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Mitch Ryder (b. William S. Levise, Jr., February 26, 1945) is an American musician who has recorded more than two dozen albums over more than four decades.
Mitch Ryder on stage, Germany 2008
|Birth name||William S. Levise, Jr.|
|Also known as||Mitch Ryder|
|Born||February 26, 1945|
|Origin||Hamtramck, Michigan, United States|
|Genres||Rock and roll, rhythm and blues, blue-eyed soul, frat rock, hard rock|
|Associated acts||The Detroit Wheels, Engerling|
Ryder is noted for his gruff, wailing singing style and his dynamic stage performances. He was influenced by his father, a musician. As a teenager, Ryder sang backup with a black soul-music group known as the Peps, but racial animosities interfered with his continued presence in the group.
Ryder formed his first band, Tempest, when he was at Warren High School, and the group gained some notoriety playing at a Detroit soul music club called The Village. Ryder next appeared fronting a band named Billy Lee & The Rivieras, which had limited success until they met songwriter / record producer Bob Crewe. Crewe renamed the group Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, and they recorded several hit records for his DynoVoice Records and New Voice labels in the mid to late 1960s, most notably "Devil with a Blue Dress On", their highest-charting single at number 4, as well as "Sock It to Me, Baby!", a number 6 hit in 1967, and "Jenny Take a Ride!", which reached number 10 in 1965. The Detroit Wheels were John Badanjek on drums, Mark Manko on lead guitar, Joe Kubert (not to be confused with the comic book illustrator of the same name) on rhythm guitar, Jim McCarty (not to be confused with the Yardbirds drummer of the same name) on lead guitar and Jim McAllister on bass. Ryder sadly would be the last person to perform with Otis Redding, they performed the song "Knock On Wood", December 9, 1967, in Cleveland, Ohio, on a local T.V. show called "Upbeat". Redding and 4 members of his touring band, The Bar-Kays, would perish in a plane crash near Madison, Wisconsin the following day, December 10, 1967.
Ryder's musical endeavors would see less success after the early 1970s. Ryder's participation with the Detroit Wheels ended just as the counterculture was becoming dominant in 1968. During 1968, trumpeters Mike Thuroff and John Stefan were hired to tour with his horn section and band. Thuroff and Stefan also recorded the trumpet parts of Ryder's song, "Ring My Bell." This song was not permitted to be played by radio in many states due to its sexual innuendos. Ryder had one hit single from that period, a cover version of "What Now, My Love". His last successful ensemble band was Detroit. The only original Wheel in the group was the drummer John Badanjek; other members were guitarists Steve Hunter, Robert Gillespie, and Brett Tuggle, organist Harry Phillips, and bassist W.R. Cooke. A single album was released by this grouping, a 1971 self-titled LP issued on Paramount Records (US #176 in 1972). They had a hit with their version of the Lou Reed-penned song "Rock & Roll", which Reed liked enough to ask Steve Hunter to join his backing band.
Reviewing Ryder's 1978 LP What I Did on My Vacation, Robert Christgau wrote in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981): "What he remembers best, apparently, is sex with men, and the songs that result put across all the sin, fear, passion, love-and-hate, pleasure, and release that buggery seems to have involved for him. The lyrics sometimes lack coherence, and the music is a more sensitive version of the now outdated r&b-based guitar flash he favored with Detroit back in 1970. But the overall effect is revelatory."
According to allmusic.com (which calls Ryder "the unsung hero" of Michigan rock and roll), Ryder withdrew from music after experiencing throat trouble, moving to Colorado with his wife and taking up writing and painting. In 1983, Ryder returned to a major label with the John Mellencamp-produced album Never Kick a Sleeping Dog. The album featured a cover version of the Prince song "When You Were Mine," which was Ryder's last score on the Billboard Hot 100.
Ryder continues to record and tour in the United States and Europe.
In 2005, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels were inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.
In 2009, Mitch Ryder was inducted as a solo artist.
On February 14, 2012 Ryder released The Promise, his first US release in almost 30 years.
Ryder has influenced the music of such blue collar rock music artists as Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, and also Bruce Springsteen whose version of the song "Devil With a Blue Dress" was part of the No Nukes concert album in the early 1980s. He has also been cited as a primary musical influence by Ted Nugent.
Bruce Springsteen still plays his music on stage. The song titled "Detroit Medley" refers directly to the Detroit Wheels. Included in this medley are the songs, "Devil With a Blue Dress", "Jenny Take a Ride", "Good Golly Miss Molly" and "C.C. Rider". The medley from time to time blends in a variety of other songs, but this remains the core section, often featuring guitar solos from Springsteen and piano solos by Roy Bittan.
