Today my daughter asked me who started rock and roll music. Her friends at school said it was a cross between Blues and Country.


Born Willie Mae Thornton, December 11, 1926,
in Montgomery, AL; died of a heart attack,
July 25, 1984, in Los Angeles, CA.

Earning the nickname "Big Mama" because of her broad girth, Willie Mae Thornton continued the tradition of the great female blues singers who made their mark a few decades before their heyday. She was a popular performer on the rhythm-and-blues circuit from the 1950s until her death in 1984 and is best-known for "Ball and Chain," a composition of her own that was also a hit for Janis Joplin. "Her booming voice, sometimes 200-pound frame, and exuberant stage manner had audiences stomping their feet and shouting encouragement in R&B theaters from coast to coast from the early 1950s on," remarked Irwin Stambler in the Encyclopedia of Pop Rock & Soul.


Twiggy's Webpage is HERE

Retro Kimmer's most popular post since we began
Nov. 3 , 2008 is: TWIGGY

Watch a NEW video HERE
Order Twiggy's Book HERE
Get Twiggy posters HERE
Best Twiggy Fan Site HERE
Twiggy Makeup Tutorial HERE

Cool video:



LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Motown drummer Uriel Jones, whose hard-driving funk propelled classic tunes by the Temptations and Marvin Gaye, died in a Michigan hospital on Tuesday after suffering complications from a heart attack, a family member said. He was 74.

Jones, the last surviving drummer in the Motown session band known as the Funk Brothers, was stricken in mid-February but had been showing signs of improvement, said his sister-in-law Leslie Coleman. He relapsed last Tuesday, and died at Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center in Dearborn, she told Reuters.

He was a key component of the "psychedelic soul" foray by the Temptations, including "Cloud Nine" and "I Can't Get Next to You," and brought a party feel to their earlier hit "Ain't Too Proud To Beg."
But Jones also applied a sensitive touch to such ballads as "The Tracks of My Tears," by The Miracles, and "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted," by Jimmy Ruffin.

Jones came to Motown in 1964 after touring with Gaye, and recorded for Motown's enfant terrible on "Ain't That Peculiar," "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."
"Uriel's drum sound was the most open and laid-back, and he was the funkiest of the three guys we had," said Motown arranger Paul Riser. "He had a mixed feel and did a lot of different things well."

Motown's primary drummer was Benny Benjamin, but Jones and Richard "Pistol" Allen increasingly shared the duties as Benjamin was sidelined by drug addiction. Benjamin died in 1969. Allen succumbed to cancer in 2002 shortly after completing production on the Funk Brothers documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown."

The film, released to great acclaim in 2003, gave a new lease of life to Motown's forgotten session musicians. The band toured the world and won two Grammy awards. While Motown recordings utilized many musicians, the film focused on 13 players, of whom five were already dead. Just four Funk Brothers are alive now.

Jones is survived by his wife, June, and three children. Funeral services are pending.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Mohammad Zargham)




When I think of 60's rock tunes the first three that pop into my mind are Psychotic Reaction, Double Shot of My Baby's Love, and Dirty Water... Last night I was at a friend's house fixing his Mp3 player and showing him how to edit his play list.

As I saw his playlist was in need of some hot 60's stuff, I ran out to my jeep and got my best cd out of the player and loaded my favorite tunes onto his computer. With great joy my friend and his buddy were back in 1966! They said they never knew the names of the bands or titles of the songs so they couldn't find them to purchase...So here they are retro fans!

The Count Five-Psychotic Reaction

The band was founded in 1964 by John "Mouse" Michalski and Kenn Ellner two high school friends
who had previously played in several short-lived outfits. After going shortly under the name The Squires,
and several line-up changes later, the Count Five were born.

Roy Chaney took over bass duties, John "Sean" Byrne played rhythm guitar and lead vocals, and
Craig "Butch" Atkinson played drums. The Count Five gained distinction for their habit of wearing Count Dracula-style capes when playing live.

The Swinging Medallions
Double Shot of My Baby's Love
The Swingin' Medallions are from South Carolina.
They were first formed under the name Pieces of Eight
and changed the name to The Swingin' Medallions
in 1965 after signing with Smash Records.
"Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)", written by Don Smith
& Cyril Vetter charted #17 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100
in 1966.



