Selected Detroit Sound Bibliography

General Detroit

Conot, Robert E. American Odyssey. New York: Morrow, 1974.

Dunbar, Willis F. and George S. May. Michigan: A History of the Wolverine State, 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.

Gavrilovich, Peter and Bill McGraw, editors. The Detroit Almanac: 300 Years of Life in the Motor City. Detroit: Detroit Free Press, 2000.

Georgakas, Dan and Marvin Surkin. Detroit, I Do Mind Dying : A Study in Urban Revolution. Updated ed, South End Press Classics ; 2. Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press, 1998.

Mast, Robert H. Detroit Lives. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994.

Moon, Elaine Latzman. Untold Tales, Unsung Heroes: An Oral History of Detroit’s African American Community, 1918-1967. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1994.

Poremba, David Lee, editor. Detroit in Its World Setting: A Three Hundred Year Chronology, 1701-2001. Detroit: Wayne State University, 2001.

Retzloff, Tim. “From Storage Box to Computer Screen: Disclosing Artifacts of Queer History in Michigan.” GLQ 7, no. 1 (2001): 153-181.

Sugrue, Thomas J. The Origins of the Urban Crisis Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996.

Thompson, Melissa. Whose Detroit?: Politics, Labor, and Race in a Modern American City. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001.

Architecture, Landmarks, and Preservation

Austin, Dan. Lost Detroit: Stories Behind the Motor City’s Majestic Ruins. Charleston, S.C.: The History Press, 2010.

Retzloff, Tim. “Historical Directory of Gay & Lesbian Bars in Metro Detroit,” self-published pamphlet, courtesy of author (2010).


Maki, Craig and Keith Cady. Detroit Country Music: Mountaineers, Cowboys, and Rockabillies. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013.

Dance Music

Gholz, Carleton. “Where the Mix Is Perfect”: Voices from the Post-Motown Soundscape. University of Pittsburgh, 2011.

Sicko, Dan. Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk. 2nd ed. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2010.

Tausig, Ben. “Detroit Techno: Race, Agency, and Electronic Music in Post-Industrial Detroit.” Masters, University of Michigan, 2003.

Vecchiola, Carla. “Detroit’s Rhythmic Resistance: Electronic Music and Community Pride.” Dissertation, University of Michigan, 2006.


Pollard, Deborah Smith. When the Church Becomes Your Party: Contemporary Gospel Music. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2008.

Hip Hop

Gholz, Carleton. “‘Welcome to Tha D.’: Making and Remaking Hip Hop Culture in Post-Motown Detroit.” In Represent Where I’m From: The Greenwood Guide to American Regional Hip Hop, edited by Mickey Hess: Greenwood Press, 2009.

Watkins, S. Craig. Hip Hop Matters : Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement. Boston: Beacon Press, 2005.

Mueller, Gavin. “Looking For the Perfect Beat: Rerouting A Hip-Hop Genealogy Through Electronic Dance Music.” 2006.

Blues, Jazz, Paradise Valley, and beyond

Bjorn, Lars with Jim Gallert. Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit, 1920-1960. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2001.

Boyd, Herb and Leni Sinclair, editors. Detroit Jazz Who’s Who. Detroit: Jazz Research Institute, 1984.

Cohassey, Joh. Down on Hastings Street: A study of social and cultural changes in a Detroit community 1941-1955. Thesis (MA): Wayne State University, 1993.

Cohassey, John. Toast of the Town: The Life and Times of Sunnie Wilson. Wayne State University Press, 2005.

Motown / Rhythm & Blues / Soul

Edmonds, Ben. What’s Going On?: Marvin Gaye and the Last Days of the Motown Sound. Edinburgh: Canongate, 2002.

Smith, Suzanne E. Dancing in the Street: Motown and the Cultural Politics of Detroit. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Whitall, Susan. Women of Motown: An Oral History. New York: Avon Books, 1998.

Whitall, Susan. Fever: Little Willie John’s Fast Life, Mysterious Death and the Birth of Soul. Titan Books, 2011.


Carson, David. Rockin’ Down the Dial: The Detroit Sound of Radio. Royal Oak: Momentum Books, 1999.


Carson, David. Grit, Noise, & Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock ‘N’ Roll. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005.

Rettman, Tony. Why Be Something You’re Not: Detroit Hardcore 1979-1985. Huntington Beach, Calif.: Revelation Records Publishing, 2010.

Schmitt, Jason M. “Like the Last 30 Years Never Happened: Understanding Detroit Rock Music Through Oral History.” Ph.D. dissertation. Bowling Green State University, 2008.

Sinclair, John. It’s All Good: A John Sinclair Reader. London: Headpress, 2008.

Updated Winter 2020