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These 70 recordings have been voted Legendary Michigan Songs during the past six years. Each listing contains a brief song history as well as a link to a youtube video that features a performance of the recording. Ten more songs will be voted onto the list in 2013.
Del's biggest hit was the result of a jam with keyboard player Max Crook at the Hi-Lo nightclub in Battle Creek, Michigan. The chord changes were loosely based on a song called "Kaw-Liga", written by Hank Williams - one of Del's early influences when he was growing up in Coopersville, Michigan.
The distinctive solo on "Runaway" is played on a musitron, an electronic keyboard invented by Max Crook. "Runaway" was on the charts for 17 weeks and was Billboard's Song of the Year for 1961. Shannon released a "live" version of "Runaway" in 1967 but it was only a minor hit.
In 1986, Del re-recorded "Runaway" with new lyrics for use as the theme for the television drama Crime Story. Shannon's original recording of "Runaway" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.
"Runaway" has been covered by numerous artists over the years including the Small Faces, Bonnie Raitt, the Shirelles, and Elvis Presley.
Watch Del perform "Runaway" in the 60's at www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TLLcvWeiKw
Bill Haley's biggest hit didn't sell when it was first issued in 1954 as the b-side of "Thirteen Women (And Only One Man In Town)". "Rock Around The Clock" was re-released as the a-side the following year, however, after it was used on the soundtrack of Blackboard Jungle, a movie about high school juvenile delinquents. It became the first rock and roll song ever to reach # 1 in the summer of 1955. "Rock Around The Clock" also had the distinction of becoming a Top 40 hit again in 1974 due to its use as the original opening theme of TV's Happy Days.
Haley, who was born in Highland Park, Michigan, was a featured performer in two early rock and roll movies (Rock Around The Clock and Don't Knock The Rock).
In 1957, Haley and the Comets became the first American rock and roll act to tour England. Bill Haley was even more popular in Great Britain than in the United States, and "Rock Around The Clock" re-entered the British charts seven times from 1955 through 1974.
"Rock Around The Clock" was the first rock and roll recording to be honored with induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1982.
Watch slides from the hit film American Graffiti and hear Bill Haley And His Comets perform the original version of "Rock Around The Clock" at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ud_JZcC0tHI&feature=related
Both Otis Redding, who wrote the song, and Michigan's Rationals had charting hits with "Respect" prior to Aretha. Franklin's version, however, became one of the greatest soul recordings of all time.
Her powerful, gospel-trained voice turned "Respect" into both a feminist call to action and an appeal for civil rights. The "sock-it-to me's" from the backing singers as well the clever spelling of the song's title in her vocal performance also helped Aretha claim the song as her own.
"Respect" was Aretha's first # 1 hit on the Hot 100, and it spent 8 weeks at the top of Billboard's R&B Chart while serving to establish her as the "Queen of Soul".
Aretha's version of "Respect" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Watch a collage of Aretha performing her original version of "Respect" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FOUqQt3Kg0
"96 Tears" was recorded at the tiny Art Schiell Recording Studio located at the rear of Schiell's home on Raymond Street in Bay City, Michigan.
Originally released on the small Pa-Go-Go label, it was picked up for national distribution by Cameo Records.
"96 Tears" and "Hanky Panky" are the only garage rock singles to ever reach # 1 on Billboard's Hot 100. Driven by the instantly identifiable organ riffs of Frankie Rodriguez, "96 Tears" has been recognized by both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 500 greatest rock and roll songs of all time.
Watch a new MRRL slide show video featuring rare photos of ? And The Mysterians' along with the original 1966 recording of "96 Tears"at
Berry Gordy Jr. wrote "Do You Love Me" for the Temptations, but when they were unavailable, the song was passed to the Contours. The Contours might never have been signed to Motown if Jackie Wilson had not phoned Berry Gordy on their behalf. Wilson's cousin, Hubert Johnson, was a member of the group and Gordy changed his mind about the Contours as a result of the call.
"Do You Love Me" would become the Contours only Top Ten hit, although they did chart seven more singles in the Hot 100. "Do You Love Me" also spent three weeks at # 1 on the R&B chart in 1962.
The original version of the song became a big hit all over again in 1988 after it was featured in the soundtrack of the hit movie Dirty Dancing.
Listen to the original recording of "Do You Love Me" by the Contours in a video from the film Dirty Dancing at www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRVMTX-PDyw
The first three hits that Smokey Robinson wrote for the Temptations featured Eddie Kendricks as the lead singer. Robinson wrote "My Girl", along with fellow Miracle Ronnie White, with David Ruffin's vocal specifically in mind.
The song came together when the Miracles and Temptations were on the same week-long bill at the Apollo in New York City. In between shows, Smokey dragged Ruffin down to the piano and showed him the song, which was kind of a follow-up to "My Guy", his hit for Mary Wells.
The Temptations recorded the classic tune when they returned to Detroit. "My Girl" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Watch the classic Temptations line-up perform "My Girl" during the 60's at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltRwmgYEUr8
Seger's most famous composition was about the freedom and looseness we feel when we're young, and how it can be lost as we grow older. "Night Moves" evokes memories of growing up in Michigan in the 60's with grassers in farm fields and young lovers parking in deserted rural areas. The song was loosely based on real events in Bob's life.
After eleven years of being a popular regional act, "Night Moves" provided Seger with his first national Top Ten hit. The song became the springboard to a series of memorable singles and albums that established him as a major force in rock music.
Watch Bob Seger's great video for "Night Moves" at www.youtube.com/watch?v=zN1_3zHjhW8
Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", and Whitfield produced it with Marvin Gaye in early 1967. Berry Gordy rejected the song, however, and released Gaye's "Your Unchanging Love" instead.
Whitfield then re-recorded a different version of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" with Gladys Knight & The Pips, and it was a # 2 Pop hit in the fall of 1967.
Despite having that hit, Whitfield kept bugging Berry Gordy to release Marvin's version, and he finally did in the fall of 1968. Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" spent 7 weeks at # 1 on both the Pop and R&B charts, and it turned out to be Motown's biggest-selling single of the 1960's.
Marvin's version of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Watch Marvin's live performance of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" at http://youtu.be/Y7dGdrP3pms
"Mustang Sally" was written and originally recorded by Sir Mack Rice in 1965 on the Blue Rock label. Rice had a # 15 R&B hit with the song. Sir Mack and Wilson Pickett had sung together from 1961 to 1963 in the Detroit vocal group, the Falcons, before pursuing solo careers.
When Wilson was looking for a follow-up to his 1966 hit single, "Land Of 1,000 Dances", he recorded a cover of "Mustang Sally".
Pickett's version was recorded at the Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and produced by Jerry Wexler. "Mustang Sally" was also a substantial R&B hit for Wilson, spending 12 weeks on the chart and peaking at # 6.
Wilson Pickett's version of "Mustang Sally" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000.
Watch Wilson's live performance of "Mustang Sally" in the 60's at www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfuHgzu1Cjg
The title song from Marvin Gaye's greatest album was written from the point of view of his brother Frankie, a Vietnam veteran sickened by an unjust war and returning to the confusion of American life in the late 60's.
Although written from a black man's point of view, "What's Going On" also displays Marvin's identification with the era's hippies who he admired for having the guts to stand up to the establishment.
Because it was so unlike Gaye's previous hits, Berry Gordy was at first reluctant to release it. As the lead song from the "What's Going On" album, it began the transformation of Marvin Gaye into an artist whose albums were just as important as his singles, maybe more so.
Marvin Gaye's groundbreaking "What's Going On" album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Watch Marvin's performance of "What's Going On" along with a spoken introduction at www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4xQ6StnIFg
Led by the howling guitar of Ted Nugent, the Amboy Dukes set the bar for high-energy Michigan rock and roll. "Journey To The Center Of The Mind" blasted out of car radios across the land to help define the psychedelic movement during the summer of 1968. But the two co-writers of the song, Ted Nugent and Steve Farmer, couldn't have been more different.
Nugent claims to have never done a drug in his life, and that he didn't even drink or smoke cigarettes. He described Farmer, the other main creative force in the Amboy Dukes, as a brilliant thinker who was often "so high and so irresponsible you couldn't get from point A to point B with him."
This creative odd couple kept it together for three albums and a handful of singles before the original Amboy Dukes disintegrated. "Journey To The Center Of The Mind" would be their only significant hit.
Watch a 1968 performance of "Journey To The Center Of The Mind" by the Amboy Dukes at www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN2VNFpiGWo
With the release of the MC5's "Kick Out The Jams" album, recorded live at Detroit's Grande Ballroom, Elektra Records became the first major company to issue a rock and roll recording containing the dreaded "F-bomb".
In order to get "Kick Out The Jams" played on Top 40 radio stations, the MC5 had recorded a different version of the song on the 45 rpm single which substituted "Brothers and Sisters" for the offensive expletive. The single was a major hit in the Detroit area, and showing signs of doing the same nationally, when Elektra released the album with the uncensored version.
