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Rock Hall Connection: Anna Gordy Gaye

Anna Gordy Gaye, sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy who would also marry Marvin Gaye, passed away on Friday in her Los Angeles home at the age of 92, following years of declining health. The statement was made by the Gordy family.

Gordy Gaye was more than the wife of one of Motown’s biggest superstars, she was also a businesswoman, who started her own namesake label, Anna Records with sister Gwen and musician Billy Davis. Although short-lived, it was considered a forerunner for Motown Records, and some of the artists the label recorded included David Ruffin (who would later join the Temptations), Johnny Bristol (who would write for Motown stars including the Supremes, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Jr. Walker & the All Stars), and Lamont Dozier (who would also write for Motown, most notably for the Supremes).

Gordy Gaye would go on to be a significant part of Motown. She issued the label’s first national hit “Money (That’s What I Want)” by singer-songwriter Barrett Strong (who went on to write hits for artists including the Temptations and Gladys Knight and the Pips with producer Norman Whitfield), and became the president of Motown’s artist development class. She was also a songwriter, writing two hits for the group the Originals and also co-wrote songs for Marvin Gaye, including two from his 1971 landmark What’s Going On.

Anna Gordy Gaye was married to Marvin Gaye from 1963 to 1977. They had one adopted son Marvin Gaye III. She is also survived by brothers Berry and Robert.