Kayli, Bob

** This is just a short biographical summary – for the full story, check out this artist’s reviews! **

The mysterious Bob Kayli – who had a minor hit on Carlton Records in 1958 with Everyone Was There, later followed by two flop Motown singles in the early Sixties – was actually Robert Gordy, brother of Motown president Berry Gordy Jr.

Robert, the youngest of the Gordy brothers, claimed he had struggled to regain momentum after sales to white audiences supposedly tailed off abruptly following his first live shows, when listeners who had assumed he was Caucasian in fact discovered him to be black. Whatever the truth, his musical career had gone somewhat quiet since then; he had toiled in a day job working for the post office until Berry called him back into the showbiz circle, firstly as an engineer, and then here as a recording artist once again.

His two Motown singles went nowhere, and the other unreleased tracks he cut at Hitsville which have since emerged aren’t impressive – but Robert’s true strengths were behind the scenes, administering Jobete (Motown’s in-house publishing company) and writing and producing several far more accomplished singles for other Motown acts. He also showed himself to be a fine actor, playing a memorable role as the menacing Hawk in Motown’s Billie Holliday biopic Lady Sings the Blues. He remained at Motown in an administrative capacity until the mid-1980s.

Review Archive: Bob KAYLI (4 items)

We have 4 reviews for Bob Kayli currently available here on Motown Junkies – click the link above to see our archive for more details.


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