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Splatt Gallery's History of Michigan Concert Posters
Volume Five - 1969 - Page Three
The cover of the February 13, 1969 issue of the Ann Arbor Argus, the issue with the infamous “Fuck Hudsons” ad that got The MC5 dropped by Elektra Records. The art is by Dave Baker and here we find the distinctive lightning bolt that was being used as the Grande Ballroom logo in the concert ads.
When Elektra recorded the two nights at the Grande Ballroom, they also recorded the band performing their full set without an audience in the empty ballroom the afternoon between the shows. On this recording, Rob Tyner used the phrase “Brothers and Sisters” instead of “Motherfuckers” in the intro to “Kick Out the Jams”. The band knew that the “MF” version would never get played on the radio and assumed the afternoon recording would be the one used on the album, but Elektra proposed that the single use the clean version and that the album would have the MF version.

The original plan was to let the single run its course and release the album after a period of time, but the single started selling so well, reaching #2 on the CKLW and WKNR charts by the end of January, that Elektra couldn’t wait, the album was released and the complaints from parents was immediate. Record distributers and disc jockeys labeled the record “obscene” and retailers, in particular, Hudson’s, the largest department store in Detroit, refused to stock it.

In the second issue of The Ann Arbor Argus, an ad designed by Robin Sommers exclaimed “Fuck Hudson’s” and included the Elektra logo. Elektra wasn’t too happy about the use of their logo, or with the bill that Trans-Love sent them for the ad, but when Hudson’s retaliated by pulling all Elektra product off their shelves, the company went ballistic.

The MC5 – Kick Out the James (“clean” single version) (1968)

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The original ad in the February 13, 1969 issues of the Ann Arbor Argus newspaper.
In addition to his posters for the Grande Ballroom and other MC5 concerts, artist Robin Sommers also designed the controversial “Fuck Hudson’s” ad and painted Wayne Kramer’s American flag guitar.

Following is a three-part interview that Rich Dorris videotaped in 1993 in which Sommers tells the stories behind numerous Grand Ballroom posters and handbills, the album cover of the MC5’s “Kick Out The Jams”, and the Trans-Love Lightshows. Essential viewing.

Robin Sommers – Part One

Robin Sommers – Part Two

Robin Sommers – Part Three

Three weeks of the WKNR-Keener 13 Music Guides, from February 13, 1969 through February 27, the three weeks that the MC5’s debut “Kick Out The Jams” was the #1 album in Detroit, Michigan.
Dave Baker’s Gross-Out Comix, and a puzzle page, from the February 13, 1969 issue of the Ann Arbor Argus newspaper.
An ad for WABX-FM radio in Detroit, Michigan by Dave Baker in the February 13, 1969 issue of the Ann Arbor Argus newspaper.
John Sinclair’s East-coast allies, Dennis Frawley and Bob Rudnick with the Kokaine Karma page in the February 14, 1969 issue of the East Village Other newspaper in NYC.
An ad for the 124th weekend at the Grande Ballroom, February 14-16, 1969, and for the weekend following that, featuring the “lightning bulb” logo by Dave Baker. Procol Harum and the Flying Burrito Brothers performed two nights, with opening band Dharma. The Flying Burrito Brothers stuck around for the Sunday night show, with opening band Frost.

The ad also has the 125th weekend, with two shows by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Van Morrison, February 21-22, 1969, with support by Tea and the Attack. Butterfield stuck around for a Sunday show on February 23rd, supported by the bands Ball and Sky.

James Render poster, for Mandala and the Red, White & Blues band at the Village Pub in Birmingham, Michigan, February 14, 1969, and with the Rationals and Tea the following night.
The MC5 were often paired on a bill with the Pleasure Seekers, as they were for a February 15, 1969 show at the Finch Fieldhouse on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant. There was a bit of a dichotomy between the radicals who liked to push all the buttons of confrontation, with the group of cute girls playing crowd-pleasing Beatles and Motown covers, and the audience typically preferred the latter. From the review of this particular show: “Summing up the general attitude of the audience, one male student shouts, “MC5, go to hell!””
Two-sided flyer that uses the cover of the February 15, 1969 issue of the Sun, which itself was only ten page mimeograph.
Poster for Smokey Robinson & the Miracles in Springfield, Massachusetts, February 15, 1969.
Newspaper ad for Alice Cooper at the Whisky a Go Go in North Hollywood, California, February 19-23, 1969.
A very cool poster for the MC5 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, February 20, 1969 by Dore of Hobo-Grit Graffix, published in Vol 3 No 6 edition of the Chicago Seed newspaper. This date does not appear on either the MC5 timeline or on the Aragon Ballroom show list, so it may not have happened, but on the other hand, there is no note of any cancellation (as in other cases) and there do not appear to be any date conflicts that would rule it out.
A blue version of the poster by Dore of Hobo-Grit Graffix for the MC5 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, February 20, 1969.
Poster by unknown artist P. O’Connor for the Village Pub in Birmingham, Michigan, with Red, White & Blues, Phenomena, Train and Plum Wine on February 21, 1969, and with Wicked Religion and Plum Wine the following night.
A Globe Poster for a Marvin Gaye show in Houston, Texas on February 21, 1969 with support by Young-Holt Unlimited. Young and Holt were the rhythm section of the Ramsey Lewis Trio who decided to strike out on their own. Their best known track was “Soulful Strut”, which was an instrumental version of a song by Barbara Acklin called “Am I the Same Girl”, which was recorded before, but was released after, “Soulful Strut”. Ironically, it is believed that neither Young nor Holt performed on the recording.

