West Michigan Mid-Sixties Bands


From Grand Rapids

Last updated on May 17, 2004.

Who were the Bel-Aires

Posted by: Jeff at September 21, 2004 10:51 AM

The Bel-aires had a minor hit called "If you love me" in September 1967. WERX was the only station to play it. It made about 30 on the WERX 15+30 Platter Poll Survey. Great song!!!!!

Posted by: don at November 4, 2005 03:25 PM

the only one i know for sure was bobby speak , he played keys.

Posted by: bob d at February 11, 2006 06:47 PM

Michael C. Howard was the lead singer.

Posted by: doug harper at February 20, 2006 10:07 PM

my daddy was the drummer of that band :D

Posted by: Taylor at October 26, 2006 09:23 PM

I'd like to talk to someone from the "Bellaires". I think they played a gig at one of Creston High School's pep rallys in the early sixties. The band was great! I want to see if was, indeed, them.


Posted by: Tom Olejniczak at July 16, 2007 08:51 PM

I played with the Bel-Aires in 1965 and 1966.
The Bel-Aires at that time included Mike Howard who sang lead and played rhythm guitar, George (Joey) Waters on drums, Wes Cogan played lead guitar and Farfisa keyboard and I played electric bass. We all sang back-up harmony.
We had a lot of fun practicing at Mike's and performing in the Grand Rapids area.
I don't know how well we performed but I know we had a nice following of really nice people.
The band had different members throughout it's history. It was Mike's band and he would be the definitive source for more information about The Bel-Aires.
I believe he lives in the Grand Rapids area.
I ran into him at the Alpine Meijer's a few times in the late 1990's.
I've since moved to the Traverse City area.
Since there were different members of The Bel-Aires throughout it's history I don't know who who Taylor's dad is. I'd be interested in finding that information out.

Posted by: Steve Rine at August 22, 2007 03:29 PM

My buddy Wes Wolosecky played rhythm guitar and backup vocals on their record. He played with them in the 1967-68ish years. I still see him every day.

Posted by: Jerry at March 14, 2009 10:34 AM

Visit Michael J. Howard's Facebook fan page for up-to-date details on what Mike is doing these days.


Posted by: Press Contact for Michael J. Howard at August 17, 2009 11:48 PM

Hey, Jerry Van K., Wes was a very good friend of mine, too, during that time.

Posted by: Nancy at February 21, 2010 09:59 PM

I have knowen Michael Howard. My Wife and I Ran a
Dj Bussiness for 13 yrs.( We where called the CJ's ) and played his song. his sister I whent to school with at Union High School. One day I whent down to his house ( about a block away from me.)and asked him if he any of his records left, so I could play them for our show. and he gave me 2 mint 45 rpms. I still have them. I also have a photo that he gave me, With the records he gave me.

Posted by: Jack Ropoleski at June 4, 2011 10:31 PM

I live two blocks up hill from mike. I had his sister in one of my classes. In the 1990's My wife and I ran a DJ business called the CJ's.
I whent down to mike's house and asked if he still had any of his records and he gave me two of them. one I played at the geggs,and the other I stored. And I still have them both.
You should have seen the re-action every time I played that record.

Posted by: Jack Ropoleski at June 10, 2011 05:37 PM

I was the bass player in the group from 1967 to 1969 and was in the group when they recorded their two records, If you Love Me and Ya Ha Be Be.

Posted by: Jim Ponchaud at May 3, 2012 07:49 AM

The members of the band from 1967 to 1969 were Mike Howard,Jim Ponchaud,Bob Speak,Dick Norgrove (Drums) and myself.
We recorded the two songs at a studio on West Leonard in Grand Rapids in a couple hours.A total of 1500 copies were made.

Posted by: Wes Wolosecky at June 17, 2012 01:50 AM

Jack Ropoleski, can you post "If you Love Me" on YouToob so we can all hear it? "Ya Ha Be Be" is already on YouToob and in a Garage compilation LP/ CD called "Back From The Grave".

Posted by: Dan Forster at June 17, 2013 09:47 AM

Mike and I started playing music in the early 60's. The first gig Mike did was when he and I played on stage at the Parent-Teacher-Student assembly at Harrison Park Jr High school. Mike sang and I played a borrowed drum from the band teacher. After that we would practice up in my room, he with a hollow body guitar and I on a set of set up boxes of various sizes and a bent cymbal we found in the trash behind the music store in down town Grand Rapids. George Howard saw the great talent Mike had and poor as we all were back then, bought Mike an electric guitar and amp and a basic set of drums for me to play. We two-summed for a while then Bill Marlett came in and played base. We played many places in the local G.R area and at St.Judes Band-a-Thon. We thought of MANY names for our small band and then one day My dad bought a New Chevy Belair car and Mike and I thought that would be a cool name for a band. The Bel Aires :) I then went into the Marine Corps and Mike continued with the band and music. When I returned back home I funded the first record Mike made and went to many of his gigs. I was not into music at all after Nam but always loved to here Mike sing. He sang at my sons funeral in 2012 and was so grateful for that. I loved him much and will miss him so. Mike died February 26, 2015. May God always be with you Mike. John Voshel, your friend forever.

Posted by: John Voshel at February 28, 2015 09:58 PM

Obit: http://obits.mlive.com/obituaries/grandrapids/obituary.aspx?pid=174278780

Posted by: Jake at March 2, 2015 10:07 AM

Does anyone out there have a picture of the band with George Joey Waters as the drummer?

Posted by: Sue at September 6, 2016 11:07 PM
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