Tag Archives: Detroit

Football – Marvin and Me

Gaye was loyal to Detroit teams and even wanted to become a professional football player with the Lions in 1970 after the death of his singing partner Tammi Terrell left him depressed and confused about his role in the music industry. The singer had never played football before in his life, but he was confident he could become just as big a star on the field as he was in the recording studio. Former Lions cornerback Lem Barney told the LA Times of Coach Joe Schmidt’s first interaction with the newly bulked-up Gaye: “If I could sing like you, I certainly wouldn’t want to play football,” he had said. With the weight of Gaye’s music career also resting on the tryout, Schmidt decided the singer was too much of a liability. The beginning of this video shows Marvin and his father discussing football.

Would-be teammates Barney and running back Mel Farr provided backing vocals on subsequent, politically charged hit “What’s Going On.” http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=10503

My own football story starts with living on the lakeshore of Lake Ontario in Mimico, small village in Toronto, Ontario. I was infatuated with football and dreamed about it at night. My dreams included me playing (remember I am a female writing this) and being great at it! We lived in the same building as Toronto Argonaut Dave Mann (David Carl Mann (June 2, 1932 – May 22, 2012) was a professional American-born Canadian punter in the NFL and CFL.

Dave Mann
Dave Mann
Dave used to let me come to his penthouse apartment and play with his three poodles. Sometimes he would invite me to come and have cereal. I was a huge fan of Dave’s and I was given my very own mini football to play with. I found this lovely story about Dave here:

By: Joseph Hall Sports Reporter, Published on Wed May 23 2012

Dave Mann would kick the football so high that it was anyone’s guess when it might come down to earth.“It would take two days to come out of the sky it seemed,” says John Henry Jackson, a former Toronto Argonaut teammate and friend of Mann’s for more than half a century.
“He was the greatest kicker I’ve ever seen.” Mann, who soared in many roles with the Double Blue and was voted to the “All-Time Argos” team in 2005, died Tuesday in a Toronto nursing home at 79. He is being mourned by the likes of comedian and television star Bill Cosby, who became friends with Mann during his days a soul food restaurateur in Toronto in the 1970s.

Cosby has expressed interest in performing a benefit for Mann’s family later this year, says Jackson, who partnered with his former teammate in opening the venerable Underground Railroad restaurant in 1969.

The Underground Railroad was the only soul food restaurant in Toronto and was very successful. Dave and his partners put their names in cement at the second location for the restaurant and they are still there. The location was most recently a fantastic furniture store but their lease ended and it will soon become another condo or something.

Canadian Radio-the blackest white station in America

While looking for images for CHUM Radio I found out that Canadian radio station CKLW from Windsor (right across the river from Detroit) made the Motown label popular. It is best known for having been one of the most influential Top 40 stations in the world in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Rosalie Trombley, CKLW’s Music Director during the station’s ‘60s and ‘70s heyday, picked the songs that aired on the station’s Top 40 format, automatically gave those tunes instant hit status because of the station’s massive reach over several states and much of Southern Ontario.

Fred Sorrell, CKLW’s General Manager from 1969 to 1972, said Trombley’s major contribution was exposing Motown artists to a largely white audience. He told the Windsor Star that “it was through Rosalie that Motown was heard in places in the U.S. south where radio programmers wouldn’t play it.” For no other reason than that, he said, she should go into Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. http://www.broadcasting-history.ca

Glory years CKLW
The station did well thanks to its huge signal, and beat the local competition in Cleveland, Ohio, though in the local Detroit ratings CKLW still lagged well behind competing hit outlet WKNR. In July 1967, CKLW claimed the number one spot in the Detroit ratings for the first time, and WKNR was left in the dust, switching to an easy listening format.

The station had strong talent behind the scenes as well, most notably longtime music director Rosalie Trombley, who ascended to that position in 1968 after having worked as the station’s music librarian for five years and became famous for her apparent hit record-spotting abilities. Trombley consciously made an effort to choose the right R&B and soul songs (especially Motown product) to create a station that would appeal equally to black and white listeners. As a result, CKLW was sometimes referred to as “the blackest white station in America”, and many believe the integrated music mix helped bring Detroiters closer together in racial harmony, especially after the riots of July 1967. For many younger listeners by 1978, CKLW was the station they listened to only if they had an AM-only radio in their cars.

The Windsor-based station maintained a sales office in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Michigan, where it picked up numerous sponsors for U.S. consumer products, some of which had to use the disclaimer and live announcer end-tag “Not available in Ontario”. CKLW Station Identifications circa 60’s 70’s

CKLW’s newscasts were acknowledged for more than just their “flash,” however—the station won an Edward R. Murrow Award for its coverage of the 1967 riots, helmed by Dick Smyth. This was the first time that this particular award had ever been given to a Canadian broadcaster. With the Canadian government introducing Canadian content regulations and new format “album play” FM stations, CKLW slowly met it demise and became an easy listening station and now known as CKLW — The Information Station
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CKLW

music for the times 1967

Gordon Lightfoot Black Day in July
An anthem that defined the summer of 67 in Detroit

The other Detroit

Black day in July
Motor city madness has touched the countryside
And through the smoke and cinders
You can hear it far and wide
The doors are quickly bolted
And the children locked inside
Black day in July
Black day in July
And the soul of Motor City is bared across the land
As the book of law and order is taken in the hands
Of the sons of the fathers who were carried to this land

Black day in July
Black day in July
In the streets of Motor City is a deadly silent sound
And the body of a dead youth lies stretched upon the ground
Upon the filthy pavement
No reason can be found

Black day in July
Black day in July
Motor City madness has touched the countryside
And the people rise in anger
And the streets begin to fill
And there’s gunfire from the rooftops
And the blood begins to spill

Black day in July

In the mansion of the governor
There’s nothing that is known for sure
The telephone is ringing
And the pendulum is swinging
And they wonder how it happened
And they really know the reason
And it wasn’t just the temperature
And it wasn’t just the season

Black day in July
Black day in July
Motor City’s burning and the flames are running wild
They reflect upon the waters of the river and the lake
And everyone is listening
And everyone’s awake

Black day in July
Black day in July
The printing press is turning
And the news is quickly flashed
And you read your morning paper
And you sip your cup of tea
And you wonder just in passing
Is it him or is it me

Black day in July

In the office of the President
The deed is done the troops are sent
There’s really not much choice you see
It looks to us like anarchy
And then the tanks go rolling in
To patch things up as best they can
There is no time to hesitate
The speech is made the dues can wait

Black day in July
Black day in July
The streets of Motor City now are quiet and serene
But the shapes of gutted buildings
Strike terror to the heart
And you say how did it happen
And you say how did it start
Why can’t we all be brothers
Why can’t we live in peace
But the hands of the have-nots
Keep falling out of reach

Black day in July
Black day in July
Motor city madness has touched the countryside
And through the smoke and cinders
You can hear it far and wide
The doors are quickly bolted
And the children locked inside