Robert Louis Gordy (born July 15, 1931) is an American former music publishing executive, and a former recording artist under the stage name Bob Kayli. He is the youngest child of Berry Gordy, Sr. and Bertha Fuller, the brother of Motown founder, Berry Gordy, Jr. and uncle of singer and Rapper Redfoo.
Robert Gordy was born in Detroit, Michigan. He had a brief career as a recording artist, and had a minor hit, as Bob Kayli, with the novelty song, "Everyone Was There", co-written with his brother Berry and leased by him to the Carlton label. The record reached #96 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1958. He recorded a second single on Gordy's Anna label in 1959, "Never More", before working for a time in the postal service. As his older brother's Motown company expanded, Robert returned to work for it, initially as a recording engineer. He also recorded two further singles as Bob Kayli, "Small Sad Sam" (a cover of Phil McLean's answer record to "Big Bad John", Tamla, 1961), and "Hold On Pearl" (Gordy, 1962). Neither was successful, and his career as a recording artist ended.
From 1961, he worked in Motown's publishing arm, Jobete Music. In 1965 he took over as general manager and vice-president of Jobete following the death of his sister Loucye, and reputedly ran the company "like a military platoon". As a songwriter, he co-wrote several songs for early Motown artists including "You're What's Happening (In the World Today)," the B-Side to "I Heard it Through the Grapevine, Motown's biggest single up until that time. As an actor, Robert Gordy also played the character "Hawk" in the 1972 film, Lady Sings the Blues. By 1974, Jobete had a catalog of over 7,000 songs, with Robert Gordy stating that his aim for the company was to have a "well-rounded stable" of songs, including country and western as well as its established repertoire. He continued to head Jobete until 1985.
He now resides in California.
Selected songwriting credits
|"Everyone Was There"||Berry Gordy||Bob Kayli|
|"Minnie the Ugly Duckling"||None||The Contours|
|"The World is Rated X"||Ezra Bolton; Mel Bolton; Marilyn McLeod||Marvin Gaye|
|"You're What's Happening (In the World Today)"||George Gordy; Allen Story||Marvin Gaye|
|"Your Kiss of Fire"||Harvey Fuqua||The Supremes|
- Biography by Andrew Hamilton, Allmusic.com. Retrieved 27 June 2015
- Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 374. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
- "Bob Kayli", SoulfulKindaMusic.net. Retrieved 27 June 2015
- Graham Betts, Motown Encyclopedia, AC Publishing, 2014
- Herschel Johnson, "Motown: The Sound of Success", Black Enterprise, June 1974, pp.71-80
- "Everyone Was There (Legal Title)". United States: BMI. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- "Minnie the Ugly Duckling". United States: All Music Guide. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- "The World is Rated X". United States: All Music Guide. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- "You're What's Happening (In the World Today)". United States: All Music Guide. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- "Your Kiss of Fire (Legal Title)". United States: BMI. Retrieved 2015-07-01.