You can make a big difference in just 5 minutes. That's all it will take to learn the issues and send a letter to your elected officials. The actions of our government have an enormous impact so please educate yourself and take action. Please take the following actions:
1. Send a Letter to your elected officials tell them to pass important legislation that we are following for you.
2. Join our Action Network we'll send you important updates regarding our issues and how you can speak out on important issues.

Hi RetroKimmer,

Hope you’re doing well. My name is Lindsay Dahl and I’m writing to you on behalf of the
musicFIRST Coalition, a partnership of recording artists and music organizations that support the creation of a fair performance right on radio. I thought you may be interested in learning more about a fight in Congress between minority broadcasters and black singers, musicians and other rights holders who haven’t been paid royalties from terrestrial radio stations for 90 years.

This week, a few Motown legacy artists sent a letter to Congress supporting the Performance Rights Act, a piece of legislation that would correct the loophole in current law that allows AM and FM stations to only compensate songwriters when a song is played on the air. This means that the singers and musicians who also lend their talents to bring this music to life – such as those who wrote the letter, including Martha Reeves of Martha and the Vandellas, Mary Wilson of the Supremes and Duke Fakir of the Four Tops – don’t get paid.

The letter also responds to claims made by the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB). “Like many other corporate media companies, NABOB stations, owners, and disc jockeys have made millions of dollars from the uncompensated use of artists’ creative talent,” the letter continues. “To assert that now such a requirement would hinder minority entrepreneurship and programming ignores the minority artists that have been played on NABOB stations for decades.”

If you’d like more information about musicFIRST and the more than 160 artists who support the Performance Rights Act, I encourage you to visit the
Web site. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to speak with someone at musicFIRST; I’m more than happy to help. Thanks so much for your time.

Support the Performance Rights Act Today!
For decades, AM and FM broadcasters have enjoyed an exemption from current copyright law which requires satellite radio, cable radio channels, and Internet webcasts to pay a royalty for the use of music. The Performance Rights Act (H.R. 848) would correct a loophole in the copyright law by removing the broadcaster exemption to assure that all platforms are treated equally and pay a performance royalty to artists. With the introduction of the Performance Rights Act (H.R. 848), we need your help now more than ever. Please take a few minutes to contact your representative and let him or her know that you support fair pay for air play.




There is an "official" tour this year of the former band Mark used to be with.

We think this is just ridiculous and so petty. Self defeating as well...

How can that voice and those licks be replaced? How can that guy even walk on the stage without being totally humiliated.

It's like The DOORS trying to replace Jim Morrison. Replace the very signature of the group? Earth Wind and Fire without the WIND AND FIRE...LOL

Sadly.. there is a GFR mexican standoff (which is a strategic deadlock or impasse, in which no party can act in a way that ensures victory.) that seems without repair.

However we will always admire Mark Farner who those on the inside all know to be a really fine, gifted, and an honorable family man. He deserves better than this treatment he has received from that group.

From VH1

Mark Farner is THE heart and soul of the band Grand Funk Railroad, having written and/or sung their most famous songs from the majority of their '70s hits: "I'm Your Captain (Closer to Home)," "Bad Time," "Footstompin' Music," "Rock & Roll Soul," the number one remake of the Little Eva classic "The Loco-Motion" ( which is everything creatively that a remake should be), a cover of "Some Kind of Wonderful," along with a multitude of well-known album tracks, including "Hooked on Love," "Mean Mistreater," "Heartbreaker," to riveting versions of the Stones' "Gimme Shelter" and Traffic's "Feelin' Allright."

Mark was born in Flint, MI, in 1948, the second-oldest of four children, to Betty and Delton Farner.

Farner began his career in music playing in bands like Terry Knight and The Pack (1965-1966), The Bossmen (1966), The Pack (aka The Fabulous Pack) (1967-1968), before forming Grand Funk Railroad (later called Grand Funk) in 1969. Grand Funk's "We're An American Band" reached #1 on the Hot 100 on Mark's 25th birthday.

In the 1990s, Farner formed Lismark Communications with former Freedom Reader editor Steve Lisuk. Soon after, Farner began reissuing his solo albums on his own record label, LisMark Records.
Farner toured with Ringo Starr's Allstars from 1994 to 1995, which also featured Randy Bachman, John Entwistle, Felix Cavaliere, Billy Preston, and Starr's son, Zak Starkey.

He currently tours with his band, N'rG, which plays a mixture of Grand Funk songs and Farner's solo offerings.

