18. Detroit, Michigan, USA
The ‘Motor City’ has certainly done a lot more than provide much of the Western world with cars. Culturally, it has been a hotbed of fine rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, R&B and soul music.
Bill Haley & His Comets were early heroes of rock ‘n’ roll, and the ‘Motown’ sound that defined the city in many people’s eyes emerged in the late 1950s to early 1960s; with the likes of Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson creating some truly unforgettable music.
Detroit is also partly responsible for unleashing the naked torso and wild showmanship of Iggy Pop onto the world, as the influential proto-punk band The Stooges arrived from Ann Arbor to the city’s rock scene in the late 1960s. The Stooges were almost completely out-of-step with their contemporaries, but their crude sound anticipated the rise of punk rock years before it became a renowned genre.
In recent years, The White Stripes have carried the torch for the legacy of brilliant garage rock that Detroit holds dear, and the experimental folk rock of Sufjan Stevens has had critics in a frenzy, particularly his love letter to his home state of Michigan, and an even more thrilling ode to nearby Illinois, concept albums he released in 2003 and 2005 respectively.
And perhaps we should mention some lady called Madonna, who went on to sell more than a handful of records worldwide.
Associated acts: Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Bill Haley & His Comets, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, MC5, The Stooges, Iggy Pop, Parliament, The White Stripes, Sufjan Stevens
Landmarks: Motown studios