The wave of controversy from the release resulted in the record being banned in many stores and radio stations. Some clerks who sold the album in record stores were arrested on obscenity charges.
The censorship issues and radical politics swirling around the MC5 unfortunately obscured the fact that they were a great band, and "Kick Out The Jams" would be their only charting record.
Watch a 1970 performance of "Kick Out The Jams" by the MC5 at Wayne State University for the Detroit Tube Works TV show at www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM6nasmkg7A
Dismissed as "the worst band in L.A." when they were based in California, things changed completely when the group moved to lead singer Alice Cooper's hometown of Detroit and started recording with producer Bob Ezrin.
The hit single "Eighteen" addressed the awkwardness and uncertainty of teenagers moving into adulthood, and it was the band's first collaboration with Ezrin.
Spending 13 weeks in the Hot 100 and driven by guitars, harmonica, and a great vocal; "Eighteen" was Alice Cooper's first commercial success.
Supported with an outrageous stage show featuring snakes, beheadings, and other assorted acts of feigned mayhem, the Alice Cooper band's partnership with Ezrin resulted in 9 more hit singles and 5 Top 40 albums before the original group broke up in 1974.
Watch a live, in-color performance of "Eighteen" by the original Alice Cooper band at www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXZcJojTucg
The band formed in the city of Grand Ledge, Michigan, located west of Lansing. Tonto And The Renegades was originally a quartet composed of Tom Kirby, Terry Slocum, Bill Ford, and Gary Richey. "Tonto" was Richey's nickname. They were the house band at a popular teen club in the area called 'The Sceen'.
The owner of the club financed their single, which was recorded at the Great Lakes Recording Studio (a.k.a. Fenton Studio) in Sparta, Michigan, and put it out on his own vanity label, 'Sound Of The Sceen'. By the time of the recording, the band had added keyboardist Jeff Keast to the line-up.
Slocum, who sang lead and played fuzz-tone guitar on the high octane tune, wrote "Little Boy Blue" about his girlfriend at the time. Inexplicably, Lansing-area AM radio stations pushed the single's b-side, "I Knew This Thing Would Happen", and it became a local hit for the band. Over the years, however, the far superior "Little Boy Blue" has grown in stature as one of Michigan's undiscovered garage rock classics.
Hear "Little Boy Blue" and see some vintage photos of Tonto & The Renegades at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkAjJhWCc3Y
Marv Tarplin's classic lead guitar figure in the Miracles' "The Tracks Of My Tears" was inspired by his listening to Harry Belafonte's "The Banana Boat Song" at the wrong speed. Smokey Robinson and Pete Smith co-wrote the song with Tarplin, and it is a perfect match for Smokey's impassioned vocal and the Miracles' smooth backing.
"The Tracks Of My Tears" spent 12 weeks in the Hot 100, and it was an even bigger R&B hit, peaking at # 2 and spending 18 weeks on that chart.
The song also spawned three hit cover versions by Johnny Rivers, Aretha Franklin, and Linda Ronstadt. Incredibly, Rivers' cover version in 1967 charted higher on the Hot 100 than the Miracles' original. It is the Miracles' original recording of "The Tracks Of My Tears", however, that was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.
Watch the Miracles perform "The Tracks Of My Tears" in 1965 at www.youtube.com/watch/?v=coh7n6dYj5Y
Martha & The Vandellas' classic hit was written by Mickey Stevenson, Ivy Jo Hunter, and Marvin Gaye. Stevenson, who discovered Martha Reeves for Motown, first offered the song to Kim Weston, who turned it down. Mickey then brought it to Martha and had her sing on a demo of "Dancing In The Street" with Stevenson, Hunter, and Gaye singing background.
Although Reeves didn't like the song at first, her recording of "Dancing In The Street" with the Vandellas became not only their biggest hit but also their signature song.
Released in the summer of 1964, it spent two weeks at # 2 on the Hot 100 and a total of fourteen weeks on the chart. "Dancing In The Street" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Watch Martha & The Vandellas perform "Dancing In The Street" in 1964 at www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdvITn5cAVc
Del recorded "Keep Searchin'" in 1964 at the height of 'Beatlemania' in the United States. Like almost all of his biggest hits, the song is an Del Shannon original. Shannon, who was an inspiration to many of the British Invasion bands, used the same basic formula that he first employed on "Runaway" in 1961 - building tension and darkness by using minor chords before the song explodes into a major chord crescendo.
Featuring his trademark falsetto and a keyboard solo, "Keep Searchin'" spent fourteen weeks in the the Hot 100 (one more than "Runaway"), but it would be Shannon's last big hit single.
Del would go on to chart only four more songs before his untimely death in 1990.
Watch Del Shannon sing "Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow The Sun)" at www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNrni2UAlFI
The Woolies' fabulous cover of Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" was the band's only charting hit. The original group was formed in Dearborn, Michigan. The story of how they got to make that recording is unusual.
The Woolies had won a "Best Band in the World" contest sponsored by Vox amplifiers. The first prize was advertised to be a recording contract. Although that never materialized, the band did get plane tickets to Los Angeles.
here, they took their demo recording of "Who Do You Love" and several other songs to a number of record companies, and they managed to get a recording deal with Lou Adler at ABC-Dunhill. Originally released as the b-side to "Hey Girl", it was "Who Do You Love" that became the big hit in Detroit and later spread across the nation.
For over two years, some pencil-pushing pinheads at Warner Music Group blocked the MRRL video of the Woolies' classic version of "Who Do You Love". It's no wonder that record labels are in trouble when they rely on folks dumb enough to believe that youtube videos are a threat to their sales rather than a benefit. The MRRL has apparently now been deemed acceptable. Watch it by clicking http://youtu.be/_k8u3f5Jbds
Grand Funk's first # 1 single in the summer of 1973 marked the emergence of drummer Don Brewer as a lead singer and a songwriter for the group. "We're An American Band" spent 17 weeks on the Hot 100.
The song was a chronicle of a rock band on the road, and it was based on Grand Funk's own experiences. They did play poker with blues guitarist Freddie King, there were four young 'chichitas' in Omaha who did take care of them while they were in the city, and apparently "sweet, sweet Connie", the groupie with legendary oral skills, demonstrated her talents on the band members.
"We're An American Band" was the first of six consecutive Top Ten singles for Grand Funk, and the song quickly became the band's anthem.
Watch a 1974 live performance of "We're An American Band" by Grand Funk at www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMsIrKjSM6Y
"Money" was just the second hit issued on the fledgling Tamla label. It was written by Berry Gordy, Janie Bradford, and Barrett Strong late in 1959. Because Gordy didn't have enough money at this time to distribute the record nationally, he released it on his sister Gwen's Anna label that had a national distribution deal with Chess Records in Chicago.
"Money" became a # 2 hit on the R&B chart as well as a # 23 hit on the Hot 100 early in 1960. As a result of its success, Berry Gordy soon took the plunge and began distributing his own records later that year.
Barrett Strong never really wanted to sing, however, and "Money" would be his only hit recording. Strong's real talents were as both a piano player and a songwriter. Barrett would go on to co-write many classic Motown hits during the 60's and 70's including "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", "War", and "Cloud Nine".
You can hear Barrett Strong's original version of "Money (That's What I Want)" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijEgfnJuirA
In 1966, Jackie Wilson started recording with producer Carl Davis in Chicago. "Higher And Higher" was their second hit single together, and it served to end a nearly three-year slump on the charts for Jackie.
The song was originally reorded by the Dells, but it was the perfect vehicle for Wilson's amazing vocal talents. Jackie's hit version was recorded with members of Motown's famous house band, the Funk Brothers. Bassist James Jamerson, guitarist Robert White, keyboardist Johnny Griffith, and drummer "Pistol" Allen all played on "Higher And Higher".
The song spent 12 weeks on the Hot 100 in the summer and early fall of 1967. Although he would continue to chart records into the 1970's, "Higher And Higher" would be Jackie Wilson's last # 1 R&B hit single. Jackie's original version of "Higher And Higher" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Watch Jackie Wilson performing "Higher And Higher" live at www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1odvp-_bhk
he members of the Unrelated Segments were from the downriver suburbs of Detroit: Taylor, Allen Park, Melvindale, and Lincoln Park, respectively. The band name came from an economics term that one of the band members had heard during a class he was taking.
"Where You Gonna Go" was the driving follow-up single to their Detroit chart debut, the excellent "Story Of My Life". With its propulsive beat and compelling vocals, it's almost shocking that "Where You Gonna Go" was not a smash hit for the Unrelated Segments.
The record had the unfortunate luck of being released the same month as the Detroit race riots in the summer of 1967, however. In the turbulence and its aftermath, record sales in the Motor City suffered. That could be the only possible explanation as to why this quintessential slab of Michigan rock and roll did not break nationally.
