Ch. 3 "Rockin' Around The Clock"

Michigan Rock and Roll History

Ch. 3 “Rockin’ Around The Clock”

Two technological advances would prove to be vital to the rise of what would become rock and roll. The first was the development of the electric guitar. Invented in the early 1930s, it was first adopted by jazz guitarists, who wanted to play single-note solos in large big band ensembles. The popularity of the electric guitar grew through the efforts of early proponents including Les Paul, Lonnie Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, T-Bone Walker, Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Minnie, and Arthur Crudup. By the 1950s, the electric guitar had become the most important instrument in popular music.

Read more ...

Ch. 2 "Michigan Hillbillies"

Michigan Rock and Roll History

Ch. 2 – “Michigan Hillbillies”

Because of the auto industry, Detroit's population had expanded to 1.6 million by 1940, making it the fourth largest city in the United States. The city continued to be a magnet for newcomers until the early 1950s, when the city's population peaked at nearly two million. Some of the newcomers were attracted to the city’s emerging hillbilly music scene, a term that was commonly used to categorize a wide variety of styles including country and western, bluegrass, and even some forms of gospel.

Read more ...

Ch. 1 "We're Gonna Rock"

Michigan’s Rock and Roll History

Ch 1 - "We’re Gonna Rock"

My goal is to write about the important role that Michigan played in the history of rock and roll. The first chapter will include some information about the term “rock and roll” and how it was used over the years. It will also cover some early recordings by artists that were the roots of that music, and you will have the opportunity to enjoy two recordings by Michigan artists that are considered by some music historians to be among the first rock and roll songs.

In addition, this and subsequent chapters will explore how and why Michigan became an important rock and roll center. This will be done by examining a number of early artists associated with our state and, in so doing, also look at the record labels, songwriters, recording studios, and backing musicians that helped make it all happen.

Read more ...

Band Canyon: Fallouts, Del Raes, and Shepherds

Formed in the early 1960s during a period of uncertainty that gripped Michigan and the rest of the nation over the Cold War threat of a possible Russian nuclear attack; the band members would go on to weather three name changes and numerous shifts in both membership and musical direction. Being a little older than most of the bands playing in the teen music scene, they partied hard and used their unique brand of showmanship to become one of the most popular and frequently booked groups at Band Canyon and other teen clubs around the state.

Read more ...

Band Canyon: Lost Bands

The emergence of The Beatles and the other British Invasion bands prompted the formation of countless young bands in Bay City and in other communities all across the state. Band Canyon and the other teen clubs that sprouted up in Michigan around the same time provided an opportunity for these fledgling groups to play in front of large gatherings of their peers.

Read more ...

Band Canyon: Battle of the Bangs

Inspired by The Beatles, Bay City Central students John Hale (vocals) and Tom Smith (keyboards) started playing music together. By the start of 1965, they had put together a band called 'The Epics' and signed on with Bill Kehoe and Delta Promotions who began managing and booking the group – most often at Kehoe's Band Canyon teen club in Bay City. Hale and Smith would become figures of controversy during the fall of 1965, however, when the length of their hair became a disciplinary issue at Bay City Central High School and the subject of numerous stories in the Bay City Times.

Read more ...

Best Albums of 2019 - Two Views

For the 11th consecutive year, two music junkies share our thoughts as to what we considered to be the best releases of the past year. 

Read more ...