Pop/Rock » Hard Rock » Detroit Rock
During the late '60s and early '70s, Detroit was home to not just Motown, but a thriving rock & roll scene that had a major impact on mainstream hard rock of the '70s, and also laid much of the initial groundwork for the punk movement. Detroit rock was simple, hard-driving, and ultra-high-energy; it was also often raw and grimy, prizing attitude far above polish. The roots of Detroit rock actually extended out to two nearby cities: the industrial Flint and the college town of Ann Arbor, though the most important performance venues (including the Grande Ballroom) were in Detroit itself. The earliest Detroit rock included psychedelia-tinged garage bands like the Amboy Dukes and ? and the Mysterians, as well as hard-rocking blue-eyed soul bands like the Rationals and Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheels, who were primarily influenced by early R&B and rock & roll (Chuck Berry, Little Richard, etc.). The scene really hit its stride, however, with the massively influential proto-punk of the Stooges and the MC5, both of whom released groundbreaking debut albums in 1969 and continued to put out brilliant records in the early '70s. Commercial they were not, but Detroit rock did have a more accessible side. Grand Funk Railroad and former Amboy Duke Ted Nugent both became superstars in the '70s with their brands of populist hard rock, while Cub Koda's Brownsville Station scored a massive one-off hit with the classic "Smokin' in the Boys' Room." Alice Cooper, a Detroit native who'd been playing Arizona and Los Angeles, returned to the city and streamlined his band's sound to become one of hard rock's greatest performers, while former Ann Arbor garage rocker Bob Seger finally broke through to stardom in the mid-'70s after nearly a decade of recording impassioned, traditionalist rock & roll. Still, the first flowerings of what would become punk rock remain Detroit rock's greatest legacy, and the main reason the scene is still revered.