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Episode #40 | 10.8.19

Motown Records: Pimps, Prostitutes, the Detroit Mafia and the Sound of Teenage America

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Motown Records is one of the most successful musical industry endeavors or all time. The music and the megastars Motown produced; Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5 defined a generation. But that success is marred by rumors. Rumors that the record label and its innovative owner were controlled by the quote unquote black hand of the white American mob.

Sources

Berry, Me and Motown: The Untold Story by Raynoma Gordy Singleton

Motown: Music, Money, Sex and Power by Gerald Posner

Standing In The Shadows of Motown directed by Paul Justman

Vanity Fair: It Happened in Hittsville

Michigan Chronicle: Why Berry Gordy Sold Motown

Gangster Report: Motown Sound, Philly Soul Sound Were Helped off Ground by Mob Figures, Federal Files Contend

Disgraceland is a podcast about musicians getting away with murder and behaving very badly. It melds music history, true crime and transgressive fiction. Disgraceland is not journalism. Disgraceland is entertainment. Entertainment inspired by true events. However, certain scenes, characters and names are sometimes fictionalized for dramatic purposes.

Music

Score by Jake Brennan. 

Mixed and Engineered by Sean Cahalin.

Disgraceland theme song, "Crenshaw Space Boogie" written and produced by Jake Brennan. Performed by Jake Brennan, Bryce Kanzer, Jay Cannava and Evan Kenney. Mixed and engineered by Adam Taylor.

*illustrations by Avi Spivak @avispivak