Major League Music – #4 – Detroit Tigers

Put Your Hands Up for Detroit – Fedde Le Grand (2006, Flamingo Records)

Whenever Detroit’s baseball team, The Tigers, win a home game, ‘Put Your Hands Up For Detroit’ is pumped out across the stadium in celebration.  A song by a Dutch DJ that heavily samples another song by a Texan born DJ and not one second of it was made anywhere near Detroit.  Although saying that it’s a proper banger and you can see why they would play it.

Sadly for fans of Detroit they were almost as bad as the Royals last season so the song didn’t get as many outings as it deserved.  It’s been nearly forty years since Detroit won the World Series and in all honesty it could be forty more until they do it again.  Last week the Tigers played the Royals three times and beat them twice.  Meaning that Kansas are already bottom of their five team division – but clearly it’s a marathon not a sprint.

Musically Its impossible to talk about Detroit without mentioning Motown.  The influential label founded by Berry Gordy Jr in the fifties and there are literally hundreds of records that I could choose from.  Between 1961 and 1971 over 100 records on the Motown Label went Top Ten in the UK and the US, including records by Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and The Supremes to name but a few but the first to get to number one was this.

Please Mr Postman – The Marvelettes (1961, Motown Records)

One last thing about Motown (although I genuinely might do an entire series on Motown Records later in the year) is that Berry Gordy Jr’s eighth and youngest child was responsible for this absolute monstrosity of a record, that sound you can hear at the end is Motown’s legacy hitching up its skirt and heading for the hills screaming.

Detroit isn’t just all about Motown Records, although that should be enough.  Its also home to Wayne Kramer and his jam kicking friends MC5, who pretty much invented garage rock and are of course most famous for this classic

Kick Out the Jams – MC5 (1969, Elektra Records)

More recently (and I accept that I am totally overlooking the Detroit Techno Boom) Detroit has spawned a host of excellent rockstars and rappers.  This chap for example

Godzilla – Eminem featuring Juice Wrld (2020, Interscope records) – which by the way boasts the world record for the fastest rapping ever.  In the third verse of this track, Eminem manages 300 words in 30 seconds.   Which is 295 more than I can rap in 30 seconds.

The Hotel Yorba can also be found in South West Detroit, I’m not sure if a hotel anymore but of course it was made famous by the current overlord of the Detroit music scene, Mr Jack White.

Hotel Yorba – The White Stripes (2001, XL Recordings)

And here is the previously unknown new (ish) band that I am selecting at random.  This week say hello to VVISIONSS – note the capitals folks, and according to the Internet they love cats, time travel and krautrock.   Which makes them sound pretty essential.  Although as usual, we will be judge of that. 

The River – VVISIONSS (2020, Self Released)

Next Week  –  Minnesota

The Never Ending Playlist – Week #6

29.  The Hardest Button to Button – The White Stripes (2003, XL Recordings, Taken from ‘Elephant’)

There was, for a while, very little that Jack White could do that was deemed wrong.  Everything he released seemed to be met with universal acclaim.  The NME once ran a two-page story on how “The very future of rock music was under threat” when he was involved in a car crash and quite badly cut his guitar playing hand.  They seriously did that.  The fact White was 27 years old (the famously unlucky age for rock stars) at the time almost sent the poor saps into a cataclysmic freefall.

This all occurred around the time of the release of ‘Elephant’, the fourth album by the White Stripes, which looked to propel The White Stripes from being huge to being stratospherically huge (and to be fair it did, thanks largely to ‘Seven Nation Army’).  Jack White had already been hailed as the saviour of rock music by the NME and they didn’t want to lose such a talent.  That’s fair enough I suppose, it is a ridiculously good record, this for example this is one of the best garage rock tracks of recent years. 

You Got Her In Your Pocket – White Stripes (2003, XL Recordings)

I constantly change my mind where Jack White is concerned.  On the one hand I think he is remarkably talented and think ‘Elephant’ is a tremendous album.  I admire his dedication to vinyl, production and his general commitment to music.  The fact that he has just opened a particularly amazing record shop in London as well (Third Man Records), only adds fuel to that. 

But on the other hand there is the ‘other stuff’. 

The pointless beefs he gets into with other musicians, the vicious assault he committed against the singer of the Von Bondies, the twatting around on stage, swigging from bottles of champagne and the general bellendness that seems to follow him about. 

‘The Hardest Button to Button’ was the third track to be released off of ‘Elephant’ and was backed with this

St Ides of March – The White Stripes (2003, XL Recordings)