Michael Howitt

You know I’m running thin on new songs when I keep digging into my catalogue of old Gordon Lightfoot tunes! He wrote some subtle political/protest songs over his career, but this is the one song that’s anything but. It was written immediately following the July 1967 Detroit Riot, which was comprised of violent confrontations between black protesters and troops following a police raid on an inner-city bar. It lasted 5 days and left 43 dead, 1,189 injured, over 7,200 arrests and more than 400 buildings destroyed. The song was released as a single in early 1968 and became a hit in Canada but not in the US where it was banned by radio stations in 30 states for being too controversial. Lightfoot no longer plays the song in concert as he now considers it too “preachy” for a Canadian to comment on American affairs.
This is a cover of “Black Day in July”.

7 Responses

  1. A great rendition of the song Michael. Well done. 👏👏👏 I was a kid in Windsor at the time – the Windsor radio stations also agreed not to play the song.

  2. Even as a kid I knew this song was “political” but didn’t have any idea what Motor City meant 😉

  3. Very nice song it kind of relates a little bit to when I Was 18 years old got off the ship In New York in the spring of 1968 and I heard some people demonstrating outside Pansilvania Train Station never knew at the time that it was about civil rights demonstrations

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