The regulars that Friday night in June of ’68 thought that perhaps a wedding band had gotten lost and was now setting up on the stage of the Grande. The polished shoes and tuxedos sure didn’t look promising and some folks started to leave. A few were snickering and laughing at the horn section of what appeared to be a Las Vegas lounge act. They chuckled only until the opening horn blast of the road tested Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders … Jaws suddenly hit the floor.
Having burned up the Southern chitlin’ circuit for years, Cochran had, in the previous year, already been to Detroit where he had earned the respect of the Soul Set at the 20 Grand. There even Motown’s Smokey Robinson was counted among his admirers. At the Grande the audience became unhinged and danced along with the blued eyed soul man’s rhythm and blues revue the rest of the night.
Here are some pictures from Ruth Hoffman that did not make the book.
Beginning in late ’67 Russ Gibb began to work with out of town agents to book a number of British bands. By 1968 a prime example was the Jeff Beck Group featuring Rod Stewart. Here is a photo of the band that did not make the book from Grande regular Ruth Hoffman.
Arcadia – History Press publishing has been so excited about the online pre-order success of The Grande Ballroom – Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace that they have arranged a pre-release book signing in partnership with Dearborn Music.
On Saturday October 1 from 2 to 4 P.M. we will have some of the first copies hot off the presses. Dearborn Music now has the distinction of being the first retailer anywhere to have the book in stock. Online retailers will not ship until the official publication date of October 3. This is an opportunity to get a first pressing copy autographed by yours truly.
This will be a lot of fun for me as Dearborn is my hometown and Dearborn Music is where I built my first record collection and where I continue to shop today. I believe I have spent enough at Dearborn Music to qualify to be a minor shareholder!
Wow! The Grande Ballroom History Tour and Excursion Charter has sold out!
1 Driver + 1 Author + 39 courageous Grande fanatics in one super cool charter coach! This is going to be a lot of fun. I don’t know of another example of such a large group of music fans traveling en masse to the Grande Ballroom!
Some images and captures did not make the book. One in particular was “the Grande Vase” Artifact 96v. There were apparently a number of these installed throughout the building. Russ Gibb explained. “One night two kids had gotten too drunk or high and rolled it down the main steps smashing it to pieces. I took the pieces home in a box, glued them together and made a planter out of it!”
Grande Vase – Russ Gibb Collection
NOTE: In my previous blog post photo of lightshow artist Clyde Blair you can see one of these vases in the lower right hand corner of this capture (note the handles):
“At the Grande, or any other venue of the day, it was all about a group’s drawing power. Acts that had a hit record could draw more paying customers. In 1966 The Woolies cracked the Billboard Top 100 with their cover of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love” on Dunhill. Filling out the fall calendar, they were amongst the first recording artists to play the Grande in the Rock era.”