Title: It's only rock and roll, but he loves it
Author: Wensdy Von Buskirk
Publisher: Observer & Eccentric
Bob Harris is proud to be the "oldest Rolling Stones fan in America," especially since the title was bestowed by Mick Jagger himself.
At 78, the Redford resident recently teamed up with attorney John Douglas Peters to publish "Motor City Rock and Roll: The 1960s and 1970s" (Arcadia Publishing, 2008, $19.99). The book, part of Arcadia's "Images of America" series, is a photographic account of musicians with ties to Detroit.
On its cover is a snapshot of a conservative Harris with The Rolling Stones when they visited Detroit on their second American tour in 1965. In 1999, Harris tracked the Stones down at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham to get the photo signed.
That's when Jagger gave Harris his prized nickname, which has since been immortalized in a song by Benny and the Jets.
For three decades, the Stones photo had lingered in Harris' basement alongside other memorabilia from his days as a concert promoter, band manager and publisher of the "Teen News."
That material, along with Harris' experience as an industry insider, set the foundation for "Motor City Rock and Roll," but the book might never have happened if it weren't for Harris' son Tony, also of Redford.
"He's a commercial painter, always bragging about his dad wherever he goes," Harris said. "He was hired by this lawyer and told him I was looking for someone to help me write a book."
Peters, a published author from Belleville, was intrigued.
"I went to his office, brought him some pictures," Harris said. "I have a cardboard box with hundreds of pictures. He said bring them down, so I did."
Harris' photos inspired an eight-month quest to capture Motor City rock history from the 1930s through Madonna. The book also includes iconic images from Detroit photographers like Frank Pettis and Leni Sinclair, such as Jimi Hendrix on stage at the Masonic Temple, and Janis Joplin arriving at Detroit Metro Airport.
Extensive captions describe each musician's contributions to rock and roll, as well as their relationship to Detroit.
Among them are photos of Highland Park's Bill Haley (of Bill Haley His Comets) shaking hands with Elvis, and Johnny Cash around the time he worked on the Cadillac assembly line on Woodward Ave.
Harris shares stories of driving a young Stevie Wonder home from the Michigan State Fair, meeting a pre-teen Michael Jackson during a local TV appearance, and managing acts like Suzy Quatro, Grand Funk Railroad and Three Ounces of Love.
Youth fueled the fire of rock 'n' roll, and as publisher of "Teen News" Harris rubbed elbows with many musicians that came to town. Some of them faded into obscurity, while others earned legendary status and spots in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"I talk to all these stars just like I'm talking to you now," Harris said. "For some reason it just come natural to me. Over the years I've been very lucky. There aren't too many people around who met all these stars."
Harris said he was unfazed by fame, and never made a fortune. Instead, he earned a modest living and raised six children. He now has 19 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
Still, his rock and roll dreams persist. Harris hopes to round up performers from the book for the world's largest book signing and concert.
"I love music. I love the music business," he said. "Anybody who really loves rock and roll should get this book."
"Motor City Rock and Roll" is available wherever books are sold. For more information on Bob Harris, visit www.myspace.com/oldestrollingstonesfan.
Title: Photo book captures Motown years
Author: Javan Kienzle
Publisher: Free Press
Bob Harris' "Motor City Rock and Roll" contains more than 200 photos from Detroit's music scene of the 1960s and 1970s, including Mayor Coleman Young sharing a microphone with Della Reese in 1976; the Temptations with Senator and Mrs. Ted Kennedy, Bertha and Berry Gordy and Senator and Mrs. Philip Hart in the '60s, and Highland Park's Bill Haley shaking hands with Elvis in 1955.
The book is a collector's gem that is a must for Motown fans. Harris spent 50 years as a promoter, manager and rock newspaper publisher.
His coauthor, John Douglas Peters, a rock concert promoter in the '60s, is a Detroit trial lawyer.