Deep City: The Birth of the Miami Sound

About This Episode


America, in the 1960s, was a time of great achievement, upheaval and transformation. The stains of social and racial injustice marked every corner of society. And, as often occurs in nations amidst turmoil, great artistic outlets emerged as a direct result of those changes. Soul music, a distinct cultural phenomenon born out of the inner cities, was at the forefront of this new American expression. It was a sound that combined gospel with rhythm and blues and emerged out of a uniquely African-American experience.

There were several music labels across the country, such as Atlantic and Stax Records, that captured this sound. However, the Detroit-based, Motown Records was the pioneer label during this era. Its founder, Berry Gordy, would be the first African-American to own a record label that featured primarily African-American artists, many of whom would achieve major crossover success. The label would play a significant role in the racial integration of popular music, making household names of the likes of the Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and a host of others.