July 14, 2006

Michigan's Musical Connection

Welcome to the first installment of a series I am calling Michigan's Musical Connection. Each chapter will feature an artist that has roots to the Great Lake State. Artist profiles will vary from currently performing musicians and/or bands to those that have long since passed. Big Band to Hip Hop to Motown and all genres in between.

There will be no particular order or era, wherever my muse takes me. With that in mind, our first performer is Berkley, Michigan native, Marshall Crenshaw.

Here's what Wiki has to report -
Marshall Crenshaw (born November 11, 1953) is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist.

Crenshaw was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in the nearby suburb of Berkley. He began playing guitar at age ten, and got his first break playing John Lennon in the off-Broadway company of a musical, Beatlemania. While living in New York, he recorded a single for Alan Betrock's Shake Records, "Something's Gonna Happen," after which he was signed to Warner Brothers Records. Robert Gordon took Crenshaw's "Someday, Someway" to #76 in 1981, and Crenshaw's version made #36 the next year.

His eponymous first album, "Marshall Crenshaw," was acclaimed as a pop masterpiece upon release, proving Crenshaw a first-rate songwriter, singer and guitarist. His second album, Field Day, sported a somewhat heavier sound which displeased some listeners, but Field Day is regarded by many critics as Crenshaw's best album, and one of the classic power pop statements, although Crenshaw's work, like Alex Chilton's, transcends the genre. "Some of the stuff I've done you could call power pop," he told an interviewer. "But the term does have sort of a dodgy connotation."

Although Marshall Crenshaw has never sold enormous numbers of records, he enjoys a reputation as one of the finest songwriters of the era, with roots in classic soul music, British Invasion songcraft, Burt Bacharach and Buddy Holly--to whom Crenshaw was often compared in the early days of his career, and whom he portrayed in the 1987 film La Bamba. In 1989 he compiled a collection of Capitol Records country performers of the '50s and '60s called "Hillbilly Music...Thank God, Vol. 1," which was extremely well-received. In 1994 he published a book, Hollywood Rock: A Guide to Rock 'n' Roll in the Movies. He continues to record, and in 1999 released the critically acclaimed #447.

Crenshaw has recently been playing guitar with the reunited members of the MC5.

You can visit the Marshall Crenshaw Page to find out more about what's happening with Marshall.

Update 9/3/06: Bonus video converage of Marshall Crenshaw via YouTube.


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