Dr. J's Blog

Rock and Roll History, News & Views

Jimmy Hollywood's Greatest Hits

by Gary Johnson

Jim Leach played an important part in Michigan rock and roll before he left for California and became a top Hollywood radio reporter, known around the country as ‘James St. James: The Real Jimmy Hollywood’. Because of his contributions to Michigan’s rock and roll legacy, Leach was chosen as an Honorary Inductee to the MRRL Hall of Fame in 2014. He has recently put out a CD titled “Jimmy Hollywood’s Greatest Hits” that features 14 recordings from Michigan bands that he worked with in the 60’s and 70’s and includes several songs that were released as singles on his own Chivalry label. MRRL contacted Leach in California by phone to talk about the artists and songs included in the collection.

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ARP - Ghosts, Rumors, and Remains

by Gary Johnson

Cynthia awoke in the middle of the night with the record pressing plant on her mind. Had she been dreaming about the building that had once stood near her home? Although she hadn’t thought about the ruined plant in years, she suddenly felt compelled to learn more about it. Cynthia slipped out of bed to grab her laptop and googled ‘record company Owosso Mi’. The results of her online search would lead to not only a surprise but also some amazing discoveries that would inspire a quest to uncover the long lost story of the American Record Pressing company.

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ZZ Top and Bay City's Fake Zombies Scandal

by Daniel Ralston with Gary Johnson*

Chris White shakes his head and laughs when I show him the first photo. At 73, the bassist and songwriter for the reunited British psych-rock band the Zombies looks like a cool grandpa in black pants, blue dress shirt, and polar fleece vest — a sharp contrast from his septuagenarian bandmates who still sport leather jackets and tight pants. He adjusts his glasses and studies the image of the impostors, four flamboyantly dressed young men taken in 1969. We are backstage at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills last October and after this brief intermission, White will join the rest of the band onstage to play the band’s cult classic 1967 album Odessey and Oracle in its entirety.

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I pull up another grainy photo from 1969 on my laptop: a traditional black and white press photo for the Original “Zombies” (in conspicuous scare quotes), autographed. There are only four guys pictured despite the fact that the Zombies were a five-piece. I inform White that the two young men wearing cowboy hats are Dusty Hill and Frank Beard from the legendary Texas blues-rock band ZZ Top, although the names D. Cruz and Chris Page are scrawled over them. The real Zombies would have never worn cowboy hats. 

Read more: ZZ Top and Bay City's Fake Zombies Scandal