Sixty years ago this week, the world’s first rock ‘n’ roll concert took place in Cleveland, the city that now houses the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.1 The concert was the creation of Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed, who called his radio show “The Moondog Show,” himself “The King of the Moondoggers,” and the concert “The Moondog Coronation Ball.”2 Freed, who was later among the first inductees into the Rock Hall, and whose ashes lie in its walls, fervently promoted and defended the music, and would soon give it the name that stuck — “Rock ‘n’ Roll”. But the Moondog Coronation Ball was cut short, with the opening act, Paul Williams and the Hucklebuckers, still on stage. Reportedly due to a ticket printing error, some 20,000 ticket holders had shown up at the Cleveland Arena – a venue that usually held no more than 9,950 spectators in the seats and 12 hockey players on the ice. And after the shut-out ticket-holders knocked in the doors, police, and firemen with hoses, shut down the show. Twenty-some years later, Cleveland produced similar rock concerts called “The World Series of Rock”, where a line-up of musicians performed at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, packing in as many as 88,000 rock fans.3 And for the past eight years, the big oldies station in town has been putting on, as a tribute to the original, a Moondog Coronation Ball, featuring oldies artists again playing their good old songs.4 But what of those original rock fans on March 21st, 1952? What music might they have heard had the show gone on? DJ Guy Z gave us an answer this week during his radio show on “The Sunday Oldies Jukebox,” WSTB in Akron. Guy Z played a likely song for the date of the concert by each announced musical artist.5 While we have no recording of Sunday’s radio show, we do have the play list and online audio. Click on the songs below to hear the music of The Moondog Coronation Ball.
Notes on the selections by Guy Z:
Songs are all just educated guesses, but possible in terms of recording date. Some are a “good bet,” though, as Williams would almost certainly have played the Hucklebuck at some point. 60 Minute Man was a #1 hit for The Dominoes in 51. The day after the Moondog, Freed played Rocking the Blues as the 2nd song of his broadcast.
1. Paul Williams and the Hucklebuckers – The Hucklebuck (1949)
2. Tiny Grimes & the Rocking Highlanders – Rockin’ the Blues (1951)
3. Danny Cobb (vocalist with the Paul Williams Orchestra) – Rockin’ Chair Blues (1951)
4. The Dominoes – 60 Minute Man (1951)
5. Varetta Dillard – You Are Gone (1951)
Outside the Cleveland Arena the week of the Moondog Coronation Ball – BBC
Inside the Cleveland Arena during Moondog Coronation Ball 1952-03-21 – BBC
Freed was inducted into the first class of the Hall, in January 23, 1986, alongside such pioneers and greats as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, James Brown, Ray Charles and Sam Cooke.
This entry was posted
on Friday, March 23rd, 2012 at 12:37 am and is filed under History, Ohio.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
The new “regime change” target for America’s neocons is Russia’s President Putin – as dangerous as it would be to destabilize a nuclear-armed nation. Their first step, as usual, is to begin a propaganda/disinformation war by claiming to combat propaganda and disinformation, as Maidhc Ó Cathail explains. By Maidhc Ó Cathail There was a strong whiff of hypocrisy…
Under pressure from hardliners in Congress and Israel, the Obama administration backed away from what could have been a historic agreement with Iran over limiting its nuclear program. Instead coercive diplomacy has become almost an end in itself, as Gareth Porter explains. By Gareth Porter After more than a year of negotiations between the United…
From Editor Robert Parry: Nineteen years ago this month, Consortiumnews.com came into being as the first Internet-based investigative newsmagazine, or what was then called an “e-zine.” Back then, the name was just “The Consortium” and we operated through a server that doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Since there were no “templates” in those early days…
Some of our special stories in October set the record straight in defense of Gary Webb’s Contra-cocaine reporting, explained the continued crises in Syria and Ukraine, and noted the decline of American democratic institutions. “Standing Up for Lessons of Dissent” by Peter Dreier, Oct. 1, 2014 “Official Washington’s Syrian ‘Fantasy’” by Robert Parry, Oct. 1,…
Exclusive: At the start of Barack Obama’s second term, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was seen as the best hope for standing up to the neocons, inside and outside the administration. Though Hagel proved to be a weak champion, his sudden removal could portend more trouble ahead, writes Robert Parry. By Robert Parry The abrupt resignation of Defense…
"I am convinced that the time spent by the teacher in digging out of the child what she has put into him, for the sake of satisfying herself that it has taken root, is so much time thrown away. It's much better, I think, to assume that the child is doing his part and that the seed you have sown will bear fruit in due time. It's only fair to the child, anyhow, and it saves you much unnecessary trouble." - Anne Sullivan (teacher to Helen Keller)