Tower theater

Soulful Detroit Forum: Open Forum: Tower theater
Top of pageBottom of page   By EricH. ( - on Sunday, February 17, 2002 - 11:25 pm:

I looked up the Tower in a reference I have for theaters in Detroit. (no mention of it being called the Town, or anything else).
It stood @ 12813 Grand River, had 1442 seats & was operational as a theater from 1935-'64. Now, just like the theater that housed Stax, it's a vacant lot.

Top of pageBottom of page   By david, glasgow, scotland ( - on Sunday, February 17, 2002 - 11:39 pm:

eric i can't remember if i gave you a welcome to the forum but thanks for going to this trouble.

that should definitely be the address as it fits into the grand river/meyers locale.

are you saying there is no name against the entry in the book?

maybe lamont dozier will come on the forum to set the record straight!

btw eric are you graham's friend?

Top of pageBottom of page   By EricH. ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 07:49 am:

It was no trouble at all & considering all the info & entertainment I've gotten here in the past week or so...
Correct- there is no other name listed for Tower.
No, I don't know Graham.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Joe Podorsek ( - on Monday, April 08, 2002 - 12:28 am:

It was the Tower Theatre on Grand RIver at Meyers. We did many sessions there for Holland-Dozier-Holland. Dennis Coffey, Babbitt, Sylvester Rivers, etc. etc. There was a bowling alley and bar across the street where alot of the local rock bands worked. Kenny & Dianne and the Parliments with Mike Sherwin, Marcus Terry, Bob Sanderson on guitar. I can't remember the name of the club though.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Rich K ( - on Monday, April 08, 2002 - 01:21 pm:

Hey Joe, if you recall ... what time frame are you talking about and whadaya mean The Parliaments were working a bowling alley with Mike Sherwin, Marcus Terry & Bob Sanderson. Sorry but, I like details.

Top of pageBottom of page   By david, glasgow, scotland ( - on Monday, April 08, 2002 - 01:34 pm:

i think we established recently that there was a 'george clinton parliaments' and a 'white group parliaments'.

one of deannne's pics shows the white parliaments.
see posting 'george & dennis too' deanne march 23rd 2002 04.14pm

rich when did george drop the 's' off the (original) parliaments?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Rich K ( - on Monday, April 08, 2002 - 04:53 pm:

Didn't know about the other group Dave. I believe that the Parliaments last single on Revilot was Good Ole Music which came out in the summer of '68. Shortly before all the legal troubles (injunction) set in. Atco leased "A New Day Begins" from the financially troubled Revilot and released it in the spring of '69, still as the Parliaments, which I assume means that the legals troubles were settled by then. In either late '69 or early '70 when they signed with Invictus they dropped the "s". The single "I Call My Baby Pussycat" was the first release without the "s". I still don't know exactly what the legal issues were (although they once had a recording contract with Golden World) or if they simply got dropped from their contract or how that whole thing was resolved. Possibly the "new" name was part of their getting a new deal avoiding further lawsuits. Something about Golden World being bought by Motown gave rise to the question of ownership of their recording contract. Clinton claims that he wanted no part of Motown because Berry Gordy had it in for him ever since he went to work for Raynoma at Jobete New York (where he had two songs published "I'll Bet You" & "I Can't Shake Loose") around 1964. I think the story goes that GC & Sidney Barnes were writing for Jobete at the Brill Building in NYC with arranger George Kerr, when they started travelling to Detroit to try to get their songs recorded there. In Detroit they hooked-up with Mike Terry and formed a production company GeoSiMik (George, Sidney & Mike) which produced a number of songs on groups like JJ Barnes, Darrell Banks, The Debonaires, Holidays, Fantastic Four, Pat Lewis & the Falming Embers. I don't have hardly any of the original labels to know exactly which songs they produced. Everybody here knows Clinton as well as admires & loves Mike Terry. Before long Sidney Barnes moved on to Chicago where he was involved in The Rotary Connection with Minnie Ripperton & EW&F's Charles Stepney where they recorded a number of albums and some classic sides Like Les Fleur & I Am the Black Gold of the Sun.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Andrew form Windsor ( - on Monday, April 08, 2002 - 05:22 pm:

As a side note, Parliament is still recording albeit sans George Clinton. They are going by the name "Original P". A friend of mine is aquainted with Calvin Simon, who gave him a copy of the new release. I haven't heard it yet, but I assume it is very funky.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Dennis Coffey ( - on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 - 01:58 am:

Hi folks. Joe is correct about the Tower Theater. I went there as a child and recorded there as an adult with HDH. I also have a lot of good memories of recording with JJ Barnes, Darrell Banks, Pat Lewis, The Flaming Embers and The Fantastic Four.

