Michael Stanley Band
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Michael Stanley Band

Michael Stanley
Stanley performing in 2002
Stanley performing in 2002
Background information
Michael Stanley Gee
Born(1948-03-25)March 25, 1948
OriginCleveland, Ohio, United States
DiedMarch 5, 2021(2021-03-05) (aged 72)
GenresRock, folk rock, heartland rock
Singer-songwriter, disc jockey
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Silk
Michael Stanley Band
The Ghost Poets
Michael Stanley and the Resonators

Michael Stanley Gee (March 25, 1948 - March 5, 2021) was an American singer-songwriter, musician, and radio personality. Both as a solo artist and with the Michael Stanley Band (MSB), his brand of heartland rock was popular in Cleveland, Ohio and around the American Midwest in the 1970s and 1980s.

Early life, family, and education

Michael Stanley Gee graduated from Rocky River High School[1] in 1966. He attended Hiram College[1] on a baseball scholarship and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1970.

Career

Early career

While in college, Michael Stanley was in the band Silk (originally called the Tree Stumps) which released an album, Smooth As Raw Silk, on ABC Records in 1969.[2]

A few years after his graduation, while working as a regional manager for a record store chain, Stanley released his first solo album, Michael Stanley, on Tumbleweed Records in 1973. The album was produced by Bill Szymczyk and featured contributions from Joe Walsh, Todd Rundgren, Rick Derringer, and Joe Vitale.[3] Its first song, "Rosewood Bitters," would become a lifetime fixture in Stanley's shows and was later recorded by Walsh in 1985. Stanley's second solo album, Friends and Legends, released later in 1973 on MCA Records, was again produced by Szymczyk and included support from members of Barnstorm and Stephen Stills' Manassas, among others: Walsh, Vitale, Kenny Passarelli, Paul Harris, Joe Lala, Al Perkins, David Sanborn, Dan Fogelberg, and Richie Furay, with J. Geils contributing to the production.[4]

Michael Stanley Band

The Michael Stanley Band was formed by Stanley in 1974 with singer-songwriter-lead guitarist Jonah Koslen, former Glass Harp bassist Daniel Pecchio and drummer Tommy Dobeck from the band Circus. There were several personnel changes over the years and by 1982 the group had evolved into a seven-piece band.

Nicknamed MSB by their fans, the band set several attendance records at Cleveland area venues including a record 20,320 at the Richfield Coliseum on July 20, 1979[5] and a record 40,529 for two Coliseum concerts on December 31, 1981 and January 1, 1982. The band's greatest achievement was a total attendance of 74,404 during a four-night stand at Blossom Music Center on August 25, 26, 30 and 31, 1982.[6]

The group reached the peak of their popularity nationally in 1981 when the single "He Can't Love You" from the album Heartland (written and sung by keyboardist Kevin Raleigh) made the Top 40 (#33 Billboard, #27 Cash Box) and "In the Heartland" from the album North Coast went to #6 on Billboard's Top Tracks chart. Their video for "He Can't Love You" was the 47th video ever played on MTV.[7] The band's last Top 40 hit was "My Town" in 1983.

The band dissolved in 1987 with a series of 12 farewell shows at the Front Row Theater in Highland Heights, Ohio (suburban Cleveland) during the 1986-87 holiday season.[8]

In 2004, the sketch comedy troupe Last Call Cleveland produced Michael Stanley Superstar: The Unauthorized Autobiography of the Cuyahoga Messiah, a play which parodied Stanley's status as a local celebrity.[9]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Michael Stanley among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[10]

Personnel
  • Michael Stanley - guitar, vocals
  • Jonah Koslen - lead guitar, vocals (1974-77)
  • Daniel Pecchio - bass, vocals (1974-79)
  • Tommy Dobeck - drums
  • Bob Pelander - keyboards (1976-87)
  • Gary Markasky - lead guitar (1978-83)
  • Kevin Raleigh - keyboards, vocals (1978-87)
  • Michael Gismondi - bass (1979-87)
  • Rick Bell - saxophone (1982-84)
  • Danny Powers - lead guitar (1983-87)

Television and radio

Stanley was the co-host of PM Magazine on WJW Channel 8 from 1987 to 1990 and its follow-up Cleveland Tonight until 1991. He also appeared on The Drew Carey Show, playing himself.