Young-Holt Unlimited – Soulful Strut (1968)

Barbara Acklin – Am I the Same Girl (1969)

A pair of ads for Bill Graham’s Fillmore East in New York City with the Buddy Miles Express, featuring Detroit guitarist Jim McCarty, opening for the Mothers of Invention, February 21-22, 1969. Also listed is an upcoming show with Vanilla Fudge and the Amboy Dukes on March 8th.
A Globe Poster for Jackie Wilson in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 23, 1969.
And it was time, once again, for the annual Playboy All-Star Band with the great Bill Utterback illustration. Jimi Hendrix replaced Chet Atkins on guitar, and Aretha Franklin replaced Petula Clark as female vocalist, but the rest of the ensemble remained exactly the same as in the 1968 version.
The MC5 performed a benefit show for their friends at The Ann Arbor Argus at the Michigan Union Ballroom on February 25, 1969, billing it as their last show before a West Coast tour. Although it was the last Ann Arbor show before “heading west”, the MC5 also played the following Sunday night at the Grande Ballroom before leaving the state.

The brown flyer is by Robin Sommers, the red and white one is by Dave Baker

Newsprint version of Dave Baker’s poster for the MC5 at the Union Ballroom in Ann Arbor on February 25, 1969.
An ad for the “perfect symbol of the love you share” just below the ad for a benefit show for the Ann Arbor Argus newspaper with the MC5, the Red, White & Blues Band, and the Psychedelic Stooges on February 25, 1969.
An interesting, colorful poster by an unknown artist for John Lee Hooker with the Groundhogs, the Pretty Things, Barclay James Harvest, and the Edgar Broughton Blues Band in Portsmouth, England, February 26, 1969.
Once again, Russ Gibb worked with Carolyn Heines in Grand Rapids, Michigan to arrange a concert at the Fountain Street Church February 27, 1969, by the band Steppenwolf, horribly misspelled in this poster, making their Michigan debut, the night before a two-night stand at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit.

Steppenwolf – Born to be Wild (Easy Rider movie clip) (1969)

Poster with correct spelling of Steppenwolf, with Brownsville Station, at the Fountain Street Church, February 27, 1969.
Poster by James Render, for the Bob Seger System with Teegarden & Van Winkle, Frut of the Loom, and “the original” Charging Rhinoceros of Soul at the Bowen Fieldhouse in Ypsilanti, Michigan, February 28, 1969.
A full-page newspaper ad for the MC5 album in the February 28, 1969 issue of the Chicago Seed newspaper.

Footage from the MC5 at SUNY in Buffalo, New York, February 28, 1969 (sound is from a Grande Ballroom recording):

An illustration that accompanied a very favorable review in the East Village Other newspaper of the MC5’s performance at the "New Worlds" Drug Symposium (LeMar) at State University of New York in Buffalo, “or was it Detroit…” on February 28, 1969.
An ad for Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen at Mark’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan February 28, 1969 and the following night, March 1st.
A loud poster by an unknown artist for the Temptations, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and Jackie “Moms” Mabley at Madison Square Garden in New York City, February 28, 1969.
A couple of “teaser” ads for the first MC5 album and a half-page ad for an album by Kim Fowley appeared in the February 28, 1969 issue of the Los Angeles Free Press newspaper. A combined review of both albums appeared a couple of issues later, written by Robert Gold, who viciously savaged both records, the phrase “dog shit” was used three times, and a “bullshit” was thrown in for good measure.

Gold described the Five as “four unmusical cats who can barely play their axes, who substitute frenzy for music (and it isn’t even credible frenzy), and a non-singer whose strained parodies of Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, and Paul McCartney will make you cringe – the whole package offered up with a seriousness that can only be called immature and idiotic, a bunch of pretentious assholes who give Sun Ra a bad name by merely mentioning him.”

The 126th weekend at the Grande Ballroom, February 28, 1969 – March 2, 1969, featured the only known poster by an artist named “Melkus”, likely an alias for Donnie Dope. It was the first poster for the Grande for the entire month of February, for some reason, no posters were made for shows for the entire month including Jethro Tull (first Michigan appearance), Spirit, Savoy Brown (first Michigan appearance), Procol Harum, Van Morrison, and Paul Butterfield Blues Band. 

The MC5 are listed as appearing on Sunday night, on Friday they were in Buffalo, New York, performing at the conclusion of the New Worlds Drug Symposium and a video from that performance is here:

MC5 – Come Together (Live in Buffalo, New York 2/28/69)

An events calendar in a Detroit newspaper, along with an ad for the Butterfield Blues Band and Van Morrison at the Grande Ballroom, February 21-23, 1969.  A second ad that also extends out to the following weekend with Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night and MC5.
An ad for the Grande Ballroom in the student newspaper at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Van Morrison, February 21-23, 1969. There is also an adjacent ad for Parliament Funkadelic at the university on March 8th, one of the few big-name Michigan bands that never performed at the Grande Ballroom, a short list that also includes Alice Cooper and Bob Seger.
The back side of the Donnie Dope postcard with the schedule of upcoming shows at the Grande Ballroom through March 16, 1969.
An ad from EMI, the UK distributor for Motown Records, with a contest to win a B.M.C. Mini Deluxe automobile (with a radio and tape machine installed and a special engraved plague presented by Motown Records, Detroit, USA). Entry forms were to be found in the newest Motown Tamla albums, the contest to end on February 28, 1969.
Newspaper ad promoting record sales for artists appearing at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, Michigan, February 28 – March 2, 1969, featuring Steppenwolf and Three Dog Nights (sic).
Volume Five - 1969 - continues - HERE