Welcome to my Twin Cities Music Highlights page.  This is my attempt to gather information about the music scene that took place from the beginning of the jazz age to 1974 in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, with an emphasis on connections to St. Louis Park, my home town.    I invite additions and corrections, so feel free to contact me at jeanneandersen@comcast.net.


Please know that the photos on this site have been taken from the Internet and I have made every effort to give the source.  If I have swiped your photo without permission or attribution, please let me know.

Please Note:  I do not list local bands because there are just hundreds of them.  The best source on local bands is  http://minniepaulmusic.com/  which has loads of info, pictures, posters, and interviews.  Another web site is Garage Hangover  (14 Minnesota bands)

This site is one long page made up of several sections (designed that way to make searching easier).  It may take a few seconds to load.  Use these bookmarks to skip to a particular section.











This section lists musical events that took place here in the Twin Cities.  The chronology generally stops at 1974, with a few exceptions, mostly for St. Louis Park-related people and events. 


Notes on sources:

  • A big Thanks to Mark Karnowski, who sent a list of State Fair Grandstand shows. 
  • The list of Met Center shows comes from Lou Nanne's book on the history of the Northstars.
  • Guthrie shows were generously sent to me by James D. Scott, General Manager of the Guthrie.  Also see an array of pamphlets on their blog.
  • Many of the events from March 1969 to June 1974 were taken from upcoming events calendars and ads in the Insider.  I also have a smattering of other local teen music magazines (see Publications below) with some information.
  • My friend Ellen Lewis made the great suggestion that I read through back issues of the Minneapolis Spokesman, the newspaper of the city's African-American community since 1934.  I started at 1947 and found some phenomenal rhythm & blues shows, mostly taking place at the Labor Temple.
  • Will Jones' column in the Minneapolis Tribune was usually very entertaining and had great info and background.
  • Interviews with some of the old DJs and radio people brought some fascinating stories about how things came to pass.  I was able to interview Herb Oscar Anderson, Dick Driscoll, Bill Diehl, Sam Sherwood, John Evans, Bill Armstrong, and Vic Tedesco, all in 2013.  I got most of the contact information from the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting.  Love ya, Pop!
  • The Minnesota Daily has most of their issues on line.  I started looking through them in 1952.
  • For a teen perspective there are references to the St. Louis Park High School Echo newspaper.
  • Wayne Elliot Klayman just happened to have a stack of ads for concerts from 1969 to 1972, saving me a ton of time, effort, and quarters!
  • Almost all of these photos were stolen from the Internet, attributed as much as possible.  The Old Minneapolis Facebook page has been a huge source of photos and information.  I gave up asking for permission to quote people, so I've just put quotes around their comments without their names.  If you see your quote and would allow me to use your name, please let me know.
  • In May 1964 U of M graduate student Robert A. Stebbins completed his Ph.D. thesis, The Jazz Community:  The Sociology of a Musical Sub-Culture.  Chapter 4 of that work was a history of jazz in Minneapolis, the first compiled from the music form's inception until the late 1930s.  Stebbins noted that contemporary histories of jazz have bypassed the Twin Cities.  He also provided an incredibly detailed list and description of the various jazz venues - using sources such as telephone books he researched when various venues existed, and in many cases noted house bands and traveling bands that came through.  Most of this information is documented in the Venues section of this page, below. 
  • In 1984 Richard Raichelson put out an album called "Twin Cities Shuffle - 1927 To 1930," with some amazing early local recordings, many made at the Lowry Hotel in St. Paul.  Mr. Raichelson was graciously allowed me to quote from the album notes. 
  • For a rural perspective, the Hennepin County Enterprise, highlighting events in and around Hopkins, was consulted for entertainment in the hinterlands in the teens and 1920s. 
  • And last but maybe most importantly, Timothy D. Kehr has given me so much help, support, contacts, and encouragement over the years.  I will miss him terribly.   



  • Almost all of these dates come from ads that were published ahead of time, and there is no guarantee that the event actually took place unless there is a comment or review with it.
  • Information on the venues mentioned are in a separate section below. 
  • Remember that Prohibition started in January 1920.  It ended in stages, with 3.2 beer, then 6 percent beer, then hard liquor made legal by individual municipalities in about 1934.




Assuming this is in St. Louis Park:  "Odd Fellows and Rebekahs and their friends enjoyed a very pleasant social dance in the IOOF Hall Monday evening [January 4] after the regular Rebekah session at which over forty couples tripped the light fantastic to the strains of music furnished by Johnnie, Frank Sefcik, Miss Sue Wheeler." 


The Married Folks Dancing Club held their events in Olson's Hall in Hopkins starting on January 9, 1915. The Hennepin County Enterprise had fun reporting this:

Big Attendance Marks First Ball

Seventy Odd Couples of Married Folks Worship at Shrine of Terpsichore With Old Style Dances


No dazzling young tango artist or the spritliest spirit that ever danced the maxixe nor the sweetest thing that ever adorned the floor in the turkey trot - none of 'em - have anything on Hopkins' married folks when it comes to mixin' it at the shrine of Terpsichore as revealed by the first dance of the Married Folks Dancing Club held in Olson's Hall Saturday evening.


There probably is not much difference in the amount of enthusiasm shown by the married folks at their hop but there is a difference in the kind of dances enjoyed.  The married 'uns eschewed the later creations which are the inventions of a few dancing masters for monetary reasons only, and the old style waltz, the two step, the Bohemian polka, the rye waltz, and others with an occasional old fashioned quadrille thrown in all went to make up the program of the evening at which some seventy odd couples participated and enjoyed themselves to the limit - and then some. 


It would be superfluous to state that the first session was a grand success.  Grey headed lads and lassies and lads with wide, smooth "boulevards" prominent when their heads were uncovered, who had not "mixed" for years and whose feet had not been "shook" for so long that a specie of "hesitation" was apparent early in the evening, finally warmed to the fun and when quitting time came still stayed on for another hour of pleasure and enjoyment. 


There will be no "youngsters" there to offend you with the "boll wiggle weavel," the "homey bug" or any of the rest of those new fangled "aggravations," for the unmarried kiddies are all barred.

For the second dance, "The ladies are all requested to bring baskets with lunch for two and coffee will be served in the hall.  Contrary to the usual custom the ladies will be allowed to select their supper partners instead of the gentlemen."  I hope so!  Claggett's Orchestra provided the music for both dances.


A dance was held at Opera Hall in Hopkins after a basketball game between the Hopkins AA "quint" and the Apex quint of Minneapolis on January 14, 1915, and repeated on March 27.  Music for both dances, "which will be attended by a large number of young folks from Minneapolis, will be furnished by Claggett's Orchestra of six pieces."


There was a big masquerade ball at Dania Hall on February 27, 1915.


On April 30 Claggett's Orchestra went to Green Isle for a grand ball. 


St. Louis Park held an "all star home talent minstrel show" at the High School Auditorium on December 1 under the auspices of the St. Louis Park Commercial Club.  We may have a picture of this.




The Married Folks Dancing Club held their 1916 Opening Ball on January 22, 1916 at Olson's Hall, Hopkins.  Music furnished by the Hopkins Orchestra. 




Clarence William Miller remembered the following musicians who performed in the North Side night clubs:

  • Eli Rice
  • Rook Ganz
  • Ray Dyset
  • Leon Lewis
  • Clarence Johnson
  • The Pettifords
  • Scottie Williams' Combo
  • Mr. Black's Band



The Everett McClay Post of Eden Prairie gave a series of dances at Millers Hall in the fall of 1921.  These locations were never identified - guess everyone knew where Millers Hall was.






Richard Raichelson describes the musical tenor of the 1920s in the notes of a record he released in 1984 called "Twin Cities Shuffle - 1927 to 1930."

In Minneapolis, during the twenties, the entertainment strip was along or near 7th Street.  It housed numerous clubs, restaurants, theaters, and hotels.  Dayton's tearoom had a three-piece band led by Dick Long.  Denny's, a speakeasy was close by in the basement of Hudson's Jewelry Store.  For 6 years, beginning in 1931, Norvy Mulligan's band played in the Flame Room of the Radisson Hotel on 7th near Hennepin.  They broadcast over KSTP in a program titles, "Dancing in the Twin Cities," which featured Norvy's orchestra in Minneapolis and the band at the St. Paul Hotel.  Previously, Mulligan's 12-piece band, with Frankie Roberts, had played at the Coconut Grove on 6th and Hennepin, a club frequented by gangsters.  In St. Paul, the classy Boulevard de Paris, now a grocery store, was located near the Coliseum.  Mulligan remembered hearing Ban Pollack's Orchestra there, with Teagarden, in the early part of 1932.  Norvy's band played the club after prohibition ended.  Mulligan's Minnesotans, with Doc Evans, were at the Excelsior Amusement Park, in the town of Excelsior, on and off for 7 years. 

Most of the songs were recorded at the Lowry Hotel in St. Paul.  Songs on the record are:

  • Darktown Shuffle by Eddie Carlew's Baby Aristocrats Orchestra, recorded 1927
  • Indiana HUD, same as above
  • Wabash Blues by Tom Gates and His Orchestra, 1927
  • The Bucket's Got a Hole In It, same as above
  • Alabama Stomp by Walter Anderson and His Golden Pheasant Hoodlums, 1927
  • Melancholy, same as above
  • Hokus, same as above
  • Sugar Foot Strut, same as above
  • Brainstorm, by George Osborn and His Orchestra, 1927
  • Black Maria, by Arnold Frank and his Roger's Cafe Orchestra, 1927
  • Jealous, by the Marigold Entertainers, 1929
  • When My Sugar Walks Down the Street, same as above
  • I Get the Blues When it Rains, by Wally Erickson and his Coliseum Orchestra, 1929
  • Hard Luck, same as above
  • Skirts, by Slatz Randall and his Orchestra, 1930
  • I'm a Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas, same as above




In May 1927 the Gennett Record Company recorded local artists at the Lowry Hotel. It was during these sessions that "Moonshiner's Dance Part One" was recorded by Frank Cloutier and the Victoria Cafe Orchestra.  The side was included in Folkways' "Anthology of American Folk Music" that was released in 1952.  Read much more about this amusing record Here.  Hear this strange song on YouTube.  A comment on that page says that the fact that this song was recorded there saved the building.







On the morning of February 3, 1928, there was a shooting at the Cotton Club, which was a "Chicken Shack" located at 718 Sixth Ave. No., Minneapolis, 1924-28.  Two policemen were injured while breaking up a fist fight, which was started when Jack Sackter allegedly "made a remark to a Negro entertainer."  Also injured was Kid Cann, according to news accounts, although they gave Kid's real name as Harry Bloom, which is actually Kid's brother - which was it? Whoever it was was held without charge for days and then held for trial, accused of participating in the gunfight.  Four men were eventually charged in the shooting, including Verne Miller, a former sheriff from Huron, SD, who had served a prison term for embezzling county funds and was carrying a large amount of money when the police came to stop the fight.  A manhunt ensued for Miller and two others, with 1,500 fliers distributed, mostly over the Northwest.  Two of the men were not captured until late April.


As a result of the shooting, Police Chief Frank W. Brunskill ordered that "entertainments in cafes and night clubs be brought to a close at midnight hereafter."  The order applied across the city, not just on 6th Ave. No. where "a number of all-night restaurants operate."  "Many of the eating establishments cater to a night trade a no hour for their closing can be set, Captain Nick Smith of the North side explained.  But singing, dancing and the like will have to stop at midnight, according to the order."


Chicken shacks were common during Prohibition and this one had chicken and dancing and fighting all night.  At the time of the Cotton Club Shooting a City Alderman proposed an ordinance requiring that curtains and screens be removed from all chicken shacks, so as to permit a view of the interiors from the street. 


In May Cotton Club owner Horace Pierson was denied renewal of his restaurant and dance hall license. 


Here's another web page on the shooting.


In 1928 Charles Thompson taught a 10-course lesson in modern jazz piano - Studio 110, Studio Building, 64 So. 11th Street, Minneapolis.

Here's something weird:  Art students in the Palettite Society staged a "Demonic Dance in Red" at the Minneapolis School of Art on April 13, 1928.  It was the annual benefit ball, with over 100 art students and about 200 guests in various and bizarre costumes. Unfortunately, the band wasn't named.

The entire building, at 200 East 25th Street, had been transformed through decorations to conform with the popular conception of Hades.  There was a dragon 45 feet long, standing guard over a cavern filled with bats.  Satan's disciples danced in the cavern which, under normal conditions, is the auditorium of the school. 


600 guests attended the U of M's Senior Prom, which took place in the Gold, Spanish, and Italian Rooms of the Radisson Hotel.  There was pre-prom entertainment at 10:30 pm, the Grand March at 11, and a dance that called for "16 dances besides two extras."  Dinner was finally served after midnight, with more entertainment staged during dinner.


The folks down Hopkins way had a dance every Saturday summer night at the Oak Knoll Barn on Superior Boulevard (now I-394) with music by Ernie and His Oriole Syncopators.  Gents 50 cents, Ladies free.  On October 20 it was a masquerade - "A real good time for all"


On May 26, 1928, there was a dance at Olson's Hall in Hopkins, featuring the University Troubadours, a Hot Six-Piece Band.  No apparent reason to say where Olson's Hall was.


An "Endurance Dance" was put on by the Rainbow Division, Veterans Association, Minneapolis Chapter, at the Kenwood Armory, Minneapolis, starting on Monday, June 18.  This was probably the armory on The Parade that was demolished in 1934?  Spokesman Frank McCormick, Jr., explained, "It is not a case of who is the best dancer, but which couple can dance the greatest number of hours."  Marathons were being held in Chicago, New York, and Pittsburgh, with the record up to 144 hours and 32 minutes.  "Dancers go into the contest wearing overalls, knickers, soft-collard shirts, or bandanna neckwear - whatever is most comfortable is the rule, and some even wear bathing suits.  No fancy steps are called for, nor is the race to the swiftest," reported the Hennepin County Enterprise.  McCormick explained, "Keep your shirt on, or in other words be calm, cool and slow, if you want to win a dance contest that counts its winners by the hours they can stand up and keep going, even though they inch forward like snails." 




The 31st Annual Scott County Agricultural Society Fair was held in Shakopee, August 30-September 2, 1928.  Entertainment included free Vaudeville Attractions, the Shakopee Concert Band and the popular Shakopee Trio.  Dances were held in Dawson's Hall with "the snappiest of hot music." 


Bren Brothers' Hardware Store in Hopkins sponsored a free public dance at Olson's Hall on September 8, 1928, featuring the "Clever, Talented Entertainers" the Hudson Hot Suns, "a famous colored singing orchestra," "one of the best singing dance orchestras that has ever been heard here."  "These jolly colored boys are widely known, their music is of the best and their antics are most amusing."   


The Bear Cat Dance Marathon took place at the Kenwood Armory starting on September 5, apparently going on for 104 hours with the help of Hopkins resident Jimmy Manchester, who entertained for eight hours each day. 


The autumn, 1928, dancing season opened in Hopkins on September 22 when the Eagles Aerie No. 76 held the first dance of a series at Olson's Hall.  Music provided by the popular Silver Mask Orchestra.


Happ's Auditorium in Chaska re-opened for the season on September 30, newly decorated.  Season tickets were available for $10.00  Adam J. Happ opened his dance palace in style with music by the Radisson Hotel Flame Room Orchestra - 12 musicians and a first class recording band.  Subsequent bands to play at the ballroom were:

  • Al Menke and his gang, Fairmont, eight men
  • Alexander and His Ragtime Band, Spaulding Hotel, St. Paul, eight men, marathon dance
  • Hunt's Gold Draggets of Albert Lea, eight men
  • Grant Moor and His New Orleans Black Devils' Wigwam Band, ten men

The first of several delightful dancing parties was given at the Masonic Temple, Albert Pike Lodge, Hopkins on November 23, 1928.  Prizes of poultry were presented to several fortunate ladies.


The Thanksgiving dance at Olson's Hall, Hopkins, was on November 28, 1928, with music by the Joseph Smykal Orchestra.



On September 21, 1929, the Williston Park Commercial Club sponsored a dance at the Hopkins pavilion on the Hennepin County Fairgrounds, featuring the music of the Minnetonka Nite Hawks.




Although there were plenty of speakeasies during Prohibition, which started in January 1920, repeal really started the ball rolling in terms of places to hear live music.  Congress passed the Blaine Act which would repeal Prohibition in February 1933, but the 21st Amendment had to be ratified by the states, which took until December 5, 1933. Prohibition had lasted 13 years, five months, and nine days. Meanwhile, on April 4, 1933, Congress passed the Cullen-Harrison Act (or the "beer bill") that declared that 3.2 percent beer was "non intoxicating." Previously, beer with more than .5 percent had been considered intoxicating. The 21st Amendment gave the regulation of alcohol back to the States. Apparently things were a little fast and loose at first, judging by the ads placed by local drug stores and even gas stations offering beer on tap. Now there's a good idea. In early 1934 Minnesota passed a bill giving localities the option of allowing the sale of liquor, but also instituting certain statewide restrictions such as dry Sundays.  I don't know when Minneapolis and St. Paul approved the sale of liquor, but in St. Louis Park beer was legalized in March 1934 and hard liquor in December 1934.  


Stebbins reports that up to the middle 1930s St. Paul  had a more dynamic jazz community than Minneapolis.  One possible reason was that Rice Street, the black district in St. Paul, had more legitimate commercial establishments than did Sixth Ave. in North Minneapolis.  "Consequently, they were not subject to the same vicissitudes of police raids.  For this reason jazz was able to achieve a more stable form in St. Paul...  After the repeal of Prohibition, however, parts of Minneapolis and St. Paul jazz experienced a reversal, and the Rice Street area went into decline. 


In the mid-1930s, the Minneapolis Spokesman, the city's black newspaper that started in 1934, shows that dances were generally given by social groups.  Some of these included:

  • The Gloom Chaser's Club gave a Gloom Chasers Cabaret Ball at the K.P. Hall on August 15, 1934, featuring Babe Salter & His Creolians
  • The Clover Leaf Club sponsored a dance at the Aragon Ballroom featuring Joe Billo and his 12-piece band on September 17. On October 1 the entertainers were Eli Rice and his Cotton Pickers, a 15-piece band.
  • St. Paul's Hallie Q. Brown House sponsored a dance with music by Tom "Cab" Coleman and the Harlem Hypocrites.
  • Waiters Union No. 614 presented Grant Moore and His Brunswick Recording Orchestra at the St. Paul Coliseum.  They broadcast nightly over radio station WTCN.  The ad for the September 24 dance promised "Dancing Until Your Feet Are Sore - There'll Be Plenty of Blue and White Cabs at the Door."'
  • The Imperial Club began a series of Matinee Parties at the Elks' Rest on Sunday, September 23, 1934.  Admission was 35 cents and music was provided by Scottie Williams and his Black Cat Orchestra.
  • In December 1934 the Balloon Club presented Rook Ganz and his Radio Broadcasting Cotton Club Orchestra at a dance at Apex Hall in the Kistler Building.  Ganz's regular gig was at the Cotton Club on Excelsior Blvd. in St. Louis Park.
  • On Christmas Eve 1934, Scottie Williams and Rook Ganz appeared at Apex Hall, sharing the stage with Mae Nolan, Burlesque Star, who gave her "Late Snake Hips Dance."
  • The next morning (3 am to 7 am, that is), a second annual breakfast dance called the Town Talk Dance was given by Ray Dysart and his K.C. Rhythm Kings at the Matthews Tavern.
  • And on December 25, 1934, two more dances, one in the afternoon and one a Ball at night, were at Apex Hall and featured Eli Rice and his Dixie Cotton Pickers Orchestra.

On September 1, 1934, famed Siamese twins Daisy and Violet Hilton came to the Excelsior Amusement Park to perform.  A problem arose when Violet decided she wanted to marry a trombone player in their orchestra.  The lovestruck couple tried to get a marriage license in each town they appeared in but were denied on the grounds that the man would be marrying two women and that, my friends, is bigamy.  An article in the Minneapolis Journal warned the Clerk of the District Court that they would be trying again when they came to town!  The story of this unsuccessful attempt at marriage (and two successful but ultimately undone marriages) is told in this article







  • On February 17, 1935, a matinee dance at Apex Hall featured Robert Freeman and Willie Davenport and their Brownskin Follies, Sizzling Star Ethel Cross, and The South Side Orchestra, all from the South Side Club.
  • The Credjafawn Club gave a Pre-Lent Dance at Norway Hall featuring Eli Rice's band. on February 27, 1935.  This club of young black people was organized on October 16, 1927, with ten charter members.  The name was created by taking a letter at random from the first names of each of the members.  Its objectives were to organize social functions, literary pursuits, and charitable efforts.  By 1945 the club had 95 members.
  • The Social Twelve held a dance on March 4, 1935 at the Eagles Ball Room in St. Paul, featuring Eli Rice and his band.
  • Breakfast Balls, starting at midnight and ending at 6 am, were held at the Apex Hall in March 1935 featuring Mack Swain and his 14-piece band.
  • Apex Hall was hoppin' in April 1935, this time with Frank Hines and his Rhythm Venders and two floor shows featuring Kelly Stone and Eddie Estes' Brownskin Follies with Dorothy and Gwendolyn.  Apparently the term "Brownskin Follies" was not copyrighted. 

The Second Annual Brownfield Follies was presented by an all-amateur cast on April 26, 1935, at the Hallie Q. Brown Community House in St. Paul.  An article in the Minneapolis Spokesman revealed that one act featured a "Slave Mart scene," Florence Ward would impersonate "Jo Baker," and that "The finale ends in a sizzling hot finish rockin' and Rhythm number done in cellophane costumes."  Sounds fabulous!


Soon after, on May 10, Hallie Q. Brown hosted a Charity Ball given by the Women's Auxiliary of the St. Paul Urban League.  Music to be provided by "Lord" Byron Doty.  "The leading people of the Twin Cities are numbered among the patrons of the annual affair," reported the Minneapolis Spokesman.


Ethel Waters made a visit to the Twin Cities in May 1935, appearing in a Broadway production. 


Leigh Kamman remembers that when he was in Jr. High and High School in St. Paul (about 1935-'39), there was a show on WDGY called "White Heat," hosted by George Carson Putnam who did hep cat alliterative introductions.  His theme song was "Ride Red Ride" by Henry "Red" Allen.  The show was on at 3 PM Monday through Friday, and played jazz.

Red Allen



More Dances, 1935:

  • On May 15, 1935, Eli Rice and his New 11-Piece Band gave their Farewell Appearance at the Deutsch Haus in St. Paul, a show sponsored by the Minnesota Colored Gophers Baseball Club.  The Mammoth Floor Show included Bennie & Rogers, Cecelia Williams, Kelly Stone, Marion Abernathy, Oliver Harris, Richard Rice, William Davenport, and Robert Freeman.
  • AKA (presumably a black fraternity or sorority) advertised an "Apache Dance" to be held at Stepka's Como Gardens at Western and Como Avenues. 
  • A dance on June 17, 1935 at the Aragon featured the Harlem Play Girls, "the first big time girls' band to appear in Minneapolis.  Their only and last appearance before leaving for tour of the West Coast."
  • A matinee dance at the Apex in June featured Popo Warfield and his Brownskin Steppers, accompanied by Johnny Wheeler and his 6-Piece Orchestra. 
  • On July 15 Carroll Dickerson and his Orchestra appeared at the Aragon Ballroom, direct from the Grand Terrace Cafe, Chicago.  Not sure what this means:  "Also Recently Featured  14 - CBS Radio Artist - 14."  After the show, attend the Breakfast Ball at the Apex, starting at 1:30 am and featuring Rook Ganz and his Cotton Club Orchestra.
  • The Niceroma Club, Inc., sponsored a Moonlight Excursion Down the Old Mississippi on July 29, with music by Babe Salters and His Creolians. 
  • Another excursion was sponsored by the Gloom Chasers Club on August 5 on the Donna Mae, with the Donna Mae Boat Orchestra.
  • A "Battle of Music and Breakfast Ball" was held on August 15 at midnight in benefit of Citizens Community Union Picket Lines.  Four bands would play at Apex Hall:  Rook Ganz, Scottie Williams and His Black Cat Orchestra, C. Sharp and his Seven Flats, and the Apex Night Club Band.  "Help Us Help Our People"  The ad was donated by C.E. Newman, publisher of the Minneapolis Spokesman.
  • The Triangle Clubs of the Twin Cities sponsored a Gigantic Picnic and Dance at Harriet Island in St. Paul on August 26.  No band was mentioned, but there would be popularity and bathing beauty contests.
  • On August 19 we are exhorted to "Come  out and hear a real band," namely Grant Moore and his Orchestra at a Breakfast Ball at Apex Hall.
  • Earl Fraser and his band apparently made their debut at the Aragon Ballroom on September 16.  "Everybody Attends Dances at the Aragon"  "Come out, hear the newest and most sensational band in the Northwest."
  • The Dance Masters hosted a Joe Louis Victory Ball at the Coliseum Ballroom in St. Paul on September 30.  On October 14 they hosted the Southerners band at the same venue.
  • The Biggest Dance of the Season featured Walter Barnes and his Famous Royal Creolians (Chicago's Favorite Band) at the Aragon Ballroom on October 7, 1935.
  • On October 28 the Fite-Baker Harlem Hi Hatters, an "out-of-town orchestra with a group of big-time entertainers," played for a dance at the Aragon Ballroom.  The floor show featured Buddy Short, Velda Shannon, and Carroll Watkins.
  • The Apex's Hallowe'en Breakfast Dance featured Rook Ganz and His Cotton Club Orchestra with Bill Pugh, Magic Voiced Singer.  The Apex Band would also play, and there were two floor shows featuring Van Epps & Clifton Phillips' Revue with the Brown Sisters.
  • A Cabaret Ball featuring Walter Barnes and His Creolians appeared on November 13 at Apex Hall.
  • The Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Dance at the Veterans' Hall, St. Paul Auditorium, took place on November 23, 1935, under the Auspices of Leslie Lawrence Post No. 497, American Legion.  "Hot, Tantalizing Music by Crooning Little Joe and His Rug Cutters, Featuring Rose Grant, 'The Personality Directress.'"
  • The Social Twelve were back with a Fall Cabaret Dance on November 18 at the Flying Dutchman.
  • The Keystone Bar featured 6 per cent beer, Ed Pursell at the piano, and the Silver-Voiced Baritone of Jack Meredith in the Mystic Cavern.
  • A dance was held at the Apex Club on November 20 "in Honor of" Noble Sissle, which probably meant that Sissle and his band would be appearing elsewhere in the city and coming to the Apex afterwards.  Music would be by the Apex Band and the floor show featured McDonald, Clifton Phelps, Van Epps and Apex Chorus. "Twin City Musicians and Entertainers Will be out in full force to welcome Sissle Company.
  • On November 25 Reese Martin presented "The Event of the Season," a dance at the Aragon Ballroom featuring Red Perkins and his Dixie Ramblers.  Four Thanksgiving turkeys were given away.
  • The Jolly Sixteen Club gave a dance at the Pearl Inn on November 25.
  • A Thanksgiving Cabaret Ball at the Apex started on November 27 and ended at breakfast on the 28th.  A Battle of Music pitted the Apex Nite Club Band against Clarence Johnson's Stumble Inn Orchestra.
  • Billed as the first matinee dance of the season was a Battle of Music at the Apex featuring the Apex Orchestra and Clarence Johnson's Stumble Inn Aces.  A Floor Show featured "Ethel Cross, Torch Singing M.C.; Sonny Nichols, RKO Favorite; and Epps and Phillips, Dancers Excellent."  Prizes were a box of cigars for Gentlemen and Combination Cigarette Lighter for Ladies.
  • Christmas Night festivities at the Apex included Rook Ganz and his Cotton Club Orchestra; Ethel Cross, emcee; and petite dancer Pearl Harvey.  "Put your presents on the Apex Christmas Tree - You and your friends will enjoy this unique way of receiving gifts."
  • Big New Year's Eve Dance at the Aragon Ballroom featured Walter Erickson's Red Hot Band.  "The first time in the Twin Cities that the colored people have been able to secure such a lovely ballroom on a holiday."  Dancing from 9:30 to 4:30. 



