Motown founder Berry Gordy announces retirement at 89: 'I have come full circle'
23 September 2019, 13:34
Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr has announced his retirement while giving a speech in Detroit, aged 89.
Berry revealed he knew his 90th birthday is looming in November during his almost 40 minute Hitsville Honours ceremony speech after being awarded the Motown Legacy Award.
Saving his "important announcement" until the end, Berry told the audience: "As I stand here I'm back where I started.
"I have come full circle, so it is only appropriate that... I should announce my retirement.
"For years I have dreamt about it, talked about it, threatened it and tried to do it.
"In fact, this has gone on for so many years that those trying to help me retire... retired themselves.
"It is time for me to spend my next 60 years reflection on how fortunate I am, how much I appreciate and love all of you and how wonderful my life has been, and will continue to be."
Berry started Motown 60 years ago with an $800 loan from his family trust, selling it in 1988.
He remained active in creative and business strands, including producing the Tony Award-nominated Motown: The Musical.
Berry revealed his weekend trip had been "overwhelming to me".
He said: "The love I'm getting from being here is different than anything I've ever gotten in my life.
"People always ask me 'What does the legacy of Motown mean to you?' The answer is simply love.
"The Motown legacy remains the music we made for all people that reminds us that we are all the same, that music has no colour. It gives voice to honest feelings and helps us understand each other."