ArticlesBlog

1967 Detroit riots had profound impact on arts, including music and Motown

1967 Detroit riots had profound impact on arts, including music and Motown


THE PASSENGER WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY.>>>WE ARE JUST OVER TWO WEEKS AWAY FROM THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1967 DETROIT RIOTS. WE’VE BEEN LOOKING BACK SO WE CAN LOOK FORWARD WITH A SERIES OF STORIES FOCUSING ON THE PROGRESS MADE AND THE WORK STILL BEING DONE IN THE CITY.>>DAVE LEWALLEN IS HERE WITH HOW THE VIOLENCE IN THE STREETS IMPACTED WHAT WE’RE KNOWN FOR HERE.>>MUSIC. ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. MOTOWN WAS STILL CRANKING OUT THE HITS IN 1967. FIVE YEARS AFTER THE RIOTS, FOUNDER BARRY GORDIE MADE THE DIFFICULT DECISION TO MOVE THE MUSIC WEST TO LOS ANGELES. ♪ ♪ [ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪>>Reporter: FOR TEMPTATIONS FANS, AN UNMISTAKABLE BEGINNING TO A CLASSIC SONG. THE OPENING NOTES AND CHORDS FROM DENNIS ON JUST MY IMAGINATION IS ONE OF HIS MANY CONTRIBUTIONS AS A MEMBER OF THE FUNK BROTHERS. ♪ ♪ [ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪>>Reporter: THE RHYTHM SECTION BACKED SO MANY OF MOTOWN’S MONSTER HITS OF THE 1960s AND EARLY ’70s.>>I LOOK AT FUNK BROTHERS AS THE BEST STUDIO BAND IN THE WORLD. AND YOU CAN JUDGE THAT BY THE AMOUNT OF HIT RECORDS THAT WE DID. AND WE USUALLY DID THREE SONGS EVERY THREE HOURS. AND MADE THEM HIT RECORD>>Reporter: NOT SURPRISINGLY HE WAS INSIDE A RECORDING STUDIO IN JULY, 1967, AS THE CITY STARTED BURNING.>>WE GOT ONE OF OUR GUYS TO GO STAND OUTSIDE THE STUDIO AND WATCH THE FLAMES WHILE WE FINISHED THE SESSION HOPING THAT THEY WEREN’T MOVING THAT FAST. AND WE COULD GET DONE. SO THE GUY IS WATCHING THE FLAMES, AND IT WAS CREEPING UP AND CREEPING UP, AND WE GOT OUR TAPES, FINISHED THE SESSION AND WE GOT OUT OF THERE.>>Reporter: NOW 76, DENNIS HAS NEVER STOPPED WORKING AND PERFORMING IN DETROIT.>>THINGS HAVE CHANGED. BUT NOW THEY’RE CHANGING BACK THE OTHER WAY. DID THAT EVENT CREATE THAT? IT MAY HAVE. BUT THAT IS SUCH A COMPLEX ISSUE. I DON’T THINK IT’S A SIMPLE ANSWER.>>Reporter: KEN COLEMAN IS A HISTORIAN WHO CHRONICLES BLACK LIFE IN DETROIT.>>THIS IS HITSVILLE USA. IT’S ONLY ABOUT A HALF MILE AWAY FRO THE EPICENTER OF THE REBELLION.>>Reporter: WE MET IN THE MUSEUM TO DISCUSS THE IMPACT OF THE REBELLION ON THE ARTS IN DETROIT, AND SPECIFICALLY MUSI>>WE IT TALK ABOUT A NUMBER OF MOTOWN ARTISTS THAT GREW UP IN DETROIT, ATTENDED DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS, AND GOT A CHANCE TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT. OR TO SING A VOCAL CHOIR. THOSE WERE ROBUST. DIANA ROSS, AND SMOKY ROBINSON, AND ARETHA FRANKLIN, ALL TYPES OF ARTIST COME OUT OF NORTHWESTERN HIGH SCHOOL. THEY GREW UP IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD.>>Reporter: THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHANGED AFTER THE RIOTS, AND SO TOO DID SOME OF THE MUSIC COMING OUT OF MOTOWN.>>THE 67-REBELLION I THINK INFLUENCED PEOPLE LIKE MARVIN GAY AND STEVIE WONDER AND OTHERS TO WRITE MUSIC THAT MIGHT AT THE TIME HAVE BEEN CALLED PROTEST MUSIC BUT IT WAS A RESPONSE TO THE ENVIRONMENT THAT HAD — THAT REALLY HAD AN EFFECT ON THEM FOR MAY BE YEARS.>>THOSE SONGS MORE REFLECTIVE OF THE TOWN, AND A DIFFERENT SOUND THAN THE EARLIER MOTOWN HITS, THIS MUSIC ALSO RESONATED WITH THE AUDIENCE. ONE OF THE THINGS KEN COLEMAN MENTIONED ABOUT THE ROBUST MUSIC PROGRAMS IN THE DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOO DURING THAT TIME, SAD THAT’S GONE TODAY AND THAT’S A HUGE LOSS.>>THERE ARE NEIGHBOR, BUILDINGS THAT DONE SURVIVE. AND HERE WE ARE 50 YEARS LATER. BUT THE MUSIC HAS LIVED ON. THANK

Comment here