On May 15, 1936, a Sterling Minstrel Show was presented at the Hallie Q. Brown House, featuring St. Paul's best song artists, 6 comedians full of jokes, and 5 big acts in olio. 


On May 11, the Minnesota-Iowa Club gave its first cabaret dance party, "A Night in Spain," at Norway Hall, with music by Roy Disert's Band.


On May 22 the Waiters' Union Local 614 sponsored the Coming Out Party as Host to the following social clubs:

  • Cameo
  • Jr. Cameo
  • 20th Century
  • Credjafawn
  • Jr. Credjafawn
  • Modernettes
  • Socialites
  • Diplomats
  • Gloom Chasers
  • Wolverines
  • And others

The dance was at the Coliseum Ballroom and featured Gordan Parks and His Casa Nova Band.

A Grand May Ball at the Coliseum Ballroom in St. Paul took place on May 25, 1936, with music by Eli Rice and his 12-Piece Recording Orchestra.  "This is the first appearance of this great band since they returned from the West Coast.  Will only play this one engagement as this band will return to the Coast after this engagement.  Come Out and Enjoy a Big Evening - Hot Music and Plenty of Fun - Trucking Starts at 9 pm."


On June 15, 1936, a squad of police led by morals squad chief Al Palmerstein raided the Elks' Rest, home of Elks Club No. 106.  The Minneapolis Spokesman reported that Palmerstein alarmed the guests by "parading through the club and threateneing to call the patrol wagons.  Manager Edward L. Boyd was arrested for selling liquor without a license, and three bottles of whiskey belonging to members were seized.  Boyd was found not guilty by Judge Luther Youngdahl, who later served as an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1942 to 1946, then as Minnesota's 27th Governor from 1947 to 1951, and as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia from 1951 until his death in 1978.


The Rainbow Club of St. Paul sponsored a dance at Rainbow Gardens, at McCarron's Lake, on July 20, 1936.  Music was provided by Lord Byron Doty and his band.  The Spokesman reported that "The Rainbow Club has as one of its purposes the aim to fully cooperate with all other civic clubs in the Twin Cities to help better the economic and social conditions among the colored people." 


The 20th Century Club sponsored a Cabaret Dance at Happ's Nite Club in Shakopee featuring Ray Dysart's Swing Band on July 26.  On September 6 Dysart was back at Happ's for a Sunrise Dance, which went from 10pm to sunrise.  Dysart's band was called the Rhythm Kings, and Boyd Atkins' Cotton Club Band was also scheduled.


On September 14 Anna Mae Winburn  - "the Niftiest Girl Maestro in Dance Band Land" - and her 12 Cotton Club Boys came to the Coliseum Ballroom in St. Paul.  "Miss Winburn in the past few months has rocketed to fame as a dance band director on par with Ina Mae Hutton, noted white female band maestro."  This was the first out-of-town band to come to the Cities in several months.  Winburn and her Cotton Club Orchestra returned on October 26, this time to the Minneapolis Coliseum at 27th and Lake.


The Social 12 brought Tommy Douglas and his 12-piece orchestra to the Coliseum Ballroom in St. Paul on September 21.  A recent engagement for the band was in Pensacola, Florida, "winter playground of the rich."


Direct from the Texas Centennial came Nat Towles and his 14 Southern Gentlemen, for a dance at Norway Hall on September 29.  The dance was sponsored by the E.N. Club.  Towles would make frequent appearances in the Twin Cities over the years.



Minnesota's own Eli Rice returned home after a highly successful five months' tour of the Pacific Coast for a dance at the Coliseum Ballroom in St. Paul on October 5, 1936, hosted by the Arcade Social Club.  After the gig they  would head to Los Angeles to appear in a Warner Bros. film. 


The Harlem Play Girls, under the direction of Edie Crump, appeared at the Coliseum Ballroom on October 19, 1936.  The show featured 12 artists and entertainers.


Red Perkins and His Original Dixie Ramblers came to the Minneapolis Coliseum on November 16.  To quote at length from the ad in the Minneapolis Spokesman:

His unique singing novelties, impersonations and ability to double on instruments in each section of his band has built an enviable reputation in the field of entertainment.


Mr. Perkins was the first colored director to introduce in the middle west the brilliance of three trombones and four saxophones.  He also was the first to visualize that colored orchestras must abandon brass and fast tempos as ordinarily used by them.

The Cameo Social Club sponsored a Charity Ball at the Hallie Q.  Brown Community House featuring Lord Byron Doty and His Music.  Admission was 25 cents for this December 14 event, and the door prize was a beautiful radio.



The first big dance advertised in the Minneapolis Spokesman was sponsored by the Como Temple - Daughter Elks.  A Big Easter Dance was held on March 29 at the St. Paul Auditorium, with Music by Ray Dysart's Swinging Gents.  The Grand March was scheduled for 11:30 pm.


Each year there was an event in the black community called the St. Thomas (for a church, presumably) Easter Parade and Style Show.  The 1937 affair was the third, and was held on March 29 at Knickerbocker Hall.  The ad promised beautiful models, gorgeous costumes, special feature acts, showing costumes and styles from 1850 to 1937.  Dancing to the music of "Lord" Byron Doty and His Band.


The great Fletcher Henderson brought his famous swing band to the Coliseum Ballroom in St. Paul on April 19, 1937.  "Henderson will play the following night at a white dance at the Marigold Ballroom, Minneapolis," reported the Spokesman.  He had recently played to 10,000 white dancers at the annual "Cinderella Ball" sponsored by the St. Paul Association of Commerce.  The Coliseum engagement "will mark the first time in 12 years that the colored people have had an opportunity to dance to the strains of a nationally known orchestra."  The Spokesman reported that almost 15,000 people attended the dance, the largest dance crowd assembled in the Twin Cities in 20 years.



The Gordon Parks Chicago Savoy Orchestra made its Minneapolis debut at the Union Hall, Third and Plymouth Ave No. in late April 1937.  This is apparently not the photographer Gordon Parks.  Pat Louis was the trumpet player and Florence Ward the vocalist. 


Ray Dysart, described as the Twin City King of Swing, held a dance at the Lake Street Auditorium on May 3.


The Parks and Boyd Atkins Famous Cotton Club Orchestra had a Battle of the Bands at Norway Hall on May 10.  The event was sponsored by Jimmie Slemmons, a tire and radio salesman at the Goodrich Silvertown Store at 146 E. Lake Street.  Slemmons would go on to win the Mayor of Bronzeville contest. 


Eli Rice and his Orchestra presented a dance at the Lake Street Coliseum (aka Coliseum Ballroom at 27th and E. Lake St.) on May 17.  The ad promised a Mammoth Floor Show.  Rice was a local who developed a national reputation and this was a stop on a 40 state tour.


The Rainbow Social Club, an organization of St. Paul black men, sponsored a dance featuring Tommy Douglas and His Band at Rainbow Gardens on MccCarron's Lake on May 24.


Cab Calloway came to play for a dance at the St. Paul Auditorium on June 9 - the "Biggest Event in History of Twin City Dances" per the Spokesman.  Calloway was also appearing at the Orpheum Theater on June 4 with his world famous orchestra and All New Cotton Club Revue Featuring Avis Andrews (Bundle of Blues), The Tramp Band (Sensation of the Cotton Club) and Evelyn Keyes.  On the screen was "There Goes My Girl" with Gene Raymond and Ann Sothern.  


Charles Johnson and Dora Dean were a famous Minneapolis dance team, and they appeared at the Cocoanut Grove, down town night club, on June 7.  "The team were the first colored entertainers ever to be employed at this exclusive club, and patrons were so well pleased with the act that the team was held over the second week," reported the Spokesman.  Shall we assume that this Cocoanut Grove was in downtown Minneapolis?


The Social Twelve gave a Cabaret Dancing Party at Rainbow Gardens on July 26 featuring Ray Dysart's Swinging Gents and a Snappy Floor Show at 11:30 pm. 


The Men's Club of St. Peter Claver Church advertised a picnic at Harriet Island on July 28, with dancing El Herbert's Swing Band. 


Fats Waller and his 15-piece band were brought to the Coliseum in St. Paul on August 2, 1937, by the Eureka Lodge.  It was promised that all heads of local music organizations would be publicly introduced to Fats at intermission.  Unfortunately, the review was not good:  Fats only sang one of his hits, "I'm Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter," "to good advantage."  He seemed to be more interesting in drinking (something) and the band was "lackadaisical."  They would play and number and then go "cabareting" (whatever that means) for a few minutes, with some more on the dance floor than on the stage.  Worse yet, he left at intermission and never came back, grievously disappointing those who had paid their 85 cents.


The Johnny Banker and Leslie Lawrence American Legion Posts gave a joint picnic on Harriet Island on August 6 that featured music by Rook Ganz and His Famous Orchestra.  Board Walk Parade at 11 pm


The Gloom Chasers Club gave a Labor Day Dance at the ballroom over the Nankin Cafe (19 South 7th Street) on September 6.  Rook Ganz provided the music, and there was a curious remark that his band was "rapidly regaining its popularity."


Qudy Martyn (is that right?) and His Rhythm Serenaders performed at a dance at Rainbow Gardens on August 16.  Also on the 16th was a picnic on Harriet Island given by the "Ole" Timers' Club, featuring Mym Carter's Swing Band. 


The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters sponsored a picnic on Harriet Island on August 26 featuring entertainment by Rook Ganz and His Famous Band and the Escue Sisters Quintette.


Red Perkins and His Original Dixie Ramblers, along with Ray Dysart and His Swinging Gents, played at a Breakfast Dance at Happ's Auditorium in Shakopee on October 3.  The dance started at 11 pm and ended at 5 am.  Breakfast dances were generally jam sessions open to other musicians in town.


Rook Ganz and His Famous Orchestra played at a Sunday matinee dance at Apex Hall (Kistler Building) on October 10.  Dances were generally held at the Apex every week.  This one was advertised as Cabaret Style, but I don't know what that means.  The dance on November 21 promised two Mammoth Floor Shows at the season's first full-length cabaret dance.  Oh to see it!


The Johnny Baker Post of the American Legion gave an Armistice Day Dance at Apex Hall featuring the Lord Byron Doty Orchestra on November 11, 1937.


The black community had its pick of at least two Thanksgiving dances on November 25:  the Como Temple's Ball at the St. Paul Auditorium with Rook Ganz, or a dance at Kistler Hall featuring Lord Byron Doty and "extra entertainment." 


Ames Lodge No. 106 of the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks put on a Minstrel Show at the Minneapolis Armory on December 21.  The show was staged and directed by Clint "Pop" Davis, with music provided by Rube Floyd and His Memphis Blue Devils.  Performers included:

  • Pinkey Lewis
  • Jimmy "Garbage" Raymond Whiting
  • Tom Lewis
  • Jimmy Gresham and the three Pettiford Sisters
  • Mary Turner, the 29-inch midgett dancer
  • The Daughter Elks Choral Club
  • "Little Georgia"
  • Bruce Patterson, the wizard of the banjo
  • Maxine Jones
  • Clint Davis
  • Curtis Van Winkle, master of ceremonies

According to the Spokesman, the show was "managed by a Mr. 'Hanson,' a group of white men, telephone salesmen, and a committee composed of lodge members including George Hall, exalted ruler; Harry Scott, lodge legal adviser; and Clint Davis, a member of the lodge.  From point of attendance the affair was a failure.  Several hundred dollars worth of tickets were supposed to have been sold to white business firms."  The piano player, Mr. R. R. Meade, sued in Conciliation Court for her salary of $26, and several other performers had not been paid.   They later settled. 


The Johnny Baker Post 291 of the American Legion invites you to MAKE WHOOPIE on New Year's Eve at Kistler Hall.  For some reason someone didn't approve of the dance and broke in to smash the hall and break every light bulb in the place.  In fact the electric power box had been pulled from the wall.  With the help of the members and the electric company, all was repaired by the time the first revelers came to the door. 



The "winsome dynamic" Anna Mae Winburn and her famous Cotton Club band appeared at Ramsey Hall in the St. Paul Auditorium on January 24, her third appearance in the Twin Cities.  300 dancers came out despite a wicked blizzard.


Contralto Marian Anderson made her second appearance in the Twin Cities on February 3, 1938, appearing with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra at Northrop Auditorium, with Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting.  Mrs. Carlyle Scott, manager of the orchestra, arranged for the appearance.



The Twin City Division of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters sponsored a Gala Valentine Dance on February 14, 1938 at Norway Hall, with music by Rook Ganz and His Band.


Red Perkins and his 14-piece orchestra stopped off in the Twin Cities after returning from Hollywood.  The Spokesman reported that the band featured "little Walter (Junior) Redd, youngest swing orchestra pianist in America."  The dance for the black community would be at Ramsey Hall, St. Paul Auditorium, on May 9, and they would play "at a Minneapolis white dance hall Monday, broadcasting from that place over WTCN that night.  The band was described as "uniformed in white satin tuxedos and travels in a streamline sleeper bus."  


Waiters' Union No. 614 sponsored a Cabaret and Breakfast dance at the Eagles Hall (later the Labor Temple) on May 21.  Ray Dysart's orchestra played for the first half of the dance, with Boyd Atkins' Cotton Club orchestra playing the second half.    The Cotton Club band was described in the Spokesman as "one of the top bands in this section of the country", making its "first appearance at a public dance for several months."


Earl "Fatha" Hines and his Grand Terrace Orchestra came from Chicago to play at a dance at the St. Paul Coliseum Ballroom on May 27.  Ida James was his girl singer. It was his first appearance in the Twin Cities to play for a dance, reported the Spokesman.  Hines appeared nationally on NBC radio and his hands were reportedly insured for $400,000.  Charlie Dawn of the Chicago American wrote that the Hines orchestra "are radio's best exponents of hot-cha dance rhythms."



In June 1938 bandleader Rook Ganz was arrested in Superior, Wisconsin, and sentenced to a year and a day.  Seems he and musician Walter Lear were "skylarking" (horsing around) and Ganz "playfully pulled out a knife which he carried and made a few faked passes at Lear during intermission at a dance...  Some of the white spectators thought a real fight was on and ran from the hall and called the police."  When police searched Ganz and found the knife and a revolver and they booked him on having concealed weapons.  The Minneapolis Spokesman reported that he had never been in any difficulty in his years in the Twin Cities.


The Twin City Clef Club sponsored a picnic at Riverlyn Park, on Lyndale Ave. No. Road, five miles from City Limits, on Sunday, June 12.  Music for dancing was provided by Boyd Atkins and His Cotton Club Orchestra.


The black community had several picnics at Harriet Island ("Just across the Wabasha St. Bridge, Downtown St. Paul").  The Twin City Triangle Club held its fourth annual picnic, bathing beauty contest, track meet, whist tournament, and dance on Monday, June 27, 1938.  Music was provided by El Herbert and his Broadcasting Swing Band.  It was reported that 3,000 people attended this event.


The Twin City Progressive Club have a Fourth of July Breakfast Dance and Amateur Dance at the New Cotton Club (Kistler Building), with floor show, dancing, and entertainment.  "Doc" Pettiford and His Swing Band provided the music for the event, which started at 1 am and went on til dawn.


Chick Webb and his NBC Orchestra, featuring Ella Fitzgerald, appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium on July 26.  This was Ella's first appearance in the Twin Cities, reported the Minneapolis Spokesman


A Labor Day Dance was held at what was called the Seventh Street Hall, a dance hall over the Nankin Restaurant, on September 5, 1938.  Music was provided by Scottie Williams' Orchestra. 


In October 1938 a Battle of the Bands was announced between Anna Mae Winburn's and another unnamed black orchestra.  The Battled turned into a contest between "two bands, one composed of white musicians and the other sepia swingsters."  It was to be held on October 26 at the St. Paul Auditorium.  The white band was "Cec" Hurst's Marigold Ballroom radio broadcasting band.  The winter would be hired to battle an eastern NBC band scheduled to perform in the Twin Cities in November.


Wish there was a picture with this ad!  November 4, 1938, Minneapolis Spokesman


Fletcher Henderson returned to the Twin Cities to play two dates: 

  • the annual Inter-Fraternity Inter-Collegiate Ball at the Hotel Nicollet
  • at the Coliseum Ballroom in St. Paul on November 21

Here's a dance sponsored by a gas station:  Boyd's Super Service, Dale and Central, presented WMIN's Down Beat Program with Tom Coleman's Famous Swing Trio, Friday night, December 9, 1938 at Pioneer Hall, 588 Rondo in St. Paul.  Members of the band were:

  • Tom Coleman, vocals and drums
  • Paul Thompson, piano
  • Qudy Martin, clarinet and arranger
  • Florence Ward, torch singer

On December 2, 1938, the Spokesman reported that El Herbert's Band was booked for a three weeks' engagement at the St. Paul Hotel.  "This is the first engagement of a colored band in any of the larger hotels in the Twin Cities in recent years."  Herbert's band was comprised of:

  • Rook Ganz, trumpet (apparently out of his Wisconsin scrape from last June)
  • Mym Carter, piano
  • Walter Leary, drums
  • Elliot Lane
  • El Herbert, trumpet and leader

The Cameo-Elite and Credjafawn Clubs held a Christmas benefit cabaret dance at the "swanky" Colony Club in White Bear Lake on December 15.  Music was provided by the Colony Club Cavaliers and a floor show was scheduled for 12:30 am sharp.  Proceeds were to be used to purchase food, clothing and necessities for indigent Colored families.


Boyd Atkins and the Cotton Club Orchestra provided the music for a dance at the Minnesota-Iowa Club on December 26.





Boyd Atkins and the Cotton Club Orchestra came back to the Minnesota-Iowa Club on January 2 for a dance.   A line in a 1938 ad in the Minneapolis Spokesman for the dance noted, "Because Cotton Club band, admittedly one of the country's best bands, plays nightly at the El Patio Club, it is seldom that colored dancegoers get an opportunity to hear and dance to their music."


Marian Anderson returned to Northrop Auditorium on January 17, 1939, to participate in the University of Minnesota's Artists' Course.  This was a recital as opposed to singing with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra.  She sang five groups of songs, one of which consisted of Negro spirituals.  Her accompanist was the Finnish pianist Kostie Vehanen.  The performance was met with thunderous applause and she sang five encores.  This was Ms. Anderson's fourth national tour.  It was later that year that the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow her to sing in Constitution Hall in Washington, DC.  Anderson's subsequent open-air performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on April 9 drew a crowd of 75,000 and a radio audience of millions.


The first annual National Negro Jitterbug Dance Contest was held at the Eagles Ballroom (later the Labor Temple) on February 13 and 14, 1939.  Lloyd Hunter's 14-piece band, featuring an all girl floor show, provided the music.  "50 Contestants Will Jitter," with $100 in cash prizes. 


Internationally-known dancer Jessie Scott appeared as guest star at a dance at the Eagles Hall on  April 9, recently returned from a European tour. 


The St. Thomas Easter Parade and Style Show took place at Knickerbocker Hall on April 10.  The event featured a play, style revue, parade, and dancing. 


Dining Car Employees' Union Local 516 sponsored their second annual dance at Stem Hall, St. Paul Auditorium, on April 14.  Music was provided by Rube Floyd and His Harlem Swing Band.  Over 1,400 people attended. The Minneapolis Spokesman reported, "The evening offered various forms of amusement - cabaret entertainment, drinks, jitterbugs, dancing.  Gordon Parks, photographer, took candid shots of the dance....  A number of the 'Swing Mikado' cast attended the dance and put on some real jitterbugging."


Here are a couple of events from May 1939 as advertised in the Spokesman:



The Cameo Social Club held its annual Spring Frolic on May 29th at the Stumble Inn in St. Paul.  "The party will be given in its usual CABARET STYLE with the Stumble Inn Swing Band playing the dance rhythms.  Due to the new Ramsey County closing laws, the party will NOT last 'til dawn as has been the Cameo's policy since 1930." 

Louis Armstrong played the Coliseum Pavilion Ballroom in St. Paul on 1939.  The Spokesman reported that Satchmo had a solid gold trumpet worth $1,500.  Appearing with Armstrong were Sonny Woods, the romantic Tenor; Midge Williams, the petite song stylist; bandleader Luis Russell;  "Red" Allen; and Paul Barbarin.  It was Armstrong's "first known appearance in the Twin Cities."  An editorial in the Spokesman said, "Somewhat off the beat theatrically, the Twin Cities seldom have an opportunity to se and hear internationally known Negro artists.  When they do come along we think we should support them.  Hence this editorial mention."  After the concert, the Spokesman reported that "Some irresponsible individual several days before the date of the dance spread the rumor that the Armstrong band would not appear.  Attempts are being made to ascertain the guilty party.  Whoever it was caused several hundred persons who would have liked to hear the great musician to remain at home.  The Spokesman in Minneapolis and the Recorder in St. Paul received over 100 inquiries as to whether the band was coming or not on the day of the dance.  The Trio Club, promoters of the dance, thanked the public for their patronage."  Nonetheless 1,000 patrons enjoyed the dance and felt they got their money's worth (80 cents). 


Boyd Atkins and his Orchestra played a "Jim Jam Jive Session" on August 27 at the newly-redecorated Clef Club.  All the musicians and entertainers from the leading hotels and night clubs were to be their guests.


Leroy Gentry, "one of the most promising of the younger Negro pianists," had a contract to perform at the swank Harry's Cafe.  The classically trained pianist had played with Earl Hines and Fletcher Henderson.  "And girrrls the fellow is rawther handsome," reported the Spokesman in August 1939.


 Earl "Fatha" Hines, King of the Ivories, brought his NBC Orchestra to the Coliseum Ballroom in St. Paul on September 10.  The ad reads, "Get Hep, You Swing Cats!!"  Presented by the Tri Club.  Hines had performed at the Grand Terrace Hotel in Chicago for the past 11 years with time out for occasional tours.


In a 1939 article in the Spokesman, the "Most Famous Minneapolis Negro Couple" was the internationally-known dancing team of Johnson and Dean (Mr. and Mrs. Charles Johnson), who had "trod the boards of the world's greatest theatres for over 50 years.  Back in 1893 they introduced to Minneapolis the famous cake walk at the old Lake Harriet pavilion."  Their fame had apparently not been based in Minnesota, but they settled here in 1930, living at 816 E. 36th Street. 



              Johnson and Dean in 1901

The Tri Club presented Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra with Ivy Anderson at the Coliseum Ballroom in St. Paul on October 2, 1939.  It was billed as his first Twin City engagement for a public dance.  The Club had picked up the contract after the original promoters cancelled.  Controversy followed when Rex Stewart, trumpeter in the orchestra, was forced to ride in a freight elevator at the Radisson where Duke was staying. 


The Cameo Social Club sponsored a big cabaret dance on October 9 at the Plantation Night Club with music by Rube Floyd and His Swing Band.


Ella Fitzgerald came to the Twin Cities on November 13, 1939, for a dance at Stem Hall at the St. Paul Auditorium




Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra came to the Coliseum Ballroom in St. Paul on January 22, 1940.  Featured were the Lunceford's Glee Club and the Lunceford Trio:  Sy Oliver, Willie Smith, and Eddie Tompkins.  It was this nationally renowned band's first appearance in the Twin Cities.  2,000 people attended the event.


Jimmie Lunceford's Orchestra, 1935


Contralto Marian Anderson made her annual appearance in the Twin Cities on March 20, 1940, at the Minneapolis Auditorium.  Her program was predominantly classical, with an ending section of Negro Spirituals.


Dining Car Employee's Union Local 516 gave their third annual dance at Stem Hall, St. Paul Auditorium, on April 19, 1940.  Music was provided by El Herbert and his Swing Band.  Committee members represented the Omaha, Soo Line, Great Northern, and Northern Pacific Railroads.


