CLEVELAND, OH (CelebrityAccess) — Michael Stanley, a singer-songwriter who scored hits in the 1980s with “He Can’t Love You” and “In the Heartland”, and who later became a longtime radio host at Cleveland’s classic rock station WNCX, has died. He was 72.
According to a statement from WNCX, Stanley died at his home on March 5th from lung cancer.
His family also confirmed his death via social media, writing: “Michael battled lung cancer for seven months with the same strength and dignity he carried throughout his life. He will always be remembered as a loving father, brother, husband, a loyal friend, and the leader of one of Cleveland’s most successful rock bands.”
Born Michael Stanley Gee, Stanley grew up near Cleveland, graduating first from Rocky River High School and then attending Hiram College on a basketball scholarship. While still in college, Stanley found his musical calling and joined the band Silk, which released “Smooth As Silk” in 1969 on ABC Records.
Four years later, while working as a manager of a local record store, he released his first solo album, the eponymously-named “Michael Stanley” via Tumbleweed Records, quickly followed that same year with “Friends and Legends” on MCA.
That same year, Stanley teamed up with singer-songwriter–lead guitarist Jonah Koslen, bassist Daniel Pecchio, and drummer Tommy Dobeck, to form the Michael Stanley Band. The group, known as MSB by fans, quickled gained a loyal following in the Cleveland market.
In 1981, broke through to mainstream success with the release of “He Can’t Love You” and “Falling in Love Again” which peaked at #33 and #64, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100.
Despite their early success, MSB parted ways in 1986 with a final series of 12 performances at the Front Row Theater in Cleveland.
Following the dissolution of MSB, Stanley continued to record and perform around the region, both as Michael Stanley and Friends, and with the Resonators.
In the wake of MSB, Stanley also landed a job as co-host of WJW Channel 8′s “PM Magazine”, winning 11 local Emmy Awards for his contributions, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
As well, he spent more than 30 years on the radio at Cleveland’s classic rock station WNCX, handling the afternoon shift as well as Saturday mornings.
“He was so emblematic of that raging heart that doesn’t care that it’s gonna lose — it’s still gonna leave everything on the field. And when he wrote those songs, those kids in a city where the river caught on fire and the lake died, they felt like their lives mattered,” music critic and author Holly Gleason told Cleveland.com. “If you were a kid coming of age in Cleveland in the ’70s or the ’80s, he was our hand on the brass ring.”
Stanley’s family will hold a private memorial service. The family requests contributions in his memory to the Cleveland Food Bank (www.greaterclevelandfoodbank.org) and/or the Cleveland Animal Protective League (www.clevelandapl.org).
Stanley is survived by wife, his two daughters, his sister, a niece and five grandchildren.