Arthur Penhallow the most famous voice in Detroit Rock....

Arthur Penhallow (born December 20, 1943) legendary DJ in Detroit, Michigan who hosted afternoons on active rock station WRIF from 1970-2009.

Penhallow was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Before beginning his long tenure with WRIF, Art had toured with a band that played with the Mamas & the Papas, among others. Under the name "Cicero Grimes", he worked at WNRZ in Ann Arbor in 1970, and then moved to WRIF's predecessor, WXYZ-FM, which at the time was airing a syndicated progressive-rock format distributed by ABC called "Love".

Penhallow was one of the "Love" format's local announcers and stayed on as WXYZ-FM transitioned to an all-local air staff and moved from progressive rock to the then-new "album oriented rock" format as WRIF.

 Bob Seger and Arthur P

Penhallow's trademark is the saying of his name as "Arthur Penhallow, BABY", and the cry is one of WRIF's most popular bumper sticker slogans.

Penhallow regularly refers to himself as "Big Daddy Arthur P" or simply, "Big Daddy", as do others on the station. Penhallow played himself in the film The Upside of Anger.

  Arthur P

In January 2009, Penhallow's contract expired at WRIF and he was off the air for more than a month before finally releasing a statement on March 27, on his Facebook page saying: "It appears that my days in Detroit radio are over for now. Thanks for your support over the last 39 years....I shall return."

To be fair to all the greats of Detroit Rock Radio, we loved you all but Arthur P is the BIG DADDY.




The countdown to 2014 is on! Only two more chances to get some rockin' in 2013 at CALLAHAN'S. This SATURDAY (12/28 @ 8pm) it's the "4th Annual Pre-NYE Bash" with Detroit's biggest and baddest Big Band The MILLIONAIRES featuring Detroit's Godfather of the Six-String JIM McCARTY.

Here is your chance to see Jimmy play with a Big Band including a full horn section. See the master display his prowess playing swing, blues, r&b, jazz and of course some great Rock 'N Roll. The band swings, McCARTY wails, and the dance floor jumps all night.

Next TUESDAY (12/31 @ 8pm), it's New Years Eve and time to bring in 2014! We've got the silly hats, cash bar, countdown, toast at midnight, and what everyone else doesn't have! Bobby East and The REEFERMEN to lay down the grooves and host the party all night long.





Norman Jesse Whitfield 5/12/1940- 09/16/ 2008 This weekend I saw a bit about Norman on VH1 or one of those shows. It got me thinking about just was an influence he has been on my life and also my musical collection. I wrote about "I Know I am Losing You" which The Temptations and The Faces both had hits with. Also take a look at "Heard it Through the Grapevine" which was a hit for Gladys Knight, Marvin Gaye and Creedance Clearwater Revival.

What is most interesting to me is that Norman's music was cool to young audiences period. The Motown fans loved it, soul music fans loved it, white rock n rollers loved it, blues cats dug it... See what I mean? Even country music fans dug Norman Whitfield! Norman Whitfield was an American songwriter and producer, best known for his work with Motown during the 1960s/1970s.

He is credited as being one of the ultimate creators of the Motown Sound, as well as a major figure in the late-60s sub-genre of psychedelic soul. Blending soul music with white rock n roll changed the face of music and the climate of racial equality is this country forever. His career was the envy of the music business for 20 years and beyond.
From 1966 to 1974, Whitfield produced most all of material, experimenting with sound effects and other production techniques. He found a songwriting collaborator in lyricist Barrett Strong the performer on Motown's first hit record, "Money." Norman wrote material for The Temptations and many other Motown artists such as Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight & the Pips, both of whom recorded Whitfield's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". The Gladys Knight & the Pips version was the best version in my opinion I loved the drums and that raw opening with Gladys's emotional voice., but Marvin's version outsold it by a long shot.


After Temptations lead singer David Ruffin was fired and Dennis Edwards stepped into the lead role in 1968, Whitfield moved the group into a harder, darker sound that featured a blend of psychedelic rock and funk heavily inspired by the work of Sly & the Family Stone and Funkadelic and also began changing the subject matter of the songs, moving away from love songs to the social issues of the time, such as war, poverty and politics.

The first Temptations single to feature this new "psychedelic soul" style was "Cloud Nine" in late 1968, which earned Motown its first Grammy award (for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance by a Duo or Group).

A second Best R&B Group Performance Grammy for Whitfield and the Temptations came in 1973 with "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone". The single's instrumental B-side earned Whitfield a Grammy with arranger Paul Riser for Best R&B Instrumental Performance, and Whitfield and Strong shared the songwriters' award for Best R&B Song Take a look at this man's discography... Definitely was the soundtrack to Detroit life.

