Madonna, Mitch Ryder, the White Stripes, Bob Seger, Eminem, Kid Rock...
oh, then there's Motown with the Temptations, the Four Tops, Diana
Ross... Wait, how about Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, the MC5... oh, and
Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye. Whatta list -- and all
from Detroit (or the Detroit area). So, with such a lofty legacy of
musicians, and coupled with the pulsating, overflowing, vibrant scene of
local musical talent, why has it been so difficult for Detroit to capitalize on its musical riches?
All of these cities have made their music scene a major tourist
draw. And not just for the big festivals, but week in and week out at
clubs and small theaters. People gravitate to these places as
destinations to hear great live music.
But that hasn't happened for Detroit, despite the decades of immensely popular music associated with the city.
W. Kim Heron is the editor of the alternative weekly newspaper The Metro Times.
A veteran Detroit journalist and music writer, Heron says Detroit did
once have such a district. But it got buried, literally, a half-century
ago when they built the freeways that intersect this automobile
capitol. "Our Beale Street is somewhere under I-75," Heron says.
member of the Detroit City Council says Detroit needs to do more to
promote its musical legacy. Her name is Martha Reeves. And yes, she is
that Martha Reeves from Martha and the Vandellas.
"I've gone to
other cities and seen statues and plaques depicting the wonderful,
great artists that were created and discovered in the different
hometowns," Reeves says. "And since Motown left Detroit in the '70s,
there has been very little memorabilia."
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