Motown's Gordy On Discovering Jackson

Berry Gordy
Berry Gordy

From the time he was a child, it was obvious Michael Jackson had enormous talent, but much of his success can be traced to two music industry giants - producer Quincy Jones and Berry Gordy, who founded Motown Records. CBS News anchor Katie Couric spoke with Gordy about Jackson's death.

Q: The first time you saw that videotaped audition of the Jackson 5 back in 1968, did you automatically know, wow, they and particularly Michael really have it?

A: Well, first of all, on that audiotape, I taped that. And when they rehearsed for me and I ran for a tape recorder because I knew they were something so special that I would have to have a history of this audition.

Q: What was so captivating to you about the Jackson 5 and particularly Michael Jackson?

A: The whole dance routines, the whole precision of the group was extremely good. But, of course, Michael, who was doing everything, the James Brown steps, the splits, the movements, and all of that was just so captivating. And when I heard his voice, I thought the voice didn't really go so much with all the dancing he was doing.

Q: When you say his voice didn't really go with his dance moves, what do you mean by that?

A: The fact that he was doing the dances, he could have been doing, you know, just a lot of different kind of songs, blues, this, that, the James Brown type song, I'm sure you know that type of song relative to the other songs, the Frankie Lymon-type song or the kid song. What they ended up doing "I Want You Back" and "ABC" and the bubble gum-type songs that they at their age we felt should have been done by them.

Q: They just had one hit after another during that period of time. And I understand Michael, even at the age of 9, was extraordinarily driven. Where do you think that drive came from?

A: Michael was full of fun, but he was a studier. He would study everybody. And as the other kids might be playing with each other, hitting each other, doing something, Michael was always focusing on whatever I or anybody else was saying about what they should be doing. And he was a man beyond his years. He was... when he did the song "Who's Loving You" the Smoky Robinson song, he sounded like he had been living that song for 50 years. We could not believe this old man in this young kid's body.

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Motown's Gordy On Discovering Jackson
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