The following story was removed from The Grande Ballroom Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace during the editing phase when we needed to reduce word count. I am sharing it here today on the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing. Enjoy.
In July of 1969 Rick Lockhart was a teenager actually living at the Grande Ballroom. Originally a resident of Kentucky Street in Dearborn, he had originally been hired by his neighbor Russ Gibb to perform clean up chores in the building and surrounding neighborhood.
Sadly soon fired by Gibb, the teen was immediately re-hired by Grande owner Gabe Glantz. It would be Glantz that would help Lockhart to become emancipated from his parents and gainfully employed as his 15-year-old Grande “Man Friday”. Residing in office and loft spaces in the venues, Lockhart would be associated with the Glantz family for 10 years including stints at the Grande Rivera and the Michigan Palace.
At the Grande on Sunday July 20 most records indicate that the headlining act was Spooky Tooth with opening act the Stuart Avery Assemblage. However, Rick Lockhart and other patrons vividly remember the Stooges were added to the bill the evening of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
On this gorgeous low-humidity Detroit summer night, Rick (a.k.a. “Sonny Boy”) recalls an incoming phone call at the Grande office. “We just landed on the moon Sonny Boy, who is playing?” Gabe Glantz bellowed; “well it’s Iggy, you can hear ‘em” Lockhart replied; “Go tell Iggy we just landed on the moon!” commanded Glantz; “So I had to go run up to the stage and Iggy is standing there with no shirt on…got the hamburger out, he’s getting’ ready to smear himself with hamburger. He’s got his socks off that … he’s stuffed down in his pants…he used to love to take his socks off. So, I tug on his pant leg and he looks down. and he gets close and I whisper, “Mr. Glantz just told me to tell you that they landed on the moon”. Iggy got all excited and told everybody, “I’m gonna play a special dedication”. The Stooges then launched directly into “1969”. “It was pretty emotional for me”; Lockhart recalled. The Eagle had landed Sunday July 20,1969.