The Legend of Eddie Spooner
If you were in the Mid-Michigan area from the 1960s-on, and no matter where you were from: Jackson, Stockbridge, Leslie, Mason, Lansing, Chelsea, Ann Arbor...basically ANY mid-eastern, central, or western Michigan town, city, or village – you knew the name Eddie Spooner.
Not just a 'singer' – Eddie was a troubadour, minstrel, crooner, balladeer, bard, poet, and stylist as well as an actor, an artist.....and a star. His success came to him in part because he was a down-to-earth kinda guy, born and raised on a farm in Jackson with good ol' Michigan country values.
In the 1950s, Eddie got the bug and began performing impromptu for family members. In 1960, at the age of twelve, he started performing publicly. As the 60s wore on, Eddie's popularity was hot. After performances, audience members would scramble, push, and shove to get his autograph.
Though he was already a star, Eddie still found the time to attend JCC with a major in music. He was a student there around the same time I was. It was always a kick when it was announced Eddie would perform somewhere in the Jackson area.
But he wasn't confined to Mid-Michigan – his talents took him elsewhere. From performing at the New York Coliseum, across country to California, up to Canada and Alaska, down to Florida, and back to Michigan where he appeared at Cobo Arena and headlining at Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel for two summers. He traveled extensively throughout the country, also appearing in Nashville, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and many, many others.
According to friend Jay Egeler, “Eddie was a troubadour. He could go anywhere, anytime and perform. His ability to read a crowd and manipulate it to his own accord is remarkable.....People would flock to go see him.....The fact that he could play just about any request was legendary. With the tap of his foot on his stool and the percussive style of playing his guitar he was a one man band”.
As far as favorite performers, it wasn't about the act itself...it was about the song. The styles and sounds that pleased his ears came from the recordings of Johnny Rivers, The Beatles, The Everly Brothers, Gordon Lightfoot, Willie Nelson, and Elvis Presley, to name a few. At times, Eddie's songs would emulate those styles.
Even though the public never got the chance to see Eddie in a normal, everyday capacity, his days were not always filled with writing, practicing, and performing. He was a talented painter and artist, enjoyed playing piano, and was an accomplished hair stylist. He dug old black & white movies, westerns, and fantasy TV shows like Star Trek and Quantum Leap.
Eddie never had the chance to slow down. He was always in demand for performances, interviews, charity events, workshops, and cheering up hospital patients.
It was inevitable that Eddie would make his own records. Beginning in the late 60s, he released the following singles:
“What 'Cha Gonna Do” / “Another Girl Just Like You” on the Jessup label, followed by a handful of others in the 70s, including:
“Run For Your Brother” / “Never Look Twice”
“Can't Throw Good Lovin' Away” / “A Thought From My Past”
“Chase Your Heart” /”Bring Me Up”
His album Spoon Gems was recorded in California and released in 1977. It's not a huge catalog, but it was his live performances that caused the buzz and brought the crowds.
Sadly he passed away in 2000 at the too-young age of 52. There is not much written about Eddie, unless you wanna dig up some old newspaper articles from the late 60s and seventies... and that's a shame, because he made so many people very happy, many times at his own expense. And he deserves more kudos and recognition.
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