The Music of Detroit.
I am a Detroiter born and raised and proud to be so. My people came to Detroit from France around the same time that Cadillac and his boys showed up here in 1700/01 so we've been here since the beginning of so called civilized times in this area...the North West Territories. Thought I knew pretty much everything there was to know about the region and it's people till I hooked up with the folks at Harmonie Park Media, Brian and Mark Pastoria about a year and a half ago.
As you've no doubt heard we are in the process of putting together the UDRN, U Detroit Radio Network which will be found right here on udetroit.com. It's taken a lot of work to get ready and we truly hope you enjoy it because it is a labor of love for us. Love for the city we call home...love for it's people and culture and a deep love for the music!
Most of the time when you talk to folks about the music of Detroit, Motown is the topic. Sometimes it's the music of the turbulent 60's when Mitch Ryder, The Amboy Dukes, The Bob Seger System, The Rationals and others were prominent on the Detroit airwaves most notably on CKLW and KEENER 13. The Top 40 format was invented, if you will, in Detroit.
Or the 70's when Alice Cooper, Grand Funk Railroad (formerly known as Terry Knight and the Pack with CKLW disc jockey Terry Knight as front man.) and groups like Aerosmith, The J. Geils Band and Kiss, who cut their rock and roll teeth in our numerous concert venues like The Grande Ball Room, Cobo Hall, Olympia and The Michigan Palace and in clubs like the Walled Lake Casino, The Red Carpet, The Fruit Cellar and others.
Or the 80's when Heavy Metal was king with groups like Seduce, Halloween, The Almighty Strut and let's not forget Adrenalin, DC Drive, BSA, Toby Redd and Rythm Corps rocked places like The Ritz, New York New York, Harpos and the Token Lounge.
And then there was the advent of FM Underground Rock Radio, the first of those being WABX which was one of the first 3 "Underground" rock stations in the country along with WBCN, Boston and KMEL in San Francisco. And later WXYZ FM which went on to become venerable rock giant 101 WRIF (BABY!), W4 which at one time broadcast in quad, WLLZ Detroits Wheels which was my home from '83 to '90 before I went to News/Talk, and later Classic Rocker WCSX, one of the first classic rock formats in the country.
Recently I started to put together some special programing that will air on the upcoming U Detroit Radio Network, Udetroitradio @ udetroit.com and I was having a conversation with Brian Pastoria, the patriarch of Harmonie Park Studios where the U Detroit brand was created. And he began to tell me about a little of the history of where we are located down on Randolf in Detroit. Up to that point all I was aware of was that it was the Harmonie Park district where the once historic Harmonie Club once thrived. The Harmonie Club was a club started by the German community for the German population. I'm aware of that because my childhood friend John Schroeders mother worked there. As it turns out it was and is now again being called Paradise Valley by the city of Detroit. So I started to research the area and what I found was an amazing history of music and entertainment in our city.
I found out about blues great like Emery "Detroit Junior" Williams and his 1931 single, recorded in Detroit, "I Got Money". And there's Bobo Jenkins who recorded here in the 50's on Fortune records and Calvin Fraziers "I'm In The Highway" w/Sam Pittman in 1938. And then theres Blues giant John Lee Hooker who moved to Detroit and is responsible for shaping the modern Blues of today. John Lee broke ALL the rules!
And Gospel greats Della Reese, born in Detroit in 1931 and of coarse Aretha Franklin and the Winans Family.
Jazz musicians had a huge impact on not only music in Detroit but around the world. Some of the greatest Blues side men in the world have called Detroit home: Elvin Jones and his trio, Marcus Belgrave, Kenny Burrell , Pepper Adams and Donald Byrd who graduated from Cass Tech and Wayne State University.
I also discovered a great record from Nolan Strong and The Diablos called "If I (Oh I) recorded at Fortune Records here in 1959 right before Motown was born, which I posted here and is in my video library along with some of the other artists mentioned above. One of the coolest things I found was the old Parliaments classic "I Just Want to Testify" featuring a rather young George Clinton, founder of the whole Funkadelic/ P Funk phenomenon. Amazing!
There is a ton of music and music history that I haven't even touched on here like The Funk Brothers and the fact that Detroit is the epicenter of all things Techno.
All this and more will be heard on my upcoming specials that will be apart of the upcoming U Detroit Radio Network launch of udetroitradio @ udetroit.com. At udetroitradio it's STILL all about the music...made in Detroit. From Paradise Valley to Motown...The Rock starts here. Stay tuned...