Thursday, April 24, 2008
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Detroit Featuring Mitch Ryder
Artist:Detroit Featuring Mitch Ryder
Song:Rock 'N' Roll
Album:Rev Up:The Best Of Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
For a couple of years in the mid-60s, the rockin' soul of Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels scored several chart hits. But Ryder's ill advised attempt to go solo killed his career. Detroit was a last ditch attempt to return to his previous glory. He was born William Levise Jr. Feb. 26, 1945 in Hamtramck, MI. As a teen, he was in the black group The Peps but suffered so much racial harassment that he left and started Billy Lee & The Rivieras. While opening for The Dave Clark Five in 1965, he was spotted by veteran producer Bob Crewe and signed with his DynoVoice label. Apparently Crewe got the name Mitch Ryder out of the phone book. The other members were guitarists James McCarty & Joseph Cubert, bassist Earl Elliot & drummer Johnny "Bee" Badanjak. Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels had several hits in 1966-67 topped by the top five hit Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly. I guess the music is blue eyed soul but more raucous than expected. Crewe convinced Ryder to go solo in 1968 and tried to turn him into a pop crooner with disastrous results. The Detroit Wheels split up. Jim McCarty went on to join the early-70s group Cactus. Ryder signed with Paramount Records and recorded The Detroit/Memphis Experiment with Booker T & The MGs. He formed a new group Detroit in 1972 to salvage his career. Ryder brought drummer John Badanjak with him. Other members were Steve Hunter & Brett Tuggle on guitar, Harry Phillips on organ & W.R. Cooke on bass. It was recorded at Manta Sound in Toronto with producer Bob Ezrin. It's a great record but Paramount was a terrible label and had no clue how to sell it. This version of Lou Reed's Rock 'N' Roll is now considered a classic. Reed liked it so much that he hired Ezrin to produce his album Berlin. Hunter also joined Reed's band and went to Alice Cooper's band with producer Ezrin in 1975. Tuggle has had a long career playing sessions. Ryder started having throat problems and retired from music and moved to Denver in 1973. He has returned occasionally to music most notably when John Cougar Mellancamp produced his 1983 album Never Kick A Sleeping Dog. But he's never been able to rise to the mid-60s heights of Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels. This Rhino comp is perfect. Here's a video of Rock 'N' Roll by Detroit produced and introduced by Detroit DJ Music Mike.