Jimmie Lunceford's Orchestra, with the same line-up as in January, came to the Eagles' Ballroom (the Labor Temple) on April 23, 1940.  Unfortunately, one of the promoters took $500 of the receipts home and hid them in a closet.  He went out, robbers went in, and the $500 went missing.  Police had two suspects. 


Les Hite and his Cotton Club Orchestra came from Los Angeles to play for a dance at Stem Hall at the St. Paul Auditorium on May 4, 1940.  It was Hite's first appearance in the Twin Cities.  Hite, with torch singer Tonie Anthony and Cudellus Martin, saxophonist from the Twin Cities, was dubbed "the heat wave from California" that "taught Hollywood how to swing."


Baritone Paul Robeson appeared at Northrop Auditorium on October 23 as part of the University Artists Course.  This was his first U.S. tour following four years of touring in Europe.  Robeson sang folk songs on tour, but was also an acclaimed actor, appearing in "Emperor Jones," "All God's Chillun," "Porgy," and "Show Boat."


The Sunset Valley Barn Dance premiered on KSTP radio on October 26, 1940.  Hosted by David Stone, the show was patterned after Nashville's Grand Ole Opry and lasted well into the 1950s.  On April 27, 1948, it expanded to television and was so popular that it had several spinoffs.  Genevieve Hovde was probably the youngest member of the troupe and is still going strong today.  Here's an aircheck, courtesy of the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting. 


Also on October 26 was a Homecoming Dance at the St. Paul Auditorium, Ramsey Hall, with music by the Southern Serenaders.


Another option on October 26 was the brand newly decorated Club Club, which reopened with a "big imported floor show."   "The Clef Club will be the night club in the Twin Cities catering to Negro patronage," reported the Spokesman.  Manager Scottie Williams promised a show with "a snappy group of entertainers" including:

  • Carroll Lee, female impersonator
  • Alma Smith, torch singer
  • Chase and Ray, the "Brown Dots," dancers par excellence
  • A chorus of dancing girls, in a show produced by Jackie Hudson
  • Music by Walter Lear and His Six-Piece Orchestra


On November 21, 1940, an Inaugural Ball was held at the St. Paul Auditorium to crown the Mayor of Bronzeville.  Salesman James W. "Jimmy" Slemmons was elected Mayor, campaigning on the fight for jobs for the black community. 


The Four Ink Spots appeared in Minneapolis beginning on November 22, presumably at the Orpheum Theater.  The Spokesman reported that the group would act as judges at auditions of vocal groups to be held at radio station WDGY.  The quartet that best imitated the style of the Ink Spots would appear at all performances at the Orpheum on November 28.  The contest was sponsored by the Orpheum, WDGY, and Minneapolis Beautiful, Inc., headed by Mrs. M.D. Himmelman.


The Clef Club, "Twin Cities Brightest Night Spot," presented a Big Surprise Floor Show starting on December 21, 1940.  Party goers were invited to see Jessie Scott do the "La Congo."


Jessie Scott was at the Clef Club on New Year's Eve, 1940, as well, along with "Skip, Hop and Jump, Three Dancing Demons."  Music was provided by Walter Lear and His Gents of Rhythm.






The Second World War saw the advent of what Stebbins calls Stage Bars, a significant event in the jazz community.  "A stage bar or theatre lounge is an establishment which serves liquor and features some sort of entertainment from and elevated stage or stand rather than from the floor.  Usually there is no public dancing in these places, although some stage bars have entertainment for a certain length of time ('the show') followed by a period when the band plays for dancing.  The audience may be entertained by a strip act, comedy act, musical performance or a combination of these.  Jazz musicians are generally hired to play the music for the strip shows.  Their music usually a raucous form of jazz. 


"The real importance of the introduction of the stage into bars lies in their potential as a place where a form of concert can be presented.  To be sure, the presence of liquor creates a situation which is less than perfect from the standpoint of presenting a serious performance, but the musicians probably gain more attention than if they were playing for dancing.  This innovation has benefitted modern jazz musicians.  Their experimentation with meter and tempo has led them out of the dance field to some extent." 


Recording star Earline Williams performed at the Clef Club with Walter Lear and His Gents of Rhythm beginning in January 1941.


Cab Calloway and his Cotton Club appeared for a week at the Orpheum Theater starting January 17, 1941 - price, 25 cents.  The name Mort H. Singer is on the ad - perhaps the promoter.  The Spokesman observed, "There was not an 'Uncle Tom' number in the Cab Calloway show..  In contrast, the Ink Spots.. spoiled their performance for many Negroes by their clowning, which added nothing to their act!"


After the remark about the Ink Spots' "Uncle Tom" clowning, it is odd to see two subsequent ads in the paper:


Stepin Fetchit appeared at the Princess Theater, 12 - 4th Street NE, March 4-7.  He was billed as "Screen's Laziest Comedian," but praised for "appearing in more motion pictures than any other colored artist."  An item also noted his odd hobby of collecting cashmere suits made from the wool of the sacred goats of India, at $275 each (with two pairs of pants).  "The slow motion comic has about $4,125 worth of clothes hanging in his hotel closet.  Fetchit has one tailor in Hollywood, another in New York and they both know his weakness - clothes."  Appearing with Step were:

  • Abdul Sender, Egypt's Greatest Pianist
  • Patsy Mack
  • Penny and Perry Tucker
  • Claudette Colbert and Ray Milland in the film "Arise My Love"

Also odd was an ad for the Swing Town Minstrels, Ladies' Cast of St. Thomas Guild, Auzie Dial, Guest Artist, illustrated with an image that would seem offensive even then.  The show was at Benton Hall, YWCA, March 6, 1941.


Jimmie Lunceford returned to Eagles Hall on March 20, 1941.


Count Basie and his Orchestra came to the Minneapolis Armory on April 14.


The Minneapolis NAACP Coronation Ball was held at the Royal Arcanum Hall, 3011 First Ave. So., on June 9.  Music was provided by Paul Thomason's Orchestra. 


Andy Kirk and His Clouds of Joy played for an Emancipation Ball at the Eagles Hall on August 4, 1941.  Kirk's vocalist was June Richmond.




In these years, State Fair shows were usually spectacular productions with casts of thousands.  1941 was no exception, EXCEPT that on the first night, August 23, there was a special show starring Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, plus:

  • Ted Weems and his "Beat the Band" Orchestra
  • Buster West, film Comedian
  • Paul Remos and His Toy Boys
  • Lois Wolner and Her Singing Commanders
  • and 12 Other Top Attractions

On the rest of the nights, August 24 - September 1, there was the World's Greatest Outdoor Spectacular:

New!  Dazzling!  Different!  Greatest Extravaganza of the Ages...  A Musicomedy Studded with Stars from Broadway, Hollywood and Radio... Combining Beauty, Color, Comedy and Rhythm... 400 Living Artists...  Five Stirring Episodes...  57 Stellar Acts.. 40 Chic Chorines.. A Fast-Moving, Hilarious Grandstand Production That'll Made You Rock and Roar with Laughter... All Climaxed by Glorious Fireworks


Dr. W.D. Brown was elected Mayor of Bronzeville at the second annual Inaugural Ball, held on Thanksgiving night, November 20, 1941, at the Eagles Hall (later the Labor Temple).  Brown was inducted by Todd Williams, radio commentator who appeared on the Atwood Coffee Co. program over WTCN radio.  Jimmie Slemmons, the 1940 Mayor, sought re-election but came in a distant second to Brown, who was drafted into running.  The Ball featured Walter Lear and his Gents of Rhythm, and after the Ball was a "Breakfast Dance" at the Clef Club that featured "Steep" Pittman and His Gents of Rhythm. 


Marian Anderson appeared with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on November 28 and 29, 1941.


Oh dear.  The Clef Club, now "The Home of Happy Feet" presented a gala affair on December 21, 1941, featuring "Snake Hips" and His Rhythm Girls, Peggy O'Neal from Chicago, and Little Bobby Green.  Music by Steep Pittman and His Musical Gents.  Snake Hips and the gang were also on hand at the Clef Club for a Breakfast Ball on Christmas Eve Night and a dance on Christmas night. 


On December 22 Eli Rice presented a pre-Christmas dance at the Labor Hall, 720 - 4th Street So. in Minneapolis.  Rice's band was listed as the 12 New Orleans Cotton Pickers.




Not sure of the story here or the origin of the photo:


Ace Brigode and His Orchestra ("Your Favorite Name Band") appeared at Excelsior Park Ballroom on May 15 for the 1942 Grand Opening.  This was also the third annual Twin City High School Fun Nite.


A Breakfast Dance at the Clef Club on May 29, 1942, featured Mose Strange and His Hot Band.


Excelsior Park Ballroom presented Jimmy Barnett and His Orchestra from June 5 to 11, 1942, "Dispensing Dance Rhythm As You Like It."  Followed by Cliff Keyes and His Orchestra on June 12.


Lawrence Welk and His Champaign Music was the featured attraction at the Excelsior Park Ballroom on June 16, 1942.  Featured were songstress Jane Walton and Jerry Burke on the electric organ.  After the Welk show, Cliff Keyes and his orchestra followed for dancing.


From the Spokesman:

NAACP Dance Tonight at St. Paul Auditorium


Minnesota's Negro draftees who are being inducted into service this July are invited to attend the Double Victory Dance and Queen Crowning contest given by the St. Paul branch of the NAACP, Friday night, July 3rd, at Ramsey Hall, St. Paul Auditorium....  This dance is being given to raise fund to send a delegate to the National Convention and carry on work against discrimination, according to Mrs. Dwight Reed, Sr. chairman of the "On to Los Angeles" Committee.

The dance started at 10 pm and music was provided by Rook Ganz and His Band.

A Fourth of July Picnic was held at Bass Lake (5 miles west of Robbinsdale) for the black community, featuring:

  • Double Header Soft Ball Game - Minneapolis vs. St. Paul
  • Horse Shoe Pitching Contest - Minneapolis vs. Duluth vs. St. Paul
  • Speed Boat Thrills
  • Southern Bar-B-Q Meats
  • Breakfast Ball at the Clef Club starting at 11 pm
  • Music for all event by Rook Ganz and His Gents of Rhythm


Fletcher Henderson and his 14-piece Orchestra came to the Eagles Hall on July 8, 1942.  Henderson's band was the first name band the localites had an opportunity to dance to for several months, reported the Spokesman. 


The Hub Cafe featured entertainment by Walter Lear and His Gents of Rhythm, Friday through Sunday in September 1942.


Duke Ellington and His Orchestra was the feature attraction at the Ninth Annual Grand Ball of the Minnesota League of Credit Unions at the St. Paul Auditorium, October 31.  A concurrent concert at the Minneapolis Auditorium was headed by Jan Savitt and his Top Hatters.  Tickets were provided for 1,000 servicemen.  A Junior Halloween Grand Ball was staged on October 30 at the St. Paul Auditorium, also with Duke Ellington.  Following the events, John Esquire in the Spokesman deemed the music excellent but the decorum of the musicians "lousy."  He reported that the musicians

loafed all over the band stand.  They drank what was obviously liquor from paper cups.  A trombone soloist was glassy-eyed from drink or something else.  They visited with the crowd constantly and several times the stand was only half full of band members when Duke began to tickle the piano.  The attractive little bronze-skinned singer was pleasing until she sang a risque off-color song which was completely bad taste in view of the large number of youngsters present.  Such poor taste and conduct from one of the acknowledged top bands of the country is strange to behold.  One explanation offered the writer is that when these bands come to the Twin Cities they are made so welcome that they lose control.

Marian Anderson presented a recital at the concert bowl of the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 24, 1942, accompanied by Franz Rupp.  This was Miss Anderson's sixth consecutive annual appearance in the Twin Cities and the first of an 80-concert tour.


The Clef Club was the place to be on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, 1942.  The Breakfast Balls, featuring Walter Lear and His Boogie Woogie Band, started at 10 pm and lasted all night.



St. Louis Park High student Mary Ellen Erickson procured the autograph of Frankie Carle (sigh).  But there were some at Park who were hip.  Dig this article called "Platter Chatter" by student reporter Jim Church in the Echo:

Come on, cats, don't be squares or ickys.  Bring in all the solid jazz discs 'n hear 'em played in the auditorium during the eleventh and twelfth grade lunch hour.  Hear the place rock to the righteous swing of Goodman on the licorice stick or Sampson's "Boogie Express" on the 88.  Say!  Have you heard Goodman's "Bugle Call Rag" with Krupa on the tubs?  Jan Garber has made a complete switch from his sweet orchestra to a jump band.  Now that he has got away from the Guy Lombardo type of music, we feel sure he'll succeed...Sinatra is 4-F in the Army which goes to show that no one wants him.  ...  A hep cat's dream of heaven is Goodman's recording of "Sing-Sing-Sing" on a twelve inch Victor platter.  The trouble is it is almost impossible to obtain.  Ammons and Johnson, masters of the eight-to-the-bar, are set for Hollywood picture work... Harry James is coming out with another M.G.M. film, "Mr. Co-ed," in which Harry begins with a blues theme and rides into a torrid tempo...  Watch for Charlie Spivak's movie "Pin Up Girl" ...  Well!  End of study hour (?) so I'll hang up.  Amen!


Don Leary's Automatic Sales Co. (Nicollet Island record shop) sold "Everything from Bach to Boogie Woogie."  Artists in the ad included:

  • Bing Crosby
  • Jimmie Noone, Dean of Modern Hot Clarinetists
  • Duke Ellington
  • Pine Top Smith
  • Red Nichols and His Five Pennies
  • Cab Calloway
  • Benny Goodman and His Boys
  • The Boswell Sisters


In January 1943 you could see the Ink Spots, the Lucky Millinder Band, and the movie "Nightmare" with Diana Barymore, all at the Orpheum Theater.


The musical event of the year was the production of "Porgy and Bess" at the Lyceum Theater, 11th and Nicollet, on February 8-11.  The show starred Todd Duncan and Etta Moten, with Alexander Smallens conducting the orchestra.


Paul Robeson appeared with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra at Northrop Auditorium on April 2-3, 1943.


The club with the all-time best name, the Rhumboogie Club, opened on June 15 at 128 Hyland Ave. The club was replaced by the Cara Okara Cafe by November 1945, and it appears that Hyland Ave. was wiped out completely with highway and other construction.  But in 1943, "You'll Enjoy Yourself."  I believe it!


Another club with a great name was Club Bengassi, "For an Evening of Fun."  Opened in August 1943.


The Clef Club hosted a Thanksgiving Ball featuring Jimmy Baker's Orchestra.


Marian Anderson appeared with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on December 3 and 4, 1943.


It was the Clef Club again for Cabaret Dances on December 25 and New Year's Eve, with entertainment and floor show music by Jimmy Baker's Band. 




"Blues, Part 2" by Jazz at the Philharmonic was the first of 50 nominations for the first rock 'n' roll record, according to a book of that name by Jim Dawson and Steve Propes.

Zoot Suits!  Full Drape - Single and One Button Roll.  Also Full Drape Zoot Sport Coats and a complete line of Full Peg Drape Zoot Pants.  Only at Morris Clothing, 211 Marquette.  The illustration looks nothing like a west coast Zoot Suit - just a guy with kind of baggy pants. 


Appearing at the Orpheum Theater in February 1944:

  • The Ink Spots
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Cootie Williams
  • Movie "Around the World" with Joan Davis

The show moved to the RKO, with the movie "Whistling in Brooklyn"

The Daughter Elks presented the first dance to be given in ten years at the beautiful Plamor Ballroom, soon to be renamed the CIO Hall, 8th Street and 4th Ave So.  Jimmie Baker and His Gentlemen provided the music for the Grand Easter Dance on April 10.

The Excelsior Amusement Park Pre-Season opening All Twin City High School Night was held on Friday, May 12, 1944.  Danceland hosted Bud Strawn and his (TC Favorite) Orchestra, featuring Betty Jacobson, soloist.

Danceland also had an annual commencement dance on Thursday, June 15 at 1 am.


The Friendly Ten Club held a dance on July 3 at the CIO Hall featuring Jimmy Tyler and His Blue Rhythm Boys.


The Royal Arcanum, at Lake Street and First Ave. So., hosted a series of dances, starting with the premier full dress appearance of King Larry (Lawrence) Griffin his Rhythmaires, billed as "one of two of the greatest associated bands in the Northwest."  Also featured were local eccentric dancer Stanley Gardner, and vocalists Doris Escue, Ernestine Danforth, and Mary Lewis.  Managers C. Clifton Jackson and Bobby Marshall said that this truly great dance will "bring together at one time under one roof at least three of our own local talented youth, positively on their way up to big time, as well as the two greatest musical organizations in this section."  Track star Jesse Owens was appearing in Minneapolis the same week, and was invited to attend the dance.  400 people jammed the hall to enjoy the show.  Follow-up shows were given on September 4 and 9.


A Football Jamboree was held on September 28 with 600 students from St. Louis Park and Hopkins high schools at Donaldson's Tea Room.  DJs Bill Kirby and Jim Boyson hosted a half hour broadcast on WTCN Radio that featured school songs and cheers.  DJ Larry Clinton played music for dancing after the show. 


Famed dancer Katherine Dunham presented her Tropical Revue at the Lyceum Theater, September 28-October 1, 1944. Dunham was a dancer, choreographer, author, educator, and social activist.   This is video of her in the film "Stormy Weather" from 1943.  Photo of Miss Dunham below from about 1937.






A full-length musical/campaign for Roosevelt called "Bandwagon" came to the Lyceum Theater on October 14 and 15, 1944.  Producer Eddy Royce sent out a call for new-dealer entertainers to perform in the show, and came up with this interracial cast:

  • Will Geer, emcee
  • Orelia and Pedro, whirlwind Afro dancers from Cuba
  • Helen Tamaris and Daniel Nagrin, concert dancers from the Metropolitan Opera
  • Woodie Guthrie
  • Cissco Houston
  • Bernie Hern, comedian
  • Mary Lou Williams, leading female exponent of Jive Piano


The St. Paul Branch of the NAACP presented "Top Flight, a Musical Fantasia" on October 25 in the theater section of the St. Paul Municipal Auditorium.  It was described as a vaudeville arrangement with:

  • Twin City talent
  • Stars from Chicago
  • Snookum Russell and His Hollywood Orchestra
  • Vocalist Iona Wade

100 seats were given away free to purchasers of $25 war bonds. 

Fletcher Henderson came to Stem Hall in the St. Paul Auditorium on November 6.  Tickets were $1.00. 


The 11th Annual Credit Union Grand Ball was held at the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 11, 1944.  Bud Strawn and his orchestra played in the main ballrom for Al Wiklund's jitterbug contest from 8 to 9 pm and for "modern dancing" from 9 pm to 1 am.  Wiklund taught classes on jitterbugging at Coffman Union at the U of M.  "King" Tommy Thompson, His Radio and Dance Band, played "old time" music in the Rathskellar from 9 to 1am.  6,000 people were expected. 


Paul Robeson performed "Othello" at the Lyceum Theater on December 11 to 13, 1944. 




A sign that teenagers were coming into their own was an ad introducing the "Hep Shop For High-Schoolers" at Brown's Bon-Art Clothes at 306-14 Nicollet Ave.  The graphic is of two youngsters jitterbugging.


The Sportsman's Club sponsored a jam session with the Navy Band and members of the Count Basie, Duke Elliington, and Cab Calloway bands at the CIO Hall on January 7.  They must have all been in town.  Subsequent jam sessions were held on February 4 (featuring "Chickee"), February 11 (Cab Calloway's Orchestra invited), and February 18 (singing lyrics by "Chickie"). 


Marian Anderson made her annual appearance in the Twin Cities on January 14, 1945, at the Concert Bowl at the Minneapolis Auditorium.  This performance was a recital.


Rook Ganz was in trouble again in February 1945 when he was arrested on a charge of white slavery for transporting a 19-year-old girl from Minneapolis to Deadwood, South Dakota, for immoral purposes.  He was arrested by the FBI and held in the Hennepin County jail under $5,000 bail.  Turns out Ganz's real name was Wilbur Thompson, according to the Spokesman (Hilliard Thompson according to Joined at the Hip).  The trumpeter had led the orchestra at the El Patio in St. Louis Park and was a popular dance entertainer.


The Navy Band and guest artists provided the music for a Sunday night jam session at the CIO Hall on February 25.  A Gigantic Floor Show was also in store - featuring "Chickee." 


The Elks Grand Ball and Popularity Contest was held by the Ames Lodge on March 2 at Norway Hall, with music by Walter Lear's Gents of Rhythm.


The Friendly 16 Club gave a picnic-dance on May 30 at Norway Hall, with music by Jimmy Tyler's Blue Rhythm Boys.


Howard Brown and His 5 Great Knights of Rhythm appeared at the Elk's Rest in June.


Hazel Scott appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium Concert Bowl on October 12, 1945.  This acclaimed jazz pianist and singer had recently married Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.  At age 25 she had already appeared in five films.  The Spokesman warned:  "Twin Cites Can Expect Heat Wave." 


Hazel Scott


Brutus Cassius, owner of Dreamland, opened the 38th Street Canteen on October 19.  The venue was specifically for teens aged 15-18 and was to be supervised by the mothers of the kids.  It was open Fridays from 8:30 to 11:30 and Sundays from 5:30 to 9pm.  It was located at the corner of 38th Street and Fourth Ave. and had a "Coke Bar" and "a vendor."  Cassius and wife Florence had two teens of their own:  Donald Brutus, 16, and Alvedia Eugenia, 17, both students at Central High in Minneapolis.


20 Limited, Inc. gave a First Anniversary Dance at the CIO Hall on October 20, 1945.  Fun and Favors for All, Music by Jimmy Baker and His Jive Band, featuring "Miss Cherry" and his floor show specialty. 


Local band singer Mary Walker appeared with Paul Thomason and his Sweet Rhythm band at the Post Cafe in St. Paul in October 1945.  The band members, who also sang individually and as a group, were:

  • Paul Thomason, piano
  • Mym Carter, bass
  • Reuben Floyd, trumpet
  • Ernie Lewis, drums

The Railroad Men's Social Center sponsored their First Annual Benefit Ball at the CIO Hall on October 27, with music by the Rhythm Kings.  The group's goal was to raise funds to buy equipment and a location for a recreation center.  "Such a project is needed at this time more than ever, with Negro veterans returning from war and service camps, and no facilities to offer them.  With the indoor season coming, and nowhere to g, it is advantageous to promote such an establishment for the community welfare," urged the Spokesman.


The two Black Elks Clubs in Minneapolis, Ames and Minnehaha, sponsored a Grand Halloween Ball at Norway Hall.  Music was provided by Sir Walter Lear and His Rhythmeers, featuring Mose Evans, vocalist and emcee. 


The Friendly Sixteen Club gave an Armistice Day Dance on November 11, 1945 at the CIO Main Hall, with music by "Popeye" and His All-Stars.


Famous blind jazz pianist Art Tatum made his first Minneapolis appearance on November 14 in the Concert Bowl of the Minneapolis Auditorium.  Tatum had been reluctant to travel outside of New York.  The promoter was C.C. Milkes of Greater Minneapolis Attractions.



Marian Anderson appeared with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on November 23-24 at Northop Auditorium.


The Blue Monday Club have a Cabaret Dance at the CIO Hall on December 2, 1945, with music by Howard Walker's Rhythm Kings.


After a hiatus during the War, the Mayor of Bronzeville contest was back, with a goal of being more than a popularity contest.  The theme was "What will the Negro Contribute to the Postwar Era?"  1940 Mayor Jimmie Slemmons was again elected Mayor, with a close edge over Edward "Gene" Harris of St. Paul, who dubbed himself "The Man with the Atomic Personality."  A crowd of 700 people came to the Inaugural Ball at Norway Hall on December 7.  Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey attended the Ball and made remarks, while Minneapolis Spokesman editor and sponsoring Associated Negro Credit Union vice president Cecil Newman served as emcee.  Music was provided by Howard Brown and His Orchestra. 


The Melodee Record Shop, 706 Hennepin Ave., began to advertise in the Minneapolis Spokesman.  A squib says "All of the top Negro orchestra recordings are available at the Hennepin Ave. store."  The first ad said "Jazz Headquarters - Latest Blues, Folk and Jazz Records - WE GOT EM!" 


Another was the Olson Highway Phonograph Record Shop, 1307 OMH, Maurice T. Strong, proprietor. Also known as Maurice's Record Shop, it sold Swing, Sweet Blues, and Spirituals


The 1945 candidates in What Was the First Rock 'n' Roll Record? by Jim Dawson and Steve Propes are:

  • "The Honeydripper" by Joe Liggins and His Honeydrippers
  • "Be-Baba-Leba" by Helen Humes with the Bill Doggett Octet


Nat Towles appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium on January 2, 1946.


Duke Ellington and His World Famous Orchestra appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on January 23, 1946.  Minneapolis bass player Oscar Pettiford had just joined Ellington's band a few weeks prior; Esquire Magazine had deemed him the best bass player in American bands.  The promoter was C.C. Milkes.


Paul Robeson performed at the Concert Bowl at the Minneapolis Auditorium on January 27 as part of Mrs. Carlyle Scott's Sunday Series, which may have been a radio show.


February 2 was the debut of Irving Williams and His Rhythmaires, the former Wold-Chamberlain Navy Band.  They performed in the Azure Room of the Mandalay Club, which apparently was a restaurant.  The band played again on February 10, this time at the Dreamland Annex, which could have been the same place, as the address given for the Mandalay Club (347 E. 38th Street) was just across the street from Dreamland.  That dance was billed as a Dance for Grown Ups.  On March 3 and 24 the band played at the CIO Hall, this time billed as the 10-piece Irving Williams' Ex-Navy Band, featuring vocalist Judy Perkins.  The band provided the music for St. Thomas's 12th Annual Easter Style Parade, featuring Auzie Dial (the Hazel Scott of the Northwest).  Dances would continue every Saturday night at the CIO Hall.