The authorized biography of Mark Farner, From Grand Funk to Grace, was published in 2002 by Collectors Guide Publishing in Canada. As Farner said it has "the facts, the whole truth and nothing but the truth." Of his biographer, Beatles Undercover author Kristofer Engelhardt, Farner says "He's thorough...a very thorough guy. He should've been a P.I."

The first 200 pages cover Farner's life from the loss of his father at age nine to how he developed as a musician. There are details on his marriages, his children and grandchildren, work with Terry Knight during their time together in the Pack, as well as Knight's management of the group and the eventual split and lawsuit. In a very bold move for a biography, Farner's views on politics, religion, and his philosophy on life in general -- which his biographer said are "more to the right than Ted Nugent" -- give a very sharp picture of an individual who is passionate about his ideals, a man who sticks to his guns.

We Celebrate 40 Years of Mark Farner:





Jim Morrison 1943-1971 was the epitome of the "Rock Star" There never was a better looking more attractive rock singer before or since... sorry Elvis...

Jim was a military brat like myself and he must have caused his father great stress with his rebellious personality. No doubt as a military kid you always wonder if your teen age behavior is going to destroy your father's career.

Jim was a poet long before he attempted singing in front of huge crowds. He had a hard time in the beginning and often sang with his back to the audience.

While in college at UCLA he met Ray Manzarek and together they formed their band The Doors

There's been so much written about Jim and many speculations about his motivations and thought process. Who will ever really know what he really wanted from his life. It seemed like he lived his life for the moment as if he knew he didn't have much time... Was he a success despite himself? Maybe.

Years after he died the book No One Here Gets Out Alive was released and I read it. It came out in the decadent 80's when I was working in a big chain of hair salons. After I finished reading that book I had this urge to dye my blonde hair dark brown and got a loose perm to look like Morrison. What was I thinking?? Oh well I also had the urge to party like mad and read deep poetry too. Well... that phase didn't last very long... But I still love Morrison with that haunting voice and that gorgeous face. Here's a bit of bio



Monroe, Michigan's Heck Park was used in a video to promote awareness of homeless veterans
Capt. Norman W. Heck Park and its famous Monroe memorial to Vietnam War veterans may play an important role in helping homeless veterans.The marble monument and the two raised combat helicopters at the park will be part of a music video that is being made to promote the sad plight of homeless veterans.

The song, "The Unknown Man," is being produced by the Detroit-area rock band ACT, an idea conceived by John R. Rose of Woodhaven, bass player for the band and a Vietnam veteran himself. Mr. Rose said there are more than 130,000 veterans nationwide who have no place to call home."The plight of the homeless vets is a disgrace, a travesty beyond belief," the 57-year-old Rose said while helping the band set up its instruments at the base of the helicopters Saturday.

"We need more awareness, money and volunteers to help them. This is one way to do it."The video and song are being made to bring attention to the homeless veteran. Most of the music for the song already has been recorded and is being mastered for a CD, Mr. Rose said. It should be available for sale within two months, he said.

Other band members who sang and played on the video Saturday were guitarist Jason Emerald and drummer and percussionist Michael Johnson, who joined the band in 2008. The group has a strong Motor City background and offers the best rock 'n' roll music since the days of The Amboy Dukes, Grand Funk Railroad, Mitch Ryder and The MC5, Mr. Rose said.
Read the full article HERE




Mary Esther Wells (May 13, 1943July 26, 1992) was an American singer who defined the early sound of Motown Records in the early sixties. Wells was part of the popularity boosting black music onto radio stations and record shelves of mainstream America "bridging the color lines in music at the time.

With a string of hit singles including "Two Lovers" (1962), the Grammy-nominated "You Beat Me to the Punch" (1962) and her signature hit, "My Guy" (1964), she became recognized as "The Queen of Motown" until her departure from the company in 1964, at the height of her popularity. She was Gorgeous!

As I just posted about Hart Plaza and Steppenwolf it reminded me of another magical moment we had with Mary Wells and the major acts of Motown.

In the 80's (I don't know how) I ended up on "date" with this unbelievably clueless guy named Tom at Hart Plaza for a remarkable free concert. The stars performing were The Capitols, Velvelettes, Marvelettes, Martha Reeves, Four Tops, Temptations, Smokey Robinson, The Crystals, The Contours, and MARY WELLS!

