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Headlined by the tight-as-ever duo of Berry Gordy Jr. and Smokey Robinson, whose friendship has spanned more than five decades, an even dozen of the men and women who launched Motown into music history pose for ANNIE LEIBOVITZ, marking a half-century since the hits began zooming out of Hitsville U.S.A. From the stars to the songsmiths to the lady who taught everyone how to behave, they've survived their legendary success with style and talent to spare
BERRY GORDY JR. AND SMOKEY ROBINSON
The Soul Men
Gordy: Motown founder and chairman of the board, producer, songwriter, multi-media mogul. Robinson: songwriter, singer, producer, Motown executive, and Miracle in chief.
Gordy: Grammy Industry Icons award, 2008; inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1988. Robinson: 20 solo albums (two gold) and 35 albums with the Miracles; inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1987; Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, 1999; Kennedy Center honoree, 2006.
The friendship of Gordy and Robinson pre-dates the existence of Motown, going back to '57, when the former, who'd already written hits for soul smoothie Jackie Wilson, met the latter, the honey-piped leader of a Detroit vocal group called the Matadors. Robinson encouraged Gordy to start a label of his own. Not so long thereafter, in 1960, a song the two friends wrote together, "Shop Around," became a No. 1 R&B hit for Robinson's group, renamed the Miracles, and the first million seller for Gordy's label, Motown. The quick success that followedwith Gordy invigorating and racially integrating the 1960s pop landscape, and Robinson composing gem after gem for the Miracles (e.g., "The Tracks of My Tears," "Ooo Baby …