Auzie Dial was the pianist in the Robin Hood Room of the Hotel Dyckman.  The Spokesman reported, "She is also a favorite of many members of the millionaire set here who ask for her talent at their most exclusive private affairs."  In 1946 Miss Dial noted that "the town is going sweet due to the influence of Sinatra and Perry Como.  Boogie is on its way out, but that's all right...  When you get into a boogie rut you can't get out of it." 


Howard Brown and His Five Great Knights of Rhythm provided the music for the weekly Sunday matinee dance at the Elks Rest on February 22.



On February 24 WCCO observed the Fifth Annual Negro Newspaper Week with a special CBS program, featuring:

  • Helen Hayes, narrator
  • Josh White singing "The House I Live In"
  • Lionel Hampton and His Famous Orchestra
  • Carlton Moss Dramatization with an all-star cast
  • Dr. Charles Drew of Howard University
  • Carol Brice, the brilliant young Negro contralto
  • The Ink Spots
  • A special message from the War Department and the President of the United States

The Merrymen of Rhythm, featuring Dorothy Ashby, billed as the newest sensation band to hit the Twin Cities, appeared on April 13 at the CIO Hall.  They gave a repeat performance on May 29 at a dance given by the Friendly Sixteen Club - Free Ham Given Away!


Snookum Russell and His Hollywood Orchestra, featuring Alice Rose, Southland's First Lady of Song, came to the CIO Hall on May 4.  Russell had made several records on the Trilon label, including "Rocking the Blues."


The Excelsior Park High School Jamboree was held on May 11, where students were invited to jitterbug to Bud Strawn's Orchestra.


Seven year old phenom Frankie "Sugar Chile" Robinson appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 8, 1946, presented by C.C. Milkes.  Sugar Chile could play piano at 18 months and belted out a song like Fats Waller.  This was his first tour of the Northwest.  Also appearing were the Deep River Boys.  Here is a video of this extraordinarily talented young man.



What was probably the first of many Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts came to the Twin Cities on May 17.  The shows were produced by Norman Granz.  The ad was difficult to read, but some of the performers were:

  • Lester Young, tenor sax
  • Coleman Hawkins, tenor sax
  • Meade Luxe Lewis, piano
  • Buck Clayton, trumpet
  • Kenneth Kersey, piano
  • Miss Holmes
  • Shadow Wilson, drums


The Gay Nighters Club presented a dance on May 18, 1946, at the CIO Hall featuring the music of Nat Towles and His Decca Recording Orchestra, Exotic Song Stylist Florine, and nationally-known blues singer Joe Simmons.  They made a repeat performance on August 10. 


The Dorie Miller Post No. 544 of the American Legion presented an Independence Eve Frolic at Ramsey Hall, St. Paul Auditorium, with music from Joe Broadfoot and His Rhythm Boys.


The Gay Nighters were back with a cabaret-style dance on July 14 at the CIO Hall featuring Lloyd Hunter and his National Orchestra - St. Louis Record Smasher.


The Credjafawn Social Club picnic and dance on Harriet Island took place on July 19 and featured a jitterbug contest.  Music was provided by Irving Williams' X-Navy Band.


Lucky Millinder and his Decca Recording Band appeared at a dance at the CIO Hall on July 28, 1946.


On August 4, 1946, the X-Navy Band performed at a dance at the CIO Hall, with proceeds to help the Ames Elks Lodge Drum and Bugle Corps go to the Elks National Convention in Buffalo, New York.  This was the first time I spotted that the band was directed by Percy Hughes, Jr., who took over from Irv Williams.  Also performing was the Twin Cities' own June Hawkins, "One of the Stars of Such Broadway Productions as 'Carmen Jones,' 'Porgy and Bess,' and 'St. Louis Woman.'"  The Drum and Bugle Corps also gave a demonstration. 


In 1946 saxophonist Percy Hughes returned from the military to his native Minneapolis and joined the Wold Chamberlain Navy Band, a/k/a the X-Navy Band, which up to that time had been led by Irv Williams.  Williams left for New York and Hughes was elected to be the new leader.  The band became known as Percy Hughes and His Orchestra, the most well-known jazz band in the Cities.  Their first regular job was at the Treasure Inn in St. Paul.  Frequent vocalists with the band were Percy's wife Judy Perkins and Dickie Mayes.  Jazz disk jockey Leigh Kamman promoted the group on his show, featuring them on remotes from venues like the Calhoun Beach Hotel and the Radisson downtown.  The band also played at private parties and fraternal balls, many of which were advertised in the Minneapolis Spokesman.  Other residencies were at Snyder's Restaurant and the Flame Cafe, downtown Minneapolis.  In 1956 he began a long stay at the Point in Golden Valley, until it burned down in 1973.  From there he moved to the Kashmiri Room at the Ambassador Motor Inn on Highway 12 in St. Louis Park, where his trio played until 1982.  All this time, Percy Hughes was a full-time mailman for 30 years, and he also was an avid tennis player, going on to win awards for coaching.  Percy Hughes was a true force in Minneapolis jazz, and he's not done yet!  Read more about him in the book Sports and All That Jazz:  The Percy Hughes Story by Jim Swanson (Nodin Press 2011).


Percy Hughes, Judy Perkins, and Dickie Mayes.  Photos from the 1970 book Minneapolis Negro Profile by Walter R. Scott, Sr.


"Here It 'Tis"  "This Is It"  "The Cats and Gaters will be Jumping at the "BROWN DERBY," a floor show (featuring Lillian Goodhue) and dance at the Phyllis Wheatley House on August 10.  Music by the X-Navy Band, and local talent such as the "Ink Tots." 


Gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, with singers and soloists, appeared at the CIO Hall on August 11.  The show featured Mme. Marie Knight, "Golden-Voiced Evangelist Singing Favorite," and was presented by the King David Lodge No. 2.


Count Basie and James Rushing appeared at the RKO Orpheum on September 19.  The show also included:

  • Ann Moore, Vivacious Vocalist
  • Bob Bailey, A Man of Note
  • Jo Jones, Drummer Man
  • Two Zethyrs, "Slow Motion"
  • Coles & Atkins, Tall Dark & Dance-some
  • Pete Nugent, Tops in Taps
  • On the screen was the movie "Crack-Up" with Pat O'Brien, Claire Trevor, and Herbert Marshall

An ad in the September 27, 1946, Spokesman reported that the Merry Men of Rhythm had a standing gig at the Rochester, 1691 Rice Street.  On November 2, the Rochester became the fabled Treasure Inn.


Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and His Concert Revue appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 6.  Robinson was 68 at the time.  The show was presented presented by C.C. Milkes Also on the bill were:

  • Deep River Boys
  • Olivette Miller, Harpist
  • Frances Palm, Contralto

Modern dancer Katherine Dunham appeared at the Lyceum Theater with her show called "bel negre" with "Voodoo to Jive!"  The show was presented for three days starting October 24, 1946. 


Jazz at the Philharmonic was back at the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 28, again presented by Norman Granz and locally by C.C. Milkes.  Appearing were:

  • Coleman Hawkins
  • Roy Eldridge
  • Lester Young
  • Buck Clayton
  • Meade Luxe Lewis
  • Shadow Wilson
  • Kenneth Kersey

Joe Broadfoot's Orchestra provided the music at the Big Halloween Party and Dance at the Elks Rest.


Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra appeared at Stem Hall, St. Paul Auditorium, on November 11, presented by Northwestern Artists Corp.


Percy Hughes and His Ex-Navy Band performed at an Armistice Day Day, Cabaret-Style Dance, November 11, at Norway Hall.  The dance was sponsored by Brutus Cassius, owner of Dreamland, and featured:

  • Judy Perkins, Pleasing Vocalist
  • David "Duffy" Goodlow, Dynamic Trumpeter
  • Bobby Crittenden, Mr. Drums
  • Frank Lewis, noted Arranger and Tenor Sax




Bruce Dybvig's Big Band won the Look Magazine All-American amateur jazz band award at Carnegie Hall.  Most of the band member were between 15 and 17 years old.  They had played at Shuffletown, a teen-age hangout in the Citizens Aid building, to earn the money to get to the Regionals in Chicago.  The band's triumph was reported in the November 12, 1946, issue of Look

This 16-piece band came out of the Midwest to win the national award.  It is an All-Minneapolis outfit, recruited from eight local high schools.  In June the band traveled by day coach and jalopy [without brakes] to Chicago where it won the regional finals.  Then, sponsored by the Loring Park Community Council, the musicians traveled first class to the New York finals.  ...  Look's nationwide amateur swing band contest has given these award winners and scores of other outstanding young musicians a boost toward the opportunities in the field of music that they have long dreamed about.

Members of the band were:


Leader:  Bruce Dybvig (also best alto sax)

Arranger:  Frank Lewis

Trumpets:  Jack Coan, Dick Zemlin (and special award), Jerry Strauss, Phil Liniwic, Don Specht

Saxes:  Bruce Dybvig, Frank Lewis, Rober O'Connell, Donald Narveson, Jack Wellnitz, Wayne Herold

Vocal:  Tinkie Ross

Trombones:  Stan Haugesag (also special award), Duane Solem, John Roth, Darrell Barnett

String Bass:  Paul Sanders

Piano:  Paul Kaatrud (also best piano)

Drums:  Jack Cottrell

French Horn:  John Kohler


They returned as heroes, welcomed by Mayor Hubert Humphrey and civic leaders.  The band had hopes of becoming professional, but big bands were on their way out, too expensive to maintain.  In addition, Dybvig said that the representative from Look lost interest and failed to deliver on promises of hotel and movie contracts.  A smaller group had a summer-long job in Winnipeg in 1949, and eight of them worked at Bar Harbor in the summer of 1950.  In January 1952 the Minneapolis Flame began to program jazz on Sunday nights, a show called "Jazz Carousel" produced by Dybvig.  Both Dixieland (Harry Blons) and modern (Percy Hughes) jazz was presented.  Dybvig's show was described as "His Ultra Modern Music" in 1952.  By 1953 Dybvig was working at stage bars with a trio.  On August 12, 1956, Will Jones of the Tribune wrote a long story with the unfortunate titles "Death of a Band:  Triumph to Defeat in 10 Years" and "'Band of Tomorrrow' is Forgotten Today."  The article spoke of a final reunion of the original band members and gave updates of each.  Dybvig noted that in the last ten years he had worked 1,200 engagements and grossed $125,000, ending up with an average hourly wage of $1.25.  After working at a club featuring female impersonators, he sold his saxophone in September of 1955.  By 1964 only two of the original 20 members were working professional musicians.


*An interesting note is that an 18-year-old Sam Butera won the award for Best All-America Instrumentalist.  Butera went on to have a successful career playing tenor sax with his band the Witnesses. 

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra made its second appearance in Minneapolis on November 13 at the Minneapolis Auditorium.  Ellington would perform his newest musical suite, "The Deep South," a piece in four movements before his two-night stand at Carnegie Hall scheduled for November 21 and 22.  Appearing with Ellington were vocalists Mariiono Cox, Kay Davis and Albert Hibbler.  A special feature of the concert was the appearance of famed French guitar virtuoso Django Reinhardt, who was scheduled to play at least four numbers, some without accompaniment, in the next-to-closing spot. This would be his only U.S. tour.  See a cool collage on Reinhardt on Robb Henry's blog.


Josh White, "The New Idol of New York's CAFE SOCIETY" and Successor to Hazel Scott there, came to the Lyceum Theater on November 16.  He was billed as "America's Greatest Singer of Folk-Songs, Blues and Ballads."  The show was presented by Al Sheehan.


Paul Robeson made one of his now regular appearances, at the Concert Bowl of the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 17.  "Comparable to the greatest singers and actors of any race or age," read the ad.  His concert was one of a series of four; one of the other artists was Jascha Heifetz. 


Joe Broadfoot and His Orchestra provided music for a Gardenia Party at the Elks Rest on November 17.  Gardenias were given away to the first 30 ladies in attendance.  Mercedes Brown was on hand, singing your favorite songs.


Spike Jones appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 23.


The Southernaires appeared in concert in the theater section of the St. Paul Municipal Auditorium on December 3, sponsored by the St. Paul Branch of the NAACP.  Proceeds were to be used to balance the budget and set up a fund to fight legal cases.  The group had been featured on the radio since 1929 with African chants, spirituals, slave songs, and Negro music, as well as the classics and ballads.  Members were:

  • Spencer Odom, accompanist and arranger
  • William Edmonson, basso
  • Jay Stone Toney, baritone
  • Lowell Peters, second tenor
  • Ray Yeates, lyric tenor.


Woody Herman's Orchestra came to the Minneapolis Auditorium on December 13.


The usual dances at the Elks Rest, including special dances on December 24 and 25, were now featuring Ira Pettiford and His Jesters of Rhythm, with a floor show with Kelly Stone, Ira Pettiford, and others.  Mercedes Brown was the vocalist.


Percy Hughes's Ex-Navy Band provided the music at the Christmas Dance at the Treasure Inn, December 25.





Songs featured in ads for the Melodee in the Minneapolis Spokesman in 1946 indicate that Rhythm & Blues was moving in quickly on Swing: 

  • Prisoner of Love, Billy Eckstine
  • Abernathy's Boogie, Marion  Abernathy
  • She's Gone With the Wind, Wynonie "Blues" Harris
  • A Hundred Years from Today, Cats 'N Jammers
  • Jazz at Philharmonic Album
  • Wise Woman Blues, Dinah Washington
  • Blue, Billy Eckstine
  • Evening, T. Bone Walker
  • Darktown Poker Club, Phil Harris
  • King Cole, Lester Young and Red Callender Trio - album
  • Spirituals by Coleman Bros., Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the Jubileers
  • Cecil Gant
  • Don't Explain, Billie Holliday
  • I've Got a Right to Cry, Erskine Hawkins
  • Oooo Walkie Talkie, Dinah Washington
  • It Ain't Gonna Be Like That, Three Blazes
  • Boogie Blues, Gene Krupa
  • I've Got to Pass Your House, Billy Eckstine
  • Roll 'Em Katy, Jay McShann
  • Rich Man Blues, Dinah Washington
  • Merle's Mood, Illinois Jacquet
  • R.M. Blues, Roy Milton
  • Ave Maria, Marian Anderson
  • After Hours, Erskine Hawkins
  • One Day the Lord Will Call, Southern Suns Quartette
  • Look Out, Metronome All Stars
  • Tippin' In, Erskine Hawkins
  • Claire De Lune, Jose Iturbi
  • They All Say I'm the Biggest Fool, Buddy Johnson
  • Let the Good Times Roll, Louis Jordan
  • Jelly - Jelly, Billy Eckstine
  • Don't Take Your Love From Me, Luis Russell
  • Christmas Song, King Cole Trio
  • Postman Blues, Dinah Washington

The 1946 candidates in What Was the First Rock 'n' Roll Record? by Jim Dawson and Steve Propes are: 

  • "House of Blue Lights" by Freddie Slack and His Orchestra with Ella Mae Morse (I like the version by Chuck Miller)
  • "That's All Right" by Big Boy Crudup
  • "Open the Door, Richard" by Jack McVea and His All Stars



Record store in St. Louis Park, 1946.  Location is now the Highway 100/Excelsior Blvd. overpass.


The Ravens were a New York based R&B vocal group that included Leonard Puzey, whose career began when he won an amateur talent contest at the Apollo Theater in 1946. The group was most famous for their song “Old Man River,” and recorded several classic songs until they broke up in 1955. Puzey joined other groups, but eventually found himself stranded in St. Paul. Incredibly, he decided he liked Minnesota and started driving a bus for Talmud Torah. He and fellow Raven Maithe Marshall lived at Menorah Plaza (Marshall died in 1989). The Ravens were inducted into the R&B Hall of Fame in 1991. Leonard Puzey passed away on October 2, 2007 at the age of 83.  There are some really good web sites on the Ravens:  jazzwax.com, Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebooks, and many performances on youtube. 







Percy Hughes and the X-Navy Band performed at the Treasure Inn in St. Paul on January 11, 1947, with vocals by his (soon-to-be or already?) wife Judy Perkins.


The Elks Antler Guard gave a big dance at the Eagles Hall, now being called the Labor Temple, on February 17, with Joe Broadfoot and His Orchestra providing the music.


Tim Bender sponsored a cabaret dance at the CIO Hall on March that would feature an all-star orchestra of the best Negro and white bandsmen in the Northwest, reported the Spokesman.  They would include Dell Otis, Dave Goodloe, Bobby Green, and Irving Williams.


Nat "Lotsa Papa" Towles and His Orchestra came to the CIO Hall on March 23 in a concert sponsored by the Knights.  Towles had appeared with Louis Jordan at Chicago's Regal Theater and had rocked the Apollo in New York City.  In the lower ballroom of the Hall, a cabaret dance was held with the "ever popular" Prince Rogers' Combo with the romantic voice of Dick Mayes and the Merry Jesters, America's newest Pied Pipers.  This was apparently a traveling road show called "Cavalcade," and included Omar "Satchmo" Williams, 17-year-old Canadian pianist. 


Lloyd Kirk, lyric baritone and singer of "Sacred Spirituals, Classic, Folk Songs" appeared at Benton hall, YWCA on March 27.  He was described as a radio, recording, and concert artist.


The Twin Cities Amusement Club succeeded in bringing Lionel Hampton and His World Famous Orchestra to the Minneapolis Auditorium on April 23, 1947


Bands employed in July at the Treasure Inn included:

  • Prince Rogers Combo
  • Dave Faison Band
  • Percy Hughes and His Orchestra

"LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL" Says Tiger Jackie Reynolds, Boxer Turned Promoter.  Rock and Swing with the Percy Hughes Orchestra, featuring lovely Judy Perkiinds, Vocalist.  Stem hall, St. Paul Auditorium, July 19.  A featured attraction was a dancing contest between Minneapolis Bronzeville and St. Paul Bronzeville.  Sponsored by Jackie Reynolds Rosenbloom.


A Battle of the Bands ensued at the CIO Hall on July 26 between Bobby Williams' Orchestra of Minneapolis and Teddy Massey's Orchestra of St. Paul.  Presented by the Apollo Club.


A Coronation Ball, crowning the Queen of the Fezzah Temple, was held on August 8, 1947 at Norway Hall.  Music was provided by Percy Hughes and his Orchestra.


A dance was held at the Eagle's Hall (now the Labor Temple) on August 31, with music by Bruce Dybvig and his Orchestra and the Prince Rogers Combo.


A Labor Day Dance was held at the Elks Rest on September 1, with music by Ira Pettiford and the Jesters.


On October 23, 1947, St. Louis Park teens attended an Edina Teen Canteen at 50th and Wooddale, where there was something called a Disk Jockey Joggle featuring Don Leary, emcee.  Apparently kids competed to be disk jockeys, with the grand prize winner to appear on Don Leary's radio show. 


A dance at the Labor Temple on October 31 featured Bassie Givens and a 9 piece orchestra.


Also on October 31, the St. Thomas Men's Club held their first annual Masquerade Ball at Norway Hall.


Marian Anderson performed with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on October 31 and November 1.


A Battle of the Bands was sponsored by the Leader Club at Stem Hall (the old St. Paul Auditorium) between Percy Hughes' Ex-Navy Band and the New Merry Men on November 10.


The Labor Temple was the site of the Elks' Big Battle of Music on November 24, with the Percy Hughes Band battling it out with the New Prince Rogers Orchestra. 


The King David Lodge #2 Masons held a Thanksgiving Ball at Norway Hall on November 27.  Music was provided by Ira Pettiford and the Jesters of Rhythm.


The Mayor of Bronzeville Fifth Annual Ball was held on November 27, 1947, at the Labor Temple.   The show, sponsored by the Associated Negro Credit Union, was broadcast on WCCO, and Cedric Adams did the honors of inducting James W. Slemmons as Mayor.  Music was provided by David Falson and His Gents of Swing, featuring Dickie Mayes. This would be the last in Minneapolis. After several years without a competition, the Credit Union issued a formal statement bringing it to an end in 1954.


Yet another event on November 27 was a Thanksgiving dance at the CIO Hall with the Percy Hughes Band and his singer/wife Judy Perkins.


A Gigantic Stage Show featuring local talent was staged at the Minneapolis YWCA on December 16.  Cedric Adams was the emcee, and the program also included a movie and music by Percy Hughes and His Orchestra.




Songs advertised in the Spokesman by the Melodee Record Shop in 1947 include:

  • Time to Change Your Town, Wynonie Harris
  • I'm the Drummer Man, Jesse Price
  • Bless You, Ink Spots
  • When a Woman Loves Her Juice, Eddie Vinson
  • Jazz at the Philharmonic Volume 4 - album
  • Solitude, Billie Holiday
  • I'm Yours, Luis Russell
  • Hawk's Boogie, Erskine Hawkins
  • I Like 'Em Fat Like That, Louis Jordan
  • Old Maid's Boogie, Eddie Vinson
  • S.M. Blues, Lester Young
  • Come Out of the Rain, King Cole Trio
  • Don Byas - Saxophone improvisations - album


St. Louis Park High School held its Lumberjack Days Dance, with "Taxi Calloway's All-Negro Band" appearing in blackface.


Duke Ellington appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on January 21, 1948.


A concert and dance featuring Ella Fitzgerald and Illinois Jacquet was held at the Minneapolis Armory on February 1.  Bob Smith was apparently the promoter, and Leigh Kamman of WLOL was the emcee.


The WCCO program "Neither Free Nor Equal" won an award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews.


Arty "Fritz" Watkins and the Northern Lights with Mercedes Brown, vocalist, played a dance at the CIO Hall on February 27.


In April the "We Call it Jazz" radio program was broadcast from the Treasure Inn, which announced that no set-ups or beer would be served during the program.


The Phyllis Wheatley House was the site of the "Jim Jam Jump" dance given by the Cordileon Society, music by the Prince Rogers Combo. 


Excelsior Park held its annual Suburban High School Pre-Opening Dance on April 16, featuring Bud Strawn and His Orchestra. 


Kenneth Stuart:  "In 1948, I believe it was, I went to the Flame in St. Paul to worship at the stage/altar where Anita O’Day was performing. It was great being at a table in the front and seeing her up close. I was fairly young then and wasn’t yet sure what music I liked best but I wasn’t interested in be-bop. It was music none of us understood and as we went to various venues around we were amazed at, what seemed to us, freneticism in movement, of fingering, of drummers and horn players not seeming to be in accord with each other. We were snobs but didn’t know it. Dixieland was more acceptable than what they were playing. The Duke, Count, Earl, Woody, Artie, Tommy, Jimmy. These artists were where it was at and I’m sure that our reticence to accept the bebop cacophony was the reason it took so long for it to be, at least, partially accepted. Not only in the Cities but elsewhere as well."


KSTP-TV was the first television station in Minnesota, signing on the air April 27, 1948, from the Prom Ballroom.  Some local musicians that took part in the first telecast were Johnny Bravus (sic), tenor; Jack Donovan, trombone; Dougie Peterson, bass; Sid Osterlund, drums; and Wally Morgan, piano. The effort was masterminded by John (?) Wolf, a local radio DJ. Kenneth Stuart says he wasn’t there but roomed with Jack Donovan who said it was a “trip.”


April 27 was also the television premiere of the Sunset Valley Barn Dance with David Stone. The Barn Dance had been on KSTP AM radio since the fall of 1940. It became one of the most popular shows on radio and television for years to come. 

Songbook below is from 1954.




In April 1948 Radio City Theater hosted Stan Kenton and His Orchestra, June Christy, and the King Cole Trio.  Also on the bill was the Wallace Beery film "Alias a Gentleman."  While in town Nat King Cole was refused admittance to the Carnival Club, where he had been invited to a party.  The club issued an apology.


Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic's fifth national tour came to the Minneapolis Auditorium's Concert Bowl on May 2, 1948.  The show featured Sarah Vaughan and Charlie Parker, backed by Flip Phillips, Dexter Gordon, Red Rodney, Duke Jordon, Tommy Potter, Barney Kessel, and Stan Levy.  Granz put together the first show in 1944 as a benefit for 21 Mexican youths convicted in the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943. 


On May 8 Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium for a jam session.  The next night the two appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on a bill with Earl "Fatha" Hines, Arville Shaw, Big Sid Catlatt, Barney Bigard, and Velma Middleton.  The show was promoted by Bob Smith and KSTP's Don Hawkins was the emcee.



On May 18 the Doc Evans Dixie Five, Lonnie Johnson, and Jimmy Yancey played the blues at the Minneapolis Labor Temple.  Ads above and below from Robb Henry's Blog. 



On May 31 the Duke and Dutchess Club hosted a matinee dance at the Treasure Inn with music by Hensley Hills' Band.


The Elks held a pre-convention dance at the Labor Temple in May, with music by Arty "Fritz" Watkins and His Northern Lights Orchestra.


A Mardi Gras benefit dance was held at the Phyllis Wheatley House on June 18, sponsored by Musicians' Local #73.  Music was provided by Stanley Berry and His Barons, and Lillian Goodhue directed the stage show.

WDGY made remote broadcasts from Don Leary's Record and Radio Store, 56 E. Hennepin (on Nicollet Island) in 1948.  Bill Curtis (not Bill Kurtis of A&E) hosted "Don Leary's Open House," and an aircheck shows that they played a polka, country song, and jazz, and gave away an Ethel Waters record.  The following photos (courtesy of the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting) show two of those appearances, although the years are unknown.



Frankie Laine and Bill Curtis                                                           Bill Curtis and Frankie Carle





WDGY also had a "Sepia Serenade" program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:15-6:45 pm featuring "Negro recording stars."


From the July 28, 1948, Southwest Shopper:

Record Buyers Test Choices Over Phone at Edina Shop


Ever try picking your phonograph records over the telephone instead of from the listening booth of the store?  Well, you can at the Edina Record and Television shop, 3833 W. 50th St., by Dialing WH. 0503.  Jean Wagner, owner, got the novel idea because many people call wanting to choose music for themselves or as a gift and are not sure just what they want.  They may know some of the words, the tune, or type type of music, but the rest is left to the dealer's imagination.


