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Clio's Temple


Unexpected connections

Posted on January 12, 2013 at 4:28 PM
In recent years, the commonest question I get from folks who meet me for the first time is, "Did anyone tell you how much you look like Billy Bob Thornton?" I can truthfully say there is no connection whatsoever between him and me except appearance.

Years ago, the commonest question I got was, "Are you any relation to Berry Gordy?" I said there was none, although I confess to having lusted after Diana Ross as a young man. Recently, though, one of my online searches led me to Wikipedia, where the biographical entry for Berry Gordy listed one of his ancestors as James Thomas Gordy of Chattahoochee County, GA. James Thomas Gordy was my great-great-grandfather.

So there appears to be a common link. I can also truthfully say that this should be a day of thanks. It was on this day in 1959 that Berry Gordy founded Tamla Records, which subsequently became Motown Records. In the salad days of my '60s youth, The Temptations, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye were constant radio companions. Motown Records helped make African-American popular musicians a respectable mainstream pastime. I suppose you could argue that none of them was as influential as Chuck Berry or James Brown, but they were fun to listen to.

My middle age years officially began when I stopped listening to today's popular music. That was about the time Hootie and the Blowfish were at the top of the charts. Thanks, Cousin Berry, for giving voice to the rhythms of my youth.

Categories: Popular Music

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