Thursday, March 22, 2018

THROWBACK THURSDAY: The Moondog Coronation Ball

The most terrible ball of them all calls it "history's first rock concert." The poster called it "The most terrible ball of them all."

Alan Freed
The fire marshal called Alan Freed's Moondog Coronation Ball a threat to public safety and, with the help of the Cleveland police, shut it down shortly after it started.

Helped along by massive ticket counterfeiting and possibly by overbooking on the part of the event’s sponsors, an estimated 20,000-25,000 fans turned out for an event being held in an arena with a capacity of only 10,000. Less than an hour into the show, the massive overflow crowd broke through the gates that were keeping them outside, and police quickly moved in to stop the show almost as soon as it began. 

This show did not have the star power of DJ Freed's later rock 'n' roll package shows. But it was a pretty amazing line-up of R&B acts. So in honor of that ill-fated ball, which took place -- or would have taken place -- 66 years ago this week here are a bunch of songs from those stars of the Coronation Ball.

The most famous name on the bill was The Dominos, a group led by Billy Ward and which included future soul star Jackie Wilson. The Dominos were best known for their hit "60 Minute Man" but I've always loved this bizarre little tune called "The Bells."

Tiny Grimes & The Rockin' Highlanders were known for wearing kilts onstage. I think this live jazzy Grimes clip is from a few years before

Danny Cobb's "My Isabella" was full of bongo fury

Varetta Dillard cried "Mercy, Mr. Percy"! (Enlightened lyric of the day: "I don't care if you hit me / Long as you don't quit me ...")

Finally, Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams reportedly was the only act who actually got to play a song at the Moondog Coronation Ball before it got halted by the law. Maybe it was this one.

1 comment:

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