Dr. J's Blog
Rock and Roll History, News & Views
Six new members of the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Internet Hall of Fame were announced on June 1, 2018. In addition, the site also announced this year’s ten Legendary Michigan Songs.
by Gary Johnson
Clarence Clemons may be gone, but he is certainly not forgotten. The Big Man, who passed away on June 18, 2011, at the age of 69, was the most significant member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. This was made abundantly clear in Springsteen’s book, Born To Run, where an entire chapter was devoted to Clemons. Their friendship is also celebrated during each performance of Springsteen on Broadway when a nightly cheer for Clemons rocks the rafters at the Walter Kerr Theatre as Springsteen talks about his late bandmate and performs an acoustic version of “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”, the song that immortalized the Big Man’s importance to the E Street Band.
by Alina Simone with Gary Johnson
Alina Simone’s Madonnaland, was selected by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the Top Ten Music Books of 2016. It was also the very best Michigan rock and roll book of that year as it examined fame and its aftermath through the stories of its three main subjects: Madonna the most successful female recording artist in history; Question Mark and the Mysterians, a Mexican-American band known around the world for their # 1 hit “96 Tears”; and the Flying Wedge, a here-to-fore unknown band, that recorded one of the Michigan’s most mysterious and collectible 45s in 1972.
Simone’s account of the reluctance of Madonna’s hometown, Bay City, Michigan, to appropriately recognize one of the world’s most famous women and the reasons behind it is fascinating. The same goes for the city’s continued acceptance of a little-known song with racially insensitive lyrics as its official anthem rather than the chart-topping hit that was both written and recorded in Bay City in 1966. But according to the reviewer in the New York Times, the highlight of Madonnaland was the final chapter which documented the author’s doggedness in pursuing the unusual story of one of Michigan rock and roll’s most curious recordings. Because of her persistence and ability to track down leads, Simone was finally able to get a handle on the four-decade-long mystery of the Flying Wedge; and her detective work would help lead to the rerelease of the band's rare single in 2017.