"We try to hum (and we can't carry a tune), recite words to songs, guess, and have even gone so far as to turn up the volume in a nearby booth and hope our party will hear it,"  says Mrs. Wagner.


"One day we decided 'Enough of this, play it through the telephone attachment and let them get a good listen.'


"We hope this will be a service to our Edina and Southwest Minneapolis residents, not an afternoon's amusement.  It's for the use of mothers wanting to listen to children's music because they can't leave the house, or a git for some relative or friend overlooked until the last minute, or for folks planning a party and forgetting until the last that they were the dancing kind of guests."


"In 1948, I believe it was, I went to the Flame in St. Paul to worship at the stage/altar where Anita O’Day was performing. It was great being at a table in the front and seeing her up close. I was fairly young then and wasn’t yet sure what music I liked best but I wasn’t interested in be-bop. It was music none of us understood and as we went to various venues around we were amazed at, what seemed to us, freneticism in movement, of fingering, of drummers and horn players not seeming to be in accord with each other. We were snobs but didn’t know it. Dixieland was more acceptable than what they were playing. The Duke, Count, Earl, Woody, Artie, Tommy, Jimmy. These artists were where it was at and I’m sure that our reticence to accept the bebop cacophony was the reason it took so long for it to be, at least, partially accepted. Not only in the Cities but elsewhere as well. "  (submitted by someone who hasn't yet given me permission to post his name)


A Labor Day Cabaret Ball was held at Norway Hall on September 8, 1948, featuring Chet Christopher and the Northwest's Leading BeBop Artists, which appear to have been from out of town.


A Thanksgiving Eve Ball at the Labor Temple on  October 24 featured Lottsa Poppa! (Nat Towles) and his orchestra.


A Halloween Dance at Stem Hall featured the Chester Harris Orchestra, "the sweetest music band in the Twin Cities."

The KSTP Barn Dance was broadcast from the St. Louis Park High School auditorium on December 17.  The event was sponsored by the Mohawks, which were similar to the Boy Scouts, as a fundraiser to build a cabin.


David LaVay was a dance teacher headquartered at the Dychman Hotel, teaching ballroom, tap, ballet, and stage routines.


The 1948 candidates in What Was the First Rock 'n' Roll Record? by Jim Dawson and Steve Propes are: 

  • "Tomorrow Night" by Lonnie Johnson
  • "Good Rockin' Tonight" by Wynonie Harris and His All Stars
  • "We're Gonna Rock, We're Gonna Roll" by Wild Bill Moore
  • "It's Too Soon to Know" by the Orioles
  • "Boogie Chillun" by John Lee Hooker
  • "Guitar Boogie" by Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks



St. Louis Park Echo, February 23, 1949.  Don Doty was a disk jockey, station at the time unknown.

The annual Excelsior Park Pre-Season Suburban High School Dance was held on April 16 with Bud Strawn's (new) Orchestra.


A pre-Fourth of July dance on July 2, 1949,  at the Labor Temple featured Nat "Lottsa Poppa" Towles and his new orchestra and entertainers.


Percy Hughes had spent the winter of 1948-49 as the house band at Snyder's Night Club in downtown Minneapolis and the summer of 1949 at Bar Harbor in northern Minnesota.  In September he returned to Minneapolis and played at the Labor Temple, again with singer/wife Judy Perkins.


Ira Pettiford was a regular on Fridays and Sundays at the Elks Rest, with Joe Broadfoot on Saturdays.


A Halloween Masquerade Jam Session took place at the Cassisus Bar and Cafe, with music by Maurice Talley's Harlem Bopcats.  


The 16th Annual New Year's Eve Cabaret Dance at Stem Hall featured Mel Carter's Great Band.


Frankie Carle gave this photo to Reed Hagen:




The 1949 candidates in What Was the First Rock 'n' Roll Record? by Jim Dawson and Steve Propes are: 

  • "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" by Stick McGhee and His Buddies
  • "Rock the Joint" by Jimmy Preston and His Prestonians
  • "Saturday Night Fish Fry" by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
  • "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" by Professor Longhair



On March 14 St. Louis Park High School janitor Carl J. Chrest won a television set on the national "Stop the Music" radio show.  He was able to identify the songs "Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo," "Chopsticks," and "Give My Regards to Broadway."


Marian Anderson appeared at Northrop Auditorium with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on March 17 and 19, 1950.


Spike Jones appeared at the Lyceum Theater on March 28, 1950.


The Minneapolis Socialite Club sponsored an Easter Sunday Dance at the Labor Temple, featuring the music of Percy Hughes.


A stage show starring Jack Benny, Rochester, Phil Harris, and Vivian Blaine took place at the St. Paul Auditorium Arena on May 19. 


A "Pre-Mom Day Dance" at the Labor Temple was sponsored by the Friendly 16 Club on May 14.  Music by Percy Hughes and His Rhythm Boys featuring Dick Mayes.


A June 3 show featuring Nat "Lottsa Poppa!" Towles Orchestra and Revue with the Edwards Sisters and Tiny Kennedy, King of the Blues Singers, took place at the Labor Temple.

Dizzy Gillespie, "America's Greatest New All-American Trumpet Star and his Entire Band," appeared at St. Paul's Flame on June 27, 1950.


The tenth annual Miss Minnesota contest was held at Excelsior Amusement Park on August 13, 1950.  Cedric Adams of WCCO was the emcee of the bathing suit competition, and Jack Thayer of WLOL was the emcee of the evening gown and talent competitions.  Music was provided by Bud Strawn's Orchestra, the park's house band.

A "Battle of Swing" was swung on September 3 at the Labor Temple from 3pm to 1am.  Percy Hughes and his orchestra battled it out against Bob Bass and his orchestra.


In the September 16, 1950, St. Louis Park Echo, there is an ad for John K. Sherman's "Toast-and-Jam Session - a New Saturday Breakfast Series" from 9 to 10 AM, Fountain Room, Fourth Floor, Maurice L. Rothschild Young-Quinlan Co., 9th and Nicollet Downtown.  It advertised "Celebrities!  Blues-Dixieland-Bebop! - Breakfast!  Hi-School Bigshots! - Surprises!  Sherman was the Music, Art, and Drama Critic for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  Aha!  A precursor to the famous Dayton's shows of the '60s?


The Phyllis Wheatley House hosted Percy Hughes and his orchestra with vocalist Dickie Mayes on September 22.


In October 1950, Echo reporter Joan Bye presented a record review called "Discs to Please Park."  On the list were songs featured in movies and "Dance Date" records arranged and presented by Xavier Cugat, Les Brown, Tony Pastor, and Hall McIntyre.  For jazz fans, Stan Kenton's "Innovations in Modern Music," "The Cuban Episode," and "Incident in Jazz" are recommended, and there are selections endorsed for Dixieland fans.  Park native David Lloyd was one of the performers to appear with the Minneapolis symphony orchestra that winter. 

Bandleader Horace Heidt hosted a 2 1/2 hour musical review from the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 22, 1950, that was broadcast nationally over CBS radio.


A pre-Halloween dance was held on October 30 at the Labor Temple featuring Dinah Washington and the Calvin Bose Orchestra.


Gopher Elks Lodge #105 sponsored their annual Big Cabaret Dance at the St. Paul Auditorium Veterans Hall on November 20.  Entertainment was by the Percy Hughes Orchestra with the "dynamic singer Dickie Mayes."


The Duke and Dutchess Club sponsored a Thanksgiving Matinee Dance at the Labor Temple on November 23, music by Percy Hughes. 


A Holiday Hop at Stem Hall on December 22 featured the music of the Percy Hughes Orchestra with vocalist Judy Perkins.

The Sheiks of Rhythm was St. Louis Park High's resident Swing Band.  Members were Jack Bassart, director, Bob Anderson, Bob Bechtold, Dewaine Osman, Norma Domian, Alan Lecklitner, Darleen Thorson, Bill Harrison, and Art Lunow.  The Toga Tri girls organized a Fish Dance, featuring Spike Lee's younger brother Pike Lee and his Fish Scalers...

The 1950 candidates in What Was the First Rock 'n' Roll Record? by Jim Dawson and Steve Propes are: 

  • "The Fat Man" by Fats Domino
  • "Rollin' and Tumblin" by Muddy Waters
  • "Birmingham Bounce" by Hardrock Gunter and the Pebbles
  • "I'm Movin' On" by Hank Snow and His Rainbow Ranch Boys
  • "Teardrops From My Eyes" by Ruth Brown with Budd Johnson's Orchestra
  • "Hot Rod Race" by Arkie Shibley and His Mountain Dew Boys


November 25, 1950, is the first time we see an event in the Spokesman advertised as promoted by the team of Rufus Webster and D.P. Black.  The occasion was a concert at the CIO Hall featuring Earl Bostic and his orchestra.  Webster and Black (and later just Black) would promote many, many shows over the next years, most of them taking place at the Labor Temple.  If anyone knows anything about these two promoters, please contact me.



*Shows at the Labor Temple are listed at the bottom of this 1951 section

Marian Anderson sang with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra at Northrop Auditorium on January 18, 1951, an Annual Pension Fund Benefit Concert.


Percy Hughes and His Orchestra, featuring vocalist Dickie Mayes, performed for a Cabaret Dance at the St. Paul Auditorium in April 1951, sponsored by the Dining Car Employees Union #576.


Hazel Scott, "star of motion pictures, concerts, radio," gave a piano concert at the Lyceum Theater on  April 15.


Excelsior Amusement Park had its annual Pre-Season Opening April 20-2.  Dancing (in heated ballroom) Friday and Saturday nights featured Steve Dunning and his Dance Stylists.  The April 10 St. Louis Park High Echo included an ad for the event, billed as the Annual Twin City and Suburban High School Jamboree:  "10,000 Students attended the Jamboree last year - Don't miss this annual event - All Students Going"


Charlie "Yard Bird" Parker appeared at the Flame in St. Paul on April 21, 1951.


Stan Getz came to the Flame in St. Paul on May 8. 


Webster and Black presented Lionel Hampton headlining a Cavalcade of Jazz with 30 artists and a 20 piece orchestra, on June 16 at the Minneapolis Auditorium.


On September 2 radio station KEYD presented The Blind Boys in Person at 9:15 am.  They also appeared at Graham Temple at 3pm. 


After the Edina-St. Louis Park Football game on September 21, 1951, students from both schools were invited to a Jam Session in the Edina gym with Don Leary's Band.

Teenagers were wearing Levi's jeans constantly, says the Echo.

Stan Kenton with June Christy appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium Concert Bowl on November 12 and the St. Paul Auditorium Theater on November 13.


A big jazz show came to the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 21, 1951.  Featured artists were:

  • Duke Ellington
  • Nat King Cole and His Trio
  • Sarah Vaughan
  • Timmie Rogers
  • Peg Leg Bates
  • Stump and Stumpy
  • Patterson and Jackson
  • Marie Bryant Dancers

Prince Rogers and his Combo performed at the Cassius Bar and Cafe on Friday and Saturday nights.


The Key Club, located at the South of the Border Bar, opened on December 19, 1951 at 1327-29 Washington Ave. So.  The first act was the Four Blazes.


In 1951 there were 1,744 musicians in the Minneapolis musicians' union.


The 1951 candidates in What Was the First Rock 'n' Roll Record? by Jim Dawson and Steve Propes are: 

  • "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston with His Delta Cats  (actually Ike Turner's band)
  • "Sixty Minute Man" by the Dominoes
  • "Cry" by Johnnie Ray




Shows with an * were promoted by Webster and Black.


Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson and His Orchestra, January 1    *

Illinois Jacquet and His Orchestra, January 27   *

Sonny "Long Gone" Thompson and His Orchestra, February 24   *

Lowell Fulson and His Orchestra featuring Ray Charles, March 9   *

Earl Bostic and His Orchestra featuring Dinah Washington, returning by popular demand, April 9


Cootie Williams and the Ravens, May 29.  "This is Double!  The Greatest Attraction of the Year!  This is a Sensation and You'll Enjoy It!!"


The "Biggest Battle of the Blues" was staged on July 8, featuring:   *

  • Wynonie Harris - Harris by that time had recorded "Good Rockin' Tonight," later covered by Elvis.
  • Annie Laurie
  • "Sticks" McGee - McGee's big hit was "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee." 
  • Eddie Durham and His Orchestra

Roy Milton, "Mr. Blues Himself," and His Orchestra, with dynamic vocalist Lillie Greenwood and Johnny Rogers, "the wizard of the guitar," August 11


Roy Brown and His Mighty, Mighty Men, September 1   *

Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, September 22   *

Percy Hughes and His Orchestra performed at a special NAACP Membership Dance on September 24

Ivory Joe Hunter and His Orchestra, October 20

Tom Archer (Wynonie Harris's sax man) and George Floyd (vocalist with Fletcher Henderson), November 25

Joe Thomas and His Orchestra, December 31.   *




Note:  Shows at the Labor Temple and the Prom Ballroom are listed at the end of this 1952 section.


Jack Benny's singing group the Sportsmen appeared at the Builders' Show at the Minneapolis Auditorium, February 16-24.


The U of M held its Black Book Dance on April 25 in the  Union's Main Ballroom with music by Dick Kast and his Orchestra.  In an ad in the Minnesota Daily, Men and/or Boys were invited to meet "Stenos, Models, Nurses, Receptionists and Coeds; - over 2500 girls attended last year's dance," it promised.  "Friday is Your Night to Make Out!"  Apparently this was an escapade of the Engineering school, which in the '50s was bereft of women.  At the dance Queen Colleen of the Engineers would be crowned, and the boys were exhorted to fix up dates for the engineers' crawl on May 10.  At some point in this silliness the engineers would present the opera "Il Cuspidore."   


Excelsior Amusement Park had its Pre-Season Opening starting on April 25.  Dancing (in heated ballroom) Friday and Saturday nights featured Les Williams and His Music From Paradise.  The April 22 St. Louis Park High Echo included an ad for the event, billed as the Annual Twin City and Suburban High School Jamboree:  "10,000 Students attended the Jamboree last year - Don't miss this annual event - All Students Going"


A show called the Piano Parade took place at the Lyceum Theater on April 26 and featured the Art Tatum Trio, the Erroll Garner Trio, Meade Luxe Lewis, and Pete Johnson.

The Biggest Show of 1952 was presented at the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 7, starring:

  • Frankie Laine
  • Patti Page
  • Billy May
  • Illinois Jacquet
  • The Choclateers
  • Jay Lawrence
  • Don Rice
  • The Clark Brothers


The Twin Cities Division of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters gave their annual dance at the CIO Hall on May 17.  Entertaining was the Irving Williams Orchestra.




On Monday night, May 20, 1952... well, let's let the Jean Worrall of the Minnesota Daily tell it:

Minnesota men staged a "panty raid" last night and were met with tear gas, police and cries of "chicken."


Minneapolis and campus policemen dealt out the tear gas and arrests.  And Comstock coeds furnished the cries of "chicken" as about 300 men - mostly from Pioneer and Centennial halls - milled outside the locked doors of Comstock.


The raid began about 8 p.m. when Pioneer and Centennial residents gathered outside their dormitories and began making their way toward Comstock.


Before the raid was over, they also had visited Sanford and Powell halls and Gamma Phi Beta, Alpha Phi and Chi Omega sorority houses.  Coeds retaliated by storming Pioneer and Centennial.  More than 1,000 students were involved or "just watching" by the time the raiding ended about midnight. 


First news of the raid began circulating yesterday afternoon.  By dinner time counselors in the women's dormitories had been instructed to go from door to door on each floor to warn coeds that "a lingerie raid was imminent" and that doors should be locked.  ...



Apparently this was the first of such panty raids on campus, following a trend that had erupted around the country.  The Administration was furious, bound and determined to punish the ringleaders, but with so many involved, it is doubtful that anyone was kicked out.  Except maybe for that guy above holding the goods.... 


U of M President J.L. Morill banned Paul Robeson from performing at the University, calling him an "embittered, Anti-American, Anti-democratic propagandist."  Robeson was not deterred, performing at the Union Men's Ballroom (could this be the CIO Hall?) on June 3, in a show sponsored by the Young Progressives of America, reported the Minnesota Daily.


George Shearing appeared at the Flame (oh oh, which one?) on June 6-12, 1952.

There was some excitement in July 1952, when Johnnie Ray, the “Prince of Wails,” came to town for a week at the Radio City Theater. It seems Ray, his opening comic Gary Morton, and a “couple of thirsty local well wishers” were drinking heavily in his room on the 17th floor of the Radisson Hotel. According to his biographer, Jonny Whiteside, “Johnnie was inspired to pay a call at the gift shop in their hotel’s lobby. Naturally, he was drawn to the kiddies’ toy section – alcohol not only stimulated, it also seemed to regress him to his childhood. He obtained the perfect summer fun accoutrement: roller skates and water pistols for everyone in the party.” They proceeded to roller skate through the lobby and into the restaurant. Minneapolis detective/house dick Ray Williamson brought them to the station when they “squared off” when being asked to pipe down. They were charged with disorderly conduct, but his road manager bailed him out and they were released after about an hour.


Excelsior Park hosted the 12th annual Miss Missesota-Universe Pageant, directed by Rudy Shogran.  Cedric Adams of WCCO radio was the emcee of the bathing suit competition, and Jack Thayer of WLOL emceed the evening gown and talent competitions.  Music was provided by Les Williams and His Orchestra.


Howard's Steak House on Olson Memorial Highway became Howard's Club Jazz in September 1952.  Performers included:

  • Eddie Williams Combo - sax man supreme
  • Stan Williams - percussion star on double drums
  • Mr. X, vocalist and pianist
  • B.B. King


The Key Club promised "They Key to Pleasure in Fullest Measure."  Acts in 1952 included:

  • Cozy Eggleston's Combo
  • Irv Williams' Combo
  • The Delta Boys, "America's Finest Sepia Combo"
  • Hank Hazlett
  • Little Donna Hightower, Decca's famous recording artist
  • Stomp  Gordon Combo, "King of Bop and Boogie - the Character who stomped his way to fame with his All Star Combo"

Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic came to the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 10, 1952.  Artists were:

  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Flip Phillips
  • Lester Young
  • Charlie Shavers
  • Hank Jones
  • Buddy Rich
  • Roy Edridge
  • Ray Brown
  • Barney Kessel
  • The Gene Krupa Trio
  • The Oscar Peterson Trio


Billy Eckstine, the George Shearing Quintet, and Count Basie and His Big Band appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 25, 1952.


Republican Vice Presidential candidate Richard Nixon made an appearance at the Minneapolis Armory on October 23, with a production that included a 40-piece brass band, Ukranian dancers, and folk singers. 


The U of M's Homecoming Dance featured the Four Aces on November 1.  There were also three orchestras.



The "Biggest Show of 1952" took place on November 9 at the Minneapolis Auditorium.  Acts included:

  • Nat King Cole
  • Stan Kenton
  • Sarah Vaughan
  • Stump & Stumpy
  • George Kirby
  • Teddy Hale
  • The Congaroos dance troupe


Photos of the WTCN DJs after the show, courtesy of the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting. 


Above:  ?, Stan Kenton, Sev Widman, Jack Thayer, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Delmont.


At right:  Delmont, Thayer, Nat King Cole, and Widman.   From Jim Nagro Collection.












Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five came to the St. Paul Auditorium on November 24.  It was his first Twin Cities appearance since - and then the ad is aggravatingly illegible! 


New Year's Eve at the Radisson Ballroom included entertainment by popular recording artists Ozzie Osburn and Zachary Dante. 


The papers and shows were full of "Bop" jokes, featuring "Hipsters."


The 1952 candidates in What Was the First Rock 'n' Roll Record? by Jim Dawson and Steve Propes" are:

  • "One Mint Julep" by the Clovers
  • "Rock the Joint" by Bill Haley and the Saddlemen
  • "Have Mercy Baby" by the Dominoes
  • "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" by Lloyd Price.  Lloyd Price has come out with a book declaring "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" the first rock 'n' roll song and himself as "The True King of the 50s." 



Jimmy Dorsey, February 16

Frankie Carle, March 21

Spike Jones and His City Slickers - New Musical Depreciation Revue of 1952 - April 5

Stan Kenton, April 25

Vaughan Monroe, star of the Camel Caravan, with Orchestra, Vocalists, Entertainers - The Most Talked About Band in America  - May 9

Blue Barron Orchestra, May 16

Ray Anthony, the Young Man with the Horn, May 23

Ralph Flanagan Orchestra, June 6

Les Brown, June 27

Don Cornell, July 19

Woody Herman, July 25

Ralph Marterie, August 2

Clyde McCoy and his Sugar Blues Orchestra, August 8 and 9

Fresh Approach of Billy May, August 15

Neal Hefti, Frances Wayne, and the Cavaliers, August 29-30

Ella Mae Morse appeared at the Prom on October 4, 1952.

Tony Pastor, King of the Saxophone, October 10

Pee Wee King, America's Number 1 Western Dance Band, appeared at the Prom on October 25/26, 1952.

Harry James, October 31 and November 1

Clyde McCoy and his Sugar Blues Orchestra, November 14

Billy May's Orchestra, November 28 and 29

Clyde McCoy and his Sugar Blues Orchestra, December 27



Shows with an * were promoted by Webster and Black.


The Spokesman's headline read "Vandals Wreak Havok at Minneapolis Labor Temple" on January 4, 1952.  Despite the presence of three police officers, plumbing and a radiator were torn from the wall in the men's lavatory while a New Year's Eve dance was going on.  "Police believe the vandalism was premeditated and might be the result of a grudge against promoters Webster and Black who have been bringing dance attractions to the hall for the past year."  A "gang of young toughs" broke a pane of glass in a door to get in without paying admission. 


Duke Ellington, January 23

Arnett Cobb and His Orchestra, March 14

Joe Liggins and the Honeydrippers, May 1

Preston Love and a Mammoth Floor Show with torch singers, dancers, comedians, May 17  *

Johnny Otis and His Orchestra, Pre-Decoration Day dance, May 29

Todd Rhodes and His Orchestra, June 14   *

Roy Milton and His Orchestra, with Lillie Greenwood and Johnny Rogers, July 19

Gene Ammons and His Orchestra, September 14  *

Jimmy Witherspoon and His Great Orchestra, October 18     *

Hal "Cornbread" Singer and His Orchestra, "America's Most Exciting Saxophone Star," October 4

Sonny Thompson and His Orchestra, November 1

Roy Milton and His Orchestra, November 10    *

Willis "Gator Tail" Jackson, November 22.  Ellis Attraction.  "Gator's Groove" - whatta tune!

Todd Rhodes and His Orchestra, featuring Little Miss "Sharecropper," who was pictured but not named, but we know her

     as LaVern Baker.  The show was on November 7.   *

Hal "Cornbread" Singer, December 27



*Shows at the Key Club, Prom, and Labor Temple are listed at the bottom of this 1953 section

Vaughn Monroe appeared at the U of M Convocation on January 8 at Northrop Auditorium. 


Kenn Harlan and the Fools For Fun played at dances at the Dug Out, 206 So. Third Street, on January 16.


Songstress Sunny Gale was the featured artist at the 1953 Sno Ball at the U of M, January 24. 


Baritone William Warfield appeared at Northrop Auditorium as part of the University Artists Concert Series on February 4.  Warfield sang "Old Man River" in the movie "Showboat" and was touring as Porgy in "Porgy and Bess."


Big issues discussed in the Minnesota Daily were whether it was wise to lower the voting age to 18, and whether the loon or the woodpecker should be the state bird. 


Spike Jones appeared at the Builder's Show at the Minneapolis Auditorium on March 14.


Les Paul and Mary Ford appeared at the Home Show in St. Paul on April 4.


The Just For Fun Club sponsored an Easter Matinee Dance on April 5 at Kruger's Haymow.  Oscar Frazier's Band provided the music, and a prize was awarded to the best dressed person.


The Greeks at the U of M gave a dance at the Calhoun Beach Hotel on April 10 as a benefit for Minneapolis cerebral palsy victims.  Music was provided in three ballrooms. 


The Minnesota Daily advertised white bucks - for girls!?  Only $6.95 at Campus Fashions.  For men it was "Look Smarter... Feel Smarter in ALL WHITE BUCKS - a real campus favorite.  $12.95.  Also with a new style with red foam-crepe sole.  And then there were "dirty bucks."  Pre-dirtied, I guess.  Another fashion must was Bermuda shorts, a "Leisure Leader."  The Daily notes that they have been a long time must on Eastern campus and have finally come to the Midwest this year, a compromise between pedal pushers and regulation shorts.  "Gone is the 'sloppy-Joe' look and here to stay is the trim, carefully groomed appearance for leisure hours."  Ah, the fifties. 


Buddy Morrow played at the Stardust Dance on April 18 at the U of M.


Eddy Howard played at Schlief's Little City on May 21 - a rare non-polka date?


Stan Kenton appeared with his 22 piece band at Excelsior Park Ball Room on May 27.


Ralph Flanagan appeared at the Excelsior Park Ball Room on July 17.


A big Aquatennial show took place on July 18, broadcast over WCCO Radio.  Performers included:

  • George Jessel
  • Victor Borge
  • The McGuire Sisters
  • LuAnn Simms

Frankie Carle, his piano and orchestra, performed at the Excelsior Park Ball Room on July 25.


Jan Garber - "The Idol of the Airlanes" [?] - appeared at the Excelsior Park Ball Room on August 7.


Sonny ("Long Gone") Thompson and his Orchestra featuring vocals of Lula Reed, August 7, 1953.  This is a Universal Attraction.  Place?


The Bamboo Room was apparently dark for the summer.  Fall acts included Oscar Frazier and His Four Notes.


Howard's Club Jazz also started to advertise in the fall:

  • Ira Pettiford and His All Stars
  • Rook Ganz, Frank Hines, and Perry Peoples

Felicia Sanders, the Voice of Moulin Rouge at the Radisson Hotel, appeared at a dance at the Union Ballroom at the U of M on October 8.


At the Flame on October 9 was Johnny Savage's jazz Quintet in the main room and the Dave Dudley Trio in the Cocktail Lounge.