Watch a "Where You Gonna Go" video that includes a tour of Detroit in the late 60's at www.youtube.com/watch?v=fF8Jv1mQp0U
Bob Seger was signed to Capitol Records in 1968 mainly because of his songwriting ability. His first single for the label, "2 + 2 = ?", demonstrated that skill in spades. Seger managed to perfectly articulate the feelings of young men facing the draft and the possibility of death in the jungles of Vietnam while fighting in what many of them felt was a corrupt and unjust war.
Released in April of 1968, "2 + 2 = ?" was the first and the greatest of the rock and roll anti-war songs. The record starts ominously with just Don Hornaker's bass and Seger's low vocal before putting the pedal to the metal and blasting into high gear.
The original version of the song had a dramatic five-second pause near the end. The 45 rpm single, however, inserted a guitar chord to cover it for AM radio stations intolerant of silence, no matter how dramatic it might be.
Listen to the 45 rpm single version of the incredible "2 + 2 = ?" and see a video collage of photos of Bob Seger from the late 60's at www.youtube.com/watch?v=l110qVhale0
24. "Devil With A Blue Dress On & Good Golly Miss Molly" (F. Long, M. Stevenson, J. Marascalco, R. Blackwell) - Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels; New Voice label, # 4 Billboard Hot 100, 1966. Inducted 2008.
Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels used the same approach on their biggest hit single as they did on their debut smash, "Jenny Take A Ride". This time they combined Motown artist Shorty Long's "Devil With A Blue Dress On" with another Little Richard hit, "Good Golly Miss Molly".
Drummer John Badanjek shares the spotlight with Mitch Ryder on this great tune as his bass drum triggers the roll that kicks off the song and provides the ecstatic beat that literally compels you onto the dance floor.
"Devil With A Blue Dress On & Good Golly Miss Molly" spent 16 weeks in the Hot 100, but there would only be two more hits for Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels, as Ryder's manager would soon jettison the Detroit Wheels and push Mitch into a solo career.
Watch a reunion performance by Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels of "Devil With A Blue Dress On & Good Golly Miss Molly" at www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dd9qjHUyHQ&feature=related
Although they were sometimes called the first hippie country band, Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen embraced a number of different styles as well, including rockabilly, western swing, boogie-woogie, and novelty tunes. The band's biggest hit, "Hot Rod Lincoln", would probably fall into the latter category. The humorous song originally provided Top 40 hits for both Johnny Bond and Charlie Ryan in 1960.
When the band started out, Commander Cody (a.k.a. George Frayne) was not one of the main singers in the group. He performed "Hot Rod Lincoln" in a fast-talking style reminiscent of comedian and recording artist Phil Harris.
When the song became a surprise hit, the band's Paramount label as well as much of the record-buying public expected more vocals from the Commander. In a recent interview, Cody claims that the fact that the real singers in the group weren't getting any hits was a major reason for the original band breaking up in 1976.
Listen to the Commander and the original line-up of the band perform "Hot Rod Lincoln" at http://youtu.be/F9QpDvhshOQ
Grand Funk Railroad's first Top 40 single came to Mark Farner in his sleep. He awoke with the words to "I'm Your Captain" in his head, and he had the presence of mind to write them down before falling back to sleep. Mark had forgotten about them the next morning when he picked up his guitar and started strumming music that was different from his previous compositions. Farner then remembered the lyrics he wrote down the previous night, and a Grand Funk classic was born.
"I'm You Captain/Closer To Home" would be Terry Knight's finest production with the band. Inspired by the Moody Blues' recent use of orchestration on their recordings, Knight and the band brought in strings to enhance the drama and impact of the song.
Written during the Vietnam War, "I'm Your Captain/Closer To Home" also became something of an anthem to many servicemen and women involved in the conflict overseas.
Watch a live performance by Grand Funk Railroad of "Closer To Home/I'm Your Captain" from their legendary concert at Shea Stadium at www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyF5J7au1jE
"Shake, Rattle & Roll" was not only Bill Haley And His Comets' first Top Ten record, but it was also the first ever rock and roll record to reach that Billboard chart position. Haley, who started out as a country singer, had been experimenting with R&B songs for a couple of years on the Essex label before signing with Decca Records in 1954.
His first record for the label, "Rock Around The Clock", failed to sell when it was first released in May of 1954, but its follow-up, "Shake, Rattle And Roll" helped make Bill Haley And His Comets the first big rock and roll stars.
The song was a cover of Big Joe Turner's original but with some of the more suggestive lyrics changed. Turner had a # 1 R&B hit with his version, and it also reached # 22 on the Hot 100, a remarkable feat for a black artist in 1954.
Listen to "Shake, Rattle And Roll" by Bill Haley And His Comets and see some vintage photos of Haley and the band at www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKl2FIesuOc
Michael Lutz and Cub Koda co-wrote the ode to an act of rebellion common to all high schools, and it became Brownsville Station's biggest hit in early 1974. Koda reportedly got the idea for the song from his own experience with childhood friends of smoking cigarettes in the restroom of a local movie theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He and Lutz then switched the setting to a high school.
The song was recorded quickly - the basic track was completed in just two hours. Michael Lutz remembered the session in an interview: "It was recorded the way it was written - fast, which is a good sign; it means we were comfortable with it. We knew we had a good song, but we didn't expect it to blow up the way it did".
"Smokin' In The Boy's Room" earned Brownsville Station its first Gold Record and helped blast off a tour that would see the band play 347 dates that year.
Watch a 1974 performance of "Smokin' In The Boy's Room" along with "Barefootin'" at www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxBbmoUdEac
Mary Wells was the first female star on the Motown label. Mary and writer/producer Smokey Robinson combined for seven Top 40 hits from 1962 to 1964. The last of these was "My Guy", Mary's only # 1 hit. Smokey Robinson had a great deal of success writing songs for Wells that featured a calypso-based rhythm, amd "My Guy" fits into that general pattern.
Robinson adapted the opening notes of the song from "Canadian Sunset", a 1956 instrumental by Eddie Heywood, and the song is anchored by some incredible playing by the Funk Brothers' bassist, James Jamerson. The backing vocals on "My Guy" are by the Andantes who's "What you say?" responses are a perfect match with Mary's declarations of undying love.
"My Guy" was the first big Motown hit in England, and Mary Wells became the first Motown artist to perform there when she opened for the Beatles on their tour of the United Kingdom in 1964. Mary's recording of "My Guy" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Watch Mary perform "My Guy" on Shindig in 1964 at www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1M5eEJeT38
"The two most intense and joyous times of the year are Christmas morning and the end of school. The few minutes waiting for that final school bell to ring are so intense that when it happens, it's almost orgasmic. I think we captured that feeling with this anthem, it was certainly our signature song." That was Alice Cooper describing his band's biggest hit. "School's Out" was also the title cut of the band's third album with producer Bob Ezrin, and the first to employ a concept that loosely united its eight songs.
"School's Out" deals with teenage defiance by combining great guitar riffs with some amusing puns; "We've got not class, and we've got no principles", and ending the stanza with, "We can't even think of a word that rhymes".
The album cover of "School's Out" depicts a wooden desk cover with either the band members' names or their initials carved on it. The "desk" opens to find a slingshot, marbles, a pocket knife, a comic book, various school supplies, and the album credits in the form of a written test. "School's Out" was also the first Alice Cooper record to feature fellow Michigan legend Dick Wagner on guitar.
Watch Alice perform "School's Out" at a recent concert by clicking on www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbNEOJMGFAo&NR=18feature=fvwp
Seven seconds of Pep Perrine's pounding drums kick off "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man", the Bob Seger System's first Top 40 hit. The organ riff that also drives the song was not played by Seger, who was proficient on the instrument, but by keyboardist Bob Schultz who was a member of the band at the time of the recording. Also sitting in on the session to sing backing vocals was Seger's friend and fellow Michigan artist, Glenn Frey.
"Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" was Bob's second single for his new label, Capitol Records. After the controversial "2 + 2 = ?" failed to chart nationally, "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" justified Capitol's faith in the Bob Seger System by spending 14 weeks in the Hot 100.
The success of the single enabled the band to tour California for the first time, and it prompted Seger and Capitol to change the title of his first album from "Tales Of Lucy Blue" to "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man". The song would be a concert staple for Bob until the early 80's. He did not play it live again until his Face The Promise tour in the fall of 2006.
Watch the Bob Seger System perform "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" on television in early 1969 at www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2aBOTNGWMY
"Let's Stay Together" established Al Green as a major soul music star. The basic music track was put together by producer Willie Mitchell and Al Jackson. Jackson, who was the drummer for Booker T. & The MG's as well as Mitchell's session band, was an important collaborator on Al Green's early 70's recordings. Once the pair gave the music to Green, he completed the lyrics to "Let's Stay Together" in fifteen minutes.
Recording the track, however, was another matter entirely. Mitchell claims they spent over one hundred hours working on the song. The problem was that Mitchell felt that Green was trying to overpower the song. Willie said that he wanted Al to "let the the song happen, let it ooze out".
