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Cleveland music legend Michael Stanley dies at 72

CLEVELAND (WJW)– Devastating news for music fans in Cleveland. Michael Stanley, 72, has died. He was diagnosed with lung cancer last fall and fought until the very end. 

Michael Stanley Gee was born in 1948, the same year the Indians won the World Series. He loved baseball, playing throughout his childhood in Cleveland and Rocky River. His ability earned him a baseball scholarship to Hiram College. 

Michael also loved music. He learned to play guitar after watching performers like Elvis and Beatles on television. He played in several bands while he was a student at Rocky River High School, including The Scepters and “Tree Stumps. He played with the band Sylk during his college years. 

Between his love of baseball and his love of music, music won out and he started focusing on his songwriting. In 1973, Michael recorded “Rosewood Bitters,” a song that would stick with him throughout his career and become a fan favorite. 

In between recording sessions, Michael worked for a record store in Cleveland. One day, he was asked to perform at a rival store and he was let go. Michael had a decision to make. 

“I was fired from my job, just bought a new car, had two babies and no employment between us, and I was like… What am I going to do now?”   

Out of the need to just pay the bills, the Michael Stanley Band was formed.  They started getting regional recognition, and were asked to open for bands like Reo Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, Foreigner, and Joe Walsh, who played with Michael on his second album.

Michael Stanley Band (Photo courtesy: Cleveland Memory Project)

MSB went on to record albums like “Ladies’ Choice” and “Cabin Fever.” They were gaining more fans, as evident by several sold-out shows at the Agora in Cleveland. Michael recalled

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