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  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10am-6pm
  • Thursday: 10am-6pm
  • Friday: 10am-6pm
  • Saturday: 10am-8pm
  • Sunday: 10am-6pm

We are closed on New Years Day, Memorial Day, Easter Sunday, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Eve

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Motown Museum is the beating heart of the extraordinary Motown legacy—a destination that brings together people and ideas from different generations, and celebrates the past while simultaneously building a bridge to the future.

About Motown Museum

To ensure our vast collection maintains public visibility, and to keep things fresh for our guests, Motown Museum changes its main gallery exhibit 1-2 times per year. Here is what’s currently showing at our museum.

Current Exhibit

Motown Museum transports you into an era of musical magic. From the moment you step on the plaza, you’ll be immersed in the Motown sound and will experience a profound sense of history.

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Hitsville NEXT Programs

Our uniquely curated community programs emphasize education, entrepreneurship and equity—with experiences, mentoring and exposure that nurtures and elevates tomorrow’s history makers. Museum programs cultivate creativity and entrepreneurship in budding talent, allowing great art, big ideas and innovation to flourish.

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Ignite Summer Camp
application Open

Ignite Summer Camp


9 - 12 Grade | July 9 - 19

Ignite is a two-week program designed for high school-aged singers who want to take their musical talents to the next level...

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application Open

Spark Summer Camp


6 – 8 Grade | August 6 - 16

For middle-school students passionate about music, we offer Spark, a day camp that helps students write and perform music together...

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Lyric Project


Ages 14-18 | June 18 – 28

Lyric Project is a two-week workshop that helps students learn about songwriting, music production, and communicating powerful and authentic emotions through music...

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Events

From memorable galas and concert performances, to community celebrations and educational programs, we host a range of special events throughout the year.

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Calendar of Events


Rocket Plaza at Motown Museum

Events are Free and Open to the Public

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Private Events

Interested in hosting your own event at Motown?

Facility Rental

Motown Legacy

As an irresistible force of social and cultural change, the legendary Motown portfolio made its mark not just on the music industry, but society at large, with a signature Motown Sound that has become one of the most significant musical accomplishments and stunning success stories of the 20th century.

Discover The Legacy

Like many other African Americans in the early 20th century, Berry Gordy, Sr. and his wife, Bertha Fuller Gordy, came North from Georgia to find a better life for themselves and their family.

Gordy Family

Motown is an extended family of some of the most iconic and influential artists, musicians and songwriters of our time. Brought together by destiny through their love for making music, they found themselves making history.

Motown Artists

The culmination of years of planning, hard work and generous contributions from dedicated donors, the highly anticipated, $50 million Motown Museum expansion project will grow the museum campus to a 50,000-square-foot world-class entertainment and education tourist destination.

Expansion

Support Motown Museum

When you contribute to the Motown Museum, you become part of a rich musical and cultural legacy. We are a 501(c)(3) not for profit, tax-exempt organization in Detroit.

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Museum Hours

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10am-6pm
  • Thursday: 10am-6pm
  • Friday: 10am-6pm
  • Saturday: 10am-8pm
  • Sunday: 10am-6pm
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Museum memberships are an investment in the preservation and conservation of our historic legacy. Become A Member

Virtual Exhibit

Pushin’ Culture Forward

The Motown Mile Experience is an outdoor community exhibition designed to educate, entertain and inspire. Made possible by:


Cover: New recording of an existing composition
Sample: New recording using a piece of an existing recording
Interpolation: New composition using a piece of an existing composition

The history of music is filled with examples of the cross-pollination of ideas, cultures, and artistic movements. Classical composers often re-arranged melodies crafted by their peers, and recording artists created cover versions of songs originally performed by others. The first recording released by future Motown stars, The Miracles, was an interpolation of a hit song called “Get A Job” by the Silhouettes. The royalty check for only $3.19 that songwriter Berry Gordy received from The Miracles’ “Got A Job” inspired him to create his own record labels – Tamla and Motown.

Today, 65 years after Berry Gordy first began building Motown Records, the tradition is alive and well. This Motown Mile exhibition, Pushin’ Culture Forward, demonstrates how Motown’s music continues to be a creative springboard for musicians of all genres and generations. Artists from every musical style record cover versions of Motown songs. Producers sample Motown recordings to create backing tracks for new hits. Songwriters interpolate their lyrics, melodies, and arrangements into classic Motown compositions. This exhibition focuses on how these artists look to Motown Records for covers, samples, interpolations, and inspiration.

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell’s hit recording of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, was released in 1967. Three years later, Diana Ross released a Gospel-inflected version of the song, and it has since been covered or performed by artists including Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson, Michael McDonald, Kelly Clarkson, Demi Lovato, and Ashford & Simpson themselves.