Mitchell's less is more approach with Green helped turn soul music in a new direction in the 1970's and moved it away from the shouting style of the 1960's. Green's "Let's Stay Together" was an even bigger R&B hit, spending nine weeks at # 1. In 1984, Tina Turner would begin her successful comeback with a hit cover version of "Let's Stay Together". Al Green's original recording of "Let's Stay Together" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Watch Al Green perform "Let's Stay Together" in 1972 at www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVzYxqG9N1c
"Hats Off To Larry" was Del Shannon's all-important follow-up single to his debut smash, "Runaway". As a result of "Runaway", Shannon had been added to a series of big rock and roll shows in the spring of 1961 at Brooklyn's Paramount Theatre, headlined by Jackie Wilson, Dion, and Bobby Vee. Del wrote "Hats Off To Larry" in his dressing room between shows in the presence of both Dion and Bobby Vee. Shannon returned to New York on May 11th with keyboardist Max Crook and recorded the song in one day.
Released in June 1961, "Hats Off To Larry" was a big summer hit for Del, spending 13 weeks in the Hot 100. It was another song about a romantic break-up and sounded similar to "Runaway". Shannon once again employed his falsetto, only this time it was "Cry, cry, cry" rather than "Why, why, why".
"Hats Off To Larry" differed from its predecessor in some ways, however. The song starts slowly with a 13-second introduction before kicking into gear. Sax and piano play a lesser role on "Hats Off To Larry" than on "Runaway". Max Crook is again featured prominently throughout with keyboard flourishes at the line of each line and another musitron solo mid-song.
Both Runaway" and "Hats Off To Larry" established Del Shannon as a major star in England. Nine of his next ten singles charted higher in Great Britain than in the United States.
Watch Del perform "Hats Off To Larry" on an Australian television show in the 1980's at www.youtube.com/watch?v=0otse5mGmgU
Although Frijid Pink may not immediately come to mind when the subject of Detroit rock and roll is brought up, the band had a bigger hit single and a bigger hit album than most of its better-known Motor City brethern. The band was formed in 1967, and they were originally called the Detroit Vibrations.
After changing their name to Frijid Pink, (which they claimed meant 'cold excellence') the band signed with Parrot Records in 1969. Following the release of two singles that were minor regional hits, Parrot got the group back in the studio to record enough tracks to put out an album.
Frijid Pink's rousing, guitar-drenched version of the Animals' 1964 hit, "House Of The Rising Sun", was at first considered just filler for their eponymous LP, "Frijid Pink". The song got such a strong response from FM radio, however, that Parrot released it as a single early in 1970 and it became the band's only Top Ten hit.
"House Of The Rising Sun" was an even bigger bigger smash for the band in Great Britain, where it peaked at # 4. The presence of the hit song on their debut LP helped push "Frijid Pink" to # 11 on the Billboard Pop Album chart.
Watch Frijid Pink perform "House Of The Rising Sun" on a television show in 1971 at www.youtube.com/watch?v=t40INnb6DnY
The Romantics (Wally Palmar, Mike Skill, Jimmy Marinos, and Rich Cole) formed in East Detroit in early 1977. They were nfluenced by early Motor City rockers like Bob Seger & The Last Heard, the Underdogs, the Rationals, Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels as well as the 60's British Invasion bands. The Romantics combined these sources into a modern high energy sound that didn't quite fit into either the 'punk rock' or 'new wave' categories.
The band signed with Nemperor Records in 1979 and recorded their debut album, "The Romantics", in just three weeks. The first single from the album was the impossibly catchy and hard-driving "What I Like About You". It became the Romantics' first hit single, peaking at # 49 in early 1980.
Strangely enough, the Romantics' gritty anthem of young romance has grown in popularity over the years due to its airplay on oldies radio and use in a variety of television commercials. In 2007, the band sued Guitar Heroes Encore: Rocks The 80's over a cover version of "What I Like About You" used in the game. The case was dismissed in 2008.
Watch the Romantics perform the original version of "What I Like About You" at www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvHKjDKY_O8
"Old Time Rock & Roll" was the fouth single released from Bob Seger's "Stranger In Town" album. Although it was far from being one of his biggest hit singles, it has become one of Bob's most popular songs over the past thirty years.
"Old Time Rock & Roll" has been used effectively in both movies and television commercials. You cannot go to a wedding reception without the deejay playing the song, and it seems like every bar band on earth has got the song in its repertoire. Years after its release, "Old Time Rock & Roll" was designated the 'most played jukebox song in history' by the Amusement Operators of America.
In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Seger stated that the members of the Silver Bullet Band hated the song at first, but learned to accept it after it got great crowd reactions every time they played it live.
The song is not a Seger original, but Bob did rewrite some of the verses before recording it. He declined to take writer's credit on "Old Time Rock & Roll", however, a decision that turned out to be quite costly considering the amount of airplay the song has gotten and its use in any number of creative and commercial projects including the 1983 hit film Risky Business.
Watch Bob perform "Old Time Rock & Roll" as part of a video for the hit film Risky Business at www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsSVcRYh8dE
"War" was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong and was first recorded by the Temptations on their "Psychedelic Shack" album. Motown received hundreds of letters asking that the song be released as a single, but the Temptations already had "Ball Of Confusion" scheduled as their next record. Instead, Norman Whitfield asked Edwin Starr if he would be interested in cutting a version of "War".
Starr had come to Motown after Berry Gordy purchased Golden World Records and its subsidiaries in 1968. Starr had four charting singles on the company's Ric-Tic label, including "Agent Double-O-Soul", before signing with Motown. Edwin had a Top Ten single with "Twenty-Five Miles" the previous year for Motown before hitting the top spot in the Hot 100 with "War".
Starr's biggest hit spent three weeks at # 1 in the summer of 1970 as more and more people began to turn against the United States' involvement in the war in Vietnam.
Edwin won a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance for his outstanding recording of "War" - the only anti-war song to ever reach # 1. Edwin Starr's recording of "War" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
You can watch a Motown Time Capsule video of wartime events in 1970 and hear Edwin Starr's classic recording of "War" at www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d8C4AIFgUg
Growing up in and around Flint, Michigan in the 1960's, all of the members of Grand Funk were exposed to, and inspired by the soul music hits on the local AM radio stations. "Some Kind Of Wonderful" by the Soul Brothers Six got a lot of airplay on Flint's WTAC in 1967. The guys in Grand Funk always loved the song and would often sing it as a warm-up in their limo on the way to concerts.
The band finally recorded it for their 1975 album, "All The Girls In The World". Producer Jimmy Ienner wanted Grand Funk to make their cover version of "Some Kind Of Wonderful" sound as basic as possible - almost like a demo recording. The cut has Mark Farner and Don Brewer singing together to a musical backing that is mostly just bass and drums.
"Some Kind Of Wonderful" was a very different sounding single for Grand Funk in that it had very little guitar; but it became their fifth consecutive Top Ten hit, and spent 13 weeks in the Hot 100 in early 1975.
You can hear Grand Funk's recording of "Some Kind Of Wonderful" and view a photo collage from throughout their career by clicking on www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bz7fMRBIxpU
The Four Tops signed with Motown in 1963, but their first recording for the label was an album of jazz standards. In 1964, they were teamed with the songwriting and production team of Brian and Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier. H-D-H provided the Four Tops with "Baby I Need Your Loving", which spent 12 weeks in the Hot 100.
The secret ingedient for almost all of Motown's great hits, however, were the label's great session musicians, the Funk Brothers. According to Earl Van Dyke, the leader of Motown's great house band, they would sometimes get called to the studio to cut rhythm tracks for songs that hadn't even been written yet. A lot of these tracks wound up as parts of melodies and even vocal backgrounds on the label's hit songs.
On "Baby I Need Your Loving", the background that the Four Tops sang actually came from the melodic lines that Van Dyke played on his piano for one of those rhythm tracks. H-D-H took Earl's piano out of the mix and had the Four Tops sing the melody he created instead. Holland, Dozier, and Holland then added strings and the female backing vocals of the Andantes to the group's pristine harmonies and Levi Stubbs' powerful lead vocals to produce one of Motown's classic singles.
You can watch a television performance of "Baby I Need Your Loving" by the Four Tops at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUOntQocGWk
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" was the first duet hit for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1967. The lyrics were written by Nick Ashford shortly after he first moved to New York City. Determined not to let the Big Apple get the best of him, the title just popped into his head as he was walking down a Manhattan street. Nick rushed back to his apartment and finished the song with his partner, Valerie Simpson.
The big differences in the version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" that they produced for Diana Ross were: a spoken section in the song that took advantage of Diana's sexy speaking voice, and the rearrangement of the song so that the chorus is not sung until the end in order to add drama and suspense to the recording.
Their original production was six minutes long, but Motown edited down to three minutes and fifteen seconds for the 45 rpm single. "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" was the first # 1 hit for Diana Ross as a solo artist following her astounding career as the lead singer of the Supremes.
