Southgate man, the ‘oldest Rolling Stones fan,’ autographs copies of his book

Bob Harris, the “oldest Rolling Stones fan,” still enjoys autographing copies of “Motor City Rock and Roll – The 1960s and 1970s,” which he co-authored in 2008 with John Douglas Peters. The cover features a 1965 photo of him with the Rolling Stones at then Cobo Hall. He said the title of the “oldest Rolling Stones fan” was bestowed on him by Mick Jagger himself, when, in 1999, he tracked the group down at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham to have the 1965 photo autographed. The title was later immortalized in a song by “Benny and the Jets.” Harris said the photo had to be cropped at the time for “Teen News,” a local newspaper he published, because two of the Stones were holding cigarettes. He said he tried to get the Stones to put down their cigarettes, but as soon as some of the band members would put them down, others would unconsciously light up. Harris met many music groups when he was a concert promoter, band manager and the publisher of “Teen News” in the 1960s and 1970s, and had his photo taken with many celebrities, which he saved over the years and provided the material for his book, which is part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series, and includes photos of many musicians with ties to Detroit. He said he has met an eclectic collection of entertainers, including Martha Reeves of the Vandellas, Bobby Vinton, Charlie Pride, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis and Wayne Newton. He was signing copies of his book Oct. 24 at McGuckin’s Pub in Taylor. Author Bob Harris (second from left), 91, of Southgate, with family members Jay (left), Sammi, Heather and Jesse Sanders, at a book signing for “Motor City Rock and Roll – The 1960s and 1970s,” cowritten with John Douglas Peters, on Oct. 24 at McGuckin’s Pub in Taylor. Harris, 91, of Southgate, is a World War II veteran (he used a deceased boy’s birth certificate to enlist at age 14), and served in the Merchant Marine for a year, then in the Naval reserve, and later, at age 16, with the Army in occupied Japan. Later, he worked with the government to get his military record changed to his actual name and identity. He lived in Detroit after WWII, working for a while for the Hudson Motor Car Company. In 1949, he married his wife Hope, and in 1969, he moved his family to 10 acres in Westland. He said he has lived a full life, and has six children, 19 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren. Harris said he has survived cancer three times, and five years ago, he went skydiving with four generations of his family, and had as much fun skydiving as he did with the media afterward. In addition to surviving WWII as a teenager, he survived being shot in the back by a gang member at age 10 when he lived in Chicago. Gunfire in the neighborhood was a regular occurrence, so, when he was 11, in 1941, they moved to Detroit. He sold the Free Press and delivered groceries, earning a nickel tip per trip, until age 14, when he enlisted in WWII under an older alias. Harris, who was adopted, recently used a DNA test, and, with help from researchers, said he learned his birth identity two months ago, and tantalizing tidbits about his biological family tree. Despite being in his ninth decade, he said he prefers to “hang out” with young people. However, that didn’t stop him from mingling with other WWII veterans in 2019, when actor Gary Sinise, who sponsors trips for veterans to the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, invited him on a visit, free of charge, treating the veterans like celebrities, with a motorcade and first-class treatment, which he found enjoyable and exciting. “I’ve lived the life of three people,” Harris said. To learn more about his life, and to order “Motor City Rock and Roll – The 1960s and 1970s,” which was originally published in 2008, go to, or order online at The cover of “Motor City Rock and Roll – The 1960s and 1970s,” cowritten By Bob Harris and John Douglas Peters, features a photo of Harris (right), in 1965 with the Rolling Stones.

Southgate man, the ‘oldest Rolling Stones fan,’ autographs copies of his book

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