1981 Michael Stanley Band – He Can’t Love You
Cleveland Ohio native Michael Stanley Gee joined the band Tree Stumps and played in local clubs in the late sixties. Michael dropped his last name and played guitar and sang with the group. Bill Szymczyk had just joined ABC Records as a producer and begun working with B. B. King when he happened to catch The Tree Stumps performing in a local club. He produced the group’s first album in 1969, changing their name to Silk. The album did not do well, but Bill continued to work with Michael as he recorded his first solo album in 1972. Joe Walsh, Todd Rundgren, and David Sanborn appeared on Michael’s album, but success eluded him again. A second solo album the next year did little to advance his career.
In 1974, Michael formed the Michael Stanley Band. The group released a new album every year and played to continually growing audiences through the remainder of the seventies and early eighties.
In 1980, the band finally released a single that reached the national charts. Singer/keyboard player Kevin Raleigh had joined the group in 1978, and he wrote and sang lead vocals on He Can’t Love You. It became the 47th song played on MTV and peaked at #33 on the Hot 100 in early 1981.
The group only reached the top forty one more time. Michael wrote My Town, which only reached #39 on the Hot 100 in 1983. A video on YouTube didn’t make the song any more familiar to me, but the ad for MTV at the start of the video was a reminder of how playing music videos help make the channel a success.
The band remained very popular in the Midwest but fell apart in 1987. For a few years, Michael worked on local television news feature shows and he even appeared on the Drew Carey show as himself. He became the afternoon drive disk jockey on the classic rock station WNCX-FM in Cleveland for the next thirty years.
Michael died in March 2021 after a battle with lung cancer.
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