Watch Diana Ross perform "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" at her 1983 concert in Central Park at www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMu8u7En6dw&feature=related
“Mystery Man” was the first single from The Frost’s debut album, “Frost Music”. Released in early 1969, “Mystery Man” was a monster hit in Detroit but it stalled nationally as Vanguard Records totally dropped the ball when it failed to adequately distribute and promote what could have been the band’s breakout single.
Dick Wagner, who was heavily influenced by the songwriting of Lennon and McCartney, penned the song while on vacation in Houghton Lake, Michigan. He had just returned from a trip to New York and a failed audition for Blood, Sweat & Tears. Wagner claims that he asked his wife for a divorce after writing the song.
“Mystery Man” was also the first song Wagner wrote for The Frost’s classic line-up that included Dick, fellow guitarist Donny Hartman, drummer Bobby Riggs, and new bassist Gordy Garris. In a recent interview, Wagner stated that “Mystery Man” remains his favorite Frost composition to this day.
Listen to the original unreleased version of “Mystery Man” by The Frost recorded at Jeep Holland's A-Square Records by clicking on http://youtu.be/rygrz8q7Aj4
Jr. Walker & The All Stars were playing the El Grotto nightclub in Battle Creek, Michigan, when they got the inspiration for what would become their biggest hit on Berry Gordy’s Soul label, a new Motown subsidiary.
One night at the club, Walker became intrigued by a dance where the participants were employing moves that imitated shooting a gun. When he asked one of the girls on the dance floor what it was called, she said it was the ‘shotgun’ and that he should write a tune for it.
In 1964, Motown was still a small enough company that an artist could call Berry Gordy directly to discuss a recording. After Walker wrote “Shotgun”, he called Gordy and told him he had written a new dance tune. Berry like the idea and had the band drive over to Detroit to record it in late 1964.
Jr. Walker was reluctantly pressed into doing the lead vocal when the original singer failed to show up for the session. “Shotgun” was an immediate hit when it was released in early 1965. The song spent four weeks at # 1 on the R&B charts peaked at # 4 on the Hot 100. Jr. Walker would sing the lead vocals on all of The All Stars’ charting hits from that point onward.
Watch Jr. Walker & The All Stars perform “Shotgun” in 1966 on the Hullabaloo TV show at www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnhI_ECOAK4&feature=related
The title song from Bob Seger’s first # 1 LP was the second Top Ten single released from the album.(“Fire Lake” was the first.) In a 1980 Rolling Stone interview, Seger said that “Against The Wind” is about trying to move ahead, keeping your sanity and integrity at the same time.
He went on to say in the interview that “Knowing the difference between when people are using you and when people truly care about you, that’s what “Against The Wind” is also about. The people in the song have weathered the storm, and it’s made them much better that they’ve been able to do it and maintain whatever relationship. To get through is a real victory”.
In a TV interview with Bob Costas, Seger revealed that he almost didn’t include the song’s most famous line, “I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then”. Seger explained: “I thought it was bad grammar. My manager, my tour manager, and my band said ‘That’s a great line’”. Thus, the classic lyric remained.
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band won a Grammy in the category “Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal” for “Against The Wind”.
Watch a 2006 live performance by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band of “Against The Wind” at http://youtu.be/hydTdZ9Au7c
Stevie Wonder was the opening act on the Rolling Stones massive 1972 tour and, as a result, gained valuable exposure to large white rock audiences who might not normally have seen him in concert. Following the Stones tour, Wonder released “Talking Book”, his first Top Ten album since 1963.
Stevie’s first choice for a single from the album was “Big Brother”, but Motown executives were adamant that “Superstition” was the stronger choice. A year earlier, Wonder had worked with guitarist Jeff Beck and had written “Superstition” with Beck in mind. When the guitarist didn’t record the song promptly, Motown put out the song as the new Stevie Wonder single in late 1972 in advance of the release of “Talking Book”.
In the early Seventies, ‘Soul’ music was evolving into ‘Funk’, a bass-driven, percussive form of black music. “Superstition” with its irresistible dance groove established Wonder as a leader of this new genre and it would be the first of five # 1 singles that he would enjoy during the decade.
Jeff Beck’s recording of “Superstition” would come out later in 1973 as part of the album “Beck, Bogart, Appice”. “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Watch Stevie Wonder perform “Superstition” live on Sesame Street at www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ul7X5js1vE
After his first two Atlantic singles failed to chart, producer Jerry Wexler brought Wilson Pickett to Memphis in 1965 to record with the multi-racial soul music band, Booker T. & The MG’s.
Pickett and the white guitarist from the MG’s, Steve Cropper, wrote and recorded “In The Midnight Hour” at the first session they worked together.
Cropper had listened to some of Pickett’s early recordings before the session began and he noticed that Wilson had sung the phrase, “In the midnight hour”, at the end of several of them.
When the two sat down to write some new songs, Cropper suggested that Pickett use the phrase. Within and hour, the pair had written the soul music classic that would make Wilson Pickett a star.
“In The Midnight Hour” had a delayed backbeat that made it perfect for a brand new dance that was sweeping the country called ‘the jerk’. It would not only become Pickett’s first Top 40 hit, but also his first of five # 1 R&B hits during his illustrious career.
“In The Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Watch Wilson Pickett perform “In The Midnight Hour” on television in color at http://youtu.be/mhOy1wt5lDc
Following three months on the road with Hubert Humphrey’s 1968 presidential campaign, Tommy James decided to end his successful association with producers Bo Gentry and Ritchie Cordell. The pair had been co-writers with James on the Top Ten singles: “I Think We’re Alone Now”, “Mirage”, and “Mony Mony”.
James first big success as both writer and producer came in 1969 with “Crimson And Clover”, the group’s first # 1 single since “Hanky Panky”. In an interview for The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, James said that “‘crimson’ and ‘clover’ were two of my favorite words and I just put them together. We had the title before we had the song. When I wrote with the Shondells, it was different than when I wrote with Bo and Ritchie – a different energy flow. “Crimson And Clover” was part of the psychedelia of the late 1960’s”.
In another interview James said said of the recording; “I had a kind of historical sense of the record right from the beginning. I really felt like we were cutting something special”.
The single sold over 5.5 million copies, and it remains the Tommy James & The Shondells’ best selling single of all time. It was also the title song of the multi-platinum album, “Crimson & Clover”, released in early 1969 with liner notes by Hubert Humphrey. In 1982, “Crimson And Clover” was covered by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, who had a # 7 hit single with the song.
Watch Tommy James & The Shondells perform “Crimson And Clover” in a vintage 1968 video at http://youtu.be/VfeCgMo-Kao
“Please Mr. Postman’ was Motown’s first # 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, but its success seemed very unlikely in 1961. The girls who became known as The Marvelettes first came together in the Inkster High School Glee Club to participate in a talent show at the school with the prize being an audition at Berry Gordy’s Tamla Records in Detroit.
The girls only finished fourth at the talent show, but two of their teachers were so impressed with their performance that they prevailed upon the school principal give the girls a shot at the audition with Motown producers, Robert Bateman and Brian Holland. Bateman and Holland liked the girls’ singing, but told them to come back with some original material. Group member Georgia Dobbins asked a songwriter friend for a song, and he gave her a blues tune called “Please Mr. Postman”. Dobbins got his permission to work on it, and she completely changed the song, keeping only the title. Before taking the new song to Motown, however, Dobbins decided to leave the group to take care of her ill mother.
Lead singer Gladys Horton, along with Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, Juanita Cowart, and new member Wanda Young, performed the song for Bateman and Holland who loved it. “Please Mr. Postman” was then recorded by the newly-named Marvelettes with a young Marvin Gaye playing the drums.
“Please Mr. Postman” was covered by The Beatles in 1963, and also by The Carpenters who would have a # 1 single in 1975 with their recording of the song.
Watch The Marvelettes perform “Please Mr. Postman” on television in the 1960's at http://youtu.be/KseUrBSRBDA
“Heat Wave” was the second single and the first Top Ten hit written for Martha & The Vandellas by Motown’s new writing and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland.
Produced with a gospel-like fervor, the song opens with a 27-second instrumental passage featuring handclaps, Joe Hunter’s piano, Thomas “Beans” Bowles sax, and the drumming of “Pistol” Allen. “Heat Wave” is often credited as being one of the first songs to exemplify the style of music that would later be called the “Motown Sound”.
"Heat Wave" is probably Martha Reeves greatest vocal performance, and it helped Martha & The Vandellas become the first Motown group to receive a Grammy Award Nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. Martha Reeves remembered watching the network news during the summer of 1963. “I was in my mom’s living room when the anchorman said, ‘There’s a heat wave in Los Angeles,’ it was a hundred and something and then they played “Heat Wave”. I jumped all over the floor. My mom told me to sit down and shut up! I screamed, ‘We’re on network TV! They’re playing our song!”
“Heat Wave” has been recorded by many artists over the years. Linda Ronstadt had a # 5 hit single in 1975 with her cover of the song.
