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The holidays have come and gone, and as we now stare into the teeth of winter and a new year, hark, do I still hear the strains of a few songs echoing in the distance? No, those aren't Christmas carols. They're the Top 100 Detroit songs the MT recently chronicled, and they're still reverberating in the homes of many a Motor City music lover. I've picked a few from the list and taken the liberty of adding my own lyrics to portray a few stories of our times.

Erma Franklin's voice never made it onto a lot of records, but Aretha's sister sang one of the most soulful, heart-wrenching love ballads of all time. Here's my take on the subprime mortgage crisis through her voice.

Move in My House ("Piece of My Heart")

Didn't nobody warn you that your mortgage would go south?
That interest rates would rise, so that you'd wind up hand-to-mouth?
(Deep, deep within your mind)
Now the bank is squeezing hard for money you know that you ain't got,
And you got no place to go, can't even afford to smoke pot.
So come on, come on, come on, come on and
Move in, I got a little extra room down in my cellar.
Move in, you'll have to share it with another put-out feller.
Move in, I'll only charge you half of what your old mortgage would.
You got no choice and, hey, it makes me feel good.

I wanted to use the Supremes' "Love Child" but those raw and gritty lyrics ("Started my life in a old, cold, run-down tenement slum") are all too real today. I thought, though, that I'd try something based on Detroit's all-time No. 1 song. 

You're Living Large ("What's Going On")

Kwame, Kwame
You sent me a holiday card.
Kwame, Kwame, Kwame
An empty gesture is not too hard.
But I really didn't need to see
A photo of your smiling family.
Kwame, Kwame
Streetlights on my block are dark.
I'd like to see them glowing,
But you're too busy living large.
Remember that we're still out here
Walking down these dark streets with fear.

We've bottomed out, there is no doubt, criminals running wild, but you're acting like a child,
Can't you hear our voices, time to make the tough choices, but you're living large, no adult in charge, you're living large. ...

Some Wolverine fans got what they've wanted for years when Lloyd Carr retired, but many aren't sure the new direction is the right one. So, we turn to the Romantics to light the way.

What I like about Rich ("What I like About You")

What I like about Rich
That spread offense,
Throwin' that ball all around
In them yellow-and-blue tight pants.
The fans won't know how to sing
"Hail to the Victors" with this new kind of zing,
But Rich's new
And Bo's dynasty's through.

If there ever was a song expressing the angst of uncertainty it was Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen." We're going to know this all too well in the coming weeks.

Candidates ("I'm Eighteen")

Candidates are all in my face.
Candidates all over the place.
I'm in the middle, just one vote.
I don't want to be a Judas goat.
I'm not sure that you're the man.
Show me you got the plan.
John Edwards,
Is yours really the way?
Or is there a Republican man,
Who don't scare me out of my pants?
Oh, yeah

When Farmer Jack pulled out of Detroit it left the city without a major chain supermarket. A study showed that most city dwellers lived closer to a fast food restaurant or party store than to a supermarket where more nutritional foods could be had. ? and the Mysterians lend the melody.

Supersize ("96 Tears")

Too much fast food for children in the city.
Too much fast food and they're really gettin' phat.
They need nutrition,
But can't find it
Cause there's no food store
Near to where they live.
When you look 'round,
Can't find a carrot,
Ain't no broccoli
Chillin' in the fridge.
So go on eat hamburgers
Every day.
Then you want some fries?
Fry, fry, fry.

And last, but most important, let's save the whole damn planet with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

Fight the Global Heat ("Dancin' in the Street")

Calling out around the world, have you heard the word on global heat?
Climate change coming down, people dyin' right in the street
Got to save Chicago (from the global heat), Down in New Orleans (they already know), New York underwater
All we need is Al Gore, more Al Gore, and his movie everywhere
They'll be sighin', cryin', everywhere dyin'
To fight the global heat
We're gonna save the big icebergs, and lots of cute polar bears
So recycle your trash, plastic bags,
Ethanol, please hear my call.

Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and former editor of Metro Times. Send comments to

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