Berry Gordy, Motown Founder, Discusses The Temptations' Grammy-Winning Album He Didn't Want To Release (VIDEO)

01/23/2014 08:58 am ET

As the founder of Motown, Berry Gordy knows a hit when he hears one. The music legend has produced and released many Billboard chart-toppers and Grammy Award winners over the years, but admits that even he doesn't always get it right.

When Gordy appeared on "Oprah's Master Class," he opened up about a Temptations album he didn't want to release -- an album that won Motown its first Grammy. The reason behind Gordy's reluctance? Responsibility.

"A song is a very powerful thing in somebody's mind, especially young people," Gordy explains. "I taught my [Motown staff], 'What a child hears, he believes; what he believes, he does.'... We stayed away from songs that were attacking anybody because a lot of people will follow our songs and song ideas."

This meant that Gordy would argue against a song or album that didn't align with his vision for Motown. He may have been the founder of the company, but was so dedicated to its democratic structure, he would allow himself to be outvoted by his Motown colleagues. This is exactly what happened with the Temptations' psychedelic album "Cloud Nine."

"I said that was a drug record and I didn't want to put it out," Gordy says simply. "[My staff] outvoted me. I was very, very upset."

Motown released "Cloud Nine," despite Gordy's disapproval, and the album's title track won the Grammy for Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance, Vocal or Instrumental in 1969.

"It happened, it won and so that was great. But, still. I still think it's a drug record," Gordy says with a laugh.

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