BERRY, ME, AND MOTOWN: The Untold Story by Raynoma Gordy Singleton

BERRY, ME, AND MOTOWN: The Untold Story

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Deliciously bare-nerved story of the ex-Mrs. Gordy's blood-splashed battles with her cofounder of Motown Records, Berry Gordy. Raynoma Mayberry Liles is the separated mother of two and a multitalented musical prodigy before she--at age 20--meets Berry Gordy. Berry, an ex-boxer, small-time pimp, hopeful but inept vocalist, and agent for amateur singing groups looking for a breakout from their Detroit ghetto, finds himself the possessor of a golden egg in Raynoma--who not only straightens out harmonies among his groups but also arranges, slid who writes professional lead sheets for recording dates and copyright purposes. Soon they are lovers, and she turns a few tricks to get their new record business off the ground. Aside from shaping up their groups musically, she also prepares thorough budgets and gives their business a professional sheen. But when they set up their own Tamla Records and the hits begin flowing, Berry has Raynoma delete her name from their contract as coowners. ""Don't you worry, I'll always look out for you,"" he says, meaning himself. To accommodate the styles of their various artists, they set up separate artist-identified record companies, Motown Records being just one. His skipping out on their wedding night and coldly cheating on her only hints at the humiliations ahead. Over the next 30 years, Raynoma is once married and divorced and hired and Fired a half. dozen times by Berry, but she is lured back into the honey whenever he needs his hive repaired, gets disoriented, or feels an urge to whip her. Masterfully done, with a great cast including Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, the Temptations, etc.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1990
Publisher: Contemporary