Following a short stint on Cleveland radio station WMMS, from 1990 until a few weeks before his death in 2021, Stanley was the afternoon drive disc jockey for classic rock radio station WNCX, in Cleveland.[11]

Later musical career

In addition to his broadcasting career, after the breakup of the Michael Stanley Band, Stanley continued to write songs, record, and perform with bands (often with some former members of MSB) including Michael Stanley and Friends, the Ghost Poets, the Resonators, and Midlife Chryslers. In 2019, he estimated that the Resonators played about 25 shows per year, many of them in Northeast Ohio but also "from the East Coast to Atlanta to St. Louis." He released about sixteen more albums on Razor & Tie or his own label, Line Level.[11][12]

Personal life

Stanley was married four times: to Libby Hill Blake, a teacher, from 1970 to 1990, when they divorced; to Mary McCrone, a television producer, for eight years until they divorced in about 2000; to Denise Skinner, a former marketing staffer, from 2002 until her death of cancer in 2011;[note 1] and to her best friend, Ilsa Glanzberg, an elementary school instructional aide, from 2017 until his death in 2021. He had twin daughters, Anna and Sarah, born in 1974, and five grandchildren.[11][13]

Health, and death

Stanley had a first heart attack in 1991, at age 43. In 2017, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Later that year he suffered a second heart attack and underwent quadruple bypass surgery.[12]

Stanley died in his sleep on March 5, 2021, after suffering for seven months with lung cancer.[14]

Awards and honors

  • 1987-1991 - either one, or "a couple," or eleven, local Emmy awards[12][11][13]
  • 2012 - Cleveland Association of Broadcasters Excellence in Radio Award[15]
  • 2019 - Cleveland Arts Prize's Lifetime Achievement Award[11]
  • 2019 - The City of Cleveland renamed a section of Huron Avenue in downtown Cleveland as Michael Stanley Way.[16]
  • 2021 - March 25, which would have been his 73rd birthday, declared Michael Stanley Day by the Cleveland City Council[17]

Discography

Albums

Silk

Year Title Label Billboard
200
1969 Smooth As Raw Silk ABC S-694 191

Solo

Year Title Label Billboard
200
1973 Michael Stanley Tumbleweed TWS 106 206
1973 Friends and Legends MCA 372 207

Michael Stanley Band

Year Title Label Billboard
200
RPM
100
1975 You Break It...You Bought It! Epic PE 33492 184 --
1976 Ladies' Choice Epic PE 33917 -- --
1977 Stagepass Epic PEG 34661 207 --
1978 Cabin Fever Arista AL 4182 99 97[18]
1979 Greatest Hints Arista AL 4236 148 --
1980 Heartland EMI America SW-17040 86 --
1981 North Coast EMI America SW-17056 79 --
1982 MSB EMI America ST-17071 136 --
1983 You Can't Fight Fashion EMI America ST-17100 64 --
1984 Fourth and Ten... MSB 101 -- --
1986 Inside Moves MSB 201 -- --
1992 Right Back at Ya (1971-1983) Razor & Tie RE 1991 -- --
1997 Misery Loves Company: More of the Best 1975-1983 Razor & Tie RE 2125 -- --
2015 Live at the Ritz NYC 1983 Line Level -- --

The Ghost Poets

Year Title Label Billboard
200
1993 The Ghost Poets Razor & Tie RT 2812 --

Post-MSB solo

Year Title Label Billboard
200
1996 Coming Up for Air Intersound 9174 --
1998 Live in Tangiers: The Acoustic Shows Razor & Tie 82836 --
2000 Eighteen Down Razor & Tie 82851 --
2003 The Ground Line Level 201 --
2005 American Road Line Level 202 --
2006 The Farrago Sessions Line Level 203 --
2007 The Soft Addictions Line Level 204 --
2008 Just Another Night Line Level 205 --
2009 Shadowland Line Level 206 --
2012 The Hang Line Level 207 --
2013 The Ride Line Level 208 --
2014 The Job Line Level 209 --
2014 The Solo Years 1995-2014 Line Level 222 --
2015 And Then... Line Level 210 --
2016 In a Very Short Time Line Level 211 --
2017 Stolen Time Line Level 212 --
2018 The Compact Michael Stanley Line Level --
2021 Tough Room Line Level 213 --


