September 21, 2020

Motown Founder Finally Retires

Modern Rock
By Kristi Kates | Jan. 4, 2020

As 2019 wound to a close, so did Motown mogul Berry Gordy’s career; the always-busy Detroit native, who founded and grew Motown Records (and launched the careers of such acts as Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, and the Jackson 5) announced (at Motown’s 60th anniversary program, at Detroit's Orchestra Hall) that he’s “come full circle” and is finally embracing retirement at the age of 90. He’ll likely pursue said retirement in his adopted city of Los Angeles, where he moved when he relocated Motown Records’ operations there back in the 1970s …

Mick Fleetwood is planning a unique concert to honor the early years of Fleetwood Mac and its co-founder Peter Green. Featuring an impressive list of performers — including Fleetwood’s bandmate Christine McVie, as well as David Gilmour, Jonny Lang, Zak Starkey, John Mayall, and Bill Wyman; Fleetwood himself will anchor the event’s “house band” — the concert will be filmed for future release. Signed on as director: Martyn Atkins, known for his work on Johnny Cash, Manhattan Center (1994), Depeche Mode: Video Singles Collection (2016) and Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration (2019). If you want to try and attend in person, you’ll have to head overseas. The show will take place Feb. 25 at the London Palladium. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster …

Indie rockers Vampire Weekend recently made at stop in Austin, Texas, to record an episode of Austin City Limits, in further promotion of the band's latest album, Father of the Bride. Their ACL segment featured tracks from that album, as well as tunes from their 2008 debut album. They took some additional liberties in performing an extended mix of Father of the Bride’s lead tune, “Sunflower.” The band is also prepping for a big 2020 tour, which will kick off May 29 in Westbrook, Maine, and take the band across the country through early October. Check out Vampire Weekend’s ACL performance at

Fellow indie-rock outfit Chvrches has contributed a song to the hot new videogame Death Stranding. Chvrches track, also titled “Death Stranding,” was the result of the band’s wish to work with game creator Hideo Kojima, on what it called a “challenging and caring” game. The soundtrack for Death Stranding features several additional previously unreleased songs from Major Lazer, The Neighbourhood, Bring Me the Horizon, and Khalid; the game itself features “appearances” from actors Mads Mikkelsen, Lea Seydoux, Norman Reedus, and Lindsay Wagner, and is in outlets now …

Singer/actress Mandy Moore has returned with her second solo single in 10 years, following the recent release of her first track, “When I Wasn’t Watching.” Her new song, “I’d Rather Lose,” is an acoustic guitar-based number on which Moore reflects on an old relationship. Both tunes are thought to be part of Moore’s upcoming new album. Take a listen at … 

Guitar great Jonny Lang is set to perform at the Motor City Casino in Detroit on Jan. 12…

A pair of sure-to-be-super shows are hitting Ann Arbor’s The Ark: Shamarr Allen on Jan. 14, and The Small Glories on Jan. 15 …

Ashanti will be at the aforementioned Motor City Casino’s Sound Board Theater on Jan. 19 …

And Comerica Park and Ford Field in Detroit are already getting a head start on their summer bookings for 2020, with vintage piano-rocker Billy Joel (July 10), country singer Kenny Chesney (Aug. 15), Fall Out Boy (Aug. 19) already confirmed … and that’s the buzz for this week’s Modern Rock.

Comments, questions, rants, raves, suggestions on this column? Send ’em to Kristi at


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