March 21, 2011

Moondog Coronation Ball – 1952

Did you know that the first Rock and Roll concert ended after just one song?

A concert was organized by Alan Freed, the disc jockey who coined the term Rock and Roll, in Cleveland, Ohio. The date: March 21, 1952. The acts: Paul “Hucklebuck” Williams, the Dominoes, Tiny Grimes and the Rockin' Highlanders, Danny Cobb, and Varietta Dillard.

The problem: about 20,000 tickets were sold, even though there were only about 10,000 seats. This was apparently due to counterfeiting. But the overflow crowd had paid good money to be inside, and was still outside—and, well, there were a few problems.

Like people crashing the closed doors and breaking glass. Like a few fights among upset-and-squashed-together people. Like the cops coming and shutting down the event.

Only one song had been performed by the time it was over!

Of course, since then rock concerts have always gone off without a hitch...(ha!)

Did you know...?

Alan Freed used to call his listeners at WJW Radio “moondogs,” and he would howl into the microphone.

There are Moondog Coronation Ball concerts nowadays, also held in Cleveland—with vintage 50s bands playing, attendees often dressed in 50s styles, and WMJI Radio sponsoring the events. Ticket sales match the number of seats, attendees behave well, and all the performers get to perform.

Learn some more...

If you want to know about the history of rock music, check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website  and “Rock Revolution,” brought to you by Team 18249 (whatever the heck that is!). 

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