WMJI Remembers Michael Stanley Dead At 72

Michael Stanley Band at Blossom-1981 (photo by Janet Macoska)

(Cleveland) - One of the most iconic rock and roll figures in Cleveland has died. Michael Stanley died Friday from lung cancer at the age of 72. Word of his health issues came out this week when WNCX Radio announced that Stanley was off the air because of serious health issues.

In a statement the family announced Michael will be laid to rest at Lake View Cemetery in a private service. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that you make contributions in his memory to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank or the Cleveland Animal Protective League. The family put out a statement thanking Hospice of the Western Reserve, his friends, and extended family for being there for him.

Michael Stanley Gee was born in 1948. He graduated from Rocky River High School in 1966, and went to Hiram College on a baseball scholarship, graduating in 1970. While attending college, he was in a band called Silk, which released an album in 1969.

Stanley released his first solo album in 1973, and a followup in 1974. Those albums had contributions from Joe Walsh, Todd Rundgren, and David Sanborn.

The Michael Stanley Band was formed in 1974, and nicknamed MSB by fans. The lineup included Jonah Koslen, Daniel Pecchio, and Tommy Dobeck. By 1982, the band had seven members.

MSB became a Cleveland-ares sensation, drawing a crowd of over 20,000 at the Richfield Coliseum on July 20, 1979, a total of 40,529 for two concerts at the Coliseum during New Year's in 1981-82, and 74,404 during a four-night stand at Blossom Music Center in August 1982. The band's national popularity reached its peak in 1981, when the single "He Can't Love You" made it up to number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The band broke up in 1987 after a series of farewell concerts at the old Front Row Theater on Wilson Mills Road, but Stanley kept performing with former members of MSB, also with the Resonators, and Michael Stanley and Friends.

In 1987, Stanley was paired up with Jan Jones as co-hosts of PM Magazine on WJW-TV 8, which he hosted until 1990. 1990 is when Stanley became the afternoon drive time host on WNCX, a position he has held until a recent illness.

Michael Stanley was honored by the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters with their Excellence in Radio award in 2012, and in 2019, the City of Cleveland renamed a portion of Huron Road "Michael Stanley Way."

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