Rock n Roll Graffiti is a weekly column spotlighting engaging music personalities. The column stresses not only rock 'n' roll, but blues, jazz, country and folk. Stories feature a nostalgic look at Michigan's stars, local musicians and beloved rock legends, all from a personal, Upper Peninsula perspective. Music memories are recalled with an entertaining presentation of facts, a dash of opinion, and a bit of humor, all meant to bring a smile or nod of acknowledgment from the reader.
If you have a column idea,
suggestions, comments, photos
or would like to share
vintage band information
I BUY U.P. RECORDS!
Michigan's rock history concentrates on the southeastern part of the state, deservedly so. Although the Detroit area produced some great music in the 1960s, the Upper Peninsula's contribution to the rock 'n' roll revolution of the era shouldn't be discounted. Sure the U. P. is isolated and sparsely peopled, with only three percent of the state's population. But, the fact that no band based north of the Mackinac Bridge registered a Top 40 hit in the 1960s was due to a conspiracy of geography, not a lack of quality material. Groups from across the region issued strong 45 rpm singles in their attempts to gain greater recognition and national fame as the rock 'n' roll spirit pervaded the U. P.
There were the Excels and French Church from Marquette, Riot Squad and Prophets of Doom from Escanaba, Rob Kirk and the Word and Renaissance Fair from Sault Ste. Marie, the Henchmen VI and Vigilantes from tiny Ontonagon, Joey Gee and the Come-ons and the Ravelles from Iron Mountain. Menominee had the Benders, Alston had the Rhythm Rockers, Kingsford boasted the Lexington Project, Ironwood contributed Danny and the Galaxies and Houghton touted the Kinetics.
Today, most of these songs are quite hard to come by, but they unashamedly reflect the dreams and aspirations of the the U. P.'s younger generation all those years ago.
So, give a listen and decide for yourself which tunes could have been hits, if only...