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 Saudi-Israeli alliance opposes a diplomatic settlement with Iran over its nuclear program because the deal could kill hopes for enlisting the U.S. military in one more violent regime change in the Middle East, as the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland explains. By Ivan Eland Why are Israel, Saudi Arabia, and their congressional allies in both American…
Exclusive: The U.S. government’s relationship with Nelson Mandela was often strained, from the CIA’s hand in his imprisonment to Ronald Reagan’s veto of a sanctions bill aimed at getting him freed, lost history that must now be reconciled, writes Robert Parry. By Robert Parry As Americans honor the memory of Nelson Mandela, they must grapple…
Economic sanctions have notched some successes, like freeing Nelson Mandela and ending South Africa’s apartheid, but other sanctions have lost sight of practical reforms and become destructive ends in themselves, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes about Iran. By Paul R. Pillar An infatuation with economic sanctions, applied against countries Americans do […]
In theory, pretty much everyone claims to like investigative journalism, even government officials. But the reaction is different when reporters expose troubling facts, especially if they make a favored country or politician look bad. Yet, that is what’s needed, says Norman Solomon. By Norman Solomon Every new revelation about the global reach of the Nationa […]
From Editor Robert Parry: In late August 2013, the United States was poised on the brink of another Mideast war. The facts were murky about a chemical weapons incident in Syria on Aug. 21, but most American pundits and politicians were blaming the Syrian government. And – with Saudi Arabia and Israel hoping the U.S. military would…
"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)