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Tribute In Memory: Heartland Rock Icon- Michael Stanley

CLEVELAND, OH: WKYZ TV reported sad news that Michael Stanley passed away Friday from a 7 month battle with terminal Lung Cancer. Tonight the flag at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was lowered to half mast to honor the Lifetime Achievement Legend.

Our nation lost a legend in the passing of Michael Stanley on March 5, due to lung cancer. Serious health issues through out his life, Michael Stanley stayed fully in the mix of inspiring music experiences as a DJ, writer, recording artist, and member of several local loved bands.

If you’re reading this, then I am off to catch up with that big club tour in the sky

~ Michael Stanley’s farewell letter


How do we define the rock music genre of Heartland rock? If you grew up in the midwest, you just kind of know. A song comes on and it’s ours. It celebrates the farmland, hard working labor of the midwest.

The midwest, its fields and fields with family, small town city and country comprised. It is a community of small towns with blue collar work, factories, truck drivers, farmers. It creates a straightforward, musical anthem of our social or community purpse that transcends the song itself.

Some artists might not “live” in the heartland, but their music sings our song! A small list of Heartland Rock Heroes includes:

  • Michael Stanley
  • John Cougar Mellencamp
  • The Eagles
  • George Thorogood
  • Tom Petty & later The Traveling Wilbury’s
  • Bob Seger
  • The “boss” Bruce Springsteen
  • Bryan Adams
  • Jackson Browne
  • Kansas
  • John Fogerty
  • Steve Miller Band


Michael Stanley Gee (March 25, 1948 – March 5, 2021) was more than a celebrated DJ, or American singer-songwriter, musician, and radio personality. Michael Stanley put simply, was an iconic heartland rock legend.

He loved his work, he valued his connection, his music, and his life. He packed so much living into living around intense healthcare issues. His unique brand of heartland rock was rooted in his native Cleveland, Ohio and packed arenas across the USA. Michael Stanley Band Songs were an anthem for life lived and sung, across the American Midwest.

DJ, Michael Stanley from 98.5 WNCX Cleveland’s epic cool Classic Rock Radio Station

I used to listen to his DJ work when I lived in Copley OH. I loved music, and managed a Akron based RnB band. Music was always a part of my life, and the memories of Michael Stanley, now spinning his favorite influences, well that just worked wonders for his fans.

03/07/2021: 98.5 WNCX Posted this Farewell Message, from Michael Stanley, to his fans

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Cleveland celebrates Michael Stanley Way

Heartland Rock Icon- Michael Stanley

In May 2019, “This Town” Cleveland Arts Prize (CAP) celebrated this man. Michael Stanley was awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize Lifetime Achievement Award for his 50-year music career recognizing his 50-year career as a musician, his work in local media and his philanthropic endeavors

A few months later, part of Huron Avenue in Downtown Cleveland was renamed Michael Stanley Way, very near the WNCX’s front door.

The city of Cleveland loves him. The State of Ohio loves him. The American Midwest loves him. Lynne Thompson for Cleveland Magazine produced a great story, “From the Heartland, A Michael Stanley Retrospective

Michael Stanley Band’s (MSB) best known signature hit explains the heart of homeland music. The Lyrics to “My Town” for this Cleveland Ohio based band, the birthplace of Rock n Roll and home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, assembled a team of long standing musicians that create the music of the midwest.

This old town is where I learned about lovin’
This old town is where I learned to hate
This town, buddy, has done its share of shovin’
This town taught me
That it’s never too late

excerpt of Lyrics from My Town by Michael Stanley Band (MSB)

The Michael Stanley Band performed “My Town” on American Bandstand and Solid Gold TV shows Fall of 1983. Here is his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame performance of “My Town” an Acoustic Evening performance held on January 25, 1997. This was a series kick-off for the “My Town” exhibition.


Michael hosted WNCX’s afternoon drive radio show for 31 years. He was always business in performing both as a solo artist and a member of several bands including Silk, Ghost Poets, and the Michael Stanley Band.

I came to reconnect with the music of my youth, growing up listening to MSB on MTV and the radio. I credit Marc Lee Shannon, with reintroducing me to Michael Stanley’s music. Marc is a solo recording artist, and member of the Midlife Chryslers. A great musician is of all things connected to other great musicians. Michael Stanley has done colloborations, guest features, and performances with a number of amazing artists through the years.

Blossom Music Center Uncontested Record Attendance +37 years

Michael Stanley Band concert at Blossom Music Center in 1982, drew a record attendance of 74,404, a record that has stood uncontested for 37 years.

Heartland Rock Icon- Michael Stanley- onstage at Blossom Music Center in 1981. (Photo: Janet Macoska)
Photo by: Janet Macoska from Cleveland.com Gallery of the 1982 Blossom Music Center Event
Here is a list of some of the band’s Michael Stanley has been a part of.
My Favorite Michael Stand Band songs are:

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98.5 wncx, cleveland art prize, cleveland magazine, cleveland ohio, clevelands classic rock, hall of fame, heartland rock, michael stanley, michael stanley band, Mid-life Chryslers, midwest, MSB, music, rock and roll hall of fame, wkyz tv

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98.5 wncx, cleveland art prize, cleveland magazine, cleveland ohio, clevelands classic rock, hall of fame, heartland rock, michael stanley, michael stanley band, Mid-life Chryslers, midwest, MSB, music, rock and roll hall of fame, wkyz tv

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