Detroit has a long and rich heritage of producing influential and groundbreaking musicians across many genres, perhaps speaking directly to the region’s historically diverse population throughout the 20th century. Many best-selling colorful music celebrities hail from Detroit, several of whom count Platinum records to their names.
Sparked in part by of a pair of seminal grunge albums from Seattle’s Nirvana and Pearl Jam that recently turned 20 years old, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and create a list of influential Detroit albums through the decades that are celebrating anniversaries of their own.
The debut LP from the Motown girl group spawned the single of the same name, which most notably was the first song from the legendary label to reach the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart.
Recorded at Hitsville, U.S.A., Golden World and United Sound Studios in Detroit (and The Sound Factory in West Hollywood, California), What’s Going On features introspective lyrics and strong social themes about drug abuse, poverty and the Vietnam War. In 2003, the album was ranked number 6 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
The album was recorded at Cobo Hall and at the Boston Garden in October 1980 and featured “Tryin’ To Live My Life Without You,” which reached #5 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart.
The Flint native’s album generated two hit singles, including “Ain’t No Future in Yo’ Frontin'”, which made it to #66 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Thanks to the popular lead single “Fell in Love with a Girl,” the record helped to drive the band into new levels of commercial and critical success.