Watch Martha & The Vandellas perform “Heat Wave” on TV in the 60’s at www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE2fnYpwrng
Aretha Franklin’s recordings on Atlantic in 1967 and 1968 firmly established her as the “Queen Of Soul”. “Chain Of Fools” was her fifth consecutive Top Ten hit produced by Jerry Wexler. Employing memorable tremolo guitar licks by Joe South in its introduction, “Chain Of Fools” features Franklin’s trademark powerhouse vocal and a great gospel-style call-and –response chorus provided by her sister Carolyn along with the Sweet Inspirations.
Written by R&B singer Don Covay, “Chain Of Fools” was released as a single in late 1967. The song spent four weeks at # 1 on the R&B charts in late ‘67 and early ‘68, while peaking at #2 on the Hot 100.
Aretha won a Grammy Award for “Chain of Fools” for Best R&B Vocal Performance. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.
Watch Aretha Franklin perform “Chain Of Fools” on television in the 60’s at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xroRNBvvF9M
Jack Scott’s career was flying high in late 1958 with the release of his third consecutive two-sided hit single, “Goodbye Baby/Save My Soul”. Things came to a screeching halt, however, when he received an induction notice from the U. S. Army in December of that same year.
In May of 1959, after only five months in the service, Scott was discharged from the Army on medical grounds because of a peptic ulcer. Carlton Records, which had very little material in the can when Scott went in the service, pulled “The Way I Walk” from Jack’s 1st album and released it as a single a week before his discharge.
“The Way I Walk” is a classic cut with its powerful ‘walking’ bass and menacing vocal. It is regarded by some as the last of the authentic rockabilly hits of the 50’s as softer pop sounds began to engulf the charts in the wake of the ‘Payola Scandal’.
Scott talked about “The Way I Walk” in a recent interview. “When we cut it, I’d only half-finished it, and I didn’t have all the words, just two verses.
Since his producer was anxious to take the song back to New York for the album, Jack told the Chantones, his vocal backing group, to fill in the gap with “Oo-wee, oo-wee, oo-wee, oo-wee…”
At first, Scott complained when the song was released because he thought “The Way I Walk” needed more work. Looking back, however, he now says, “It’s kinda neat the way it is”
Watch Jack Scott perform “The Way I Walk” in 1988 at Little Darlin’s nightclub in Florida at www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxhHtqMHbbM
51. “Hanky Panky” (J. Barry, E. Greenwich) – Tommy James and The Shondells; Roulette label, # 1 Billboard Hot 100, # 39 R&B 1966. Inducted 2011.
“Hanky Panky” was written and first recorded by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich as the B-side of a single for their group The Raindrops in 1963.
Tommy James’ cover version was first released on the tiny Snap label in Niles, Michigan, in the fall of 1964. Although it was a regional hit, “Hanky Panky” didn’t become a national smash until 1966 when it was discovered in a used record bin by a Pittsburgh dance promoter. It became the # 1 song in the city after he pressed up a batch of bootleg copies of song on the local Red Fox label.
The Shondells had broken up by this time, and Tommy was considering giving up music and getting a "real job" when he got word that his recording of "Hanky Panky" had become a surprise hit. After failing to reunite the original Shondells, Tommy made several appearances in the Pittsburgh area with a make-shift band, and then traveled to New York where he signed with Morris Levy’s Roulette Records.
James recruited a Pittsburgh band called The Raconteurs to be the “new” Shondells and took to the road to promote “Hanky Panky”. The song reached # 1 in the summer of 1966, the first 'garage rock' single to do so. It also kicked off a string of 19 charting hits enjoyed by Tommy James and The Shondells from 1966 to 1970.
Watch a recent performance of "Hanky Panky" by Tommy James at the Bitter End in New York City by clicking below.
52. “Lonely Teardrops” (B. Gordy, R. Davis, G. Gordy) – Jackie Wilson; Brunswick label, # 7 Billboard Hot 100, # 1 R&B 1959. Inducted 2011.
“Lonely Teardrops” was Jackie Wilson’s first Top Ten single. It was the fourth consecutive charting record written for him by the team of Berry Gordy Jr. and Tyran Carlo. The pair would contribute two more hit singles for Wilson in 1959 before leaving in a dispute over the material being issued as the B-sides on the singer’s recordings.
“Lonely Teardrops” was released late in 1958 and would become the first of Jackie Wilson’s six # 1 hits on the R&B chart early in 1959. The song helped launch Wilson into superstar status and led to television appearances on American Bandstand and the Ed Sullivan Show, as well as the early rock and roll movies, Go Johnny Go! and Teen-age Millionaire.
In a strange twist of fate, Jackie suffered a massive heart attack while singing “Lonely Teardrops” in 1975 while appearing with Dick Clark’s Good Ol’ Rock ‘N Roll Revue in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He also suffered a serious head injury when he fell to the stage. The effects of the tragic incident left Jackie Wilson in a near vegetative state, and he lived the remainder of his life in a nursing home until his death in 1984.
“Lonely Teardrops” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Watch a Jackie Wilson television performance of "Lonely Teardrops" by clicking on:
53. “Baby Love” (B. Holland, L. Dozier, E. Holland) – The Supremes; Motown label, # 1 Billboard Hot 100 1964. Inducted 2011.
With “Baby Love”, The Supremes became the first Motown artist, and the first girl group, to have two consecutive # 1 singles. But this was just the beginning. The Detroit trio would go on to record a total of twelve # 1 singles during the 1960’s. “Baby Love” was the biggest of these hits, spending 4 weeks at the top of the charts during the fall of 1964.
“Baby Love” was the follow-up single to the group’s first # 1 hit, “Where Did Our Love Go”. The song again featured the Funk Brothers’ instrumental backing, but the main focus of the recording was on Diana Ross’ sexy, cooing vocal. Although both Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson had brief solo ad-libs at the end of the song, Ross would continue to take center stage on both group recordings and live performances.
Berry Gordy had felt that Diana Ross’ unique voice would set The Supremes apart from the many girl groups of the time, and his decision to team them with the writing and production team of brothers Eddie and Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier turned out to be the perfect combination. The pairing would go on to produce 19 charting hits, including 10 of the # 1 singles recorded by The Supremes.
Watch The Supremes perform "Baby Love" on England's Top Of The Pops 60's television show by clicking below.
54. “I Think We’re Alone Now” (R. Cordell, B. Gentry) – Tommy James and The Shondells; Roulette label, # 4 Billboard Hot 100 1967. Inducted 2011.
“I Think We’re Alone Now” marked the beginning of a successful partnership between Tommy James and the songwriting team of Ritchie Cordell and Bo Gentry. Cordell and Gentry had originally written the song as a mid-tempo ballad, but James insisted that they speed up the arrangement.
Jimmy Wisner’s original production of “I Think We’re Alone Now” included a small symphony orchestra complete with cellos, chimes, and the whole works. After eight takes, Cordell, Gentry, and James felt it sounded “too big” and sent the musicians home. They then proceeded to strip down what they had created in order to find the ingredients that they liked.
Tommy James laid down the final vocal on Christmas Eve in 1966. Without realizing it at the time, James, Cordell, and Gentry’s recording of “I Think We’re Alone Now” invented what later became known as “bubblegum music”.
The song even provided a follow-up hit for Tommy James and The Shondells when the tape of “I Think We’re Alone Now” was accidentally put on a reel-to-reel upside down. When it was played, it came out backward, but the chord progression in reverse sounded just as good as it did forward. Cordell and Gentry wrote a new set of lyrics, called the song “Mirage”, and had a # 10 hit with it in the spring of 1967.
Listen to the original recording of "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tommy James and The Shondells by clicking below.
55. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (N. Ashford, V. Simpson) – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell; Tamla label, # 19 Billboard Hot 100, # 3 R&B 1967. Inducted 2011.
The song was written by Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson in 1966. It was the first hit for Marvin Gaye and his new duet partner, Tammi Terrell in the spring of 1967. Gaye had previously teamed with Mary Wells and Kim Weston for hit singles, but Terrell proved to be his ideal singing partner.
According to producers Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol, Tammi Terrell was both nervous and a little intimidated during the recording because she hadn’t rehearsed the lyrics. As a result, she recorded her vocals alone. Marvin Gaye added his vocal at a later date, but there was no denying the magic produced by the blending of their voices
Because of the subject matter of their duets, there were rumors of a romantic relationship between Gaye and Terrell. Both singers denied it, however, with Gaye claiming at a later date that they had a brother and sister relationship. The duo paired up for several more hits: “Your Precious Love”, “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You”, “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing”, and “You’re All I Need To Get By” before Tammi was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor after collapsing into Marvin’s arms during a performance in Virginia.
Tammi Terrell died in 1970 at the age of 24 from the brain tumor that put an end to her career. In 1970, Diana Ross had her first # 1 hit as a solo artist with her cover of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, but it was the recording by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell that was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Watch the original 1967 Motown video of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell performing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by clicking below.
56. “Get Ready” (W. Robinson) – Rare Earth; Rare Earth label, # 4 Billboard Hot 100, # 20 R&B 1970. Inducted 2011.
