What songs would you choose if you had to create a Detroit playlist? Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove?” Aretha Franklin’s “Respect?” Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?”
These are all options for the forthcoming Sounds of Detroit sculpture to be installed on the Cass Avenue bridge over I-94. The Michigan Department of Transportation and Cliff Garten Studio are spearheading the art project and asking for community input on which 10 songs to include via an online survey.
The songs won’t actually play at the installation on the pedestrian bridge, but the titles and artists will be included in lines of text that run between lines representing soundwaves on the sculpture.
Song choices include both hits from native Detroit artists and songs that were produced and recorded at Detroit United Sounds System Recording Studio. The survey includes a ton of Motown (as it should) alongside other genres like rock and funk.
Besides “One Nation Under a Groove,” “Detroit Rock City” by KISS, and “Respect” (which would all be on our list), other choices include Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” MC5’s “Kick Out the Jams,” “Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas, “My Girl” by the Temptations, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” John Lee Hooker’s “Boogie Chillen,” “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes, and “If You Want Me To Stay” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others.
The survey provides two separate lists of songs and asks respondents to choose five from each. Voting closes on Dec. 10.
The Sounds of Detroit sculpture is part of the ongoing I-94 modernization project. California-based Cliff Garten Studio was chosen to design the art piece out of 146 artists who applied for the job. A group of local arts professionals and agency representatives advising MDOT made the final selection and the design came out of two community forums held at the Carhartt flagship store at 5800 Cass Ave., across from the installation’s future home.
Cliff Garten Studio has produced several public art displays including the “I Am A Man Plaza” in Memphis, which pays tribute to the 1968 Sanitation Workers Strike and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.