Singles

Year A-Side B-Side Label US Pop CAN Pop Album
1973 "Rock and Roll Man" "Denver Rain" Tumbleweed 1010 -- -- Michael Stanley
"Rosewood Bitters" "Good Time Charlie" Tumbleweed 1014 -- --
1974 "Yours For a Song" "Roll On" MCA 40177 -- -- Friends and Legends
1975 "I'm Gonna Love You" "Step the Way" Epic 50116 -- -- You Break It...You Bought It!
"Face the Music" "Song for My Children" Epic 50151 -- --
1976 "Ladies' Choice" "Sweet Refrain" Epic 50242 -- -- Ladies' Choice
1977 "Nothing's Gonna Change My Mind" "Love Hasn't Been Here" Epic 50416 -- -- Stagepass
1978 "Why Should Love Be This Way" "Late Show" Arista 0348 -- -- Cabin Fever
"Baby If You Wanna Dance" "Fool's Parade" Arista 0368 -- --
1979 "Last Night" "Down to the Wire" Arista 0436 -- -- Greatest Hints
1980 "He Can't Love You" "Carolyn" EMI America 8063 33 10[19] Heartland
1981 "Lover" "Save a Little Piece for Me" EMI America 8064 68 --
"Falling in Love Again" "Does It Hurt" EMI America 8090 64 -- North Coast
"When Your Heart Says It's Right" "Victim of Circumstance" EMI America 8097 -- --
1982 "When I'm Holding You Tight" "In Between the Lines" EMI America 8130 78 -- MSB
"Take the Time" "Just a Little Bit Longer" EMI America 8146 81 --
1983 "My Town" "Just How Good" EMI America 8178 39 -- You Can't Fight Fashion
"Someone Like You" "Highlife" EMI America 8189 75 --
1985 "Show Me Something" "Somebody Else's Woman" MSB 701 -- -- Inside Moves
1986 "When All Is Said and Done" "Here Come the Kids" MSB 801 -- --
"Poor Side of Town" "Headlights" MSB 901 -- --

Notes

  1. ^ A different date for Skinner's death, 2017, is listed in Stanley's Akron Beacon-Journal obituary (compare the 2019 Cleveland Magazine profile of Stanley saying 2011, both linked in the footnotes). The 2017 date appears wrong, based on an August 2012 source that discusses "Stanley's wife, Denise Skinner, who died last September." https://www.mytownneo.com/article/20120805/ENTERTAINMENT/308059697

References

  1. ^ a b Yarborough, Chuck (August 18, 2014). "Michael Stanley to be honored with tribute concert featuring fans and peers". The Plain Dealer – via Cleveland.com.
  2. ^ Dyer, Bob (September 30, 1979). "The Michael Stanley Band". The Plain Dealer Magazine. p. 24.
  3. ^ Michael Stanley (Vinyl back cover notes). Tumbleweed Records. 1973. TWS106.
  4. ^ Michael Stanley: Friends and Legends (Vinyl back cover notes). MCA Records. 1973. MCA-372.
  5. ^ Holan, Mark (July 26 - August 1, 1979). "The Week That Rocked". Scene: 13.
  6. ^ Faris, Mark (December 14, 1986). "Breaking up is hard to do". Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved 2008.
  7. ^ Hoye, Jacob (2001). MTV Uncensored. p. 45.
  8. ^ Adams, Deanna R. (2002). Rock 'n' Roll and the Cleveland Connection. Kent State University Press. pp. 261-268. ISBN 0-87338-691-4.
  9. ^ Heaton, Michael (December 10, 2004). "Michael Stanley parody does resonate a bit". The Plain Dealer. p. E1.
  10. ^ Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d e Thompson, Lynne (April 29, 2019). "From The Heartland: A Michael Stanley Retrospective". Cleveland Magazine. Retrieved 2021.
  12. ^ a b c Price, Mark J. (March 6, 2021). "Cleveland rock star Michael Stanley dies at 72". Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Michael GEE Obituary (1948 - 2021) - Mayfield Heights, OH". The Plain Dealer. March 6, 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  14. ^ "Legendary Cleveland rocker and radio personality Michael Stanley dies at 72". Wkyc.com. Retrieved 2021.
  15. ^ "Awards for Excellence". cabcleveland.com.
  16. ^ Buffington, Randy; Nyorkor, Sia (June 11, 2019). "Cleveland native and musician Michael Stanley to be honored with street in his name". Cleveland19.com. WOIO/WUAB. Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ "Cleveland City Council declares March 25 will be Michael Stanley Day". WKYC. Retrieved 2021.
  18. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums - October 21, 1978" (PDF).
  19. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - February 28, 1981" (PDF).

Further reading

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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