Jazz at the Philharmonic came to the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 9, 1953.  Performers included:

  • Gene Krupa
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Oscar Peterson
  • Flip Phillips
  • Roy Eldridge
  • Benny Carter
  • Charlie Shavers
  • Bill Harris
  • Ben Webster
  • J.C. Heard
  • Ray Brown
  • Herb Ellis
  • Raymond Tunla

The 1953 Homecoming Dance at the U of M featured Freddy Martin and his Singing Sax in the main ballroom, Doc Evans in the main lounge, Bill Lawrence and Dick Finch in the Armory, and Dick Marrone in the Cafeteria.  All this on November 7.


Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium on November 25.


The Festival of Modern Jazz played two shows at the RKO Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis on December 1, 1953.  The Minnesota Daily reported that it was the first time a non-vaudeville presentation of modernists has gone on an extended national tour.  The lineup included:

  • Stan Getz
  • Dizzy Gillespie - also emcee
  • Erroll Garner
  • June Christy
  • Lee Konitz
  • Stan Kenton was absent but apparently his band was there


Drive-Ins were extremely popular in the early '50s.




Jill Corey was well-known for singing American pop standards during the 1950s. She sang with the Percy Faith Orchestra and was a regular on one of Johnny Carson's first television shows. In 1953 she was featured on the cover of Life Magazine and released her first single, "Minneapolis." It was written by Bob Hilliard and Minneapolis-native Sid Lippman.  To listen, click Here.   Nice find by Jesse Jamison!



The 1953 candidates in What Was the First Rock 'n' Roll Record? by Jim Dawson and Steve Propes are:

  • "Kaw-Liga" by Hank Williams and the Drifting Cowboys
  • "Hound Dog" by Big Mama Willie Mae Thornton with Kansas City Bill
  • "Honey Hush" by Big Joe Turner
  • "Money Honey" by the Clovers
  • "Gee" by the Crows

Bill Haley and His Comets' "Crazy Man Crazy" also came out in 1953, entering the Billboard Pop Chart in June.  It was featured in the "Glory in the Flower" episode of the TV series "Omnibus," which starred James Dean as an angry juvenile delinquent out on bail after being arrested on a marijuana charge. He's much more criminal-minded than the James Stark character he would later play in "Rebel Without a Cause." The owner of the cafe in which the teleplay is set throws him out for spiking Cokes with alcohol. The show begins with the jukebox playing "Crazy Man, Crazy," much like Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" would later kick off the film "Blackboard Jungle." James Dean is the first jitterbugger out on the dance floor.  (IMDB)





"Always something new at the Key Club, where we make things happen:"

  • Ever Modern Jazz Group, with members formerly with Woody Herman's Band.  "Hottest Jazz band in the country."
  • Five Young Moderns Jazz Group (the former with piano added)
  • Hank Hazlett Trio and four vocalists featuring Little Donna Hightower - "Man Alive it's Jump & Jive Music With Drive"
  • Scat Johnson Trio
  • Great Jimmy Binkley, Blue Note recording band
  • Bill Boone, the Man with the Horn





Blue Barron, Music of Yesterday and Today, January 16

Les Brown, February 21

Jan Garber, April 10

Eileen Barton, April 17

Henry Busse and His Famous "Hot Lips" Orchestra, May 18

Ray Anthony, April 20

Dick Jurgens, June 5

Bobby Wayne with Tommy Reed and Orchestra, June 12

Ralph Marterie and His Down Beat Orchestra - "The Man Born for the Horn" - June 26 and 27

Ralph Flanagan, July 10 and 11

Sauter-Finegan Orchestra - 25 musicians and singers, July 21

Frankie Carle, July 24 - piano and orchestra

Les Brown, August 21 and 22

Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, October 2 and 3

**Couples only admitted on Saturdays starting October 17**

Jimmy "Dancing Shoes" Palmer, October 23


Pee Wee Hunt (Dixieland), October 30

Freddy Martin, November 6

Woody Herman and His Third Herd, November 20-21

Ray Anthony and His Chesterfield Orchestra, November 27





Shows with a * were promoted by Webster and Black.  Those with ** were by D.P. Black only.

Jimmy Witherspoon, January 1   *

Jimmie Forrest ("Night Train"), February 1  *

Leo "Cool Leo" Parker and His Orchestra, March 7

The Just For Fun Club sponsored a Beaux Arts Costume Ball on March 22 with Veet Williams and the All Stars. 

Jimmie Forrest, March 26   **

Sonny Thompson ("Long Gone") and His Orchestra, March 28.  Ellis Attractions
The Little Esther Unit featuring Little Esther, H-Bomb Ferguson, and Tab Smith and His Orchestra, April 17   **

5 Royals ("Baby Don't Do It"), Arnett Cobb and His Orchestra, May 1   **

Johnny Hodges and His All Stars, May 15   **

Anna Mae Winburn and Her Sweethearts of Rhythm, May 24   **

Lowell Fulson, Lloyd Glenn and His Orchestra, May 30   **

James Moody and His Orchestra, June 19   **

Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five, July 1   **

Percy Mayfield and His Orchestra, July 3   **

The Clovers with Eddy Boyd's Orchestra, July 11    **

Todd Rhodes ("Trying") and His Orchestra - first time in Minneapolis since his Meteoric Rise in the Juke Box Field - Ellis Attractions

Roy Milton and His Orchestra featuring Camille Howard, August 2   **

Dinah Washington and Her All-American Trio, August 15   **

Earl Bostic and His Orchestra, September 5   **

Duke Ellington, September 18   **

Amos Milburn, September 19 - first appearance in the Twin Cities by request of many dance fans.  **

Johnny Otis and His Orchestra, featuring Marie Adams, October 3   **

Preston Love, "The Happy Boy with the Horn" and His Orchestra, October 25  **

Tiny Bradshaw, Rhythm "King" of Kings on Records and soloist Big Tiny Kennedy, November 27

5 Royals and Charlie Ferguson's "All-Girl" Orchestra, December 26   **




*Shows at the Key Club, Vic's and the Labor Temple are listed at the bottom of this 1954 section.


The Park High Echo had an ad for the Disc and Needle Record Store in its January 13, 1954 issue.  The ad gave the top 8 songs of the day:

  1. O Mein Papa by Eddie Calvert
  2. Marie by the Four Tunes
  3. Till Then by the Hilltoppers
  4. Changing Partners by Patti Page
  5. The Bunny Hop by Ray Anthony
  6. The Creep by Lee Roy and His Band
  7. Stranger in Paradise by the Four Aces
  8. Bell Bottom Boogie by Teresa Brewer

Apparently rock 'n' roll had not hit home quite yet.


Stan Kenton gave a concert (January 8) and a dance (January 9) at the Prom.


Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra performed at the St. Paul Auditorium on January 12, 1954 in conjunction with a "Parade of Youth."  8 acts - singing - dancing - musical show


Cassius's Bamboo Room featured Oscar Frazier.


Ray Anthony played for the Sno-Ball on January 22 at the U of M Union Ballroom.


The film "The Wild One" starring Marlon Brando as a motorcycle tough was released in February 1954.  The movie was based on a short story published in Harper's Magazine about a real-life incident where a motorcycle gang invaded a small town.  Not sure if it had any rock 'n' roll on the soundtrack, but it certainly embodied the spirit of youth and rebellion.


Percy Hughes and Oscar Frazier played at the "Tunic Twirl" for the U of M's Greek Week.  The dance was on February 22 at the Prom, and admission was free if you wore a tunic.  Toga!!


The Dave Brubeck Quartet, with Paul Desmond on alto sax, performed at the Lyceum Theater on April 11.


The Blue Barron Orchestra performed at the Prom on April 23.


Louis Armstrong provided the music for the Stardust Dance at the U of M on April 24.


Martin and Lewis and the All Star Hollywood Revue - catering to all age groups from crib to cribbage - came to the St. Paul Auditorium on May 15.


The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Twin Cities Division AFL Affiliate gave their annual dance at Stem Hall on May 21.  Percy Hughes and His Great Band entertained.  "The Ladies Auxiliary will crown the Twin Cities Queen during Intermission."


Harry James and Buddy Rich came to the Prom on June 4.


Lionel Hampton, His Orchestra and Revue, appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on August 1


In the fall, Bermuda shorts were all the rage for high school girls, accented with argyle socks.  Pink and black were popular colors.

On October 15 "Jazz at the Philharmonic" performed at the Minneapolis Auditorium.  The show had toured for 14 years, and included the Oscar Peterson Trio, Buddy Rich, Louis Bellson, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Park High had a sock hop sponsored by the Red Cross, with prizes for the gayest socks.  "Soc" hops went back as far as 1950.  Another novelty was the "Turnabout" dance, where the girls did the asking, driving, and paying.

For some reason they were teaching dancing in Demonstration Speeches class at Park High.  "The girls were quite cooperative, but teaching the mambo to boys is like teaching it to a herd of billy goats," remarked speech teacher Roger DeClerq. 


A big show at the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 5 featured Billy Eckstine, Peggy Lee, Pete Rugolo, and the Drifters.


Ebony Hall held its Grand Opening Dance on December 30, 1954, with music by Eddie Boyd and His Orchestra (Ellis Productions).  The next night, Prince Rogers and His House Rockers were the musical attraction.



  • Five Cats and a Kitten
  • "Peewee" Glover, sensational sax player
  • Earl Jackson and His Trio, D.P. Black, promoter
  • Four Gentlemen of Jest, D.P. Black, promoter
  • Oscar Frazier and the Four Notes
  • Erice Giere, Stanley Williams on drums, Ira Pettiford
  • Hank Hazlett
  • Wild Bill Boone

VIC'S COCKTAIL LOUNGE started advertising in the Spokesman in about April 1954 with acts such as:

  • Red Allen - King of the Trumpet and his Royal Court of Jazz
  • "Wild Bill" Boone and His Famous Quartet
  • Tommy "Madman" Jones and His Jazz Combo
  • Lester Young  "The Prez"
  • James Moody
  • Earl Bostic
  • Big Jay McNeely
  • Illinois Jacquet
  • Joe Houston and His Jazz Combo 
  • Bill Doggett

In late October or early November Vic's was destroyed by fire, leaving Big Jay McNeely's band stranded and without instruments.  Local black businessman A.B. Cassius headed a committee that held a benefit dance for McNeely on November 7 at the Labor Temple "so that they can get back to their homes and maybe a down payment on some new instruments.'" reported the Minneapolis Spokesman.  "Hear the Twin Cities' Finest Musicians."




Shows with an * were promoted by D. P. Black. 


The Clovers, January 22   *

Johnny Ace and His Orchestra featuring Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, Blues Singer Supreme, February 19

Roy Milton and His Solid Senders, featuring dynamic vocalist Lillie Greenwood and Johnny Rogers, the Wizard of the Guitar,

    February 26 (annual appearance)   *

The Orioles, March 4   *

"Blues Sensational" Lowell Fulson and His Orchestra - "The Big Hit in Swing Jazz in the Biggest Musical Entertainment of the Spring Season," March 19

Johnny Otis and His Orchestra featuring Marie Adams, March 26   *

Cootie Williams and His Orchestra featuring Eddie "Mr. Clean Head" Vinson, March 30 - "This is the Dance!"   *

Red Allen and His Orchestra, Easter Matinee Dance   *

Dinah Washington and Orchestra Matinee Dance, May 2   *

Ruth Brown, May 12   *

T-Bone Walker and Checker Campbell's Orchestra, May 23   *

Todd Rhodes and His Orchestra, May 28

Faye Adams with Joe Morris and His Orchestra, June 18   *

Amos Milburn and Choker Campbell's Orchestra, July 9   *

The Ravens, July 24   *

The Spiders and Memphis Slim's Orchestra, August 28   *

Eddie "Mr. Cleanhead" Vinson and the Cootie Williams Orchestra, September 3   *

The 5 Royals with Tab Smith's Orchestra, September 18   *

Jimmy Coe and His Orchestra, November 6   *

Roy Milton and His Orchestra featuring dynamic vocalist Lillie Greenwood and Johnny Rogers, Wizard of the Guitar,

     November 28   *


Many contenders for the first rock 'n' roll record in 1954, according to Dawson and Propes:

  • In July 1954 Elvis released his first record, "That's All Right"/"Blue Moon of Kentucky."  In September he released "Good Rockin' Tonight"/"I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine."  Unclear if anyone outside of the South heard these Sun releases.
  • "Sh-Boom" entered the Billboard Pop chart in August 1954.  The original version by the Chords, the cover version by the Crew Cuts, and the takeoff by Stan Freburg were all listed. 
  • ("We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets.  This song wouldn't hit the charts until it was used on the soundtrack of the film "Blackboard Jungle."  See 1955 below.  Haley's "Shake, Rattle and Roll" hit the Billboard Chart on August 21, 1954.  "Dim Dim the Lights" would hit the Pop chart in November and the R&B chart in January 1955.
  • "Riot in Cell Block #9" by the Robins (precursors to the Coasters)
  • "Earth Angel (Will You be Mine)" by the Penguins
  • "Tweedle Dee" by LaVern Baker and the Gliders
  • "Pledging My Love" by Johnny Ace
  • "I've Got a Woman" by Ray Charles



Unlike many large metropolitan areas, the Twin Cities did not have a large enough African-American community to support a black radio station until the mid 1960s.  But some stations began to take baby steps in airing these kinds of tunes, which, before the term rock 'n' roll was coined, was just called the Blues.  Possibilities are:

  • WLOL's "Swing Club" program with Bob Bradley. 
  • Late night request program hosted by "Uncle Merle" (Edwards) on WMIN.  David Hersk remembers that Edwards played plenty of rock 'n' roll in 1954-55.  "I remember recording "Rock Around the Clock" from a WMIN broadcast on my Wilcox Gay recorder. Merle announced me when I called in, and gave me five seconds of dead air to start my home recorder at 78 rpm." "Rock Around the Clock" was recorded in 1954 and became big news in 1955.   Below is not the best picture of Merle but that's him seated on the left.  Others in the photo are Hall Newell, Stuart A. Lindman and Norm Page.  Next to Merle are Meg Kingbay and Frank Siefert.  Photo dated October 30, 1953, donated by Lindman to the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting.


  • Dick Driscoll remembers working at WDGY during those early years and trying to sneak in some hipper tunes, but management was not pleased.
  • David Anthony Wacher says "the first station locally was WTCN with a one hour show playing rockabilly/R&B."
  • Available ratings books show that March 1955 was the advent of the "Mr. Rhythm" show on WCOW.  The show ran Monday-Friday from 6 or 6:30 pm until the daytime-only station went off the air when the sun went down.  During the summer of 1955 it was also on Saturdays, and for a couple of months at 7:30 pm on Sunday.  Sam Sherwood explains: 

    Joe Zingale called himself "Mr. Rhythm." Here was a country station, WCOW and Saturday Afternoon and Evening, along came Mr. Rhythm and played the real soul of Rhythm 'n Blues. You can't imagine how his popularity took off. When he was on the air, there were hundreds and hundreds of people around the radio station just hanging out and listening to the music. Joe then took it a step further and booked the St. Paul Auditorium for a Rhythm 'n Blues show with great locals such as Augie Garcia. Joe came from Cleveland Ohio and was a time salesman for WCOW and he just got this wild idea about playing that music. It was an overnight smash." 

    Joe urged the Tedescos to change the station's format to all R&B, and they considered it, but since they were only a 1,000 watt daytimer, they figured that a more powerful station would just steal the format and leave them hanging.  See more under WCOW in the radio station section below.



*Grand Ole Opry and shows at the Labor Temple and the Prom are listed at the bottom of this 1955 section.

Elvis released three records on the Sun label in 1955:

  • "You're a Heartbreaker"/"Milkcow Blues Boogie" (January)
  • "Baby Let's Play House"/"I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" (April)
  • "Mystery Train"/"I Forgot to Remember to Forget" (September)

None made the Billboard Pop charts, although the last two made the Country and Western charts.  Elvis signed with RCA Victor in November 1955.


Lewis Buggs and His Combo, featuring Prince Rogers at the piano for your dancing pleasure, appeared at the Ebony Ballroom in the Kistler Building, January 7-9


Tiny Bradshaw and His Orchestra appeared at the Ebony Ballroom in the Kistler Building,  January 28

Bud's Music Center, 820 Excelsior Blvd. in Hopkins, opened in February 1955. 

Don Leary's record shop in Miracle Mile published its 8 Top Hits in the March 28, 1955 issue of the Trib:

  • "Mr. Sandman" by the Chordettes, a legitimately original record
  • "Naughty Lady of Shady Lane" by Archie Bleyer, originally done by the Mills Brothers and then the Ames Brothers
  • "Dim the Lights" by the 4 Top Hatters, which was probably a cover of Bill Haley's "Dim Dim the Lights (I Want Some Atmosphere)," which was probably a cover by someone else.
  • "Sincerely" by the Chordettes, a cover of the McGuire Sisters, which was a cover of the Moonglows (see below)
  • "Melody of Love" by Archie Bleyer again.  The song hit the charts that year by five different artists, none of which were Mr. Bleyer.
  • "Let Me Go Lover" by someone named Mary Del.  The song was on the charts by four other singers, most notably Joan Weber who took it to #1.
  • "Make Yourself Comfortable" by another unknown, Maddy Russell.  Three others actually took this to the charts, most notably Sarah Vaughan. 

By the way, Archie Bleyer was the orchestra leader for Arthur Godfrey, who discovered the Chordettes, and they were both on Cadence Records.  Not sayin' Don Leary and Cadence had a thing going.  Not sayin'. 

Meanwhile, WDGY was starting to play covers.  In with Perry Como and Doris Day, scripts saved all these years by DJ John Evans include:

  • "Sincerely" by the McGuire Sisters (noted as No. 2 in the Twin Cities) in 1955.  Out on the East Coast, of course, they were playing the original version by the Moonglows.  The Sisters' version sold six times better. 
  • One rather funny cover was "Tweedle Dee," not by Lavern Baker or even Georgia Gibbs, but by someone named Vicky Young. 
  • The Fontane Sisters, who sang on the Perry Como Show, got hip with the song "Rock Love," which did not hit the radar when done the year before  by Lula Reed. 
  • June of '55 brought the "Popcorn Song," which is pretty good by Cliffie Stone ("Too Pooped to Pop"). 
  • But what's this:  the ultimate abomination:  "Bo Diddley" by the (are you ready?) the Harmonicats!  Oy. 
  • Les Paul did "Sleep," perhaps the one by Little Willie John, but he's Les Paul so that's okay. 
  • The Four Knights are doing "Glory of Love," which was best done by the Five Keys in 1951, but the song was written in 1936 so who's to gripe.
  • In July the McGuire Sisters were back with a song just called "Rhythm and Blues."  Somehow the word got out. 
  • Ray Anthony had one called "Juke Box Special."
  • Even Perry Como rocked with an actually great tune called "Tina Marie." 
  • A Sammy Cahn song called "Day by Day" by the Four Freshmen is not exactly even a cover, but a wonderful song and Brian Wilson's inspiration for the Beach Boys' harmony. 
  • Oh, here's another one:  "Drinking Wine Spoli Oli" by the Five Strings.  Presumably this is Sid King and the Five Strings, a rockabilly band.  Kind of a mild cover of  "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" by Stick McGhee and his Buddies. 
  • The year closes out with the Fontane Sisters back with "Seventeen," a pretty good song if done by Boyd Bennett and His Rockets, a rockabilly band. 



Anita O'Day appeared at the Flame Cafe on Nicollet on March 30, 1955.


An April Echo reported that Bermuda shorts were a big fad for guys.  The Trib posed the question "Why do men wear Bermuda shorts on campus?" in a May article.  A follow-up in a September Echo said that they were still popular for girls and guys. 


And speaking of Bermuda shorts, Augie Garcia's "Hi Yo Silver" is believed to be the first rock 'n' roll record made in Minnesota. Vic Tedesco says it sold 150,000 copies.  Click on the link to see much more about the "Godfather of Minnesota Rock."


A big Easter Cabaret Dance was held at Elks' Rest on April 10, featuring Howard Brown's Band.  It was a benefit for the Elks Drum and Bugle Corps.


Dick and Don Maw presented Woody Herman in his first concert in Minneapolis at the Lyceum Theater on April 11.  Also on the bill was Carmen MacRae.  Besides promoting jazz concerts, brothers Dick (sax) and Don (drums) also had their own 12 piece band.


The Lionel Hampton Orchestra and Revue appeared at the Kato Ballroom on April 13.



This seminal film came to Minneapolis's Gopher Theater on April 27, 1955.  It starred Glen Ford as a teacher at an all-male technical high school in New York City.  The story was a cautionary tale about juvenile delinquency - to the sound of a drum beat, a crawl read:

     We, in the United States, are fortunate to have a school system that is a tribute to our communities and to our faith in American youth.


     Today we are concerned with juvenile delinquency -- its causes -- and its effects.  We are especially concerned when this delinquency boils over into our schools.


     The scenes and incidents depicted here are fictional.


     However, we believe that public awareness is a first step toward a remedy for any problem.


     It is in this spirit and with this faith that BLACKBOARD JUNGLE was produced.

Then WHOMP, it goes right into "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets over the opening credits and beyond, showing some of the boys dancing to it on the playground.  This was the first time many people had heard anything resembling rock 'n' roll, and it was a sensation - many folks remember sitting through it again just to hear the song.  The movie stayed at the Gopher with an exclusive engagement for two months, then moving down to second and third run theaters.  By June 15 the Gopher estimated that 85,769 people had seen it. 


The song "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock" (just billed as "Rock Around the Clock" in the movie credits) hit the Billboard Pop Chart on May 14, 1955 and the R&B chart in June.  Haley had 9 songs on the Pop charts in 1954 and '55.  Jim Ramsburg guesses that only Merle Edwards would have played them on his overnight show in 1955.

Although the film supposedly led to violence in other cities, there is no evidence that anything related to the movie happened here.  There were two incidents of teen violence in St. Paul on April 27, but the St. Paul Pioneer Press attributed them to a long-running gang feud and a fight between two girls that attracted 300 onlookers.  Will Jones of the Trib spoke with Minneapolis Police Captain Clifford G. Bailey, who said that "for every kid in that schoolroom, I've known a counterpart in Minneapolis.  Fortunately, they haven't all been in the same room at once."


The last day of "Blackboard Jungle" at the Gopher was July 5th.  On the 6th there was a "Gala Re-Opening of our Beautiful New Theater," with the carpet, seats, concession stand, and bathrooms completely redone.  How they did that overnight I don't know.  The Grand Opening was broadcast over WTCN radio with appearances by DJs Don Doty, Sev Widman, Larry Fischer, and Jack Thayer. 


The movie started up in second run theaters in July and was shown in almost every theater in the Twin Cities eventually.  It finally disappeared from the screens in the fall.


MORE 1955


Eddy Arnold and the Jordanaires came to the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 8 and 9.


The 15th annual Excelsior Amusement Park Teenage Jamboree was held on May 13, 1955.  Entertainment was by Dick Kast's Orchestra.

Duke Ellington performed at Northrop Auditorium on May 20, 1955.  All proceeds went to build a student union on the St. Paul campus.


The Leon Lewis Combo had an extended engagement at Del's Orchid Club.


Count Basie appeared at the Flame in Minneapolis on June 7-9


Buddy Rich came to the Minneapolis Flame from  July 13-25


WCCO sponsored the Aquatennial Show on July 16 at the Minneapolis Auditorium, starring Bob Crosby, Jan Murray, Guy Mitchell, and the Modernaires.

Illinois Jacquet "Rhythm & Blues King" and His 7 Piece Band appeared at the Flame in Minneapolis on July 26.





On July 29, 1955, the RKO Orpheum offered a special midnight movie, one night only, called "Rock 'n' Roll Revue."  The star-studded lineup included:

  • Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra
  • Joe Turner
  • Nat "King" Cole
  • Dinah Washington
  • Duke Ellington and His Band
  • Larry Darnell
  • The Clovers
  • Ruth Brown
  • Delta Rhythm Boys
  • Nipsey Russell
  • Extra:  Willie Mays
  • Willie Bryant of the Apollo Theater, emcee


The Modern Jazz Quartet appeared in the Walker Art Center Courtyard on August 2, 1955.


The movie "The Wild One" must have been the inspiration for the song "Black Denim Trousers," written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller and sung by the Cheers, which hit the Billboard pop chart in September 1955.  (The Cheers included Bert Convy, later of game show fame).  WDGY played a version by someone named Jackie Brooks, and the song was also covered by Vaughn Monroe, of all people, that November.  That fall the Echo reported that biker gear was gaining popularity in the high schools.


Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic came to the Minneapolis Auditorium on September 30, 1955.  Appearing were:

  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • The Gene Krupa Quartet
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Buddy Rich
  • Oscar Peterson
  • Flip Phillips
  • Roy Eldridge
  • Illinois Jacquet
  • Eddie Shu
  • Lester Young

The Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Paul Desmond was brought to the Lyceum Theater on October 9 by Dick and Don Maw.


On October 17 the St. Paul Dispatch published the Best Selling Pop Records:

  • "Yellow Rose of Texas" by Satirist Stan Freberg.  Freberg was having fun with rock 'n' roll.  Back in 1952 he'd done a number on Johnnie Ray's "Cry," renamed "Try."  His "Yellow Rose of Texas," done in a "swing march," reached #16 on the charts.  He would go on to record his versions of "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Hound Dog," but found that pretty soon rock 'n' roll got so goofy that it was hard to make it much goofier.  Try satirizing "The Martian Hop."
  • "I Hear You Knock in'" by Gale Storm (original by Smiley Lewis, later done by Fats Domino)
  • "Moments to Remember" by the Four Lads

Mantovani and his "New Music" and 45 piece orchestra came to Northrop Auditorium on October 26.

