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Rock On: Local author publishes book of rock ‘n’ roll memories
By Scott Spielman   - 08/20/2008

Journal Newspapers

It’s not often that one can say they’ve had their picture taken with The Rolling Stones.

Bob Harris has that claim to fame, and anyone who doesn’t believe it can check out his book ‘Motor City Rock and Roll,’ which features a picture of the Redford resident with the British supergroup in their heyday.

Harris, a former publisher and music promoter, published the book through the Images of America series put out by Arcadia Press. It hit bookstores last week.

“I’m having a lot of fun with it,” said Harris, who got involved with the music scene in the Detroit area during the 1960s. “It’s quite a book. We’ve been doing well with it. We’ve sold out of books in some places—and it’s only been out for a week.”

Harris and John Douglas Peters are listed as co-authors of the book, which features a variety of historic photographs of musical acts as diverse as Elvis Presley and the Grateful Dead. It was Peters’ idea, Harris said, when he showed him the memorabilia from his publishing efforts.

“I had boxes of pictures and photographs,” said Harris. “He said: ‘Why don’t you do something with it’?”

That was the beginning of a nine-month process of sifting through old photographs and coming up with the information and titles to go with them.

Harris came into the music scene as the publisher of Teen News, a magazine he created during the 1960s. It was distributed at first only in teen night clubs once a month. It increased in popularity to the point where it became a weekly paper and music promoters for all sorts of acts called him up seeking publicity.

Even so, getting close to those kinds of celebrities wasn’t easy, he said.

“You gotta work at it,” he said, calling it a waiting game. “People think it’s easy, but it’s hard to get to these people.

“It’s even harder now,” he added.

The book features pictures and anecdotes from the music scene in Detroit during the 1960s and 1970s. Harris said it has a broader appeal than simply the Detroit area, though.

“We hope this book, both nationally and locally, will have the legs of a classic book,” he said. “It shows how musicians made the music, disc jockeys played and promoted it through appearances at clubs and other venues…and record store owners hosted record signings when artists came to town to perform.”

The book is available at local bookstores. For more info on upcoming booksignings, visit www.myspace.com/OldestRollingStonesFan.





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