Michigander Allee Willis Will Be ‘In Memoriam’ at the Grammys
If you didn't know who Allee Willis was before, let us introduce you to this Detroit legend.
The Grammy Awards are on tonight and, like every year, the show will honor the music legends that we lost in 2019. One of those legends is Detroit native Allee Willis.
She grew up in the heyday of Motown and, every Saturday, would have her parents drop her off at Hitsville so she could listen to the music from the front lawn.
Willis went on to write songs like September and Boogie Wonderland for Earth, Wind & Fire. She also wrote songs for Patti LaBelle and the Pointer Sisters, as well as co-writing the music and lyrics to Broadway's The Color Purple.
She also was asked to write a song for an upcoming TV show (which she dubbed "the whitest thing I've ever written") and you might remember it.
As a Wisconsin native, I had to share this as well - Willis graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1969, and went back years later to conduct a halftime show of her hits for their infamous marching band.
Side note: it was my dream to play in that band but I wasn't smart enough to get into the school.
Real talk: I didn't know who Allee Willis was until this morning, and she passed away on Christmas Eve of last year. However, she's now one of my musical heroes. She told CBS News that "you can be in the worst circumstances and still kind of dig the joy out of there. And if you hang with it long enough, it is going to pay off."
And now, you know. Spread the good word of one of our own - Allee Willis.