The Grande Ballroom – Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace

leo early

After 10 years of toil, dozens of interviews, countless library hours and plenty of travel,  I am pleased to finally announce the release of my book, “The Grande Ballroom – Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace.” Much thanks to all the Grande faithful who helped me get to this point. To all the principals, patrons and performers, I hope this offering is a reflective glimpse into the entire 88 year history of the building that you will all enjoy.

Leo Early 2016

“In the 1920’s, a jewel of Detroit entertainment arose on the west side – the Grande Ballroom. The venue flourished under the ownership of infamous gambler Harry Weitzman and management of dance scion Paul Strasburg. The advent of rock n’ roll pushed the ballroom into hard times, but in 1966, a local schoolteacher and disc jockey Russ Gibb resurrected it with the promise of live rock music.The new psychedelic ballroom style attracted scores of suburban baby boomers and helped launch the careers of local legends like the MC5, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and Ted Nugent. Soon the ballroom’s prestige attracted international acts like the Cream, the Who and the Jeff Beck group. Detroit Music expert Leo Early celebrates this beloved venue.”

Publication date October 3, 2016 – Amazon pre-order


Cover photo by Tom Weschler

The Grande Ballroom – Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace Facebook group – Discuss the book!

The Grande Ballroom – Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace – Fan/Book page

The Friends of the Grande Facebook page – Grass roots activism – Author Page

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Part I: Genesis

Leading up to the release of the book on October 3rd I thought I would share some tidbits and photos that did not make the final cut. “The Grande Ballroom – Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace” at one point had enough material for two books. However, constraints of publishing and time forced its condensation into its current format of 41000 words and 116 images. Here is a bit about Part 1:Genesis:

the origin or mode of formation of something.

“The Grande Ballroom was inserted into a bustling neighborhood and entertainment district. Ir was a very hot real estate market at the peak of the booming 1920’s and the newspaper advertisements were evidence of that.”

Hot lots for sale! Note the string of Grande shops in the lower right corner at Beverly Court.

Developers Ad - Detroit News 1929

Developers Ad – Detroit News 1928

The same lots with proximity to Economical Drugs and  the W.T. Grant Department store in the Grande Building are referenced.

Developers Ad - 9-16-28 Detroit Free Press

Developers Ad – 9-16-28 Detroit Free Press


For more on the origins of the Grande Ballroom……

Amazon Pre-order

Arcadia – HIstory Press  Pre-order


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Grande Photo and Film Tour – 2008

Grande Photo and Film Tour

With permission from the CHMB Church, FOG members coordinated a photo tour of the Grande in the month of October 2008. Since our last inspection in April 2008,  zero positive effort has been expended on the building. The weather continues to take a devastating toll on the structure and scrappers and souvenir hunters continue to walk off with parts of the building. I still hold hope that the Church will sign off on the Historic Nomination regardless of their future plans.

Joining our group for this trip were filmmaker Tony D’Annunzio whose film on the Grande “Louder than Love” is fast coming together and New Yorker Rhona Bitner a photographer who is undertaking an ambitious project of photographing iconic stages from all across America. We also were privileged to have with us the legendary rock photographer Tom Weschler. Tom brought his original vintage Nikon that he used to take his classic photos of Cream and the Who from his special vantage point on the dance floor of the Grande. This trio’s interest in documenting the building only serves to further underscore its significance.

Tom, Rhona and Tony (Photo courtesy Tom W.)


Tom Gaff, Leo and Tony (Photo courtesy Tom W.)
Tom G., Tom W. and Leo (Photo courtesy Tony D’annunzio).

(Originally posted November 2008)

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Grande Site recovery !!!

elevations.jpg Wow!   Our site is back online after several weeks of concerted effort to recover the hacked content. We are still working to revise and tune the site with some really cool new stuff. Please stay tuned as we announce some great new projects coming this fall. Cheers, Leo Early Webmaster

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FOG T-shirts! I have worked with Laura Grimshaw and family to arrive at an appropriate version of Gary Grimshaw’s original FOG Letterhead logo for use on apparel. It now appears as our new Facebook group header and shirts can be ordered here.  Dependent upon interest, other shirt types may be forthcoming. – Leo Early

Fog T-shirts at the Grande Store

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“A Night of Grande Love” March 22

“A Night of Grande Love” at NEW YORK NEW YORK INSIDE THE PREMIERE CENTER ON 23 MILE IN CHESTERFIELD. Hosted By 94.7 WCSX, Doug Podell & John Sinclair! Showing Tony D’Annunzio’s award winning film “Louder Then Love – The Grande Ballroom Story” and Live performances by Gary Quackenbush from SRC , Scott Morgan from The Rationals, and Dick Wagner and Friends from The Frost…all to Benefit Gary Grimshaw Family and Wife Laura Grimshaw…legendary artist for The Grande Ballroom Posters. The Family has insurmountable bills to pay so the Detroit & Michigan Rock community is stepping up to help. There will also be a Rock Auction of classic memorabilia some from Gary’s Personal collection. Many special guests and friends are expected to be there and play. Tickets can be purchased the night of Event. Movie and concert $15.00 Concert from 7 to end of night $10.00

  • 5:00 Announcements, introduction – Doug Podell
  • 5:30 to 7:00 Movie showing “Louder than Love”.
  • 8 to 8:30 SRC Band
  • 9 to 9:30 Scott Morgan
  • 10 to 11:00 Dick Wagner

In between bands Doug Podell will be doing short raffles, prize give a ways) etc.

House/Doors at 4:30 Donation of $15 for Movie and Concert or $10 for just concert.


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Dick Wagner to record new live CD June 28

Grande guitar legend Dick Wagner will be recording live at Callahan’s Music Hall Auburn Hills, Michigan June 28.



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John Sinclair at U of M Dearborn April 4.

Th original Grande Counter-Culture Svengali, John Sinclair is appearing at UM-Dearborn’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters (CASL) is sponsoring “Kick Out the Jams” on Thursday April 4.



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Site Update 2-1-2013

We’ve begun adding “stub pages” that will act as Home pages for each act that we document as having appeared at the Grande. There are literally hundreds of acts, some famous, some less so.
Using our search function you will be able to find any act and comment on them, thus contributing to the experience of our site.

Here are a some of the first to be published:

Stay tuned.


Leo Early




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Aere Apparent

Aere Apparent

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