Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Best Velvet Underground Cover EVER!

Detroit, featuring vocalist Mitch Ryder, released their self-titled debut album on Paramount Records in 1972. Besides Ryder, the star of the album was guitarist Steve Hunter, who had played on a couple of Alice Cooper records and would go on to ((fleeting) fame as one of the guitarists who, along with Dick Wagner, gave Lou Reed's Berlin and the live Rock & Roll Animal their signature sounds. (Many people believe Rock & Roll Animal is the best live rock album of all time. I wouldn't go that far but, having attended the concert at which it was recorded, I will say it kicked ass.)
At the time of Detroit's release, the Velvet Underground's impact on rock music was still pretty much under the radar. David Bowie was performing live versions of "White Light White Heat" and "I'm Waiting for the Man" and Mott the Hoople covered "Sweet Jane," on the Bowie-produced All the Young Dudes, but at that point there was very little mainstream acknowledgement of their influence. (Of course, that would change drastically over the next couple of years as punk took hold and the cliche that the Velvets never sold a lot of records but everyone who bought one started a band came true.)
Listening to Detroit's version of "Rock and Roll" it's as if Grand Funk or Foghat or Dust had decided that this was their chance to define rock music circa 1972. It's a big hunk of Michigan metal that perfectly captures everything that was great- and execrable - about mainstream, pre-punk blues-based hard rock.
Detroit - Rock 'n' Roll

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