A November 1955 list of favorite songs in the St. Louis Park Echo:

  • Autumn Leaves
  • Moments to Remember
  • Love is a Many-Splendored Thing
  • Love and Marriage
  • Black Denim Trousers
  • He
  • Yellow Rose of Texas
  • Someone You Love
  • Bonnie Lassie
  • 16 Tons

Still no real rock 'n' roll at dear old Park High.


There was still no full time rock 'n' roll radio station, but rock 'n' roll was in the air.  Take for example the Show of Shows! at the Grand Theater in November 1955 (Adults Only).  Plus... Home Town Girl featuring Brownskin Models, Peachy Pinups - a Rocking 'N Rolling Burlesque.


The film "Rebel Without a Cause" starring James Dean as a disaffected teen opened in Minneapolis at the RKO Orpheum Theater on November 23, 1955.  It moved to the RKO Pan on December 30, 1955 and continued in second run theaters well into 1956.  Perhaps a follow-up to this excellent film was the not-so-excellent "Teenage Crime Wave," which opened at the Lyric Theater on December 7.  Other great film names were "Lawless Street," "Running Wild" and "Juke Box Gangs."


James Moody and His Orchestra appeared at the Ebony Ballroom in the Kistler Building on December 30.


The 1955 candidates in What Was the First Rock 'n' Roll Record? by Jim Dawson and Steve Propes are: 

  • Chuck Berry's "Maybelline," which hit the Billboard Pop and Rhythm & Blues charts in August.  The flip side, "Wee Wee Hours," would make the R&B chart in September.  "Thirty Days" would hit the R&B chart in October. 
  • "Bo Diddley" by Bo Diddley
  • "Tutti Frutti" by Little Richard.



The Grand Ole Opry Show came to the St. Paul Theater on April 24, starring:

  • Carl Smith
  • Marty Robbins
  • Ferlin Husky
  • Simon Crum
  • Tommy Collins
  • The Toohey Sisters

The Grand Ole Opry was back again to the St. Paul Auditorium on June 19 with 20 great stars, including:

  • Roy Acuff
  • Kitty Wells
  • Johnny and Jack.


The Grand Ole Opry did a 3:00 show at the St. Paul Auditorium and an 8:00 show at the Minneapolis Auditorium on September 18, 1955.  Performers on this show were:

  • Slim Whitman
  • Marty Robbins
  • Justin Tubb
  • Porter Waggoner
  • Hank Locklin
  • Mac Wiseman
  • Homer and Jethro


The Grand Ole Opry came to town on October 21 at the Minneapolis Auditorium.  On the bill were:

  • Carl Smith
  • Ferlin Husky
  • Grampa Jones
  • Benny Martin
  • Simon Crum
  • Tommy Collins

The Grand Ole Opry came to the Minneapolis Auditorium yet again, on November 25, 1955.  On the bill were:

  • Ernest Tubb
  • The Wilburn Brothers
  • Sonny James
  • Mitchell Torok
  • Wanda Jackson
  • Arlie Duff
  • Ray Price
  • Texas Bill Strength

Again with the Grand Ole Opry!  This time on December 31, 1955, at the St. Paul Auditorium Theater.  On the bill were:

  • Faron Young
  • The Wilburn Brothers
  • Porter Waggoner
  • Jim Edwards and Maxine Brown
  • Bobby Lord
  • The Wagon Masters Trio
  • Texas Bill Strength
  • Johnnie Talley



Shows with a * were promoted by D. P. Black.   


Bullmoose Jackson, February 17   *

King Kolax and His Orchestra direct from the East Coast, March 25

Percy Mayfield and His Orchestra, April 1   *

B.B. "Blues Boy" King and His Orchestra, April 11

Sonny "Long Gone" Thompson plus Lulu Reed, April 30

Ruth Brown, Griffen Brothers, May 26   *

Choker Campbell and His Orchestra featuring Lowell Fulson and his Guitar, October 23

Tiny Bradshaw and His Orchestra featuring "Litttle" Tiny Kennedy, October 28   *

Gene Ammons and His Orchestra plus the Spaniels, November 26   *





The Prom was known for its Big Band orchestras but was getting into the teenage dance business.  Often it would have house band Jules Herman play on the same night as a more contemporary act.


Tex Beneke, March 23


Bill Haley's Comets, April 6 (teenage only), April 9 (general public).  This is significant because it was before "Blackboard Jungle" had hit Minneapolis, and there probably weren't many who knew who he was.  In fact, it was "Shake, Rattle and Roll" that was included in the ad, not "Rock Around the Clock."  Also on the bill was Henry Charles and his orchestra.


Four Lads, May 6

Webb Pierce with his Wondering Boys and Red Sovine, June 18

Ray Anthony and His Chesterfield Orchestra, July 29

Four Lads, November 5

Johnny Desmond, November 11

Pee Wee King, November 24

Eddy Howard, November 25

Les Elgart, December 4.  He also appeared at the Kato Ballroom on December 7.




*Grand Ole Opry and shows at the Key Club, Labor Temple and the Prom are listed at the bottom of this 1956 section.


The Goodfellows Club held a New Year's Dawn dance at 2 am on January 1 at Eaton's Ranch, featuring C.V. Williams and the House Rockers with Dickie Mayes and Maurice Tally.


The Four Freshmen performed on January 7, but where?

Phil Silvers and Patti Page were the entertainers at the Auto Show at the Minneapolis Auditorium, January 8-14.


In January, St. Louis Park student combo the Blue Flames entertained at the "Jump Ball" sponsored by Amica Tri.  Members were:

  • John Duck - clarinet
  • Alan Gelhar - cornet
  • Chuck Heinecke - tenor sax
  • John Lindahl - drums
  • Jim Elsness - piano

Danny Overbea and His Orchestra appeared at the Ebony Ballroom on January 20.


The WCCO Winter Carnival Show featured Rosemary Clooney, Steve Lawrence, and Johnny Carson.  It happened on January 28 at the St. Paul Auditorium.


The Modern Jazz Quartet,, Chris Connors, and Herbie Mann appeared at the Lyceum Theater on January 29, promoted by Dick and Don Maw. 


A Gala Shrine Frolic with Preston Love and His Orchestra ("The Happy Boy With the Horn"), appeared at the Marigold Ballroom on January 30.


Sonny "Long Gone" Thompson and his Orchestra appeared at the Ebony Ballroom on February 16.


Pre-Teen dances were held at the St. Louis Park Community Center on Lake Street every Friday.  A February 19, 1956, issue of the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune pictured Marge Primus and Kenneth Baker, both 10, trying out a new step.


Hot rods were spotted in the St. Louis Park High parking lot - Jay Sargent got 12 people in his 1936 Ford.


Before WDGY went to real rock 'n' roll, it still had some covers and pretenders to play:

  • What is "A Teen Age Prayer" by Robbin Hood (and then Kitty White)? 
  • "Rock and Roll Waltz" by Kay Starr - 'nuff said. 
  • "Dungaree Doll" by Eddie Fisher is actually pretty good. 
  • "Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford was popular with everyone. 
  • "Band of Gold" by Don Cherry crossed over, as did
  • "No, Not Much" by the Four Lads. 
  • "The Great Pretender" shows up by Jackie Riggs instead of the innocuous Platters - c'mon! 
  • Oh, and in February we first see Pat Boone, doing the El Dorados' "At My Front Door."  
  • And one of my all-time favorites, "Lipstick, Candy and Rubbersole Shoes" by Julius LaRosa.  Fabulous. 

And that's what they played on WDGY on February 5, 1956. 

Then on February 6, 1956, WDGY became Minnesota's first Top 40 rock 'n' roll radio station when it was purchased by Todd Storz. Former KSTP utility man Herb Oscar Anderson hit the ground running and WDGY caught on fast, going from a station with not much identity and a 4 share to a rock 'n' roll monster with a 20 share, second only to monolith WCCO.  For much more on the advent of rock 'n' roll radio in the Twin Cities, see the WDGY section in Rock 'n' Roll Radio Stations below. 


Top 40 was not entirely new, but new as a concept for an entire station's programming.  (An item from February 23, 1956, comments on the "Top 10 fad."  The number 40 was chosen because that's how many songs (with commercials) that could be played in three hours.  Jim Ramsburg remembers that the Number 1 song had to be played every hour, but the rest were up to the DJs.  He remembers being particularly sick of "The Wayward Wind."  An article from March 20 in Variety gives the down side:

As far as most of the stations is concerned, here's the rub:  They're confining themselves almost entirely, if not entirely, to disk jockey shows and the same leading pop tune recordings are played innumerable times during the course of 24 or fewer hours, let alone a week.


There just aren't enough new top pop recordings hitting the market, of course, to permit sufficient musical variety.  and station operators are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that their dialers won't be driven insane listening to the same tunes almost interminably.  They concede that "listeners probably are paying a high price for the possibility of getting money for nothing by having their lobar extremities assailed by the same song over and over."



To call attention to its new identity, on its first day as the new rock 'n' roll WDGY on February 6, 1956, the station kicked off a cash giveaway contest craze that would involve almost every other station and force hopeful listeners to buy lots of radios.  WTCN got wind of it and started their own contest on February 1.  KSTP joined the fray on March 7, with WCCO coming in on March 12.  WLOL had given away only two prizes by March 21. 

In May 1956 Will Jones of the Minneapolis Tribune had plenty of jokes about the contests.  Apparently Stuart A. Lindman of WTCN was running a contest where listeners sent HIM money (for charity).  At the same time, WCOW had changed its call letters to WISK, and disk jockeys were standing in the streets handing out bills.  At a broadcasters' convention the gag was that the listeners got paid more than the station executives. 

On June 7 WDGY hid a check for $105,000 somewhere within ten miles of the station.  The check was underwritten by an insurance company, and nobody at the station knew where the check was hidden.  The company would supply the jocks with hints to broadcast and listeners had ten days to find it. Todd Storz announced that the check would be not more than 15 feet above nor ore than five feet below ground.  "Searchers are warned against the use of - and will not need - explosives, demolition equipment, or power tools."  Things really got out of hand when people started planting phony checks and giving out false clues as to where to find them.  The station claimed that when a hint sent searchers to Hennepin and Lyndale at rush hour, 20 policemen were required to keep order, a statement the police department later disputed.  Herb Oscar Anderson remembers a guy with a mobbish accent who would call him at home and offer to "split it wich ya" if HOA gave him the location of the check, which was disconcerting to the DJ to say the least. Odds against find the check were estimated at 47 to one.  Nobody found the check in the appointed time, and a $500 consolation was awarded to one of the estimated 200,000 searchers. 

Other stations followed suit, with what Jim Ramsburg called "Forced Listening" contests that required listeners to remain glued to their radios for clues or catch phrases.  During the same ten days of WDGY's contest, WCCO's $250,000 Cashorama promotion gave away money if the station called a listener who knew a key phrase that had just been given out over the air.  Bob Montgomery became "Big Bill Cash" and his job was to call eager listeners.  An article in Variety commented that listeners were probably going crazy listening to the same records over and over again on these stations, waiting for their phone number or the magic phrase to come up. Only $37,000 of the possible jackpot was eventually given away. 

One strange consequence of the giveaways is that WDGY started running ads for WCCO.  WCCO's game was to broadcast phrases that listeners would have to repeat if they were called.  So WDGY started to broadcast WCCO's phrases so that listeners wouldn't have to move their dials from WDGY.  Well, WCCO got wise and made up phrases like "WCCO is tops," "3 million Northwesterns listen to WCCO," "I always listen to WCCO," "More people listen to WCCO than to all other Twin Cities' radio stations combined," and "WCCO, good neighbor to the Northwest."  WDGY had to give up that strategy.

KSTP's "Treasure Chest Tunes" game gave out telephone numbers for Treasure Chest calls and songs had to be identified.  KEYD offered a $100 government bond if you said "I like KEYD, my country-western station, 1440."

WTCN had several games going.  One announced a telephone number and gave the owner of that number five minutes to call the station and claim the prize.  A variation was when the station told listeners that somewhere between pages 20 and 528 in the Minneapolis phone book or between 20 and 400 in the St. Paul directory there was a mystery phone number.  Listeners would dial numbers at random and ask "Is this the WTCN 1280 secret phone number?"  Imagine how annoying that was.  Will Jones of the Trib laid out the station for that one.  WTCN also had a "money wagon" cruising the streets. 

WDGY also had a contest where people would put stickers on their cars; spotters would note the license plate number of a car with a sticker, it would be broadcast over the air, and the driver would have five minutes to call and claim the cash.  Apparently at the same time, WDGY had a house number game where people had one minute to call if their house number was broadcast. 

 KSTP's S.D. Hubbard called it quits in July, calling it "a cash give-away fracas that has gotten out of hand and become a circus" as quoted in Variety.

In July WLOL expanded its Lucky Phone Number contest, making 10 calls worth $1,000 each for 11 days.

The giveaway fad abruptly ended in August when the FCC frowned upon the practice in a letter to WDGY's Todd Storz, who was applying for another license.  WDGY ended the contests and the rest of the stations mostly followed suit.  WLOL was still doing its Lucky Phone Number and Lucky Car Call contests in December, as was WMIN with a "One In A Million" contest.


The film "Rock Around the Clock" premiered at the Gopher Theater in downtown Minneapolis on March 23, 1956, advertised as "The screen's first great rock 'n' roll feature!"  "Here's the jet-rhythm-and-romance story that you'll dig with delight!  The Rock 'n' Roll songs-and-dances that are rocking the nation!"  Alan Freed presented:

  • Bill Haley and His Comets
  • The Platters
  • Ernie Freeman Combo
  • Tony Martinez and His Band
  • Freddie Bell and His Bellboys

After months of searching, I found an article in the Minneapolis Star about the so-called riot that occurred in Minneapolis after a showing of "Rock Around the Clock."  Appropriately, it was in the Star (April 25, 1956), which hated rock 'n' roll and didn't even advertise the movie.  Turns out, the incident happened in Hopkins, a western suburb of Minneapolis.  I was so excited to finally find it that you'll have to indulge me if I reprint the entire article:

Teen-agers Rock 'n' Roll Into Trouble

Hopkins police were attempting to pin down blame for an outbreak of "rock 'n' roll" vandalism in the suburb.


Windows were broken in a greenhouse and the junior high school, fences were uprooted, doorbells run and garbage cans kicked over in an outbreak of teen-age violence following a movie.


The cause of it all, according to Hopkins police superintendent Howard Puck, was a "rock 'n' roll"  movie, "Rock Around the Clock," the weather (54 degrees) and, generally, spring.


The disturbance began in the Hopkins theater, Puck said, where the group of boys and girls, aged 16 to 18, were "carried way" (he meant "sent") by the violent rhythms of Bill Haley and His Comets.


They left the theater after the first show and started a "snake dance" under the bright lights of Hopkins' "White Way," Excelsior Avenue.


They walked five or six abreast down the sidewalks, clearing the way until police were called out.  Puck said the celebrators numbered around 30 or 40 at times ass they gathered reinforcements.


Police forced them to "break it up," and they dispersed into smaller groups.


Norman Gustafson, 14 Sixteenth Ave. No., florist, heard them coming down the alley near his greenhouse at Sixteenth and Excelsior, "raising the dickins" with garbage cans.


"They were singing a 'rock 'n' roll' song," said Gustafson today, "so they started rolling a few rocks at my greenhouses.  Around 20 windows were broken."


Singing the rocking music, some of the teen-agers made for the junior high school, also on Excelsior Avenue, "rolled" more rocks at windows in the building and uprooted fences on the school grounds.


Puck said some of the celebrators were apprehended, placed on individual reports and their parents were notified.


"We're working on it yet," the suburban chief said, "talking to eight or 10 of those who took part.  It's difficult to find out who actually caused the property damage, however."


Puck said the city's teen-agers have no place to eat, get a Coke, or congregate for all nights.  Youth activities are scheduled several nights a week, he said, but there is no place for kids to gather on other evenings.


"I've been talking to civic groups," he said, "telling them about the problem.  The main problem is kids coming in from other suburban areas because of our central location."

"Other suburban areas" meaning St. Louis Park, my hometown, no doubt!  The incident made national news when, on June 18, 1956, Time Magazine reported that "In Minneapolis a theater manager withdrew a film featuring the music after a gang of youngsters left the theater, snake-danced around town and smashed windows."  The film was gone from the area by the end of May.  I did ask WDGY DJs Bill Diehl and Bill Armstrong if they remembered anything about this incident, and they didn't at all.



The Minneapolis Star, which hated rock 'n' roll, quoted Dr. Francis J. Braceland of the "Institute of Living" in Hartford, Connecticut as saying that it was a "cannibalistic and tribalistic" form of music.  Now that wasn't racist, was it?


Del's Orchid Club featured Joe Williams and Hank Hazlett.


The Builders Show took place at the Minneapolis Auditorium on March 10-18, 1956.   Entertainment was provided by the folks of the WLS Barn Dance, including Homer and Jethro.


Rock 'n' roll had taken over the culture in early 1956.  An Oldsmobile ad says "Make a Date with the Newest Rocket 8!  Come in an Rocket 'Round the Block! (or 'round the town if you like!).  Meanwhile, a Dayton's ad starts, "Here's the style, Crocodile!  Snappy Rock 'n' Roll sport shirt.  You'll be in fashion's swing (or any other tempo!) with a new Rock 'n' Roll shirt... Striped denim hats with wire brims that twist into any shape... Ivy League chino pants with the new trim look, strap in back [back buckle]."


Dick and Don Maw organized the Second Annual State Basketball Tournament Dance at the Minneapolis Armory, March 23 and 24.  Entertainment was the Maws' own 12 piece band with vocalist Geordie Hormel, Zephyr Records recording star (and according to this web site, its president).  In attendance were disk jockeys:

  • Al Paulson, WTCN
  • Don Kelly, WMIN
  • Dan Anderson, WLOL
  • Don Doty, WTCN

Here's the Star again, reporting a disturbance in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where kids actually danced in the aisles at a show where records and a movie were played.  Police were able to restore order, thankfully, and make those darn kids sit down.  This was on the front page, August 6, 1956. 


Vol. 1, No. 1 of dee jay Magazine came out in April 1956.  Right off the bat, there is an editorial about how records should be kept to 2:20 or less.  Reasons are vague:  "If variety is the spice of life it is also the lifeblood of radio and television.  Records with a running time of three minutes or more do not contribute to the best in effective programming.  Although the length of time may be no criterion as to whether it will reach hit status, we think that 2:30 is the limit to which the disk jockey should be reasonably expected to publicize a records."  The recommendation was that records to be played on the radio and jukeboxes should be subject to an industry-wide standard - records for "consumer" use could be whatever the "diskery" chose.  Read into that what you will.  Disk Jockeys will tell you how grateful they are when Marty Robbins released the four+ minute "El Paso" so they could go to the bathroom.

dee jay Magazine also gave record recommendations, in the categories of:

  • Popular - Georgia Gibbs singing "rock 'n roll," Patti Page bowing to the r&b trend, and all the other usual suspects except maybe "Rock Island Line" by Lonnie Donnegan and "Long Tall Sally" by Pat Boone
  • Rhythm and Blues - Lavern Baker, the Robins, Ray Charles, The Platters, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Coasters, Little Walter, B.B. King
  • Country and Western  - Elvis is on this chart, along with early Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins, Webb Pierce, Carl Smith, Marty Robbins and Kitty Wells
  • Jazz.  This one's funny.  A Hollywood DJ advises "If you don't know music, stick to the top ten."  "If you're just starting a jazz show, don't make the common mistake of going 'Way Out' with the wild stuff.  This is often caused by over enthusiasm and the desire to please your listeners....Balance your show with good commercial sides by Sinatra, the Hi-Los's, Carmen McRae, etc.  Don't play anything you don't understand, and most important, I think, is some actual knowledge of music.  If you don't have it, stick with the 'Top Ten' and don't try to play jazz."


Peggy Lee did two shows daily at the Industry on Parade Show at the Minneapolis Auditorium on April 11-15.


Chuck Berry and his orchestra appeared at Norway Hall on April 13, promoted by D.P. Black.


Excelsior Amusement Park held its annual Teenage Jamboree on May 11, 1956.  Entertainment was by Chuck Eddy's Orchestra.


On May 13, 1956,  Elvis performed two shows in the Cities. The ad promised singers, dancers, and comedians as well.   Bill Diehl reports that the 2:00 show at the St. Paul Auditorium drew only 800 fans, and the 8:00 show at the Minneapolis Auditorium drew a paltry 1,300. Mothers Day and tornado warnings kept the crowds away, and local booking agent T.B. Skarning lost his shirt. Elvis gashed his head with a broken guitar string at the St. Paul show, and Colonel Parker yanked opening act Augie Garcia early, afraid he was stealing the show.   For much more, including photos, see Elvis in the Twin Cities.


Count Basie also appeared on May 13, at the Minneapolis Armory, a Dick and Don Maw production.  Basie's 17 piece band featured Joe "Every Day" Williams, Downbeat's #1 Blues vocalist.  Also appearing was "Zephyr Records' exciting new modern jazz group" the Bob David Quartet.



The May 16 St. Louis Park Echo proclaimed "Elvis Presley Hits Top."  "With spring's arrival, new record releases appeal to the 'be-bop glasses and blue suede shoes' set."  "New records will please the lover of ballads or blues, vocal harmony or instrumentals."   Favorite songs listed were:

  • "Strange Love" by the Native Boys (with a South African influence) (an obscure but nice choice)
  • "Mr. Wonderful" by Teddi King
  • "Joey Joey Joey" by Billy Eckstine
  • "Roving Gambler" by Tennessee Ernie Ford
  • "Rock Island Line" by Lonnie Donnegan
  • "Standing on the Corner" by the Four Lads - enthusiastically nominated for the theme of Steve Cannon's Girl-Watchers' Club.

Easy listening/instrumental favorites were "Midnight Blues" by Nelson Riddle and "Port au Prince."

Another, slightly hipper list came out of Burk's Music Shops, 6th and Wabasha and 7th and Robert in St. Paul:

  • I Want You, I Need You, I Love You by Elvis
  • The Wayward Wind by Gogi Grant
  • Moonglow and Theme from "Picnic" by Morris Stoloff, George Cates, and the McGuire Sisters (it was common for several artists to record a popular song and fight it out on the charts)
  • My Prayer by the Platters and the Ink Spots
  • I Almost Lost My Mind by Pat Boone
  • I'm In Love Again by Fats Domino and the Fontane Sisters
  • Be-Bop-A-Lula by Gene Vincent
  • Whatever Will Be, Will Be by Doris Day
  • Standing on the Corner by the Four Lads, Dean Martin, the Mills Brothers
  • Glendora by Perry Como
  • On the Street Where you Live by Vic Damone, Eddie Fisher, Francis Wayne, and Lawrence Welk
  • Allegheny Moon by Patti Page and Billy Regis
  • More by Perry Como (flip of Glendora)
  • Transfusion by Nervous Norvus

Yogi Yorgesson, nee Harry Stewart, was killed in a car crash in May 1956.  He made records such as "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas" in a Minnesota-Swedish dialect, but according to Will Jones in 1950, it didn't go over too well here in Minnesota, where he was not from and spent very little time.  One of his songs was "My Little Old Shack in Minneapolis, Minnesota," a parody of  "My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekue, Hawaii."  And in case you're wondering, it was Stan Boreson, not Yogi, who did "Walking in my Winter Underwear," so brilliantly interpreted by Casey Jones.


On May 24, Woody Herman and the Third Herd played for the Marigold Ballroom's 40th Anniversary, the first name band to play there since Paul Whiteman 26 years ago.


A picnic at Libby's Pavilion (Bass Lake) was advertised in the Spokesman for May 27.  Music was provided by the Rock and Roll All Stars, featuring Maurice Talley, vocalist. 


Louis Armstrong and His All Stars appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium on June 5, a Dick and Don Maw production. 


On June 18, 1956, the Minneapolis Tribune published a photo of Carlotta Carly and John Wade "Dancing the Bop" at a dance at the Phyllis Wheatley House to the music of (S. Stanley) Berry and His Barons.  Very cool.

Little Richard and His Orchestra appeared for a dance at the Junior Pioneer Hall in St. Paul on June 26, 1956. 


On July 20, a quickly organized Don Cherry fan club of St. Louis Park High School girls, Jane McCanney, President, came to Wold-Chamberlain Airport to greet him.  They "will wear blue suede shoes and cordially invite Cherry to step on them."  Cherry was in town for the Aquatennial.

The Minneapolis Spokesman advertised a "Rhythm and Blues Revue" film to be shown one time only at midnight at the RKO Orpheum on June 29, 1956.  This may have been derived from the "Rock 'n' Roll Revue" that was shown on July 29, 1955.  The ad blasted "Rock 'n' Roll with this sensational screen show!  Nation's Top Sepia Stars!"  The lineup was impressive:

  • Nat "King" Cole
  • Joe Turner
  • Ruth Brown
  • Cab Calloway
  • Count Basie
  • Sarah Vaughan
  • Lionel Hampton
  • Amos Milburn
  • Delta Rhythm Boys
  • Mantan Moreland & Nipsey Russell
  • The Larks - Freddy & Flo Robinson
  • Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams and his Orchestra
  • Willie Bryant of the Apollo Theater, emcee


A note from July says that Dick and Don Maw and their Orchestra with WTCN "will turn Park Plaza Hotel Ballroom into a teenage club" complete with teenage chorus girls and Geordie Hormel as the featured artist.  Not sure where that was or if it really happened.


On July 31, 1956, Will Jones of the Trib reported that Leigh Kamman at WLOL was playing

Teresa Brewer's recording of "Sweet, Old-Fashioned Girl" in which she kids the bejeebers out of rock and roll.  Second up was "A Teen-Ager Sings the Blues" in which a young girl gets very torchy over a soda.  Suggested sequel "Banana Split for One, Please, James."  Steve Cannon's pick for new hit of the week is something called "I'm in Love with Elvis Presley" sung by someone named Virginia Lowe.

Hank Thompson appeared at the Marigold Ballroom on August 13.


On August 23, the Flame Cafe, "The Home of Western Swing," presented a 7 Star Jamboree, featuring Porter Wagoner, Del Woods, and Bonnie Sloan.


