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History of Motown

Motown's history is shown in relationship to world history. Click each year along the timeline to see how the two synched up.

The Temptations audition for Motown with the name The Elgins, but are signed as The Temptations.

Stevie Wonder (Steveland Morris) signed with Motown.

Primettes sign with Motown and become the Supremes.

Eddie Holland’s record “Jamie” is released on the Motown label written by Mickey Stevenson and Barrett Strong. Song is done in the style of Jackie Wilson.

The Marvelettes release, “Please Mr. Postman”, by Brian Holland, Freddie Gorman, Robert Bateman, William Garrett and Georgia Dobbins, on the Tamla label. This was the first Motown song to reach the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop single chart.

Elvis Presley records “Don’t Be Cruel.”

Freedom Riders, sponsored by Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to protest racial segregation in transportation services, are subjected to physical violence and arson.

Alan Shepard, Jr., becomes first American in space.

President Kennedy begins the Apollo program of U.S. manned spaceflight.

Construction of the Berlin Wall begins.

Jomo Kenyatta is released from prison in Kenya.

The Vietnam War officially begins, as the first American helicopters arrive in Saigon along with 400 U.S. personnel.

World population reaches 3 billion people.