Definition of Motown in US English:



  • 1trademark Music released on or reminiscent of the US record label Tamla Motown. The first black-owned record company in the US, Tamla Motown was founded in Detroit in 1959 by Berry Gordy, and was important in popularizing soul music, producing artists such as the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye.

    • ‘They draw from Motown and soul, two other elements that only Detroit could handle.’
    • ‘I remember being a young girl and embracing the music of Motown.’
    • ‘We were exposed to a lot of free jazz and we listened to lots of Motown.’
    • ‘Her mother and father's love of Motown, Bowie and the Beatles sparked Sally's interest in music as a youngster.’
    • ‘I started singing to you to try and calm you down: Beatles, Motown, Mammas and Papas, even Frank Zappa.’
    • ‘Though the Motor City's renowned for giving the world techno and Motown, it's a place with a complex musical history.’
    • ‘He was this skinny white bald guy, but he was really moved by blues and Motown and funk.’
    • ‘Indeed, much of the album resonates with Gospel, Quincy Jones and Motown.’
    • ‘There are nods to Motown, the Isley Brothers and the early hip-hop beats favoured by Evelyn in his younger B-boy days.’
    • ‘In the 1970s, there was no cinema equivalent of Motown or the long tradition of U.S. Jazz.’
    • ‘It was the sound of the Beatles and Motown that the youth bought into.’
    • ‘There were three heats and on each night contestants had to sing songs with the themes of Motown, Elvis, country and western or New York.’
    • ‘Here was someone who knew Motown but was pretty handy on a mandolin; just the sort of versatile musician they knew could sell.’
    • ‘Roy Dea, his record producer, had first been bowled over by a demo tape of Stewart singing Motown.’
    • ‘That's it, no more Beatles, Motown or Bowie; it makes you hyperactive.’
    • ‘She had this album in the car and it was kind of Motown and it had a song on it which I really liked.’
    • ‘I just wanted to get back to stuff like Motown and guitar music like Texas and Travis.’
    • ‘Detroit is the city of Motown, but the player was singing the blues.’
    • ‘The Super Bowl is being held in Detroit this year - the home of Motown.’
    • ‘I love all kinds of artists, from Patsy Cline to the Beatles, Motown to Hoobastank.’
  • 2informal

    a name for Detroit


1960s: shortening of Motor Town, by association with the car manufacturing industry of Detroit.