American; out of Detroit, Michigan. Songwriter / producer Berry Gordy Jr started the Tamla label in 1959; a second label, 'Motown' soon joined it. The hits started flowing, as the labels put out records by people who would eventually be household names. 1960 saw the arrival of Marvin Gaye and of Mary Wells; in '61 came the Supremes and the Miracles. In 1963 the Vandellas, the Four Tops and Stevie Wonder were added to the roster, along with the songwriting and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland; it was about this time that the 'Motown Sound' developed. The Temptations joined in 1966, and were followed by Gladys Knight; the Jackson Five signed up in 1969. Motown was hugely successful throughout the '60s; the departure of the Holland-Dozier-Holland trio in 1968 (they formed their own labels, 'Hot Wax' and 'Invictus', both) made little dent on that success. In the early '70s there was a slight lull as far as the singles charts were concerned, though seminal albums like Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' ('73) and Stevie Wonder's 'Innervisions' ('73) showed that the company was still a major force in music; and indeed singles sales picked up again from 1976, with the Commodores registering as the company's best-selling act. Motown continued to sell massive numbers of records in the '80's. In 1988 Berry Gordy Jr. sold the company to MCA and Boston Ventures. In Britain Tamla and Motown were combined, in the familiar EMI-distributed Tamla Motown label, the 'Tamla' part was dropped in 1978 and a new label design was adopted. Motown had a number of offspring down the years: Rare Earth, for white psychedelic Rock and other things that didn't fit on the main label; Mowest, controlled by the West Coast office of Motown, for talent developed by that office (in 1972 Motown's Detroit office closed, and the company's headquarters were relocated in Los Angeles. Thanks to Robert Lyons for the info.
Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons