Music of Detroit

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The Fillmore Detroit hosts the annual Detroit Music Awards in April.

This article discusses the Music of Detroit, Michigan. World renowned for its Detroit Symphony Orchestra and music celebrities, the area has a long and rich heritage, including several Platinum artists in different genres whose recordings had surpassed forty million copies by the year 2000.[1][2]

Historical background[edit]

The Detroit area's diverse population includes French, Belgian, German, Irish, Hispanic, Polish, Greek, Italian, Middle Eastern, and Black populations, with each adding its rich cultural traditions.[3] Following the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression impacted the nation.[4] Detroit's former "Black Bottom" area, a district on the city's east side, became nationally famous for its music; major blues singers, big bands, and jazz artists—such as Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstine, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie—regularly performed in the night clubs of Paradise Valley entertainment district. In 1941, the city's Orchestra Hall was named Paradise Theatre. In the 1960s, "Black Bottom" was demolished and replaced with the upscale Lafayette Park.[5]

The east necklace of downtown links Grand Circus and the stadium area to Greektown along Broadway. The east necklace contains a sub-district sometimes called the Harmonie Park District in the Broadway Avenue Historic District which has preserved part of the renowned legacy of Detroit's music from the 1930s through the 1950s and into the present.[6] The historic Harmonie Club and Harmonie Centre are located along Broadway. The Harmonie Park area ends near Gratiot and Randolph. The Detroit Opera House is located at Broadway and Grand Circus. Near the Opera House, and emanating from Grand Circus along the east necklace, are other venues including the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts and the Gem Theatre and Century Club.


The Detroit blues scene in the 1940s and 1950s was centred on clubs and bars along Hastings Street and featured artists on the local JVB and Sensation labels such as Eddie "Guitar" Burns, John Lee Hooker, Bobo Jenkins, Boogie Woogie Red, Doctor Ross, Baby Boy Warren and Washboard Willie.


Actress and gospel singer Della Reese

Detroit has produced some of the most famous gospel singers in past decades. In the 1940s, Oliver Green formed The Detroiters, who became one of the most popular Gospel groups of the their era. In the 1950s, Laura Lee and a young Della Reese began their long and distinguished careers coming out of the Meditations Singers, indisputably the premier Detroit-based, female gospel group of that era. Theirs was the first Motor City act to introduce instrumental backing to traditional a cappella vocals. Della joined the ranks of the gospel elite in Detroit, while Mattie Moss Clark is believed to be the first to introduce three part harmony into gospel choral music.

In the 1960s, the Reverend CL Franklin found success with his recorded sermons on Chess Record's gospel label and with an album of spirituals recorded at his New Bethel Baptist Church included the debut of his young daughter, grammy award winner Aretha Franklin.[1]

In the 1980s, the Winans dynasty produced Grammy winners Cece and BeBe Winans. Other notable gospel acts include Bill Moss & The Celestials—The Brother of Mattie Moss Clark, Father of J Moss and Bill Moss, Jr. & Uncle of The Clark Sisters, J Moss, Bill Moss, Jr., The Clark Sisters, Rance Allen Group, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Thomas Whitfield, Byron Cage and Fred Hammond.


As the Jazz Age began, Detroit quickly emerged as an important musical center, standing alongside New Orleans, Chicago, and St. Louis. Among the musicians who relocated to Detroit were drummer William McKinney, who formed the seminal big band McKinney's Cotton Pickers with the great arranger, bandleader and composer, Don Redman.

Through the 1950s, Detroit was one of America's most important jazz centers.[7] Musicians from Detroit who achieved international recognition include Elvin Jones, Hank Jones, Thad Jones, Howard McGhee, Tommy Flanagan, Lucky Thompson, Louis Hayes, Barry Harris, Paul Chambers, Yusef Lateef, Marcus Belgrave, Milt Jackson, Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter, Curtis Fuller, Julius Watkins, Hugh Lawson, Frank Foster, Doug Watkins, Sir Roland Hanna, Donald Byrd, Kenn Cox, George "Sax" Benson, Sonny Stitt, Alice Coltrane, Dorothy Ashby, Roy Brooks, Phil Ranelin, Faruq Z. Bey, Jaribu Shahid, Hakim Jami, Pepper Adams, Tani Tabal, Charles McPherson, Frank Gant, Billy Mitchell, Kirk Lightsey, Lonnie Hillyer, James Carter, Geri Allen, Ralph Armstrong, Ali Jackson Jr., Rick Margitza, Kenny Garrett, Betty Carter, Sippie Wallace, Robert Hurst, Geri Allen, Rodney Whitaker, Clarence Penn, Karriem Riggins, Harold McKinney, Ray McKinney, and Carlos McKinney.

Other significant players who spent part of their career in Detroit include Benny Carter, Joe Henderson, Wardell Gray, Grant Green and Don Moye. As this list reflects, Detroit musicians were major contributors to the Hard-bop and post-bop styles, especially in the rhythm sections that drove the classic groups of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and contributions to the bands of Charles Mingus, Horace Silver and The Jazz Messengers.

Venues in Detroit today include The Hot Club of Detroit, founded 2003 at Wayne State University.[8]


Detroit has been the home to several pop icons including Margaret Whiting, Sonny Bono and Suzi Quatro, who is most famous for her role as Leather Tuscadero on the hit 1970s TV show Happy Days.[1]

1st Dan Schafer RCA single US & Canada promo

The 70s brought us great 'pop' listening rooms in the Detroit & surrounding area. The Olde World Cafe in Bloomfield Hills, The Wagon Wheel in Troy, the Inn Between in Pontiac, Your Moustache in Dearborn, the Peanut Barrel, Huddle-North & Lizard's Underground[9] in Lansing & East Lansing were homes to such acts as Feather Canyon, Paddlefoot, Tom Powers, Dan Schafer,[10] Travis, Stratton-Nelson, Tom Powers & Desserts.

In the 1980s one of the most famous pop icons of all time emerged onto the scene: Madonna. Although Madonna was born and spent her early summers in Bay City, she was raised outside of Detroit, in Rochester (about 35 miles from Detroit itself) and went to the University of Michigan on a dance scholarship. Several of Madonna's early hits were co-written by ex-boyfriend and fellow Detroit Native Stephen Bray.

Also during the 1980s, Detroit pop rockers Was (Not Was) breakthrough album What Up, Dog? spawned two Top 20 hits with the songs "Spy in the House of Love" and "Walk the Dinosaur."

During the 1990s, pop star Aaliyah (1979-2001) was raised in Detroit and graduated from the Detroit School of Arts. Aaliyah was also the niece of former Detroit politician Barry Hankerson and soul singer Gladys Knight.[1] She had several hit songs including the No. 1 hit "Try Again" in 2000.

Aaliyah was not the only Detroit School of Arts graduate to go on to musical success; since her graduation Teairra Marí has built an impressive career including her hit single "Make Her Feel Good" in 2005.

R&B/Soul (Fortune & Motown Records)[edit]

One of the highlights of Detroit's musical history was the success of Motown Records during the 1960s and early 1970s.[1] In the late 1950s the label originally known as Tamla Records was founded by auto plant worker Berry Gordy and became home to some of the most popular recording acts in the world. These included Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Edwin Starr, Little Willie John, The Contours and The Spinners.[11][12]

However, before Motown became a major force, Detroit was already well on its way to being a R&B and soul hotbed. In 1955, the influential soul singer Little Willie John made his debut; while in 1956, the Detroit based R&B label Fortune Records enjoyed success with Nolan Strong & The Diablos. The Diablos, in the mid-to-late '50s were the hottest vocal group in Detroit, thanks to the group's hit songs "The Wind," "Mind Over Matter" and "The Way You Dog Me Around." Smokey Robinson noted in his biography that Strong's high tenor was his biggest vocal influence. Strong is remembered on the 2010 album Daddy Rockin Strong: A Tribute to Nolan Strong & The Diablos - a tribute compilation that features current rock and roll bands covering Diablos songs. The album was compiled and released by The Wind Records and Norton Records.

Also In 1956, notable blues and R&B singer Zeffrey "Andre" Williams recorded a string of singles for Fortune, including the song "Bacon Fat." Knowing that he couldn't compete with the voice of labelmate Nolan Strong, Andre chose to talk-sing the song. In 1961, Nathaniel Mayer & Fabulous Twilights hit the charts with "Village of Love," which became one of Fortune's top selling singles. Mayer recorded a string of popular 45s for Fortune, even once performing on Dick Clark's American Bandstand.

In 1959, The Falcons, (featuring Wilson Pickett and Eddie Floyd), released "You're So Fine", considered the first true Soul record. Also that year, Jackie Wilson had his first hit with "Reet Petite", which was co-written by a young Berry Gordy Jr.. The Volumes had hit single in 1962 for Chex Records with the single "I Love You". That Same year singer/songwriter Barbara Lewis had a hit with the single "Hello Stranger.", while Gino Washington had cross-racial appeal and achieved Midwest hits in 1963 and 1964 with "Out of This World" and "Gino Is a Coward".

Several other Detroit artists became nationally known without the help of Motown. One such artists was Aretha Franklin. Other non-Motown acts included The Capitols with their 1966 hit "Cool Jerk" and Darrel Banks with "Baby Walk Right in." The following year, J.J Barnes had his biggest hit with "Baby Please Come Back Home."

In 1967, longtime back room barbershop doo wop group The Parliaments, featuring George Clinton, scored a hit with "I Wanna Testify" for Revilot Records, and marked the beginning of funk in mainstream R&B. Due to legal issues with Revilot Records, Clinton changed the name of The Parliaments in 1968 to Funkadelic and scored a hit with the song ""A New Day Begins." Then in 1970; after Clinton reclaimed the rights to their original name, he change the groups name once again to simply Parliament and had a minor hit with "The Breakdown.". However, with the constant name and lineup changes the group became known as simply P-Funk which is short for Parliament-Funkadelic.

Berry Gordy House, known as Motown Mansion in Detroit's Boston-Edison Historic District[13]

In 1967, Berry Gordy purchased what is now known as Motown Mansion in Detroit's Boston-Edison Historic District.[13] Motown Records located on the West coast 1972, yet Detroit remained an R&B epicenter with several acts hat had hit songs such as Freda Payne, The Floaters, Enchantment, Ray Parker Jr.; both solo and with his group Raydio, One Way, Oliver Cheatham, Cherrelle, The Jones Girls, Anita Baker, BeBe & CeCe Winans and a band noted for imitating the Minneapolis sound made popular by Prince, Ready For The World. It should be noted that Ready For The World was from neighboring auto city Flint, Michigan.

In 1969 The Flaming Ember had several hits for Hot Wax Records, a Detroit-based record label created by the Holland/Dozier/Holland song writing team in 1968 after they left Motown Records. The following year Chairmen of the Board had the first hit for Hot Wax with "Give Me Just a Little More Time."

During the disco craze of the late 1970s, Detroit artists had their fair share of dance hits. In 1975, Stevie Wonder's drummer Hamilton Bohannon had a hit with Foot Stompin' Music, while Donald Byrd & The Blackbyrds infused jazz with dance friendly elements that produced the song "Change (Makes You Wanna Hustle)". In 1977 Brainstorm & C. J. & Company each had soul driven dance hits.

In 1978, George Clinton's bass player Bootsy Collins had a top charting hit with Bootzilla. George Clinton and his band Parliament-Funkadelic is often cited as being a direct influence on the future Detroit Techno scene that emerged in the early 1980s

Rock and roll[edit]


Detroit has a long and rich history associated with rock and roll. In 1954 Hank Ballard & the Midnighters crossed over from the R&B charts to the pop charts with "Work With Me, Annie." The song nearly broke into the elite top 20 despite being barred from airplay on many stations due to its suggestive lyrics. In 1955, Detroit-native Bill Haley ushered in the rock and roll era with the release of "Rock Around The Clock."[14]

In the late 1950s rockabilly guitarist Jack Scott had a string of top 40 hits. First, in 1957 with "Leroy", then in 1958 with the hits "My True Love" and "With Your Love" and then twice again in 1959 with the hits "Goodbye Baby" and "The Way I Walk." Scott was one of the first musicians to marry country music's melodic song craft to the dangerous, raw power of rock and roll.[14]


In 1959 Hank Ballard & The Midnighters had a minor hit with their b-side song "The Twist". A cover by Philadelphia native Chubby Checker followed in 1960. His single became a smash hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and started a national dance craze. Also in 1960, Jack Scott had his final top 10 hits with "What In The World's Come Over You" and "Burning Bridges."

The following year, legendary Michigan rocker Del Shannon had his own No. 1 hit in March 1961 with the song "Runaway". This was followed by the top 10 hits "Hats Off to Larry" in June 1961 and "Little Town Flirt" in 1962. In 1964, Detroit's one-hit wonders The Reflections had their own Top 10 hit single with "(Just Like) Romeo and Juliet".[14]

By 1964, teen clubs around Metro Detroit such as the Fifth Dimension in Ann Arbor and the Hideout off of 8 Mile Road and Harper Road, were a hotbed for young and promising garage rock bands such as The Underdogs, The Fugitives, Unrelated Segments, Terry Knight and the Pack (which featured Don Brewer), ASTIGAFA (which featured a young Marshall Crenshaw), The Lords (featuring a young Ted Nugent), The Pleasure Seekers (which featured a young Suzi Quatro), Four of Us and the Mushrooms (which both featured Glenn Frey), Sky (which featured a young Doug Fieger), and blue eyed soul rockers the Rationals.[14]

During the heyday of the Hideout in 1965, Doug Brown and the Omens, financed by Del Shannon, cut Bob Seger's first known official recording "TGIF"/"First Girl." Bob Seger would later form his band known as The Last Heard while Brown produced Seger's regional blockbuster albums "East Side Story," and "Heavy Music."[14]

1965 also Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels had a national top 10 hit with "Jenny Take A Ride!" and then again the following year in 1966 with "Devil With A Blue Dress On"/"Good Golly, Miss Molly." Also in 1966, Flint's Question Mark & the Mysterians (which featured Mel Schacher) had a No. 1 hit with "96 Tears." Finally, in 1967, Detroit blues-rock outfit the Woolies had a regional smash hit with the Bo Diddley song "Who Do You Love?".[14]

In the late 1960s, Metro Detroit was the epicenter for high-energy rock music with the MC5 and Iggy and the Stooges.[15][16] Then in 1968, the Metro Detroit rock scene witnessed an extraordinary transformation into something that was purely raw, rough, and messy. This sound was rock & roll but was also equal parts anger, determination and attitude spawning a unique high-energy rock scene in antithesis to Motown and the more mellow bands popular on the east and west coasts.[14] This new found high-energy rock was no truer than with the MC5 (Motor City Five) and the protopunk Iggy & the Stooges. These two bands laid the groundwork for the future punk and hard rock movements in the late 1970s.[citation needed] Other notable bands from this time frame included Alice Cooper, The Amboy Dukes (featuring Ted Nugent), The Bob Seger System, Frijid Pink, SRC, The Up, The Frost (featuring Dick Wagner), Popcorn Blizzard (featuring Meat Loaf), Cactus and the soulful sounds of Rare Earth and The Flaming Ember. Much of the music scene during this time was centered around the legendary Grande Ballroom and its owner Russ Gibb.[17]

As the pure sonic force of the Detroit rock scene drove on into the close of the decade, in 1969 a magazine based in and around Detroit known as CREEM: "America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine," was started by Barry Kramer and founding editor Tony Reay. CREEM is known as the first publication to coin the words "punk rock" and "heavy metal" and featured such famous editors such as Rob Tyner, Jaan Uhelszki, Patti Smith, Cameron Crowe and Lester Bangs, who is often cited as "America's Greatest Rock Critic,".

Outside of the Energy Rock scene, Detroit in the 60's also contributed to the national folk scene with southeastern Michigan native Phil Ochs, who would become important to the Greenwich Village folksters and who was the most fiery song-writer of all the folk-revivalists; Detroit was also home for a few years to the then unknown Joni Mitchell. Fortune Records also released numerous "Hillbilly" Americana folk records in this period.


Rock singer Bob Seger

During the 1970s, many of the Metro Detroit acts grew into international rock icons such as Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Grand Funk Railroad, Glenn Frey of The Eagles.[1] Along with one hit wonders Brownsville Station and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Detroit became well known for its rock & roll prowess. The city was also immortalized during this time by such songs as Detroit Rock City by Kiss, Detroit Breakdown by The J. Geils Band and Panic in Detroit by David Bowie.

After the breakup of the MC5 and The Stooges in the early 1970s, the Detroit area's musical braintrust transformed into several acts that created much notoriety. These acts included rock acts such as Sonic's Rendezvous Band (featuring Fred "Sonic" Smith of the MC5, Scott Morgan of The Rationals, Scott Ashton of The Stooges), the band simply called Detroit, which featured Mitch Ryder on vocals and Johnny "Bee" Badanjek on drums. Later, Mitch Ryder bowed out of the band Detroit and was replaced by Rusty Day, the Rockets Jim McCarty on guitar and Johnny "Bee" Badanjek on drums, and punk bands Coldcock, The Ramrods (punk band), and The Sillies. Two groups came from below the radar to a peak of influence four decades after their activity: Destroy All Monsters (band) and Death (band). Destroy All Monsters, featured artists Niagara, Mike Kelley, Carey Loren and Jim Shaw as well as Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton in its later incarnation. Formed in 1971, Death is now recognized as the first all African American punk band.

Of the late 1960s, Detroit rock bands that went on to break new ground in the emerging punk scene with their songs Slash Your Face and Fed Up, were The Dogs, (who also penned the song John Rock and Roll Sinclair in 1970 as a protest to free former MC5 manager John Sinclair from Jackson prison), and featuring Loren Molinare on guitar and Ron Wood on drums.[citation needed] Also during this time, Detroit area native Deniz Tek was creating the punk band Radio Birdman in Australia in the mold of classic Detroit rock bands of the MC5 and The Stooges.[17]


During the 1980s & 1990s, metro Detroit rock bands that had minor to major attention and/or critical acclaim include The Gories, The White Stripes, The Dirtbombs, The Von Bondies, The Rockets, The Hentchmen, Electric Six, Sponge, Big Chief, Goober and the Peas, Broken Toys, Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise, Adrenalin, His Name Is Alive, Brendan Benson, Demolition Dollrods, Kid Rock, The Sights, and ska-punk band The Suicide Machines.


Most recently Detroit based LETRICKRAMER recorded the song and filmed the video Detroit City in honor of their home town Detroit.


The Detroit suburbs were the location of one of the first important hardcore punk scenes that swept underground America in the early 1980s. By the end of 1981 the new style sometimes known as "Midwest Hardcore" had exploded across North America and Detroit was one of several important regional centers fostering its spread.[18]

One key event in the birth of the Detroit scene was the screening of the documentary film The Decline of Western Civilization at the Punch & Judy theater in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. Hundreds of Detroit kids saw in its portrayal of the west coast punk scene something that suited their own situation perfectly and quickly dedicated themselves to bringing this new subculture to bloom in Detroit.[19] Two of the earliest Suburban Detroit hardcore punk bands were the Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan band The Holes and Grosse Pointe Park band Degenerates.[20]

The Detroit scene was not an isolated phenomenon but also the focus for a number of sister scenes throughout Michigan and northern Ohio. The major hardcore bands of this early regional scene included Lansing, Michigan's The Meatmen,Springfield Michigans Latin Dogs Kalamazoo, Michigan's Violent Apathy,[21] Spite,[22] and The Crucifucks, Toledo, Ohio's Necros, and Detroit's Negative Approach.[23]

1980s - 1990s[edit]

During this period, the Detroit hardcore scene become most important over the years for Touch and Go Records, which was started in Lansing, Michigan by Tesco Vee and Dave Stinson as a popular local fanzine also started this small hardcore label then moved to Washington, D.C. and finally on to Chicago.[24]

Many small clubs popped up hosting hardcore bands. The Golden Gate, The Falcon Lounge, the Freezer Theater, Kurt Kohls' Asylum, and The Hungry Brain (named after the club in the movie the "The Nutty Professor"). A crucial venue for hardcore fans in Detroit was known as Clutch Cargo's, named after a limited-animation TV series. It featured such bands as Black Flag, Fear, X, and the Dead Kennedys, who played the venue while on tour, while the Necros, Negative Approach, L-Seven (not to be confused with L7) and other local and nearby regional bands also appeared. A present club sharing the same name exists today, but in Pontiac, Michigan and with a different booking policy. The venue was formerly located in a large, former athletic club in Detroit. As Clutch Cargo's often had shows for 18+ fans, many younger hardcore fans either never attended the site due to age, or even knew of it due to their tardy introduction to the subgenre.[18]

The Hungry Brain, situated in a former second-hand store in Delray, Detroit, had been forced to relocate several times and by 1985 found a permanent home at a run down old hall on Michigan Avenue deep in the city of Detroit called The Graystone. Bands that started at the Hungry Brain, like political hardcore stalwarts Forced Anger,[25] often opened for many West Coast touring punk bands, including 7 Seconds, T.S.O.L and Minor Threat, at the Graystone. The band published the fanzine, "Placebo Effect", which produced several compilation tapes featuring upstart punk bands from all over Michigan. For several years the vast majority of all hardcore bands that toured anywhere within a 250 mile radius of Detroit played at least one gig at The Graystone. Many of these gigs were captured by Back Porch Video, a video project of Dearborn public schools run by Russ Gibb (DJ of "Paul is Dead" rumor fame and previously known as the impresario of the Grande Ballroom) and aired on local public-access television cable TV.[18]

Throughout this time Detroit was a mecca for hardcore punk bands. The band Cold As Life developed a loyal following right up to their demise in 2001, even surviving the murder of their frontman Rawn Beauty. Other important bands of that time period were the Almighty Lumberjacks of Death (A.L.D.), fronted by the charismatic and deep voiced Jimmy Doom. A.L.D. always filled the house opening up for all the heavy hitting punk stars of the time (Social Distortion, Circle Jerks, etc.)at venues such as St. Andrew's Hall and Blondies.[19]

The 1980s also saw Marshall Crenshaw, actually from Berkley, about 12 miles from Detroit, attain some fame with his releases on Warner Bros. and an appearance as Buddy Holly in the film La Bamba. His hit "Someday, Someway" made the Top 40 in both Billboard and Cash Box in 1982, though the song was released in 1981.


Detroit has been cited as the birthplace of techno music.[26][27] Prominent Detroit Techno artists include Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Carl Craig and Dakim Sadiq. The template for a new style of dance music (that by the mid to late 1980s was being referred to as techno) was primarily developed by four individuals, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May ("The Belleville Three"), and Eddie Fowlkes, all of whom attended high school together at Belleville High School, near Detroit, Michigan. By the close of the 1980s the four had operated under various guises: Atkins as Model 500, Flintstones, and Magic Juan; Fowlkes simply as Eddie "Flashin" Fowlkes; Saunderson as Reese, Keynotes, and Kaos; with May using the aliases Mayday, R-Tyme, and Rhythim Is Rhythim. There were also a number of joint ventures, the most commercially successful of which was the Atkins and Saunderson (with James Pennington) collaboration on the first Inner City single Big Fun. Prior to achieving notoriety the budding musicians, mix tape traders, and aspiring DJ's [28] found inspiration in Midnight Funk Association, an eclectic, 5-hour, late-night radio program hosted on various Detroit radio stations including WCHB, WGPR, and WJLB-FM from 1977 through the mid-1980s by DJ Charles "The Electrifying Mojo" Johnson.[29] Mojo's show featured heavy doses of electronic sounds from the likes of Giorgio Moroder, Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream alongside the funk of Parliament and the new wave sounds of the B-52s.[30]

Of the four individuals responsible for establishing techno as a genre in its own right, it is Juan Atkins who is recognized as the originator; indeed in 1995 American music technology publication Keyboard Magazine honored Atkins as one of "12 Who Count" in the history of keyboard music (this is remarkable considering Detroit techno was still relatively unknown in the United States at that time despite its notoriety in Europe). In the early 1980s Atkins began recording with musical partner Richard "3070" Davis (and later with a third member Jon-5) as Cybotron. This trio released a number of electro inspired tunes, the best known of which is "Clear". Eventually, Atkins started producing his own music under the pseudonym Model 500, and in 1985 he established the record label Metroplex. In the same year he released a seminal work entitled "No UFO's" which, in terms of its aesthetic values, is credited by many as the first Detroit techno production. Another earlier track that is often cited is A Number of Names' Sharevari.

Electro-disco tracks share with techno a dependence on machine-generated beats and dancefloor popularity. However, the comparisons remain contentious; as do the efforts to regress further into the past to find antecedents. The logical extension of this rationale entails a further regression: to the sequenced electronic music of Raymond Scott (The Rhythm Modulator, The Bass-Line Generator, and IBM Probe, being remarkable examples of techno-like music).[31] Simply put, all music which is or was electronic is not techno. With the exception of Atkins if you asked these artists what genre of music they were making it would be the style of the day. The word techno was first referenced in Cybotron's 1984 release "Techno City" on Fantasy Records.