Kimmer would never miss a line up like that! As I live about 40 miles from Detroit I rode to Hart Plaza with Mr. Clueless. It was an all day event and just as it was getting dark Clueless wanted to leave to go to the bar in Ann Arbor. Can you believe that guy?? NO WAY WAS I LEAVING

So after I explained to him what a historical opportunity he was going to miss he left me in Detroit. YAY

Made my way to the upper level closest to the stage right. There was a crowd of about 20 40ish Detroit women up there. They ushered me into their group and I spent the rest of the evening with these gorgeous divalicious fun girls. We sang our voices to a rasp and danced our feet right off! What a fabulous night to experience at Hart Plaza. Dang no cam corders or You Tube video of this monumental evening.

Oh I made it back to Ypsi in a txit that cost 38 bucks! Those charming walked me to Jefferson and waited while I hailed a cab. They put me in the cab and off I went. Never saw Mr. Clueless again YES.

Ms Wells died shortly after this show and I was so grateful to have had the opportunity to see her perform live. Diva Mary Wells was the first Motown star. She had many hits my favorite being Bye Bye Baby


During a 5 year period beginning in 1966, Dennis Yost, the voice of THE CLASSICS IV, had 4 gold singles to his credit. His gold records include "Spooky," "Stormy," "Traces" and "Everyday With You Girl."

Without a doubt Dennis possessed one of the most beautiful voices ever to be on record. Even the hard rockers liked his voice. It was undeniably part of the soundtrack of the 60's. My favorite is "Stormy"

Here's a bit of bio on Dennis:

He began his musical career in Jacksonville, Florida playing drums with high school friends, calling themselves "The Echoes." In the early 1960s, he joined a group that would become known as "The Classics." Members included the founder, Wally Eaton, plus James Cobb and Joe Wilson. The group achieved certain notoriety with a small hit titled "Pollyanna" written by Joe South, not to mention Dennis was one of few drummers standing up and drumming while also singing lead. When the band learned of another group from New York City that had a small amount of success with a song titled "Til Then," using the same name, they quickly changed their name to "The Four Classics," and eventually "The Classics IV."

Sadly, Dennis died at age 65 in December last year. His music will never be forgotten.

CINCINNATI – Dennis Yost, lead singer of the 1960s group the Classics IV, has died in an Ohio hospital. He was 65.Yost died Sunday (December 7, 2008) at Fort Hamilton Hospital in Hamilton, about 30 miles northwest of Cincinnati. He died of respiratory failure, hospital spokeswoman Marielou Vierling said.


This had to be one of the most unbelievable moments I ever had in my life. Somehow I happened to be in the crowd for a Classic Rock Concert at Hart Plaza in Downtown Detroit. This wasn't that long ago maybe 2002. It was interesting because as a show promoter, I always notice the crowd demographics. This crowd had to be around 3-4 hundred thousand in attendance. Mostly urban in attendance for a mainly all psychedelic classic rock show. That crowd looked like an audience for a jazz concert. This was pretty odd to witness. As I walked around in the crowd I noticed the audience was polite but very bored. That was until... John Kay and Steppenwolf took the stage.

With that first line of Born to Be Wild... Get Your Motor Runnin..... That crowd jumped to their feet and very loudly sang back at John Kay. It was so loud that John stopped singing and pointed his mic at the corwd and just let them take it! Wow what a moment as 400,000 Detroiters went wild. The power of that song was amazing. It was a moment in time that I will never forget.

Born to Be Wild has the phrase "Heavy Metal Thunder" and that where Heavy Metal as a category of rock music began...



Barbara Lewis was born on Feb 9 in 1943. A fellow Aquarian as I have the same birthday. Barbara is a most spectacular African-American singer and songwriter (diva).

From Salem, Michigan, Barbara began been writing songs at the age of nine and began recording as a teenager with producer Ollie McLaughlin, who'd also had a hand in the careers of Del Shannon, the Capitols, and Deon Jackson.

One of the special things about Ms Lewis is that she wrote all of the songs on her debut LP (including "Hello Stranger"). Ms Lewis had an instantly recognizable gorgeous voice on the radio. My favorite has always been Make Me Your Baby but I truly love everything she has recorded.

When I was just 18 I worked briefly in a cocktail lounge/restaurant in Ann Arbor. Often after softball games players will fill the lounge with laughter and celebration. Barbara Lewis came in with the softball teams one evening. To my joy they persuaded Barbara to sing a song for the crowd. She sang Hello Stranger a capella and blew the house down. Once again I was in the right place at the right time. Lucky Kimmer. Personally, I am thrilled she wrote so many of those hits as she hopefully profits from those songs that have never left the airwaves.

