DETROIT - With archival releases, documentaries and even a Broadway musical on tap, Berry Gordy Jr., said there will be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide from the celebration of Motown's 50th anniversary during the coming two years.
Gordy, who founded the Motown empire after securing an $800 loan from his family on Jan. 12, 1959, said, "I've been fighting to protect the legacy for 50 years, and now it seems that after 50 years, we can go and talk about the real deal."
The official Motown 50th celebration kicks off today with the release of "Motown: The Complete No. 1s," a 10-disc set. Gordy and former Motown staffer Suzanne DePasse are also producing a documentary about the company due out in September 2009.
A Broadway musical about Motown is due to open in 2010 and Gordy said there will also be "long-form, multi-part videos" about the company's history.
Universal Music Enterprises, which handles Motown's archival releases, is also planning to support the activity with online podcasts and other special features. More retrospective titles are expected to come out over the course of the celebration, and the Motown Historical Museum in Detroit is planning a series of special events for 2009 - including an "In Their Own Words" series with Motown alumni that will kick off Jan. 12, a Marvin Gaye exhibit in April and a pumped-up version of its annual gala and concert in November. *