Hip hop[edit]

Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem

According to Insane Clown Posse member Violent J, Detroit's hip hop scene is not signified by rap battles and waiting to be discovered by a major label, but by independently building up successful business empires, as local rapper Esham did with Reel Life Productions, and Insane Clown Posse did with Psychopathic Records.[32] Esham, Insane Clown Posse and Kid Rock were the first Detroit rappers to gain major notice, though like Eminem, their early careers were primarily suburban-based.[33][34] Eminem, the hip hop artist with the highest cumulative sales, was discovered by Dr. Dre. Dr. Dre also promoted D12 and Obie Trice. Most recent successful acts include producer J Dilla and rappers Royce Da 5'9", Trick-Trick, Slum Village, Big Sean, Doughboyz Cashout, Black Milk, Chuck Inglish of The Cool Kids, Danny Brown, Street Lordz Chedda Boyz, Eastside Chedda Boyz, and Bei Maejor.[1][35]


Orchestra Hall on Woodward Avenue

The city's theatre venue circuit is the nation's second largest after New York City, with eighteen professional theaters.[36][37] The city is home to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Opera House. Major theaters include the Fox Theatre, Masonic Temple Theatre, Fisher Theatre, The Fillmore Detroit, Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, St. Andrews Hall, The Shelter, The Majestic Theatre, The Magic Stick, The Garden Bowl, Club Of Faith detroit underground, Detroit Repertory Theatre, Blondie's, Harpo's Concert Theatre and the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Along with Wayne State University's Hillberry, Bonstelle, and Studio Theatres

The metropolitan Detroit area boasts two of the top live music venues in the U.S. DTE Energy Music Theater (formerly Pine Knob) was the most attended summer venue in the U.S. in 2005 for the fifteenth consecutive year, while The Palace of Auburn Hills ranked twelfth, according to music industry source Pollstar.[38]

Suburban Detroit is also home to a handful of great live music venues, including Clutch Cargo's (Pontiac), The Magic Bag (Ferndale), The Crofoot (Pontiac), The Historic Eagle Theater (Pontiac), The Blind Pig (Ann Arbor) The Ritz (Roseville MI 1980-1995, Warren MI 2006–present), Smalls (Hamtramck), The Emerald Theatre (Mt. Clemens), High Octane—formerly, the more successful, Static Age (Romeo), Royal Oak Music Theatre (Royal Oak) .

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame[edit]

As of 2007, fifteen groups or solo artists, four non performers, and two sidemen who are connected with the Detroit area have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame including Detroit-native Bill Haley, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Jackie Wilson, the Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Hank Ballard, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight & The Pips, John Lee Hooker, Alice Cooper, Wilson Pickett, Martha & The Vandellas, Little Willie John, Parliament-Funkadelic, James Jamerson, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Bob Seger, Glenn Frey, The Stooges, Berry Gordy and Patti Smith.[39]


Notable artists[edit]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ Gavrilovich, Peter and Bill McGraw (2006). The Detroit Almanac, 2nd edition. Detroit Free Press. ISBN 978-0-937247-48-8. 
  3. ^ Baulch, Vivian M. (September 4, 1999). Michigan's greatest treasure – Its people. Michigan History, The Detroit News. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  4. ^ Bond, Marilyn and S. R. Boland. (2002). The Birth of Detroit Sound: 1940–1964 (Images of America Series). ISBN 0738520330. 
  5. ^ Vivian Baulch (August 7, 1996).Paradise Valley and Black Bottom.Detroit News, Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  6. ^ Harmonie Park District.Retrieved on August 23, 2009.
  7. ^ Bjorn, Lars (2001). Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit 1920-60. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-06765-6. 
  8. ^ Jazz Improv 2007- Volume 7, Issues 1-2 - Page 209 "The Hot Club of Detroit was founded four years ago at Wayne State University and since that time has gone on to take first place in the 2004 Detroit International Jazz Festival competition and win the 2006 Detroit Music Award for "Outstanding ...
  9. ^ "Lizards Underground-East Lansing, Michigan". Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  10. ^ "Dan Schafer-"Baby, Now that I’ve found you"". Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  11. ^ Hirshey, Gerri (1994). Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80581-2. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ a b "". Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Carson, David A. (2005). Noise, and Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock 'n' Roll. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-11503-0. 
  15. ^ Harrington, Joe (2002). Sonic Cool: The Life and Death of Rock'N'Roll. Hal Leonard. ISBN 0-634-02861-8. , p. 251.
  16. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir and Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, John Bush (2002). All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul (3rd Ed.). Hal Leonard: Backbeat Books. ISBN 0-87930-653-X. 
  17. ^ a b McNeil, Legs (2006). Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-4264-8. 
  18. ^ a b c Rettman, Tony (2008). "Michigan hardcore pioneers Violent Apathy reunite for shows". Swindle (issue 12). 
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References and further reading[edit]

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