Dennis Coffey

Top of pageBottom of page   By acooolcat ( - on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 - 05:25 am:

Hi Rich, I'm sure that "I'll Bet You" and "I Can't Shake It Loose" were written in Detroit c. 1966. What makes you think they were written earlier in NY?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Rich ( - on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 - 12:41 pm:

Hey Cat, "I'm into Something I Can't Shake Loose", "I'll Bet You" and "I Misjudged You" were three known songs that were demoed by the Parliaments in 1964 at Motown. I'll bet You was co-written by Sidney Barnes who was GC's writing partner in NYC around that time. They never recorded in NYC, just wrote there for Jobete NY. Clinton was still based outta Plainfield NJ at the time. Once Clinton began comuting to Detroit he was no longer working for Jobete NY and I'll Bet You and Can't Shake Loose were already published. Whats a little misleading is that the songs were released on Golden World in 1966 with Can't Shake it Loose done on Pat Lewis and I'll Bet You done on Theresa Lindsay, both recorded in Detroit. I believe that "I Misjudged You" was scheduled to come out on the VIP label in '64 but went unreleased. Parliament re-cut the song 10 years later for their Chocolate City LP. GC re-cut nearly everything that he did on other vocalists in the 60's often with different titles. And I wonder if some of the tracks Clinton did on Pat Lewis like I'll Wait & Look What I Almost Missed in '66 were re-cut by the Parliaments a year later using the same backing track even though they were done for different labels.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ian W ( - on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 - 09:43 pm:

'Can't Shake It Loose' was also recorded by the Supremes on their 'Love Child' album - check it out, it's a slightly different arrangement and pretty darned good! Writing credits on Pat Lewis on Golden World were G Clinton/J Barnes/R McCoy/J Jackson with THAT Mike Terry arranging! The credits on the Supremes track promote our Mr. S Barnes to the top of the league!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ian W ( - on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 - 09:46 pm:

And, thinking about it, 'Can't Shake It Loose' and 'Look What I Almost Missed' are pretty similar aren't they!

Top of pageBottom of page   By acooolcat ( - on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 03:55 am:

Hi Rich, The reason I'm pretty sure "I'll Bet You" and "I Can't Shake It Loose" are Detroit penned songs is because they were both popular verbal jingles of Detroit radio DJ Martha Jean "The Queen". Ed Wingate asked his songwriters at Golden World to adapt them into songs and Theresa Lindsey told me she wrote most of the lyrics to "I'll Bet You." I can't see how The Parliaments could have done demos of them back in 1964. Where did you get the info' from?
I've seen a copy of the 1967 Jobete catalogue that includes all the Myto (Golden World) published songs, but that's because Motown bought the catalogue in 1966. It also includes a few other Clinton (and team) written songs that I'm not familiar with. I'll list them later to see if anyone knows if they were ever recorded.

Top of pageBottom of page   By BOB BABBITT ( - on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 05:10 am:

HEY MO-FU'S..............
"I'LL BET YOU".........PARLIMENTS........

Top of pageBottom of page   By BOB BABBITT ( - on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 05:11 am:


Top of pageBottom of page   By Rich ( - on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 01:09 pm:

Hey ACC, the reason I believe that Can't Shake Loose & I'll Bet You were written earlier than '66 is because they were published by Jobete. By '64 Clinton was a writer at Golden World and by '65 the Parliaments had a recording deal with Golden World where they did Heart Trouble b/w That Was My Girl. Clinton wouldn't have published songs with Jobete (which he actually left by the end of '63) after he was working for Golden World. You're right about the DJ so I don't know. Its a Calvin Simon quote who mentioned that they recorded nearly enough material for an entire album for Motown in either '63 or '64. Other Clinton related songs from that era:

JJ Jackson - But Its Alright

Roy Handy - Baby That's a Groove (re-cut as Fish Chips & Sweat by Funkadelic)

Pat Lewis - Can't Shake it Loose (re-cut by Funkadelic) / Look What I Almost Missed (re-cut by The Parliaments) / Baby I Owe You Something Good (re-cut by United Soul & Funkadelic) / I'll Wait (re-cut by The Parliaments & Funkadelic)

Theresa Lindsay - I'll Bet You (re-cut by Funkadelic)

JJ Barnes - So-Called Friends (re-cut by Funkadelic as Friday Night August 14th)

Darrell Banks - Our Love is in the Pocket

The Fantastic Four - Live Up to What She Thinks (re-cut by Parliament)

The Debonaires - Headache in My Heart (re-cut as Some More by Funkadelic)

Flaming Embers - Hey Mama

Rose Williams - Whatever Makes My Baby Feel Good (re-cut by Parliament as well as by Funkadelic as "Can't Stand the Strain")

The Fellows - Let's Make it Last (re-cut by Funkadelic)

The Holidays - (I can't remember the title)

P-Funk also re-cut their nearly all of the Parliaments sides as well including: I Wanna Testify (Parliament), The Goose (Parliament), All Your Goodies are Gone (Parliament), What You Been Growin ("Can You Get to That" - Funkadelic), That Was My Girl (Funkadelic), Good Ole Music (Funkadelic), Heart Trouble ("You Can't Miss What You Can' Measure" - Funkadelic), I'll Wait ("I'll Stay" - Funkadelic), I Can Feel the Ice Melting (Brides of Funkenstein)

I suspect that Funkadelic's Biological Speculation
from '72 was an earlier song (pre '68) since it was co-written by Clinton's partner in his barbershop Ernie Harris, which Clinton had sold his interest back in '67.
The Holidays (but I can't remember the title)