Rare Earth was the first act that Motown vice president Barney Ales signed for the company’s newest label that would concentrate on album-oriented progressive rock played by self-contained bands. Ales liked the band’s moniker so much that he ended up using it as the name for the subsidiary label.
The band released its first album in the summer of 1969. It was titled after the song “Get Ready”, a 21-minute extended jam of the 1966 Temptations’ single that took up one whole side of the LP.
In order to get airplay, “Get Ready” was edited down to around 3 minutes, and it promptly soared to # 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The success of the single also pushed the “Get Ready” album to hit status, reaching # 12 on the LP chart.
Although Rare Earth would go on to chart eight more singles, including the Top Ten hits, “(I Know) I’m Losing You” and “I Just Want To Celebrate”, their version of “Get Ready” would prove to be the band’s biggest success.
Watch a performance of "Get Ready" by Rare Earth from 1973 by clicking below.
57. “Mony Mony” (T. James, R. Cordell, B. Gentry, B. Bloom) – Tommy James and The Shondells; Roulette label, # 3 Billboard Hot 100 1968. Inducted 2011.
After two successive single failed to crack the Top 40, Tommy James went into Century Sound Studios to work on a track for a proposed party rock song inspired by past hits by Gary (U.S.) Bonds and Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels. The song started as a basic rhythm track. James and Ritchie Cordell then took the original tape and began a process of reassembling what they had, adding snippets of organ, piano, and background voices until they had a catchy melody with a verse and irresistible hook.
The night before they were supposed to finish the record, the pair convened in James’ New York apartment to write the lyrics. They assembled a list of nonsensical one-liners but could not come up with a suitable title. They wanted to use a two-syllable girl’s name, but every real name they came up with didn’t sound right.
Around midnight they decided to take a cigarette break on the terrace while looking at the Manhattan skyline. Tommy James noticed the Mutual of New York Insurance Company building a couple of blocks away. It had a flashing neon sign on top of it with the company logo: MONY. Just like that, they had their name, and a rock and roll party classic was born.
Although it only reached # 3 in the U.S., Tommy James and The Shondell’s “Mony Mony” was # 1 hit in England. In 1987, Billy Idol had a # 1 hit in the U.S. with a live version of the song.
Watch a 60's psychedelic television performance of "Mony Mony" by Tommy James and the Shondells in color by clicking here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkMgs3lFwkQ
58. “Sock It To Me-Baby!” (Crewe, Brown) – Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels; New Voice label, # 6 Billboard Hot 100 1967. Inducted 2011.
In early 1967, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels followed up their first Top Ten single, “Devil With A Blue Dress On & Good Golly Miss Molly”, with the prototypical riff-rockin’ “Sock It To Me-Baby!”. Co-written by band producer and New Voice label head Bob Crewe, the song was a party rock classic that kept pace with earlier band workouts like “Jenny Take A Ride!” and “Little Latin Lupe Lu”.
“Sock It To Me-Baby!” became the band’s second and last Top Ten single when it peaked at # 6 in the Billboard Hot 100 early in 1967, even though it was banned on several radio stations for being “too sexually suggestive”. In spite of this initial flap, the term ‘sock it to me’ ended up becoming a national catch-phrase when it appeared both on Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and after it began to be used on a weekly basis on the hit TV comedy show, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.
Unfortunately, Bob Crewe’s contract gave him full control over Mitch Ryder’s career. After one last single, he dismissed The Detroit Wheels and began concentrating on turning Mitch into a mainstream singing star. Ryder went on to minor chart success as a solo act, and the “Sock It To Me” LP, released in the spring of 1967, became the last official release by Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels.
Watch a 2010 performance of "Sock It To Be-Baby!" by Mitch Ryder by clicking below.
59 . “I Wanna Be Your Dog” (D. Alexander, R. Asheton, I. Pop, S. Asheton) – The Stooges; Elektra label, Did not chart nationally 1969. Inducted 2011.
One of The Stooges' most famous songs, “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, appeared on the band’s self-titled debut album on Elektra Records. It was also released as the B-side to “1969” on the first Stooges’ single.
Ron Asheton’s relentless guitar riffs and producer John Cale’s pounding piano set the stage for Iggy Pop’s snarling vocals. It’s not exactly clear what the song is about, but no matter. “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, as well as most of the songs on their debut, set the stage for both the punk rock movement of the 70’s and the grunge rock movement of the 90’s.
Although both the single and the album sold modestly at best, “I Wanna Be Your Dog” has achieved an exalted status over the years. The song has been covered by a multitude of artists including Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, and The White Stripes. In 2007, R.E.M. performed the song with Patti Smith during their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The song has also been featured on the soundtrack of several movies including The Crow: City Of Angels, Sid and Nancy, Transporter 3, and The Runaways.
Watch a live performance by The Stooges of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" from a 2004 concert in Serbia by clicking below.
60. “I Can’t Help Myself” (B. Holland, L. Dozier, E. Holland) – The Four Tops; Motown label, # 1 Billboard Hot 100, # 1 R&B 1965. Inducted 2011.
The Four Tops began working with Motown’s songwriting/production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland in 1964. After three charting singles in a row, the combination really hit its stride in the summer of 1965 with “I Can’t Help Myself”. The song had the distinction of holding down the # 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 for two non-consecutive weeks – June 12 to June 19th, and again from June 26th to July 3rd.
As on most of the group’s big hits, “I Can’t Help Myself” is powered by Levi Stubbs baritone lead vocal over an irresistible dance groove powered by Motown’s crack session band, the Funk Brothers. Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote the majority of Stubbs’ vocals in the range of a tenor so that his voice took on a gospel-tinged urgency as he strained to hit the high notes.
With their simple yet distinctive melodies and rhymes, Levi Stubbs powerful lead vocals, and the smooth backing of Duke Fakir, Lawrence Payton, and Obie Benson, the recordings of H-D-H songs by The Four Tops often epitomized what became known as the Motown Sound.
“I Can’t Help Myself” has been covered by a diverse group of artists over the years. These include The Supremes, Johnny Rivers, and Dolly Parton.
Watch a classic 60's television performance of "I Can't Help Myself" by The Four Tops by clicking below.
Grand Ledge's Tonto and The Renegades employed an all-star Michigan cast for the recording of their second single. The song was written and produced by Dick Wagner formerly of The Bossmen and featured harmonica by Donny Hartman of Wagner's new group, The Frost. In addition, the recording was done at Dave Kalmbach's Great Lakes Recording Studio in Sparta, Michigan, with Kalmbach serving as sound engineer.
The band had become acquainted with Dick Wagner after The Bossmen had played at The Sceen, a teen dance club where Tonto and The Renegades were often booked. Knowing the quality of Wagner's songwriting, they asked him about the availability of some of his material for their next single. Wagner brought his acoustic guitar to Gary "Tonto" Richey's house, where the band practiced, and he performed a number of his unrecorded songs.
According to drummer Tom Kirby, "Anytime You Want Some Lovin'" stood out immediately, and was everyone's first choice for the A-side of their second 45. The finished recording would be a quite a departure from the driving garage rock of "Little Boy Blue", their debut single. Wagner's production of "Anytime You Want Some Lovin'" was a very polished mid-tempo pop rock ballad, featuring some fine group harmonies from the band members, and even a horn section composed of two students from the Grand Ledge High School band.
The recording was financed by Don Trefry, owner of The Sceen and the booking agent for Tonto and The Renegades. Kalmbach's studio offered the chance to release records on your own vanity label, so Trefry chose one that would advertise his teen club. Unfortunately, the tiny label's limited distribution hurt the record's chances of becoming something more than a regional hit.
Listen to "Anytime You Want Some Lovin'" by clicking below.
"Anytime You Want Some Lovin'" b/w "The Easy Way Out" is the only 45 single to have both sides voted Legendary Michigan Songs.
Tonto and the Renegades first choice for the B-side of the single was another Dick Wagner composition called "First Day of May". After Considering it, Wagner decided to save the song for The Frost's debut album instead. The band then went with their second pick, a Wagner-penned rocker called "The Easy Way Out".
It turned out to be an excellent choice. Like the A-side, the session for "The Easy Way Out" was produced by Dick Wagner in Dave Kalmbach's Great Lakes Studio, located in the Sparta Theater. Drummer Tom Kirby remembered that several rows of the old theater seats were removed in front of the movie screen so that there was enough room for the band's equipment, and that Kalmbach erected a three-sided partition around the drum kit. the studio's recording equipment was situated behind a large glass window inside the theater's projection booth. Since Wagner was producing the session, Kalmbach worked in the booth while the band recorded.
Tonto and The Renegades were firing on all cylinders during the recording, and Wagner once again used the horn section of Grand Ledge High band students Jim Hall and Ernie Morrow to good effect. In addition, the producer added a special personal touch to the song by contributing the controlled guitar feedback that helped give "The Easy Way Out" its unique sound.
Listen to "The Easy Way Out" by clicking below.