Ryder has been credited by guitarist Steve Hunter for giving Hunter his first real break in rock 'n' roll and introducing Hunter to producer Bob Ezrin. In 2017 he was inducted into Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.
- Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels
|1965||"I Need Help (Help Help)"||—||—||—|
|"Come See About Me"||113||—||—|
|"Jenny Take a Ride"||10||33||44|
|1966||"Little Latin Lupe Lu"||17||—||93|
|"Takin' All I Can Get"||100||—||—|
|"Devil with a Blue Dress On"||4||—||30|
|1967||"Sock It to Me-Baby"||6||—||—|
|"Too Many Fish in the Sea"||24||—||—|
|1968||"Linda Sue Dixon"||—||—||25|
- Mitch Ryder
|1962||"That's The Way It's Gonna Be"||—||—|
|"What Now My Love"||30||72|
|"You Are My Sunshine"||88||—|
|"(You've Got) Personality – Chantilly Lace"||87||—|
|1968||"Baby I Need Your Loving"||—||—|
|1969||"Sugar Bee (We Three)"||—||—|
|"It's Been a Long Time"||—||—|
|1971||"I Can't See Nobody"||—||—|
|"Sing a Simple Song"||—||—|
|1979||"Rock and Roll"||—||—|
|"Nice and Easy"||—||—|
|"Freezin' In Hell"||—||—|
|1980||"Ain't Nobody White"||—||—|
|"We're Gonna Win"||—||—|
|"Red Scar Eyes"||—||—|
|1983||"Er ist Nicht Mein President"||—||—|
|"When You Were Mine"||87||—|
|1985||"Like a Rolling Stone"||—||—|
|1987||"Good Golly Ask Ollie"||—||—|
- Detroit Featuring Mitch Ryder
|1971||"It Ain't Easy"||—|
|1972||"Rock and Roll"||107|
|"Ohh-La La La-Dee Da Doo"||—|
- Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels
- 1966 Take A Ride (New Voice)
- 1966 Breakout! (New Voice)
- 1967 Sock It To Me (New Voice)
- 1967 All Mitch Ryder Hits (New Voice)
- 1967 All The Heavy Hits (Crewe)
- 1968 Mitch Ryder Sings The Hits (New Voice)
- Mitch Ryder
- 1967 What Now My Love (Dynovoice)
- 1969 The Detroit/Memphis Experiment (with Booker T and the MGs)
- 1979 How I Spent My Vacation (Line)
- 1980 Naked But Not Dead (Line)
- 1981 Live Talkies (Line)
- 1981 Got Change for a Million (Line)
- 1981 Look Ma, No Wheels (Quality)
- 1981 Greatest Hits (Quality)
- 1982 Smart Ass (Line)
- 1983 Never Kick a Sleeping Dog (Line)
- 1985 Legendary Full Moon Concert (Line)
- 1986 In The China Shop (Line)
- 1988 Red Blood, White Mink (Line)
- 1990 The Beautiful Toulang Sunset (Line)
- 1992 La Gash (Line)
- 1992 Live at the Logo Hamburg (Line)
- 1994 Rite of Passage (with Engerling) (Line)
- 1999 Monkey Island (Line)
- 2003 The Old Man Springs a Boner (with Engerling) (Buschfunk)
- 2004 A Dark Caucasian Blue (with Engerling) (Buschfunk)
- 2006 The Acquitted Idiot (with Engerling) (Buschfunk)
- 2008 You Deserve My Art (with Engerling) (Buschfunk)
- 2009 Detroit Ain't Dead Yet
- 2009 Air Harmonie (with Engerling) (Buschfunk)
- 2012 The Promise
- 2013 It's killing me (live 2012) (with Engerling) (Buschfunk)
- 2017 Stick this in your ear (Buschfunk)
- 2018 Christmas (Take a Ride) (Cleopatra)
- 2019 The Blind Squirrel Finds A Nut (Buschfunk)
- Detroit Featuring Mitch Ryder
- 1971 Detroit (Paramount/MCA)
- "The Ryder Stipulates". Detroit Metro Times. September 15, 2004. Retrieved March 26, 2008.
- "VH1 – Mitch Ryder biography". Vh1.com. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- "Mitch Ryder Biography". Mitchryder.net. 2003. Retrieved March 26, 2008.
- Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: R". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 12, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
- "Bman's Blues Report: New Release: Mitch Ryder – The Promise – Review". Bmansbluesreport.com. February 2, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- "Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels". Michigan Rock & Roll Legends Hall of Fame. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- "Interview with Ted Nugent". Music-illuminati.com. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- "Winona Ryder Biography". Netglimse.com. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- Conley, Tony (July 22, 2013). "Steve Hunter - The Rock Guitar Daily Interview". Rock Guitar Daily. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 477. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.