I love to know about any additions to this list

Top of pageBottom of page   By acooolcat ( - on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 02:10 pm:

Hi Rich, as I mentioned in my previous post - both of these titles were Myto publishing (Golden World) and only became Jobete after Motown had bought Ed Wingate's studio, signed Edwin Starr and J J Barnes, and took over Wingate's catalogue of Myto publishing - in Sept 1966.
I think you've listed all the (recorded) songs that George wrote while he was at Golden World/Solid Hitbound. I'll dig out the other titles I have when I get home and post them here; hopefully someone can advise us of their fate.
Cheers, Graham

Top of pageBottom of page   By acooolcat ( - on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 02:13 pm:

Babbit - I'm still waiting to make a tape for you - give me an address and I'll include "I Bet You" and a few others that you played on.
BTW - I think it's Dennis's guitar dominating that track - fantastic!

Top of pageBottom of page   By acooolcat ( - on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 02:20 pm:

PS - I'm talking about Theresa Lindsey's "I Bet You"
BTW; Jamerson is playing bass on "Shake It Loose" - plus there was another bass player - Frank Bryant - playing too. No wonder it sounds so bloody good!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Rich ( - on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 04:44 pm:

Ahhhh ... Now I get it Graham (I'm a little slow), Myto first then Jobete after the buyout. Thanks. And yeah, any other titles would be appreciated. And if anyone knows knows who got the writing credit on Pat Lewis' version of "I'll Wait" or "Look What I Almost Missed" I'd certainly be appreciative. BTW, There was a Norma Jenkins 45 I have that came out in '73 on the Kerr Label (outta New Jersey) with a George Clinton song on it entitled "One Girl Too Many". I'd wondered if this was something Clinton wrote & Kerr arranged during their brief time at Jobete NY in '63.

Top of pageBottom of page   By david, glasgow, scotland ( - on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 05:34 pm:

interesting stuff rich.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ian W ( - on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 09:18 pm:

Pat Lewis 'I'll Wait' credits are:
Writers G Clinton/P Lewis/E Anderson, Producer George Clinton, Arranger Mike Terry.

'Look At What I Almost Missed':
Writer & Producer G Clinton.

Can we hear the Funkadelic stuff on any format?

Top of pageBottom of page   By LTLFTC ( - on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 11:43 pm:

Hey Rich; on the front cover of the "Parliaments Classics" cd of their Revilot stuff, who's the heavyset guy with glasses in the back row behind Fuzzy? Also the taller guy in the back doesn't look like Calvin Simon- any ideas?
ps -that's quite the wig on Billy Bass

Top of pageBottom of page   By acooolcat ( - on Thursday, April 11, 2002 - 03:21 am:

Rich - one 45 that springs to mind is J J Barnes - Day Tripper - released on Ric-Tic. I'll check when I get home to see if GC is credited on the label; but think it credits Geo-Si-Mik.
Meanwhile back at The Tower Theater - is it just me- or do all those Invictus recordings sound thin and tinny?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Rich ( - on Thursday, April 11, 2002 - 01:27 pm:

Hey Steve, Let it be known Billy Bass was where GC got the blonde wig idea - LOL. From the fall of '66 to the fall of '68 Calvin Simon was in Vietnam. The group performed as a quartet some of the time but they eventually got John Jenkins as a temporary replacement for Calvin. I'm guessing he's the taller guy. The heavy set guy I'm guessing is Herb Sparkman (Sparky) a sax player who GC hired in '68 to teach Billy, Eddie & Tiki some showmanship as well as fill in the sound. I love the Russian spy look Tiki is sporting in the pic. John Jenkins claim to shame is being the dealer who introduced the group to all kinds of drugs including heroin which would create havoc in the lives of Billy, Eddie & Tiki for years to come. Sparky's claim to fame is that the first time Billy & Eddie quit on Clinton they formed a group called Sparky & the Pimpadelics. Brad Innis was the drummer as Tiki had already left to join Tyrone Davis' band. This was 1969, and played a large part in why guys like Bob Babbit, Ray Monette, Dennis Coffey & Andrew Smith played on the first Funkadelic album, even though Funkadelic had already developed the music and had already recorded a couple of tunes (Music for My Mother & Good As I Can Feel) but the live band had split by session time. Eddie came back for some of the sessions and it sure sounds like Tiki on I'll Bet You. Billy was out with Bill Doggett. Eddie tried to put a live band together with Mickey Atkins & Zachery Slater (Frazier) from the 20 Grand along with Tawl Ross (from Plainfield) on bass. When GC begged Billy back, Billy switched Tawl to rhythm & put Zack & Mickey out of the band bringing in Bernie Worrell. Billy, Eddie, Tiki, Tawl & Bernie were the set line-up in the studio & on the road for two years from the fall of '69 to the fall of '71, when they split again. Thanks Ian & Graham you're right JJ Barnes & Day Tripper. I've Heard that the Parliaments cut a version of Sgt Pepper for Revilot that's never seen the light of day.

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