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Five Songs For Detroit

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Ah, Detroit! Always on the receiving end of bad press. Whenever we hear the word recession, it seems we're immediately hit with images of men standing around metal cans with fire coming out, waiting for work to appear. Car manufacturers close their factories just so Bruce Springsteen can have another song. But Detroiters are a resilient bunch. They don't move to LA and try to make it in Hollyweird. (Well, Berry Gordy did try to bring Motown to the West Coast, but how many winters can you expect any sane person to tolerate?) Detroiters stay put and fight the good fight. And they've had a few decent tunes to perk them up. They don't allow ballads within city limits.

"Detroit Rock City"--Kiss: Detroit was one of the first places where Kiss were embraced. From here, Kiss went on to print their own money. But in terms of payback, they wrote one of their best tunes. With their record producer's help. But still...

"Motor City Is Burning"--MC5: In a sense every song by the MC5 is about Detroit. If ever a band carried a city in its guitar case, it was the Motor City 5. Of course, they weren't real rose-colored glasses kind of guys and they saw apocalypse everywhere they looked. It's what made their sound what it was and they probably didn't help much with the city's tourism quota.

"Motor City Madness"--Ted Nugent: Ah, another guy who the Detroit Chamber of Commerce wishes would keep his mouth shut. Ted probably thinks he's helping. He thinks a lot of things that aren't really there, if you know what I mean. But at one time he could wango the tango for sure and unlike all the cult artists who came out of Detroit, the Nuge actually sold records and headlined arenas.

"Motor City Serenade"--Stewart Francke: He may never become Detroit's Bruce Springsteen, but it won't be from lack of trying. A favorite of the locals - maybe he offers them free beer? -- Francke gave himself a geographical identity with this release. No longer could others wonder if he was also from New Jersey, or that guy from the Iron City Houserockers in Pittsburgh.

"8 Mile"--Eminem: Why not write a film about a street no one outside of Detroit had ever heard of? How else are you going to make it famous if you don't start somewhere. Bleecker Street in New York City wasn't always famous! There was a time when no one knew the zip code for Beverly Hills. Pennsylvania knows no one ever visited Scranton until The Office premiered. I do wish this movie had been better, but the tune ain't half bad.

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