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Ain't That Peculiar- Marvin Gaye

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Published on May 23, 2008

TV Appearance, 1965. One of the more interesting things I learned in a tell-all book by George Nelson about Motown that I read in high school was the fact that it had a 'charm school'.

Motown's founder, Berry Gordy, hired etiquette experts to teach the artists, who were mostly from poor 'ghetto' backgrounds, how to walk, talk, and even stand.

The idea was to make Motown's artists stand out from other black artists. By polishing their rough edges, Gordy also hoped to make them more appealing and 'acceptable' to the record-buying white audience.

And despite the belief of some insiders of the established hardcore rhythm & blues scene that Motown was trying to make its artists 'more white' to make white folks happy, Gordy's idea actually worked: not only did Motown succeed in introducing R&B and soul music to the mainstream public and crashing down racial barriers in music; it also scored more hits, sold more records, and created more stars than any other 'black' music label, not to mention providing proof that black folks could make it in America, and even become wealthy.

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