LLC News Release: July 7, 2004
is please to announce the dedication of the Darrell
Banks Memorial Bench on Saturday, July 17, 2004
at 1 PM at historic Detroit Memorial Park in Warren,
Michigan. The cemetery is located on the
south side of 13 Mile Road in Warren, Michigan, just west
of Ryan Road. Please congregate at section 36, which is
located in the back SE corner of the cemetery. An informal
get-together at a Café [location to be announced]
will follow the dedication. All are welcome to attend
the dedication and get-together.
The Darrell Banks Memorial bench is a tribute to one
of Soul Music’s finest singers and now adorns his
formerly unmarked grave. It was made possible through
donations by fans of his music from around the world.
Darrell was born Darrell Eubanks in Mansfield, Ohio on
the 25th of July 1937. Within a few years his family moved
to the East Side of Buffalo, New York, where he was raised
in the Gospel tradition.
In the mid-sixties he met up with local dentist and
music fan, Doc Murphy who gave him a chance at Club Revilot
in downtown Buffalo.
Spotting that Banks was a special talent, Murphy, who
was now Darrell's manager, linked him up with Lebaron
Taylor who had formed Solid Hitbound Productions with
Don Davis in Detroit.
Darrell’s first song called “Open the Door
to Your Heart” was penned by himself and fellow
Buffalo resident Donnie Elbert. It gave the label an astonishing
chart debut in July 1966, reaching #2 in the R&B Charts.
After one more release on Taylor’s Revilot imprint,
Darrell moved to Atco/Cotillion, and finally to Volt records
in Memphis who issued the highly respected “Here
to Stay” album, which was recorded in Detroit’s
United Sound Studio.
Several weeks after his Volt release the front page
of the Michigan Chronicle carried this shocking story.
"A bullet fired by an off-duty policeman ended
the life of singer Darrell Banks, who made history amongst
his peers in the entertainment field several years ago,
when scoring a million-seller hit with "Open the
Door to Your Heart".
“Banks was taken to New Grace Hospital where he
was declared dead at 12:10pm on 24th February 1970.”
After the funeral, some of Detroit's top performers,
including Motown's Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, staged
a benefit for Bank's family. The Chronicle reported that
it "drew a turn away crowd".
This was a tragic end to a promising career, but it
was not the end of Darrell’s story.
In England, the underground Northern Soul scene continued
to play the music of Darrell Banks, and his contemporaries,
and 33 years later several fans, from Scotland, England,
Ohio and New York came to pay their respects at his grave
in Detroit Memorial Park.
Tragically when searching for the grave they had to
seek the help of DMP employee James Norman, as there was
no marker to be found at Section 36, Plot 539.
James paced out the grave from the edge of the nearest
marker and found a small identifying disc lying inches
beneath the grassy surface.
The stunned group decided at that moment that something
must be done to properly commemorate someone who had given
so much pleasure, to so many people, around the globe.
Within a few weeks the funds were secured via an appeal
on the Forum Members of Internet website SoulfulDetroit.com.
The response came from Australia, Finland, Scotland,
England and the United States and a memorial bench was
installed by US Memorial Day, 2004, 34 years after his
passing - a truly international salute. [Donor
On Saturday 17th July 2004, we will gather to formally
dedicate this memorial bench and say a final farewell
to this astonishing talent.
Your are invited to join us,
Forum Members of SoulfulDetroit.com
A printable Microsoft Word [.doc] of
this event is available at:
Read the onlineDarrell Banks Story at:
[This address has been placed on the memorial bench
so that visitors maybe able to learn about the story of