Michigan and the Great Lakes

Grit, Noise, and Revolution

The Birth of Detroit Rock 'n' Roll
David A. Carson
A narrative history of the birth of rock 'n' roll in Detroit


From the early days of John Lee Hooker to the heyday of Motown and beyond, Detroit has enjoyed a long reputation as one of the crucibles of American pop music. In Grit, Noise, and Revolution , David Carson turns the spotlight on those hard-rocking, long-haired musicians—influenced by Detroit's R&B heritage—who ultimately helped change the face of rock 'n' roll.

Carson tells the story of some of the great garage-inspired, blue-collar Motor City rock 'n' roll bands that exemplified the Detroit rock sound: The MC5, Iggy and the Stooges, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, SRC, the Bob Seger System, Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes, and Grand Funk Railroad.

An indispensable guide for rock aficionados, Grit, Noise, and Revolution features stories of these groundbreaking groups and is the first book to chronicle Detroit music of the 1960s and 70s—a pivotal era in rock music history.

David Carson is a Royal Oak native, former Michigan disc jockey, and the author of Rockin' Down the Dial: The Detroit Sound of Radio. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Praise / Awards

  • "Carson reveals in rich and engaging detail exactly why the Motor City is world renowned as a musical mecca."
    —Dennis "Machine Gun" Thompson, MC5

  • "I've never read or seen a more complete history about the Motor City/Michigan music scene than what Carson has written. He has done a remarkable job telling the story of all the singers, artists, and musicians that had a part in the making of one of the greatest musical cities in the world."
    —Johnny "Bee" Badanjek, legendary drummer for Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the Rockets, and the Romantics

  • "There are few happy endings here, but a great blow-by-blow account of an exciting and still-legendary scene."
    —Marshall Crenshaw

  • "Even if you know little or nothing about Detroit rock & roll to begin with, you'll come away from Grit, Noise and Revolution awestruck at the stories provided by Carson and with a new appreciation for the musical and artistic legacy created during the period covered by the book. For those hungering for more info on this vital and still-influential era, Carson has provided an extensive bibliography for the academically inclined to pursue as well as a select discography for those who would rather experience this great music firsthand.Any true fan of rock & roll should add Grit, Noise and Revolution to their music bookshelf 'cause dammit, man, it just doesn't rock any harder than this! Kudos to David Carson for his exhaustive, entertaining history of one of the Reverend's favorite times and places in rock & roll."
    —Rev. Keith A. Gordon, Alt. Culture Guide

  • "Carson chronicles Detroit pop music between World War II and Motown Records' early-1970s removal to L.A., delineating loud, intense Motor City acts from John Lee Hooker to Bob Seger and drawing lines of influence between black and white acts. . . . More great pop than one city should produce, and Carson's got the skinny on it all."

  • ". . .[a] definitive history of Detroit's early rock scene . . . . Carson spends considerable space chronicling the rise of legendary bands such as the MC5, Iggy and Alice Cooper, and he recounts the downfalls . . . "
    —Detroit Free Press

  • ". . . the first book to chronicle the Detroit music scene during that city's glory years from 1965-1972. . . . A variety of factors, ranging from changing musical tastes to skyrocketing ticket prices eventually spelled the end of Detroit's vibrant rock scene, making this engrossing time capsule of the way things were all the more noteworthy."
    —Tierney Smith, Discoveries for Record & CD Collectors (Dubuque, Iowa)

  • "[Carson] raises the Detroit region's profile as one of the most fertile musical centers in the country."
    Library Journal

  • "Talk about popular music in the 1960s and most people immediately think of Motown. . . . Carson celebrates that other Detroit Sound in his new book Grit, Noise and Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock 'n' Roll. . . . Carson's book sets things right with a story that will [give readers] an appreciation for a Detroit rock scene in the 1960s that was as vital as any in the world. [It also] includes an excellent gallery of photos that capture the shifting look of popular music from the early 50s to 1972, Detroit style."
    Livonia Observer

  • "What the book does magnificently is provide the context and show the connections within a music scene filled with powerful DJs, club owners, label heads and—oh, yeah—an abundance of badass visionary musicians."
    Metro Times Detroit

  • ". . . Carson brings a wealth of knowledge and detail to his account of Michigan rock. . . . [F]or those who want a record of what happened, and especially for those who believe that Motown was the be-all and end-all of Detroit music, Carson recounts a valuable story."
    —Steve Waksman, Michigan Historical Review

  • " . . . a comprehensive account of the legendary Detroit scene . . . . Carson's work fills a hole in the literature that has existed for far too long, and is highly recommended to anyone concerned with the cultural politics of the 1960s, and the history of rock music more generally."
    The Gazette, Newsletter of the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association

  • ". . .an impressive book and definitely a great resource for students of Detroit rock history. . . . The heritage of Detroit music is well-represented here, Grit, Noise, and Revolution documents a legacy of bold, powerful Detroit music, a tradition that has yet to die."
    Drastic Plastic Press

  • " . . . Grit hits the meat of the matter . . . . If you are a fan of the Detroit scene from the late '60s or early '70s, you won't regret grabbing this one."

  • "[A] groundbreaking and impeccably researched treatise on Detroit's storied, influential, revered and in some instances overblown rawk prototype, a timeline with stops at 1940s blues, 1950s R&B, and 1960s Motown and garage. . . . Carson digs deeper into the story than just the bands, exploring the role of the audience, radio stations, managers, promoters, producers, and the vortex from which it all seemed to spiral out of control; the Grande Ballroom. . . . It's tempting to describe Grit, Noise, and Revolution as definitive, but there's simply nothing else out there to compare it to in terms of breadth, cheap voyeuristic thrills and, above all, readability."
    —Clark Paull, I-94 BAR

  • Winner of the 2006 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in Recorded Rock Music

  • Named a 2006 Michigan Notable Book

Look Inside

Copyright © 2005, David A. Carson. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6.125 x 9.25.
  • 416pp.
  • 24 pages of 68 B&W photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2006
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03190-0

Add to Cart
  • $18.95 U.S.

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