Rock 'n' Roll and the Cleveland Connection

Rock 'n' Roll and the Cleveland Connection

Rock 'n' Roll and the Cleveland Connection

Rock 'n' Roll and the Cleveland Connection


It's no wonder that Clevland is home to the internationally famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed coined the phrase for this new musical phenomenon nearly 50 years ago. This work takes an in-depth look at the people, venues, and artists that made Cleveland the Rock 'n' Roll Capital of the World. It shows how Cleveland witnessed the rise of such widely recognized groups as the James Gang, the Outsiders, Damnation of Adam Blessing, and the Raspberries. Casey Kasem fine-tuned his long-running broadcasting career in Cleveland. Nearby Canton gave us the O'Jays, and Akron spawned Devo and Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. And the rock concert was pratically invented in Cleveland in 1952, when Alan Freed convened the first Moondog Coronation Ball. By the 1970s Cleveland had become a proving ground for superstars in the making.


I've been lucky. Most of my life I've been able to make a living doing something I truly love—making music with a group of people I loved playing with. And, with the wisdom of hindsight, I realize that it doesn't get a whole lot better than that.

I've had the chance to see most of the world and crossed this great country more times than I can remember (even if the view was somewhat skewed as we moved up the food chain of musical transportation: dad's car, Volkswagon bus, van, bigger van, motor home, touring bus, and the occasional airplane). I've seen it all. But I've never lived anywhere else but here on the North Coast. and that's been just fine with me.

These days it's hard to find someone who wasn't in some sort of band at sometime or other. But back in the mid-sixties, it was still uncharted waters for most of us who decided to make the journey. It may sound ludicrous at this point, but you can't imagine just how daunting a task it was to find someone who actually had a drum kit (let alone had any idea how to play it). and back then being a musician ranked only slightly above being a convicted felon!

For most, it was a journey that ended almost as fast as it began. the good ones made it all look so easy; in fact, it was anything but easy. Having trouble keeping your relationship together? Try it with four or five participants (especially when one of them is a lead singer). How about getting to a gig and finding out that 99 percent of those present are deeply offended by the length of your hair and feel it is their personal obligation to make you see the error of your fashion ways. the list of things to test your resolve was endless.

But, there was always that brass ring (or should I say gold record), the intoxicating sound of applause, and the look in the eye of that cute little thing in the front row that, at least for a fleeting moment, made you feel like the fifth (or sixth) Beatle. and when you actually heard songs on the radio by such local legends as the Twilighters, Bocky and the Visions, the Outsiders, or the Choir, then maybe, just maybe, there was hope for you and your motley band of dreamers.

It would be hard to remember a time when music wasn't of utmost importance in my life—either as a fan or a musician. So for me, this book has, happily, opened a floodgate of memories, and almost every one of them makes me smile!

To chronicle the musical history of a major city (and do it right!) is a task of Herculean proportions. But Deanna Adams was up for it. and although Rock 'n' Roll and the Cleveland Connection is certainly a trip down memory lane, it is also an insightful look at the history and changes that took place right here on the North Coast and at those musicians who provided the soundtrack that ran through the lives of all involved.

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