of the Gordy story.
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