Dr. J's Blog

Rock and Roll History, News & Views

Madonna Misconstrued

Madonna became the first person from Bay City to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday, March 10, 2008. Inductees were honored with a video montage leading up to their induction, and listed below Madonna's name was Bay City, Michigan. It was certainly no accident that Bay City was placed under Madonna's name. The question is why? The city has never treated Madonna with very much respect.

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Griff & John "Rip It Up"

I think the ghosts of Little Walter and Paul Butterfield might inhabit the body of one Craig “Griff” Griffith. Both were legendary Blues harmonica players who expanded the range and the role of the instrument. Little Walter was a pioneer in using the microphone to bring out the moaning, echoing, and hornlike sounds that are basic to modern blues/rock harmonica. Butterfield was a white singer and harmonica player who helped spur a revival of interest in the instrument during the 60’s with his onstage jams and recordings. Griff takes the best of these legendary players and then adds his own brand of showmanship and soulful vocals to the mix. I would imagine that, just like his two legendary predecessors, he has inspired more than a few people to pick up a harp. Because – and I’ll state it clearly right here – he might be the best harmonica player I’ve ever heard. The fact that Griffith is a Michigan native makes it better still.

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Charlie Brunner: Rock and Roll Mayor

So what does a shy teenaged guy who is totally uninspired by schoolwork think about as he watches the minutes slowly tick away during those seemingly endless classes at Bangor Junior High School during the 60’s? The Beatles? Nancy Sinatra in a bikini? Who was going to be on Shindig or Where The Action Is this week? Playing drums? The lyrics to “Get Off My Cloud”? What it would be like to have a car? The tight sweater and budding breasts of the girl one row over and what it might be like to run your hand across them?

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