We got a missive yesterday from Allee Willis with the latest news on her song “The D.” Willis, you’ll remember, is the incredible songwriter responsible for classics by, among other legends, Earth Wind and Fire and the Pointer Sisters, and a little earworm called “I’ll Be There for You.” Allee Willis is one of the most talented, fun-to-be-around, creative, and full-on eccentric artists in California. And one of our FAVORITE PEOPLE ON THE PLANET. We LOVE her. So. She’s written this song about her hometown of Detroit. “The D” it’s called. And she’s taking it to Detroit. “After working on ‘The D’ a solid year and a half,” she tells us, “my ever-growing crew of 15 and I are descending upon Detroit in less than a week to record the song, video, and feature-length documentary. We’ll be recording and filming groups of 50 to 1000 people at each of the 40-plus locations where people will be singing ‘The D,’ dancing, and showing their Motor City spirit however they can. Nothing like this has ever been attempted before.” She says that it won’t just be the most people ever on a record, but also the most people ever to be listed as the ORIGINAL ARTIST on a record!
“Over the past couple of weeks,” she says, “I’ve been recording incredible Detroit-born singers, songwriters, musicians, comedians, and actors here at my studio in LA – groundbreaking Motown songwriters and producers like Lamont Dozier and Mickey Stevenson; former Supremes Mary Wilson and Scherrie Payne; singers Freda Payne, Marcella Detroit, Pam, and Joyce Vincent; Diane Steinberg, daughter of legendary Detroit DJ Martha Jean The Queen; comedians Lily Tomlin and Angela Shelton; and musicians like Greg Phillinganes, Ray Parker Jr, Reggie McBride, and Bruce Miller. With a lot more to come.”
Photographed with Allee in her studio: Top, Mary Wilson; middle, Lamont Dozier; bottom, Lily Tomlin. (Note gold and platinum records on the wall.)