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Grit, Noise, and Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock 'n' Roll Hardcover – May 24, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"What happened to the revolution? We got beat," says Detroit luminary John Sinclair at the end of Carson's history. A tribute to some of the original "hair" bands, the volume brings to life the people, places, rehearsals, gigs and police raids of some of the most popular rock acts born in the USA, filling an unfortunate lacuna in many rock histories. Although Carson's focus is on 1965-72, when the "Detroit Rock" sound truly developed, he gives ample and important background covering the blues, R&B and Motown sounds which fed directly into Detroit rock 'n' roll. Carson guides the reader from the early psychedelic stage shows of the MC5 through the rocky beginnings of Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the Bob Seger System, Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes, Grand Funk Railroad and, later, Alice Cooper. Pivotal chapters cover the MC5, a band that defined the Detroit sound, and their relationship with the "Mythical Figure" of poet John Sinclair, who founded the Detroit Artists Workshop. Carson's book is detailed, informative and well documented, with a large bibliography that gives readers voluminous opportunity for further study. Many references are to the 57 interviews Carson conducted to write the book, and these provide the grit for which the Detroit sound and scene are famous. Dozens of brief biographies cover the post-1972 lives of major figures, while a brief discography rounds out the book. 30 photos
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Carson chronicles Detroit pop music between World War II and Motown Records' early-1970s removal to L.A., delineating loud, intense Motor City acts from John Lee Hooker to Bob Seger and drawing lines of influence between white and black acts. During the period, Detroit's gritty, high-powered, seemingly urban industrial music had national influence. Carson details how Hooker's sinuous blues took the world by storm in the late 1940s and how Hank Ballard conquered the early rock world first with the salacious string of "Annie" hits and later with his song "The Twist," which Chubby Checker rode to worldwide fame. Later still, Mitch Ryder preceded Janis Joplin in defining blue-eyed soul, the MC5 provided the soundtrack to the sixties revolution, and Grand Funk Railroad spawned the mullet era of arena rock. Meanwhile, Motown acts (Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, etc.) climbed the charts, powered by the Funk Brothers' peerless playing. And then there's Iggy and the Stooges. More great pop than one city should produce, and Carson's got the skinny on it all. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press/Regional (May 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472115030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472115037
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,123,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Grit, Noise, and Revolution: The birth of Detroit rock `n' roll is an exhaustive survey of Detroit Rock History. In his latest book, Royal Oak native David A. Carson does an excellent job outlining the evolution of Detroit music history. This book is a labor of love, as undoubtedly many hours were spent researching, digging, and interviewing. Carson starts out his story in the early 1940's, before Rock or R & B were even on the map. He accomplishes this by discussing Detroit's thriving blues scene, the electrified sounds of John Lee Hooker, and the city's vibrant Black Bottom District. This was refreshing to read about, as it is an oft neglected chapter of Detroit's rich cultural heritage.

From here, Carson delves into the 1950's; exploring early Detroit groups such as the Diablos and the effects that pioneer DJ's such as Mikey Shorr and "Frantic" Ernie Durham had on the evolution of early Rock and R & B in the Motor City. Fittingly, Motown is discussed next in great depth. The story of Motown Records and Barry Gordy will definitely be familiar to most. However, in this book, Carson points out many interesting early anecdotes and facts I was previously unaware of. Carson realizes the profound effect that Motown had on the music world and makes this abundantly evident. Without Motown's shinning contributions due to stellar productions, driving work ethic, and accepting nothing less than perfection, modern music would not have evolved as it did. Mr. Gordy ran Motown like a fine tuned machine inundating all involved with a strong sense of drive and precision, instilling fierce competition amongst his robot-like team of studio musicians and songwriters. This of course was responsible for a steady stream of musical gold.
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Format: Hardcover
The book Grit Noise and Revolution was recently brought to my attention. I rushed out to get a copy and was absolutely thrilled that someone had finally put together the pieces of Michigan's rock history into a compelling narrative. Carson obviously put a mind blowing amount of research into this satisfying read that was difficult to put down. This book is the first of its kind on a subject that countless people have been wanting to read about. As for those who might be unfamiliar with Detroit's important rock scene; they will soon find themselves happily engrossed and quite knowledgeable. Facts such as chart positions and release dates are woven into the story seamlessly. Carson has captured a place in time with frightening skill and eased through it as if we were living the `60s all over again.
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Format: Paperback
Being a West Coast/San Francisco Bay Area type of guy I thought that we had the best music scene,boy was I wrong.Compared to Detoit we were mush and milk toast.!! Damn the great hard rockin groups that came out of that area is amazing and the whole scene is all here in one fantastic book.Hats off to Russ Gibbs,John Sinclair, and all of the great bands.I went to the Fillmore West which was nice,but I think,by reading this book,I really would have felt right at home at The Grande! Great reading and the pictures ..........This book is worth a million.. in prizes !
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By riot67 on October 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A fantastic book all around that once and for all details Detroit's legendary rock history. The MC5, The Stooges, The Frost, Alice Cooper, The Rationals, Frijid Pink,SRC, The Up,Commander Cody, Mitch Ryder, Bob Seeger, Savage Grace, John Lee Hooker, Goose Lake Festival, Grande Ballroom, The Eastown..etc. etc....it's all here in an unforgetable read that you can't put down. Get it now.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a real "Blast from the Past" for me.
Mr. Carson did a fine job on the book. It's an easy read, VERY well researched and I've learned so much from it. It kind of put all the pieces together for me. The early chapters are very revealing because as a white kid of nine years old in the fifties, I had only heard of the places mentioned in the book. It also has brought back many names of folks I've known or only met once. Nostalgia city for me.

One example is the way Dave detailed the leasing of masters. As a record buying kid, then a Disc Jockey, most 45's said New York City or Los Angeles on the labels. So I just assumed that these artists were from these and other cities, not Detroit. (No Internet at the time) So it's startling to see how many groups were from Michigan before I "grew up" and worked in the biz.

Grit and Noise yes, but although the "Revolution" part was well done, it just focuses on a guy that didn't even play guitar. While Mr. Sinclair was yelling "fire" in a packed theatre, most of the record buying public went back to their jobs on Monday morning after a Saturday night of "revolution". I was there, I know, this ain't heresay. No one liked the war but my biggest problem was how are you going to make the next 36 payments on your new Olds convertable when you just got your draft notice (a full credit load in school no longer mattered) courtesy of LBJ.
I know, I wasn't alone in this. So I voted for Nixon. It's seems forgotten today that President Nixon was the Republican that brought the boys home and saved so many American lives in the process. When interviewed out of office, LBJ said he didn't want to go down in history as the first President to loose a war. I guess over 50,000 dead Americans didn't matter.
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