Production and Songwriting at Motown *

1963: "Pride & Joy" - Marvin Gaye * 1964: "Too Many Fish in the Sea" - The Marvelettes * 1964: "Needle in a Haystack" - The Velvelettes * 1964: "Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)" - The Temptations * 1966: "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" - The Temptations * 1966: "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" - The Temptations * 1966: "(I Know) I'm Losing You" - The Temptations * 1967: "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" - Gladys Knight & the Pips, * 1967: "You're My Everything" - The Temptations * 1967: "I Wish It Would Rain" - The Temptations * 1968: "I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)" - The Temptations * 1968: "The End of Our Road" - Gladys Knight & The Pips * 1968: "Cloud Nine" - The Temptations * 1969: "Friendship Train" - Gladys Knight & the Pips * 1969: "Runaway Child, Running Wild" - The Temptations * 1969: "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" - Marvin Gaye * 1969: "I Can't Get Next to You" - The Temptations * 1970: "Ball of Confusion" - The Temptations * 1970: "War" - Edwin Starr * 1971: "Smiling Faces Sometimes" - The Undisputed Truth, * 1971: "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" - The Temptations * 1972: "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" - The Temptations * 1973: "Masterpiece" - The Temptations
Norman Jesse Whitfield

I have met some people recently that have worked with Norman and they all tell me the same thing. He was difficult to work for... but oh what a genius behind the boards. He was a bit of a recluse and did not suffer fools. Seems that most of our truly amazing musicians and producers were a bit odd. Phil Specter, Keith Richards, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Fred Sonic Smith. All gifted with genius but somewhat lacking in social skills... I know that is a huge understatement... Magical Norman Whitfield...what an accomplished career. So proud to have had him in Detroit for many years... Read More on RK Florence Ballard Shindig and Hullabaloo Lou Christie


 Really good piece on the Rockets written by Gary Graff of the Oakland Press...


The Rockets are launching once again. And this time they’re planning for a long ride. The latest incarnation of the venerable Detroit rock group debuts this weekend with the release of a new EP, “Greetings From Detroit,” and a show on Saturday, Dec. 28, at the Fillmore Detroit. It’s the resumption of a reunion that began during 2009 as the Helldrivers but was interrupted when guitarist Jim McCarty decided to quit in the fall of 2011, focusing now on the band Cactus and his own group.



Russ Gibb GrandeBallroom.Com
Had a fun conversation with my friend Jack Ashton the promoter from Los Angeles the other day. We were talking business mostly but the topic of Detroit Rock Impresario Russ Gibb came up...

Jack Ashton and Russ Gibb

Russ of course is the famous creator of The Grande Ballroom in Detroit, Michigan... The Grande featured local, national and international rock bands of the day... some of which were.... Cream, Jeff Beck, SRC, Thyme, Prime Movers, The Chosen Few, The UP, and Iggy and The Stooges.

The "house" band at The Grande was The MC5 (Motor City 5). The 5 were famous for being rowdy and always getting in the faces of bands who didn't bring it... or "Kick Out The Jams".

Street Sign Outside the Grande (photo by Kimmer)

"Uncle" Russ Gibb made a brilliant choice in having the MC5 as his guide to all that was cool during this time. According to many friends Russ and I have in common, it was the MC5 that picked such an eclectic group of bands that lifted The Grande Ballroom into Detroit Rock legend.

The combination of Uncle Russ, the MC5, the emcees Stanley T Madhatter, Dave Miller, famed poster artist Gary Grimshaw and the very low ticket price helped create one of the most happening places to catch a rock show in Detroit, heck maybe even the world...
The MC5 postcard photo: Leni Sinclair

"Uncle" Russ Gibb (born 1931) is a former concert promoter, and media personality from Dearborn, Michigan, probably most famous for his role in the Paul is Dead phenomenon, a story he broke as a DJ on WKNR-FM. After a visit to the Fillmore West and a talk with promoter Bill Graham, he operated Detroit's Grande Ballroom and was a major player in the late sixties/early seventies Motor City music scene. He was instrumental in giving the MC5, Ted Nugent and Iggy Pop their start. The Grande Ballroom also was where the Who played their rock opera, "Tommy," for the first time in the United States.

Gibb also owned or leased other live music venues around the Mid-West including the Eastown Ballroom, Michigan Theater . He expanded his music endeavors when he invested in Creem magazine.
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