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Motown 50 Gala Celebration is Detroit House Party

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Detroit -- It was a real Detroit house party Saturday night at the downtown Marriott, as the Motown family, friends and fans celebrated the 50th anniversary of when the “sound of young America" was born in a dowdy middle-class neighborhood in Detroit.

There was birthday cake (for Berry Gordy's 80th birthday next Saturday), Stevie Wonder love songs, a video tribute from the President of the United States (Gordy made music “for rich and poor, urban and rural, old and young -- especially the young," President Obama said), Aretha Franklin tearing the house down, Sinbad making jokes, video tributes to the late Levi Stubbs and Michael Jackson, and the Chairman, Gordy dancing (to his own song, “Hello, Detroit").

There was Kid Rock injecting a note of scratchy, down-home rock/rap to Stevie Wonder's “Livin' For the City," “Superstition" and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered," an interesting counterpoint to Wonder's mellow tenor.

Rock came to participate after Motown staffers noticed his enthusiasm for the label when he filmed his 2008 video for “Roll On" in part at the museum. Sinbad mentioned before the show that he also made the connection at the museum, when he brought his kids to 2648 W. Grand about five months ago to see the museum. He'd been there before, but it had been a while. “I had forgotten how powerful it was. I was moved," the comedian said.

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