In 2006, singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse released her second album entitled Back to Black. Winehouse’s artist image drew from the pop culture of the 1960s including the fashion, makeup, and hairdressing styles worn by classic Motown artists. While working on a Winehouse composition called “Tears Dry On Their Own,” producer Salaam Remi was inspired by the instrumental tracks from Marvin & Tammi’s recording. An entirely new backing backtrack was made to recreate the arrangement of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” without formally sampling the Motown master recording. Winehouse’s original lyrics and melody were used, with the Motown arrangement interpolated in her composition. The Back to Black album has since been certified as a multiplatinum hit in over 15 countries and is the source of the title for the 2024 film depicting the story of Amy Winehouse’s life and career.

The Jackson 5’s 1975 single “All I Do Is Think Of You” appeared on their album Moving Violation, the group’s final release before leaving Motown. R&B group Troop recorded a hit cover version in 1989, and B5 released their cover in 2005. The Jackson 5 recording was sampled on the 2006 track “Time: The Donut of the Heart” by Detroit producer James Dewitt Yancey, known as J Dilla or Jay Dee. This track appeared on Dilla’s second album entitled Donuts, which has been hailed as a trailblazing album of instrumental hip hop. It has garnered praise from music critics and inspired countless drummers and producers to mimic the natural feel of Dilla’s production and drum patterns. The album also includes samples from recordings of many Motown artists including Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Eddie Kendricks, Edwin Starr, Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers, Blinky, The Originals, and The Undisputed Truth.

Written by Burnetta “Bunny” Jones and Chris Spierer, “I Was Born This Way” was inspired by Jones witnessing the mistreatment of gay employees of her hair salon in Harlem, New York. In 1975 she hired actor and vocalist Charles “Valentino” Harris to record the original version. Bunny Jones released Valentino’s recording on her own Gaiee label, which she intended to be a safe haven for openly gay artists. Motown re-distributed the single while retaining the Gaiee label imprint for the release. In 1977, openly gay singer Carl Bean was approached by Motown to be the voice on a disco cover version. It went on to become a gay anthem played in clubs across the world, covered by singers including Jimmy Sommerville, Swedish artist Magnus Carlsson, and Icelandic artist Paul Oskar, and sampled by UK producers Adam Blake and Stuart Price.

In 2011, Lady Gaga released her hit song “Born This Way,” the lead single from her album of the same name. Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” is neither a cover, a sample nor an interpolation. Her composition features her original lyrics, melody, and arrangement, inspired by the Motown recording and its themes of encouragement and inclusivity.

“Born This Way, my song and album, were inspired by Carl Bean, a gay black religious activist who preached, sang, and wrote about being ‘Born This Way’ … Thank you for your decades of relentless love, bravery, and a reason to sing.”
Lady Gaga

James Ambrose Johnson Jr., known as Rick James, leaned into a controversial artist image with hit songs like “Mary Jane” and his self-described “punk funk” style. “Super Freak” was a hit single from his 1981 platinum album Street Songs. The song has been covered by artists including the rock group Dave Matthews Band and the Dutch house group Beatfreakz. Rick James’ recording of “Super Freak” was sampled in 1990 by hip hop artist MC Hammer on his Grammy-winning single “U Can’t Touch This.” It has since been sampled by artists including Jay Z, Gucci Mane, Jeezy, 2 Chainz, and Big Daddy Kane. Nicki Minaj sampled the recording of “Super Freak” and interpolated the title in her 2022 song “Super Freaky Girl,” which has since been certified double platinum. In her music video, Minaj can be seen holding a bass guitar in homage to Rick James.

The Temptations’ single “My Girl” is a platinum hit written by Smokey Robinson and Ronnie White of the Miracles. The single has sold millions of copies worldwide and was translated into foreign languages including German and Italian. The song has been covered by artists including soul singers Otis Redding and Al Green, rock band The Rolling Stones, folk-rock group The Mamas & The Papas, jazz artists Count Basie and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, rock artist Phil Collins, pop duo Eurythmics, and country artist Glen Campbell. The Temptations sampled their own recording of “My Girl” on their 1998 hit song “Stay.”

Country icon Dolly Parton covered “My Girl” in 1977 on her hit album New Harvest…First Gathering, retitling the song “My Love.” Parton has encouraged artists to cross genre lines and cover her compositions, such as Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” and Beyoncé’s cover of “Jolene.” Dolly Parton and Smokey Robinson recorded a duet called “I Know You By Heart” in 1987. In 1988, Parton hosted her own television variety show where she sang a medley of Motown songs alongside Smokey and the Temptations.