The classic R&B dance hit "Misery" was written and sung by The Dynamics, a black vocal group from Detroit. The terrific instrumental backing was provided by an all-white combo from Dearborn called The Royal Playboys, featuring guest artists Joe Cyers on drums and MRRL Inductee Cliff Bramlett on guitar.
The song was recorded at the United Sound studio for Fox Records, a small independent Detroit label, but the master tape was sold to Big Top Records out of New York and distributed nationally. "Misery" was a big hit in the Motor City, spending most of the fall of 1963 in WKNR's Top Ten on the popular AM station's Classic Top 30 Survey. The song also did well nationally lasting 10 weeks on the Hot 100 and peaking at # 44.
The song would become the subject of a still unresolved controversy in 1964 when Pete Meardon, then manager of The Who, rewrote the lyrics to the song as "Zoot Suit" for The Who's first single, released in England as by The High Numbers, and then claimed sole songwriting credit for the melody he stole. The truth is in the grooves, however, as The Dynamics' recording of "Misery" completely blows "Zoot Suit" off the turntable when the songs are played back-to-back.
\Watch a cool dance video featuring "Misery" by clicking below.
"Rock And Roll Music" was recorded live at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit in 1969. According to producer Sam Charters, the vocals were re-done in the studio in order to clean up the sound, but that fact takes nothing away from this blast of Motor City rock that quickly became the band's anthem.
In his book, Not Only Women Bleed, Dick Wagner reveals that the genesis of the song came from a one-line rock song from the Frost's other guitarist, Donny Hartman. Hartman wanted Wagner to finish the song for him, and Wagner produced a finished product that combined lyric simplicity with an intensity that literally leaped off the turntable.
"Rock And Roll Music" was the lead track and title of The Frost's second album, and the only song the band charted nationally when it was released as a single. Although Wagner and Hartman shared the lead vocals, Dick Wagner was listed as the sole songwriter on the song.
In his book, Wagner wrote that for many years he believed that he had totally written the song, but now claims it was really a Hartman-Wagner collaboration. Wagner has tried to make it right in recent years by giving Hartman credit for his contributions whenever he performs "Rock And Roll Music" live.
Listen to the original recording of "Rock And Roll Music" by clicking below.
“I Cannot Stop You” was originally intended to be the second single for a Saginaw, Michigan, teen band called The Bells Of Rhymny. The tune was written by Dick Wagner of The Bossmen and was recorded at the tiny Audio Sound studio, located in the basement of an office building in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
By the time the record was released on the small Coconut Groove label based in Mt. Morris, Michigan, the band had lost one original and added two new members, and changed its name to The Cherry Slush. The radio-friendly “I Cannot Stop You” was a big regional hit, and was quickly in heavy rotation on Top 40 AM stations like WKNX, WSAM, and the highly influential WTAC out of Flint.
In order to get the record distributed nationally, the band signed and the master tape was leased to U.S.A., a small Chicago label that had a # 1 hit in 1967 with “Kind Of A Drag” by The Buckinghams. “I Cannot Stop You” also had all the signs of also being a national hit upon its release. It got airplay in major markets, was a pick hit in both Billboard and Cashbox magazines, and entered Record World magazine as # 93 in the nation.
Quite unexpectedly, however, the record stalled and failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100. The Cherry Slush would go on to record one more single for the U.S.A. label before the company filed for bankruptcy.
Watch a slideshow video of "I Cannot Stop You" by clicking below.
Despite never being released as a single, "Turn The Page" has emerged as one of Bob Seger's most popular songs over the years. Many fans may be unfamiliar with the original studio version released on the "Back In '72" album since it has never been released on CD. Although it does not contain the Alto Reed sax solo that was such as distinctive part of the "Live Bullet" version, it is still a great vocal performance with the keyboard leading the song and the sax only coming in at the very end.
The song's lyrics describe life on the road for a regional rock and roll band trying to hit the big time, and were partly based on an incident that occurred when Seger was touring with Teegarden and Van Winkle. In a 1975 radio interview Seger stated; "You have a lot of dark days on the road...you have a lot of good days too, but basically we're in a dog-eat-dog business, and you can get pretty dark sometimes, and if you're able to translate that, which I think "Turn The Page" does more effectively than anything else I've done before."
As Scott Sparling rightly observes on his Seger File site, "The lyrics are only part of the song's success. The live performance, the plaintive sax, the vocals and the simplicity of the song all come together to create its power. And as the first Seger ballad to achieve mass popularity, it's also an important, maybe even pivotal song in his career."
Watch a great video of "Turn The Page" by clicking below.
"Cat Scratch Fever" was the song that helped turn Ted Nugent into a major arena rock act in 1977. Nugent reportedly got the title from an antique medical journal that his wife was reading that mentioned 'cat scratch fever', and he mated it with what is arguably his most infectious guitar riff to produce his classic hit.
The song's lyrics may be somewhat autobiographical, and they have Nugent chronicling his long history of promiscuous sex, as well as lamenting his inability to control both himself and his female partners. Despite its lyrical content, "Cat Scratch Fever" has been used by the Detroit Tigers, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, the San Jose SabreCats, and the Carolina Panthers to fire up fans before sporting events.
"Cat Scratch Fever" was Ted Nugent's only Top 40 single. Over the years it has been covered by a number of different artists, and it has appeared on the film soundtracks of Lords Of Dogtown, EDtv, and Stoned Age. In 2009, VH1 named it # 32 on its list of the Best Hard Rock Songs of All Time.
Watch Ted Nugent perform "Cat Scratch Fever" on the Midnight SpecialTV show in the 70's by clicking below.
"You've Really Got A Hold On Me" was the second # 1 R&B hit for The Miracles as well as their second Top Ten Hit on the Hot 100. In 1998, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and it was also selected by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.
Smokey Robinson wrote the song and sings lead while second tenor Bobby Rogers is featured on harmony co-lead. "You've Really Got A Hold On Me" was originally slated to be the B-side to "Happy Landing" on the single that was released in the winter of 1962, but DJs and record buyers across the nation preferred the song on the flipside that explored the feelings of a man so in love with a woman that he can't leave her despite the fact that she treats him badly.
The song has been covered by a wide variety of artists over the years. The most famous cover was by The Beatles, who recorded "You've Really Got A Hold On Me" for "With The Beatles", their second U.K album released in 1963.
Listen to The Miracles' original hit recording of "You've Really Got A Hold One Me" by clicking below.
"Beautiful Loser" was the title cut and first single from the 1975 album that marked Seger's return to Capitol Records. Seger has said that the song was inspired by the epilogue of a novel by Leonard Cohen titled Beautiful Losers, and that the original concept came from one of Cohen's lines; 'He's reaching for the sky just to surrender'. Seger took that thought and transformed it into a song about a person who sets his goals so low that he will never be disappointed.
Seger confided in a Rolling Stone interview in 1976 that the song took a long over a year to put together, and that he wrote five different versions of "Beautiful Loser", including a blues and a ballad, before coming up with the one he finally settled on. He credits his friend, and fellow MRRL inductee, Glenn Frey for giving him some sound advice. Fey was the first person to hear the song, and he loved it. That positive feedback encouraged Seger to stick with it until he had pieced together another classic track.
Possibly because of Seger's long journey to national stardom and Tom Bert's poignant album cover photo, many people have believed that "Beautiful Loser" was autobiographical. Seger has given conflicting answers over the years when asked if the song was about him. In a Rolling Stone interview he stated; "To a degree. Well I say that now, but back then I didn't believe it. But I believe it now, that that what it was all about". During a Creem interview in 1987, however, Seger said "The song was about underachievers in general. I rarely write about myself that much. I'm not like my songs at all. I'm a lot more 'up' person than what I write."
Listen to Bob Seger's recording of "Beautiful Loser" by clicking below.
"Day Don't Come" was recorded as "I Cannot Stop You" was climbing the national charts. Their record company brought The Cherry Slush to Chicago to record it at the famous Chess Studio although the song was a far cry from the countless classic blues recordings that had been made there. The engineer on the session was Ron Malo, who had also been behind the boards on the Rolling Stones' recording of "Satisfaction" which had been done in the same studio three years before.
The Cherry Slush recorded the basic instrumental track during the first session then returned back home in Michigan where the band members were still attending high school. Bassist Art Hauffe claims that when they returned the following week to do the vocals, they were surprised to find that their record label had added the Chicago Symphony to the track at a cost of $5,000; and that the hefty sum would be taken out of the band's royalties for "I Cannot Stop You".
The results were impressive, however, and "Day Don't Come" ranks as one of the biggest and brightest productions ever recorded by a Michigan garage rock band. Sounding much like a radio-friendly single tailored for The Buckinghams, the single was selected by Billboard magazine as a top pick hit when it was released, and it raced to the top of the charts in the band's hometown of Saginaw and in other cities across the country. Unfortunately, "Day Don't Come" did not reach its potential nationally because U.S.A. Records filed for bankruptcy shortly after its release.
Listen to "Day Don't Come" by clicking below.