Much ado has been made about the release of the song “Detroit, Michigan” by Bob Ritchie, better known as Kid Rock. He grew up in Romeo, north of the city, but that’s close enough for Detroit boosters to claim him as a hometown rocker.
Kid Rock has done a lot of good locally, including performing in concert with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and he mentions Detroit and Michigan in several of his songs.
Now his remake of the 1960s version of “Detroit Michigan” by Ronnie Love is on his ninth album, “Rebel Soul,” which will be released November 19.
Until then you can listen to the new “Detroit, Michigan” exclusively at the state’s Pure Michigan travel website.
Kid Rock will perform the tune during the Thanksgiving Day Lions football game vs. the Houston Texans at Ford Field in Detroit.
Back in March 2010 I posted the following story about Detroit not having a signature song. Maybe this new release will be it.
Detroit: Name That Tune
It’s tough to sing the praises of a city when the city doesn’t have a song.
Oh, sure, there are dozens of tunes with Detroit in the title, including Detroit Rock City by Kiss, Detroiter Kid Rock’s Son of Detroit, Detroit Breakdown from The J. Geils Band, and Shuttin’ Detroit Down by John Rich (of Big and Rich). There are two titled Detroit City: one by Alice Cooper, who was born in the Detroit suburb of Allen Park, and Bobby Bare’s Detroit City (I Wanna Go Home).
Not quite Tony Bennett leaving his heart in San Francisco, or Frank Sinatra belting out New York, New York.
Probably the biggest hit is Hello Detroit, crooned by that other Rat Packer, Sammy Davis Jr., back in 1984.
What, you don’t know the lyrics to Sammy’s last hit? Local radio stations played it until we were all singing:
You’ve won my heart
Your renaissance, and waterfronts
Give you a flare of your own
Hug and kissable you
You’re alive with so much feeling…
They loved it in Belgium, where it topped the charts. Really.
Hug and kissable you? Detroit?
As if to add insult to injury, it was a Motown recording. How can the hometown of Motown not have a memorable city song? We have no My Kind of Town, or Do You Know the Way to San Jose. Not even a Shuffle Off to Buffalo.
This is a problem for the ages. In the Great Lakes Gazette archives I unearthed the sheet music for Song of Detroit, which was commissioned in 1931 by Crowley, Milner & Co. for the department store’s 22nd anniversary. Altogether now:
Our city lies under sunny skies by a river so fair…
With a song
To a future brighter still
With a heart for any fate
Detroit is Marching on!
Maybe, if Detroit had a decent song—something between “hug and kissable” and Panic In Detroit—the city itself would be singing a different tune.