The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Galaxies in running for Michigan Rock Hall

 

May 6, 2017

Submitted photo

THE GALAXIES included, from left, Danny Sullivan, Greg Winn, Bernie Michelli and Andy Abraham.

IRONWOOD - Ironwood's Galaxies may be entering Michigan's Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame.

The four-man group that performed in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when rock was young, is in the running for the hall in online voting.

Of the four members, only Andy Abraham, 75, of Hurley, is still alive. Other Galaxies included Bernie Michelli, Danny Sullivan and Greg Winn.

Danny Sullivan Jr., of Bessemer, said the Galaxies cut two records. He said a display on the Galaxies can be viewed at the Iron County Historical Museum in Hurley.

Abraham noted the Galaxies group was managed by radio personality Dick "Nite Train" Williamson, a youngster out of the service who had a show on WJMS Radio. When the band got together to pick a manager (Williamson) and a name, they went through 50 titles.

"He wanted a name that would click and Galaxies came from the auto (Ford Galaxy)," Abraham said Thursday.

"We were an excellent show band," Abraham said. "That's when the Galaxies really made it happen. We were very popular.

"We traveled extensively," he said, naming Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay as stops on one tour. The shows would go on for as long as four hours, with just a few breaks and no other bands on the card.

As Abraham explains it, the four youngsters quickly picked up on rock's "basic format," watching what Buddy Holly and others were doing on stage.

Abraham got the bug to play in a rock band from watching rock icon Holly perform twice, including at Duluth in 1958. He said Sullivan and Winn formed the band and he came along later, having performed with the Ambassadors drum and bugle corps and receiving training as a youngster on the piano.

Abraham said Winn played "excellent classical piano."

Michelli, older than the other lads by about five years, played drums at the Club Carnival strip joint in Hurley to earn money for his family. He really developed a drumming talent that he carried into the band, Abraham recalls.

It was Williamson who introduced the Galaxies to Jimmy Bowen.

Bowen produced the band's first single, "If You Want to Be My Baby," written and sung by Sullivan. The record was listed as by Danny and the Galaxies.

The success of that record led to a recording contract with George Carlton's Guaranteed Records in New York.

The band then released another 45 rpm record, with "My Tattle Tale" and "Love Has Its Ways" in 1961, but they didn't become big hits. Sullivan wrote one side and Abraham the other.

Asked why the group disbanded, Abraham laughed, "The guys got married."

Voting to get the group into the Rock Hall will continue online until June 1. Sullivan Jr. said three groups will be voted into the hall and the Galaxies, called the Upper Peninsula's first rockers, stand a good chance of making it, judging from early voting.

Votes can be cast at michiganrockandrolllegends.com.

 
 

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