Photo: Motown The Musical
Photo: Motown The Musical

As families across America celebrate Thanksgiving, one native Detroiter is marking a very special personal holiday.

Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. turns 90 on Thursday,  the latest milestone in a storied life that took him from a scrappy east-side upstart to the heights of Hollywood showbiz.

“The real birthplace of the Motown sound was at Harper Hospital in Detroit,” said songwriter and Motown fan Ron Stevenson, citing Gordy’s 1929 birth to the enterprising Berry (Pops) Gordy and Bertha Fuller Gordy. “He called his parents Motown’s top producers because they made him.”

Stevenson wrote a song several years ago titled “Thank You Berry” that was recorded by Raydio’s Arnell Carmichael.

It was just blocks from that Harper Hospital where Gordy chose to announce his retirement in September. Onstage at Orchestra Hall to cap an evening of Motown 60th-anniversary festivities, Gordy addressed an audience of Motown artists, fans and family members and looked back poignantly on his career and life in Detroit.

“I have come full circle,” he said that night. “It is only appropriate (to announce this) while here in Detroit, the city where my fairy tale happened with all of you.”

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