In 1995, Lewis sings "Baby l'm Yours” on the original soundtrack from the Clint Eastwood\Merle Streep movie "Bridges of Madison County"

More Bio on Ms Lewis HERE



Eric Burdon was lead singer of The Animals, formed during 1962 in Newcastle England. They combined electric blues with rock and were one of the leading bands of the "British Invasion." Along with, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five, and The Kinks the group helped to introduce the world to British music and fashion. Burdon's powerful voice can be heard in The Animals singles "The House of the Rising Sun", "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", "Bring It On Home to Me", "We've Gotta Get Out of This Place", "Don't Bring Me Down", and "CC Rider".

Eric Burdon and The Animals were the 1960's to me. What a voice on that man! So gifted and so ahead of his time. Eric Burdon is a bit overlooked in music history if you ask me. Burdon's music evolved with the generation of his audience. His music is timeless. Listen to Monterey HERE

Sky Pilot, House of the Rising Sun, We Gotta Get Outta This Place are all favorites. But my all time favorite is Don't Bring Me Down. That opening keyboard with jolting opening lyric.
Songs of the 60's up to this point were "sunshine, lollipops, Beatles and surf music. When Eric growls "When you complain and criticize.... Oh man that was really different. Those songs are still just as great today.
I'm just a soul whose intentions are good....Please don't let me be misunderstood...

During 1969, while living in San Francisco, Burdon joined forces with Californian Funk rock band War. The resulting album was entitled Eric Burdon Declares "War" which produced the singles "Spill the Wine" and "Tobacco Road". A two-disc set entitled The Black-Man's Burdon, was released later in September 1970 along. The singles from the double album, "Paint it Black" and "They Can't Take Away Our Music" had moderate success during 1971. During this time Burdon collapsed on the stage during a concert, caused by an asthma attack and War continued the tour without him.

In 1976 a compilation album Love Is All Around was released by Rhino Records which had recordings of Eric Burdon with War and a live version of "Paint it Black" and a jam session called "A Day In The Life".

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One of the most scandalous books ever written was
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann.

The book centered around the lives of three women. Neely O'Hara (Patty Duke),Jennifer North (Sharon Tate),Anne Wells (Barbara Parkins)

The Valley of the Dolls book and movie were absolutely compelling to a teen age girl. Valley of the Dolls was an instant success when it was first published. Since then it has sold more than 30 million copies.

The main plotline revolved around the drugs the characters used to deal with the stress and complications arising from their rise to fame and success..The drugs the characters used were referred to as "Dolls". They were barbiturates (downers), Nembutol, Seconal, Tuinol and Amphetamines (uppers).

As was typical in the 1960's Hollywood stars often took these drugs to sleep and when they awoke groggy, they took amphetamines (speed) to wake up. Thus is the drama behind the lives of the three main characters. The movie is dated now (corny) and mostly humorous to watch. But in 1967 it was packed with sex, drugs, and violence galore.

This film was the main showcase for Sharon Tate who's life was tragically cut short by The Manson Family read more HERE Dionne Warwick sang the haunting love theme for the movie for a listen click HERE



Met a fabulous young retro artist today on Twitter.
Margaux is from Canada near Vancouver.
See her Retrophiliac gallery HERE

I just loved the owl picture Margaux (Emm) used as her background on her Twitter Page. (below) Liked it so much I wanted to meet her.
Sent her a tweet on how much I liked her work and mentioned that I would love to post her work here for my friends to see.
My tastes in art vary but I absolutely adore the retro style"POP ART" and Emm's work definitely fits that style.

Margaux is almost 21 and is totally into retro art, televison, and music of that genre. It amazes me that young people are discovering the very same things I loved as a teen. Creating art that reflects a generation from the past is very interesting...

"Started out with using watercolours. Most of my stuff is mixed medium though. I use a lot of different sharpie products. I use their paint pens, their large liquidy heavy duty black pens. Mostly use acrylic paint, with sharpies.

A lot of the time I like to use my laurentian double ended bold metallic markers on top of the acrylic with the sharpies. I've been using my deco-art paint pens recently though.

My technique is very random. I literally don't think about it. Just pick the colours at random. I touch the pen to the canvas and away I go. I like to do a lot of lines over layers, and fill them out so no colour touches each other. I like to do repetitve patterns, but it's mostly just me being... stoned and random.

I've been creative all my life, but this series of paintings (my first official, guess you could say) only started about 5 months ago.

Find More Margaux Here:

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