“Someday We’ll Be Together” was written by Motown songwriters and producers Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol, and vocalist Robert “Jackie” Beavers. The original version recorded by Johnny & Jackie was released in 1961 on Tri-Phi Records. Diana Ross & The Supremes released their cover version on Motown in 1969, becoming their last single before Diana Ross left the group to begin her solo career. The song has since been covered by country artists Bill Anderson & Jan Howard, rock artist Bruce Springsteen, and actress Amber Riley during the final episode of the television show Glee. In 1993, Janet Jackson sampled the Supremes’ recording on her hit single “If,” which appears on her album Janet. Although the sample is heard for less than ten seconds in Jackson’s recording, the writing credits for “If” include Fuqua, Bristol, and Beavers.


Bibliography

The content used in this educational exhibition was sourced from the Motown Museum archive or fair use.

Audio / Video mashup production by Drew Schultz.

Lynskey, Dorian. “How We Made Motown,” The Guardian, 2016.

Wonder, Stevie. “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing.” Innervisions, Tamla Records, 1973.

Kelly, Tori. “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing.” “Sing” (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Universal Studios, 2017.

Wonder, Stevie. “Love’s In Need Of Love Today.” Songs In the Key Of Life, Tamla Records, 1976.

Jay-Z. “Smile.” 4:44, S. Carter Enterprises and Roc Nation/UMG Recordings, inc., 2017.

Wonder, Stevie. “Pastime Paradise.” Songs In the Key Of Life, Tamla Records, 1976.

Rflats. “Pastime Paradise – Stevie Wonder.” Live at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, April 14, 2015.

Coolio. “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Music From The Motion Picture “Dangerous Minds,” MCA Soundtracks, 1995.

Gaye, Marvin and Terrell, Tammi. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” United, Tamla Records, 1967.

Winehouse, Amy. “Tears Dry On Their Own.” Back to Black, Island Records and Universal Records, 2006.

Bulley, Jenny and Mojo Magazine Staff. “Amy Winehouse The Artist: By Those Who Knew Her,” Mojo Magazine, Issue 333, August 2021, p. 74.

Jackson 5. “All I Do Is Think Of You.” Moving Violation, Motown Records, 1975.

“The Jackson 5,” Soul Train, Season 5, Episode 23, Don Cornelius Productions, 1976.

Dilla, J “Time: The Donut Of The Heart.” Donuts, Stones Throw, 2006.

Sampson, Steven. “J Dilla ‘Donuts’ Clear Vinyl LP (Vinyl Me Please) Unboxing & Review!,” 2015.

Valentino. “I Was Born This Way,” Gaiee Records, 1975.

“Valentino,” Chatterbox UK with Nick & Sue L., Chris Spierer, 2024.

Advertisement, “Continental Baths,” Village Voice, 1975.

Rojo. “Valentino Would Do It Again,” The Advocate, April 7, 1976.

Bean, Carl. “I Was Born This Way,” Motown Records, 1977.

Spiegelman, Judith. “Carl Bean: Gay National Anthem?,” Soul Magazine, March 27, 1978.

Conlon, Daniel. “Carl Bean was ‘Born This Way,’” The Advocate, April 19, 1978.

“Before Lady Gaga, Carl Bean was ‘Born This Way,’” NoMoreDownLow.TV, Episode 111, 2011.

Gaga, Lady. “Born This Way,” Born This Way, Interscope Records, 2011.

Gaga, Lady. “Born This Way (Live From A Very Gaga Thanksgiving),” ABC Network, 2011.

“Lady Gaga,” The Howard Stern Show, Sirius XM, July 18, 2011.

Neary, Lynn. “How ‘Born This Way’ Was Born: An LGBT Anthem’s Pedegree,” All Things Considered, NPR, January 30, 2019.

Gaga, Lady [@ladygaga]. Statement on “Born This Way,” Instagram and Twitter, May 23, 2021.

James, Rick. “Super Freak.” Street Songs, Gordy Records, 1981.

Minaj, Nicki. “Super Freaky Girl.” Pink Friday 2, Republic Records, 2022.

Minaj, Nicki. “Super Freaky Girl (Lyric Video),” Republic Records, 2022.

TheMrKingAlex. “Nicki Minaj performs Super Freaky Girl on The Pink Friday 2 Tour in Newark, NJ on 3/28/24,” 2024.

Temptations. “My Girl,” The Temptations Sing Smokey, Gordy Records, 1964.

Temptations. “My Girl,” Swingin’ Time, CKLW-TV, 1966.

Parton, Dolly. “My Girl (My Love),” New Harvest … First Gathering, RCA Victor, 1977.

Ross, Diana and the Supremes. “Someday We’ll Be Together,” Cream Of The Crop, Motown Records, 1969.

Ross, Diana and the Supremes. “Someday We’ll Be Together (Official Lyric Video),” Universal Music Group and SOFA entertainment, 2023.

Jackson, Janet. “If,” Janet., Virgin Records, 1993.

Jackson, Janet. “If,” The Velvet Rope Tour: Live In Concert, Eagle Rock Entertainment, 1998.

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