Del Shannon’s Baker’s Dozen

The Rock and Roll Trio (John Len, Ron Witucki, and yours truly) decided to take on the songs of Michigan Rock and Roll Legend Del Shannon at our latest get-together. We agreed at a previous meeting to narrow down our favorite Shannon songs to a list of 25. This was probably a little more difficult for John and me to pick just 25, since I think I can safely say we are both major Del Shannon fans.

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Guy Mitchell Was Second Only To Elvis In 1956

Guy Mitchell’s name does not come immediately to mind when you think about Michigan rock and roll. But the popular singer had more # 1 hit singles during the first decade of rock and roll than a host of early Michigan Rock and Roll Legends inductees including Bill Haley And His Comets, Jackie Wilson, Del Shannon, The Marvelettes, Jack Scott, Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, and Mary Wells. 

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Knight Moves: K J Knight Tells All

“And the drummer, he’s so shattered trying to keep on time” - M. Jagger and K. Richards

Sex, drugs, rock and roll, and crime  - it’s the perfect combination for a fast and enjoyable read, and Knight Moves, K J Knight’s memoir of his days as a respected member of Michigan’s music scene, delivers the goods and then some. Born Kenny Mills, the author played drums in a number of bands as a youngster before forming K J Knight and The Knightriders and adopting the stage name that he still uses today. The Knightriders won the 1966 Michigan State Fair Battle of the Bands contest, and for the next two years the band was a popular attraction at teen clubs throughout the state.

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Battle of Mickey’s Big Bop

"Rock 'n' roll smells phony and false.  It is sung, played, and written for the most part by cretinous goons and by means of its almost imbecilic retardation and sly, lewd in plain fact dirty lyrics....it manages to be the martial music of every side-burned delinquent on the face of the earth." - Frank Sinatra

As rock and roll moves through its sixth decade, it’s easy to forget that in the 1950’s it was characterized by government, religious, educational, and media spokespersons as immoral and sinful – and its purveyors as lazy and shiftless juvenile delinquents.

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Best Albums of 2010: Two Views

For this year’s list of the best CDs, I thought it might be interesting to present more than one opinion of what were the year’s finest releases. In this spirit, I invited my long-time friend and fellow music junkie Larry Van Cleve of Harper Woods, MI, to join me in celebrating the best of 2010 by emailing me his list of favorites to put on the site along with my own.

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A**hole of the Year

Have you ever tried to help someone and in the process of doing so, got involved with a third party who manages to turn a positive experience into a somewhat negative one by acting like an asshole?   In this particular case I’m going to define an ‘asshole’ as a company that makes a mistake, won’t admit it, and then proceeds to shift the blame to you. If you dare protest, they claim that they are not responsible for the outcome, and they have the power to put the onus on you to either clean up or pay for the mess they caused.

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Misery - The Who Ripped Off Michigan Artists

It’s hard to imagine that one of the world’s most famous Rock and Roll bands would actually steal a song from a 1963 recording by a little-known Detroit R&B vocal group for its first single, especially when that band contains a songwriter the caliber of Pete Townshend. 

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