Easy Ryder

Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels were once driving forces in pop music. But there were some rough bumps for Ryder on the road ahead, as chronicled in a new book following the singer's career. Despite his setbacks, the seasoned rocker continues to roll.


 He has a voice that sounds as if it’s been marinated in whiskey, scraped by coarse-grade sandpaper, and exposed night after night to the last-call lingering smoke of crowded bars. Which is to say, Mitch Ryder has the perfect pipes for his signature melding of rhythm & blues with rock ’n’ roll, evidenced by his feral wail in “Devil with a Blue Dress On” or the raw grit of “Long Neck Goose.” The Hamtramck-born, Warren-bred singer’s career is documented in It Was All Right: Mitch Ryder’s Life in Music, by James A. Mitchell (Wayne State University Press, $24.95).


Unlike a conventional bio, it focuses on Ryder’s musical vocation, one fraught with several peaks, but far too many valleys. After hitting it big at age 20 with the hard-driving “Jenny Take a Ride,” followed by “Devil,” and the sexually explosive “Sock It to Me — Baby,” Ryder’s career floundered. First, there was the dissolution of his band, the Detroit Wheels, then came misguided management. The singer became so disgusted with the music industry that he worked in a Colorado warehouse for five years. The book also chronicles Ryder’s modest comeback, including a John Mellencamp-produced album and success in Germany. But no matter the dip in fame, the guy born William Levise Jr. in 1945 remains a Detroit original.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

The Way It Was

1956, Hudson's Northland in Southfield

An Hour with ... Ricki Friedman

Founder, Break the Weight

Meet the Makers: Tait Design Co.

How an after-work hobby ascended to a booming business

Pick Your Performance

In its 202-year history, the German story of The Nutcracker has been translated and reimagined so many times, there now exists a production for all. Here, a few renditions coming to metro Detroit.

Legal Practice

A historic playhouse in Detroit teaches local lawyers how to get into character
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. The Makings of the Shinola Hotel
    When the Detroit brand’s first foray into hospitality opens its doors, it’ll offer customers...
  2. My Two Christmases
    An Armenian-Iranian, Detroit-based writer reflects on transposing the holiday across continents
  3. An Hour with ... Carmen Harlan
    Broadcast journalist and founder of the Carmen Harlan Collection
  4. New Year’s Eve, Brooklyn Style
    Tips for celebrating 2019 from the pros at Brooklyn Outdoor
  5. Hour Detroit and Detroit Home’s Downtown Living Tour 2018
    Hour Detroit and Detroit Home’s third annual Downtown Living Tour took place September 7th-9th....
  6. God-Given Talent
    A local choir sings its way to live television
  7. Cocktail Recipe: Toddy Incarnata
  8. Main Review: SheWolf
    Born in Detroit but inspired by Rome, SheWolf takes diners on a culinary journey
  9. Meet the Makers: Tait Design Co.
    How an after-work hobby ascended to a booming business
  10. Comeback Catering
    Dish, in Detroit, pushes through hard times with consistently delicious food