Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Funk Brothers to get their star

Funk Brothers will finally get their star
on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
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The much-fabled, long-neglected Motown studio band is set to be immortalized in the sidewalk near Hollywood and Vine, with a ceremony that’s expected to include surviving Funks Joe Messina, Eddie Willis and Jack Ashford.
It didn’t happen overnight: The March 21 event will culminate a process that began more than five years ago, and which cleared a final fundraising deadline by the skin of its teeth.

Motown star Valerie Simpson and late-night bandleader Paul Shaffer were among those who made key contributions to meet the project’s $25,000 goal, with Detroit native Ray Parker Jr. pushing it past the finish line in February.

Donations are requested to help several Motown figures and their families attend the March 21 event. Checks can be made out to Funk Brothers Hollywood Star Fund and mailed to 25702 Holiday Circle B, Stevenson Ranch, CA, 91381.

Read more in the Detroit Free Press by Brian McCollum


Bobby Rogers, founding member of The Miracles

Bobby Rogers (on right in above photo), a singer-songwriter who was a founding member of the Motown group The Miracles, has died at 73. Rogers died early Sunday morning in Detroit after a long illness, according to the Associated Press.

As a songwriter, Rogers worked frequently with Smokey Robinson, and the two co-founded the Miracles in 1955 along with three other partners — Claudette Rogers, a cousin of Rogers; Pete Moore; and Ronnie White. The group's hits included "The Tears of a Clown," "I Second That Emotion" and "You've Really Got a Hold on Me."

Read more in The Detroit News by Susan Whitall

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Richard Street of the Temptations

Richard Street, longtime member of the Temptations, and featured vocalist on such hits as "Papa Was A Rolling Stone," "Heavenly" and "Hey Girl (I Like Your Style)," has died in Las Vegas at age 70 after a short hospitalization. Street's death comes less than two weeks after the death of former group-mate Damon Harris  

Read more in The Detroit News by Susan Whitall

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Damon Harris of the Temptations

Otis "Damon" Harris, a former member of the Motown group The Temptations, has died of prostate cancer. He was 62.

Harris performed The Temptations from 1971 to 1975 and sang on hits including "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" and "Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)."

Read more in The Detroit News by Susan Whitall

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Donald Byrd, jazz trumpeter, Cass Tech grad

Jazz musician Donald Byrd, a leading hard-bop trumpeter of the 1950s who collaborated on dozens of albums with top artists of his time and later enjoyed commercial success with hit jazz-funk fusion records such as "Black Byrd," has died. He was 80.

Byrd, who was also a pioneer in jazz education, graduated from Cass Tech and Wayne State University.

Read more in The Detroit News

From Gloria Taylor of West Coast Detroit Skaters in California:
"Donald inspired thousands of Detroit roller skaters to choreographed skating routines and steps at various skating rinks in the Detroit metro area. While I was in college, I choreographed modern dance numbers to his jazz songs. My cousin William played with Donald in the 1950's and 1960's. His music will live on for eternity."


"Searching for Sugar Man" wins Oscar for best documentary feature

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A Detroit legend just got a little more legendary.

“Searching for Sugar Man,” a movie about the strange but true story of mercurial Motor City singer-songwriter Rodriguez, took home the best documentary Oscar at Sunday’s ceremony.

The movie, made by Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul, tells the amazing story of how Rodriguez, whose early 1970s albums never caught fire in America, became a music superstar in apartheid South Africa.

Read more in The Detroit News by Adam Graham