The new St. Louis Park Senior High School opened in the fall of 1956. Things got off to a rough start, as the Minneapolis Star reported:

It all started…when an early-morning disk jockey [WDGY's Herb Oscar Anderson] plugging "Oscar Socks" urged students to don knee-highs of one design left leg, contrasting design right leg. Girls responded in droves…But Principal Edward Foltmer…suppressed the fad promptly. "We’d be opposed to any distracting influence at school," he explained with a cautious smile. "We can’t allow bizarre clothing." A bag lunch protest last Friday, with many girls wearing black and spurning the school’s hot lunch, followed. Boys at St. Louis Park High came to the girls’ rescue. "The boys wore their shirt tails out in protest after we weren’t allowed to wear Oscar Socks," student Elaine Smedberg said. "But the administration made ‘em pull the shirt tails in. So the boys hiked up their pants, wore them around their ribs. Then a week ago, about 15 boys peroxided their hair." Next morning, "the kids hissed the principal and started singing 'Chain Gang' in school," other girls reported.

The School’s student council came to the rescue and calmed the situation down. The PTA put a teenage dress code on its next agenda. Oh, and it wasn't Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang;" in 1956 there was another song with that name, with two versions on the charts by Bobby Scott and Len Dresslar.  Oddly (or not so oddly), the Park High Echo did not report on the incident.

The Flame Cafe on Nicollet Ave. went all-country in February 1956.  On September 7-9, the featured attractions were Mrs. Hank Williams and Texas Bill Strength, who doubled as a DJ on KEVE radio.


On September 26, 1956, the 100 Twin Drive In presented "One-Way Ticket to Hell," which had something to do with "Teen-Age Madness" and "Understanding Today's Children."  The ad is pretty bare-bones but the description on IMDB is pretty spicy.

Although WMIN's Merle Edward had been playing some rhythm 'n' blues back in 1955, and 1958 hit lists show that they were playing rock 'n' roll then, apparently they were bucking the trend at least for a little while as evidenced by this September 28, 1956 Will Jones item in the Trib:

Had a talk with Alice Presley, the new disk jockey on WMIN, the anti-Presley station.  She plays old Goodman records and what she calls "the better hit parade things.  Young citizens come around and ask how she's related to Elvis Presley.  Her stock answer:  "I'm sorry, but my agent doesn't permit me to discuss my relationship with Elvis."


She says there is now an Alice Presley fan club.  Her original contract was for the month of September, and now she's sweating out a renewal for October.  She really can't talk much about being a kin of Elvis, because her real name is Doris Hoffman, and she spends her days working for an advertising agency.  Her explanation of the inspiration behind her radio name:  "Anything for a buck."


Perhaps this was the station that Larry Lehmer was referring to in his book The Day the Music Died:  "When Minneapolis radio station WSPT [?] banned Elvis Presley records later that year, the station received several threatening phone calls.  A rock was thrown through the station window with a note saying:  'I am a teenager - you play Elvis Presley or else we tear up this town.'"   WSPT is licensed to Steven's Point, Wisconsin and was never a Minneapolis station, so this story needs some clarification.  


Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on Friday, September 28, 1956, featuring:

  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Gene Krupa Quartete
  • Modern Jazz Quartet
  • Oscar Peterson Trio
  • Jo Jones
  • Stan Getz
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Roy Eldridge
  • Illinois Jacquet
  • Flip Phillips
  • Sonny Stitt
  • Eddie Shu
  • John Lewis
  • Milt Jackson

In an interview in the Minneapolis Tribune, Fats Domino says that it's not the music that causes teenagers to riot, but beer.


The White House in Golden Valley instituted a new policy of engaging name acts such as Hadda Brooks, and insisted that patrons listen to the entertainment and curtail the fights, according to Will Jones of the Trib.


The Bamboo Room hosted Connie Newman and His Famous Trio on October 5.


The Dave Brubeck Quartet with Paul Desmond performed at the Lyceum Theater on October 21, promoted by Dick and Don Maw.


At the Heights Theater, the first 500 adults or juniors received 8x10 Fan Photos of Elvis.  The movie wasn't even an Elvis film, but the jungle adventure "Run for the Sun."  Meanwhile, there were 32,000 pre-orders of Elvis' next release, and nobody even knew what it was.


WDGY Disk Jockey Herb Oscar Anderson was interviewed in the St. Louis Park Echo on October 24, 1956.  "Andy"''s familiar greeting was "Hi ya gang, it's a lovely day today."  Anderson worked at KSTP before coming to WDGY.  He said that WDGY's Top 40 lists were more in tune with actual popularity, since they were based not just on record sales but juke box plays and requests from various establishments including hotels and night clubs.  His favorite pop singers were Elvis, Eddie Fisher, and Fats Domino.  He, his wife Terry, and son Johnny were new residents in the Park. 

The Alvin Burlesk Theater was getting into the rock 'n' roll business in '56, if in name only.  An ad dated November 7 touted two big shows on one stage with a cast of 40.  One was the Black and White Revue, with "Miss Japan" Tura Satana, later known for her role in Russ Meyer's 1965 film "Faster Pussycat! Kill Kill!" The other show was billed as the "Rock 'n' Roll Show of '56," featuring the 5 Shepards (Recording Stars), Jack Turner (Mr. Mimic), Geo. Williams (Feature Comic), Tinny Kennedy (The Sepia Elvis Presley), Tommy Badger (And His Comets), Exotic Nadza and "6 Delovies - 6."  I'd a given anything to see this show! 

Teenage movies came pouring from the theaters.  On November 8, "Teenage Rebel" came out at the State Theater, starring Ginger Rogers and Michael Rennie.  They weren't the teenagers - they were Betty Lou Keim and Warren Berlinger.  "Hear!  The Top Hit Song!  'Cool it Baby!'"


The Bamboo Room featured Twin Cities jazz veteran Hank Hazlett "and his famous trio" starting November 8, followed by Oscar Frazier and his Combo.

On November 15 the Lyric Theater presented a "Twin Bop Rock 'n' Sock Show!"  First feature was "Shake, Rattle and Rock!", a story of Rock 'n' Roll vs. The "Squares" and featuring music by Fats Domino, Joe Turner, Choker Campbell and his band, Tommy Charles, and Annita Ray.  Fats's newest Imperial recording was given away to the first 100 Junior and Adult Patrons.  The second feature was "Runaway Daughters," where you could SEE:  "Teenage Girls on a Speed-Crazy Thrill Hunt!  Why Parents are to Blame for Delinquent Daughters!  The Teenagers Side of the Rock 'n' Roll Question!" 

Elvis's first movie, "Love Me Tender," opened on November 21, 1956, at the RKO Orpheum.  "He's a fightin' man!  He's a singin' man!  He's a lovin' man!"  Will Jones of the Trib reported that policemen were on hand in case of trouble but there was none to be had, at least during the early show.  A male heckler was met with "Shut up!" by the girls, who sobbed as Elvis's character was shot in the end.   

A big rock 'n' roll show came to the Minneapolis Auditorium on Wednesday, November 21, featuring:

  • Bill Haley and the Comets
  • The Platters
  • Clyde McPhatter
  • Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers
  • The Clovers
  • Chuck Berry
  • Ella Johnson
  • Shirley & Lee
  • Buddy Johnson and His BIG Orchestra
  • The Flairs (?)
  • Shirley Gunther

One of the greatest rock 'n' roll movies of all time is "The Girl Can't Help It," which came to the Wabasha Paramount at the end of December 1956.  The film starred Tom Ewell and Jayne Mansfield, but featured performances by Julie London, Ray Anthony, Fats Domino, the Platters, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, the Treniers, Eddie Fontaine, the Chuckles, Abbey Lincoln, Johnny Olenn, Nino Temple, and oh, by the way in the corner of the ad, Eddie Cochran.  "Rock yourself into your happiest time."  On the other end of the spectrum was the juvenile delinquency flick "One Way Ticket to Hell."  Very dire indeed.  Not to mention "Hot Rod Girl" and "Girls in Prison." 


The Four Coins appeared at the Radisson Flame Room on December 6.





As it did in 1955, the Grand Ole Opry came to the Twin Cities several times in 1956.  The show was sponsored by Pillsbury, and shown on 120 TV stations around the country.  The show's contract required that a troupe visit each of the 120 communities that gets the show on TV at least twice per year.  The four troupes were headed by Roy Acuff, Webb Pierce, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb and Faron Young.  (That's five but that's what Will Jones says.) 

One of the troupes came to the Minneapolis Auditorium on February 16.  Performers were:

  • Hank Snow
  • Jean Shephard
  • Jimmy Dickens
  • Lonzo and Oscar
  • Hankshaw Hawkins
  • Texas Bill Strength
  • Johnny "T"

Soon after, on March 24, another Grand Ole Opry Show came to the Minneapolis Auditorium, starring:

  • Cousin Minnie Pearl
  • Ferlin Husky
  • Cowboy Copas
  • Mac Wiseman
  • Simon Crum
  • The Hush Puppies
  • The World's Only Square Dance Roller Skaters
  • Johnny "T" from Tennessee


On July 28, as part of the Minneapolis Aquatennial, a show was presented at the "Bloomington Stadium."  Performers included:

  • Ray Price
  • Ferlin Husky
  • Cowboy Copas
  • Simon Crum
  • Lonzo & Oscar
  • Hushpuppies
  • Wilburn Bros.
  • Carlisles
  • Mitchell Torok
  • Radio Dot & Smokey
  • Sugar Foot Collins
  • Ida Red
  • Kentucky Travelers
  • Johnny "T"

Then on August 21 at the Marigold Ballroom, a similar show came to town, starring:

  • Ferlin Husky
  • Cowboy Copas
  • Simon Crum
  • Randy Hughes
  • Hushpuppies Band
  • Wanda Jackson
  • Pete Stampert
  • Mitchell Torok
  • Johnny "T," M.C.

One of four traveling Grand Ole Opry Troupes came to the Minneapolis Auditorium on September 20, 1956.  David Stone of the KSTP Barn Dance was the emcee.  Performers were:

  • Roy Acuff
  • Ernest Tubb
  • Kitty Wells
  • Johnny and Jack
  • George Jones
  • Jimmy Newman
  • Tommy Collins
  • Hank Locklin
  • Betty Foley
  • Texas Bill Strength

Yet another show came to town on October 20 (location unknown):

  • Hank Snow
  • The Singing Ranger with His Rainbow Ranch Boys
  • Carl Perkins
  • Marvin Rainwater
  • Wanda Jackson
  • Billy Walker
  • Glenn Reeves

And another Grand Ole Opry Show at the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 24, starring:

  • Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two
  • Jim Reeves
  • Jean Shepherd
  • Johnny Horton
  • Bobby Lord
  • Pete Stampert
  • Texas Top Tuners

And finally, a New Year's Eve show at the St. Paul Auditorium, starring:

  • Ray Price
  • Ferlin Husky
  • Martha Carson
  • Autry Inman
  • Simon Crum
  • Porter Waggoner
  • Mitchell Torok
  • Texas Bill Strength



The Key Club really came into its own in 1956, just as other venues seemed to be slowing down - at least according to ads in the Minneapolis Spokesman

  • Hank Hazlett Trio, January 30
  • Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, orchestra leader and saxophone player, starting March 19.  "This fabulous orchestra will set a policy of 'better' entertainment at the Key Club.  Music as you like it plus exotic dancing."  With the new policy came a 50 cent admission fee on the weekends. 
  • Jimmy Witherspoon, blues singer; Betty DeQuincy, dancing entertainer fresh from Detroit; Stomp Gordon and His Combo, starting April 16. 
  • Duke Groaner and His Combo plus Audrie DeYoung, exotic dancer, May 14
  • Bob Wilson and His Combo plus Black Velvet, interpretive and exotic dancer
  • Tiny Davis and Her Hell Divers, June 25
  • Camille Howard, song stylist and pianist; Larry Rice and Combo; comedian Mickey Martin, emcee, July 23
  • Billy Brooks and Piney Brown, song stylists; Jimmy Binley Combo, August
  • Larry Wrice and His Chicago All Stars; Florence Devereaux, song stylist; Tequila, exotic dancer, October 5
  • Miss Wiggles, sensational exotic dancer:  "The Upside Down Girl," October 29
  • Rudy Hunter and the Fabulous Tones (from Hollywood), November 29
  • Dozier Boys, Fresh from Chicago, December 15
  • Dozier Boys and Chubby Newsom, vocalist from Detroit, December 21



Shows with a * were promoted by D. P. Black.


Drifters and Willie "I Don't Know" Mabon, January 1   *

The Midnighters with Cal Green's Orchestra, May 27   *

Ernie Freeman and His Orchestra Plus the Coasters, July 21   *

Ray Charles and His Orchestra, August 21   *

Tiny (Mr. Soft) Bradshaw and His Orchestra, Added Attraction "Mr. Bear."  Biggest Ball of the Year - Minnesota-Iowa Shriners Potentates Ball, September 1

Jay McShann and Priscilla Bowman, September 8   *

Charles Brown and His Orchestra, November 16   *

Bill Haley and His Comets - date unknown, but David Anthony Wachter says the show was promoted by T. B. Skarning.




Four Lads, February 11
Stan Kenton, February 25

Buddy Morrow, April 7

The Amazing Crew Cuts and the famed Music of Blue Barron, April 20

The Diamonds, May 19

Frankie Carle, June 2

Four Coins, June 8

Hilltoppers, June 16


Says here that Jack Thayer's Teen-Time Dances started on June 20, 1956.  That may have been for the season - he could have been doing them as early as 1952 when he was at WLOL.  In 1956 he was with WDGY.  The dances were on Wednesday nights.



             Photo courtesy Pavek Museum of Broadcasting


Stan Kenton and 22 piece orchestra, July 6 and 7

Cathy Carr, August 14 and 19

Buddy Morrow, August 24

The Diamonds, September 1

Ray Anthony, September 7


An ad appearing in the Trib on October 20, 1956 invites us to Dance at the Fabulous New Prom and announced a new Saturday Nite "Fun-For-All" Policy, Gala WDGY "Saturday Nite Dance Frolic" featuring:

  • Bill Bennett's "So You Want to Lead a Band"
  • Showime - Featuring New Local Stars!
  • Singing Screen - Romantic Song Fest While You Dance

Sanford Clark, November 8

Don Cornell, November 21



*Shows at the Key Club and the Prom are listed at the bottom of this 1957 section.


The film "Rock, Pretty Baby!" opened on January 16 at the RKO Orpheum in Minneapolis, promising "The Whole Wonderful Story of Today's Rock-And-Roll Generation!  ... told the way they want it told!"  Featuring 12 "wonderful" tunes, the film starred Sal Mineo, John Saxon, and included Fay Wray and Rod McKuen!  (Did you know that McKuen was the beatnik in the 1959 novelty song "The Mummy" by Bob McFadden and Dor (Rod spelled backwards)?)

On January 17, 1957, Alan Freed's movie "Rock Rock Rock" appeared at the Tower Theater in St. Paul.  The movie introduced Tuesday Weld, and included performances by:

  • The Moonglows
  • The Flamingos
  • Chuck Berry
  • Laverne Baker
  • Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers
  • Jimmy Cavallo and his House Rockers
  • The Three Chuckles
  • Connie Francis
  • Cirino and the Bowties
  • Johnny Burnette Trio

On January 19, RCA-Victor sent a trainload of its top talent to the Cities as part of its national tour on behalf of the March of Dimes.  Once they arrived, they split up to make appearances at many venues around town, including Dayton's Tearoom, all of the TV and radio stations, a party for record dealers, and a 9 pm stop at the Prom Ballroom.  The Sister Kenney Institute was also on the list, but the patients were doing so well that only nine would be there that weekend.  Mickey and Sylvia seem to be the only rock 'n' roll singers on the list, but there were some some near misses, including Julius LaRosa, Eddie Fisher, Lou Monte, and the Browns. 

Dick and Don Maw brought in a "Modern Jazz for 57" show to the Minneapolis Auditorium on January 20, 1957.  On the bill were:

  • Chet Baker Quintet
  • Chris Connor
  • Art Blakey and His Jazz Masters
  • Herbie Mann
  • Ralph Sharon
  • Bob Davis Quartet

At the Boulevard Beauty Shop at Minnetonka Blvd. and Dakota Ave. in St. Louis Park, one could get an “Elvis Presley Haircut” for a mere $1.50. Described as “carefree, short, and brief – just like you. See it in Life Magazine.”

The Excelsior Amusement Park Teen Jamboree featured Dick Davis's Orchestra.  Meanwhile, mom and dad danced to Jerry Dibble's Orchestra at the Prom Ballroom. 

The "Birdland Stars of '57" show came to the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 25.  Performers included:

  • Billy Eckstine
  • Sarah Vaughan
  • Count Basie and His Orchestra featuring Joe Williams
  • Jeri Southern
  • Bud Powell Trio
  • Chet Baker
  • Lester Young
  • Zoot Sims

The Minneapolis NAACP Youth Council Dress Up Dance was held at the Calhoun Beach Hotel on May 29.  Entertainment was by the Big "M" Sextet and the Squires.  Wonder if this is the group that became known as the Big M's and made some recordings at Gaity Records in 1959.  They were a black group with a white guitarist. 


Pat Boone, the Four Lads, and the Fontane Sisters were in town in June 1957.

On June 2 the Will Mastin Trio, starring Sammy Davis, Jr., appeared at the Lyceum Theater.  Six other performers were on the bill. 

Bermuda shorts were still all the rage for guys, advertised at Fantle Bros./Cook's at Miracle Mile in St. Louis Park in June for $7.95. 

The Miss Minnesota-Universe Pageant took place at Excelsior Amusement on June 16, 1957, directed by Ray Colihan.  Jack Thayer of WDGY was the emcee and music was provided by singer Gloria Greer, the Joe Kimble Trio, and the Showoffs.

Deane Wenger of 1409 Kentucky Ave. in St. Louis Park was a WLOL Lucky Car Call Winner in July 1957 for listening to WLOL in his car.

"Teenagers Go ROCKALYPSO Wild...  UNTAMED YOUTH" started its run at the Lyric Theater on July 27.  Mamie Van Doren starred in this film where "Punishment Farm for Teen-Age Cons... Makes 'em Wilder!"  Miss Van Doren was by no means a teenager, but she was certainly "the girl built like a Platinum Powerhouse."  This movie is so bad that even Turner Classic Movies described it as "absolutely awful."  Van Doren sang something called ""OOBALA BABY," a strange collaboration between Les Baxter and poor Eddie Cochran, who was in the movie. Cochran was reduced to playing air guitar with his cotton sack, singing a song called "Cotton Picken" - by Les Baxter.  After a long day of picking cotton, these Hollywood rock 'n' rollers had lots of energy to dance and have cat fights in their underwear.  On the same bill was something called "Hooked! - Pent-up Punks on a Penthouse Binge..."   And they say the '50s were so provincial. 

It was pandemonium when Ricky Nelson appeared at the 1957 Minnesota State Fair.  He played to approximately 25,000 fans from a stage erected "a zip code away in the center of an enormous racetrack" according to biographer Philip Basche. Also appearing were the Four Preps, who dressed in silver lame jackets in order to be seen, but all eyes were on Nelson, who wore a cream colored jacket, white and burgundy polka dot shirt, and a white tie.  With a limited repertoire, he also sang numbers by Elvis and the Everly Brothers. 

The WLOL Big 5 disk jockeys hosted the Royal Crown Cola Teen Roller Party at the Pastime Arena in St. Louis Park, Sundays from 2-5 pm, according to October and November 1957 music surveys.

Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra appeared at the Marigold Ballroom on November 6.

WDGY DJ Stanley Mack was the first disk jockey ever to appear at a St. Louis Park High School dance, announced the Echo on November 6, 1957.  The Charity Ball was sponsored by tenth grade homeroom 332 in the gym, with proceeds earmarked to the Hennepin County Tuberculosis Association.  "This record dance is more dressy than a sock hop, but less than a semiformal," chairman Carol Gross explained.  "Mr. Mack will bring 50 free records to the dance which he will give away, using his 'magic spot method,'" said entertainment chairman Myra Shiff. 


The Jazz for Moderns fall tour came to the St. Paul Auditorium Theater on November 10.  Performing were:

  • George Shearing
  • Gerry Mulligan
  • Chico Hamilton
  • Miles Davis
  • Australian Jazz
  • Helen Merrill

A Dance and Fur Show was held at the Leamington Hotel, featuring Evelyn (The Voice) Twine, Rook Ganz, Percy Hughes, Oscar Frazier, Mel Carter, Ira Pettiford, and others.  Minks were provided by Earle of Beverly Hills and modeled by Gwen Bartlett of Kansas City.




Jimmy Rogers was a "Marathon Drummer" who could play for 80 hours straight, supposedly.  He began an extended appearance on January 17, with different singers and exotic dancers appearing with him through February.


Decca recording artist and pianist Horace Henderson (brother of Fletcher Henderson) and His Rock 'n' Roll Combo began an extended appearance in March.  "Big Floor Show.. With Plenty of Sock."  Other entertainers appearing at this time included comedy team Butterbeans and Susie.  Henderson would appear at the Key Club off an on until 1960. 


From June to August the headliner was Rose Mary Gaiters, a singer "Second only to Ruth Brown," with the Duke Groner Combo and a rotation of exotic dancers (one billed as a "variety girl.")


National act Jay McShann, "The Band that Jumps the Blues," appeared in August with the Rhythm Kings Trio (dance, song, comedy) and Princess Lola De Conge, popular exotic dancer.


Later in August it was Jimmy Binkley and his Popular Combo, the Dutch and Dutchy comedy team, and Lottie the Body.


Roy Milton and His Solid Senders appeared in September with Johnny "Guitar Jr." Rogers and Tequila, Tempest of Dance.


Bullmoose Jackson and His Buffalo Bearcats performed in November "plus the very popular singer and dancing star Vi Kemp - A Daring Performer..  a touch of genius." 

Mercury Recording Star Sil Austin appeared in December with Olivette Miller, the World's Greatest Swing Harpist, and Bert Gibson, Sensational Tap Dancer.


The Key Club's New Year's Eve show featured the Rhythm Kings (dance, song, comedy), Ira Pettiford and His Orchestra, Wild Bill Boone, Mel Carter, and exotic dancer Lady Ducongue.



A rock 'n' roll dance party at the Prom in early January featured Augie Garcia, Bill Samuels, Teddy Guzman, and vocal groups the Septones and the Chickens, reported Will Jones in the Trib.  Leigh Kamman was the emcee.


Guy Mitchell, January 15

The Diamonds, January 25


WDGY DJ Bill Bennett hosted a weekly Wednesday Teen Time Dance at the Prom Ballroom.  In an aircheck on www.radiotapes.com he says that 1,500 teens attended last Wednesday, and he thanked Gene Vincent.  The Gene Vincent?



*Shows at the Key Club are listed at the bottom of this 1958 section.

In February 1958, the "Four Laddies" performed on the local show "Record Hop" (see Rock 'n' Roll TV Shows below).  These youngsters were St. Louis Park students Joanne Spillcke, Judy Phelps, Sandy Hagen, and Chris Stewart.

On March 2, WDGY disk jockey Stanley Mack was "fired" for playing a "shock record" that management had banned.  The record was called "Dinner With Drac" by John Zacherle.  After he announced that he had been canned, the kids jammed the switchboard and called his house.  (The paper reported his St. Louis Park address the next day.)  General Manager Jack Thayer called it a "terrible record...  Mack went on the air at noon and he must have played that thing eight times in a row.  I heard it on my car radio and I just blew my stack."  After Mack got the sack he continued to play it until Program Manager Bill Armstrong took over the program.  The March 2, 1958 Minneapolis Sunday Tribune put a good cap on the story:  "One Mack fan, a 15-year-old Sue Glad, complained to the Tribune, 'This isn't the first time WDGY has suppressed a song.  They never did play 'Short Shorts.'"  WDGY jock Jim Ramsburg tells us that it was all a publicity stunt:  "If memory serves correctly, it happened on a Saturday.  I was working at the station that day - the GM, Jack Thayer, was also there and it was his idea.  Stanley Mack began playing the song repeatedly and Thayer somehow (not directly) got the word to a young reporter at the Tribune.  She came running over to the station and we all played it straight that Stan had 'locked himself' inside the studio.  (The studio door did have an electronic lock controlled by a switch inside the studio, but it could also be opened from the adjacent control room.)  The story wound up on the front page of Sunday's Tribune.  On Monday a Tribune editor called Thayer and berated him for 'taking advantage' of the reporter and vowed that the paper would ban all mention of WDGY in its news section in the future."  

In March 1958 WLOL hosted the Royal Crown Cola Bandstand at the Marigold Ballroom, with DJs Dan Anderson and Don Dahl, Sunday afternoons from 2 to 5pm.  Admission was 50 cents and open to teens age 16 and over.  "It's the swinginest!"


The Storz Stations, which included WDGY, hosted the first-ever Pop Music Disk Jockey Convention & Radio Programming Seminar in Kansas City at the Muehlebach Hotel on March 7, 8 and 9, 1958. Newly-employed Bill Stewart coordinated the event. Full-page ads in Broadcasting and other radio/TV magazines promoted free registration "open to all Disk-Jockeys, Program Directors, Record Industry Management Personnel and Broadcasting Industry Management Personnel." Stewart framed the convention as a seminar offering privileged information from high-dollar media experts, radio group executives and major-market air talent. Topics for discussion included "How to Run Profitable and Successful Record Hops," "The Ingredients for Today's 'Formula' Radio," and "Is Rock and Roll a Bad Influence on Teenagers?"


A gala "All Star Show" featured Tony Bennett, The Four Lads, Laverne Baker, Andy Williams, The Crew Cuts, and many others. The gathering was attended by many of the biggest names in radio at the time, including the Presidents of the Hooper and Pulse rating services, Gordon McLendon, well-known New York Disk Jockeys Martin Block, Jack Lacy, Al "Jazzbeau" Collins, Peter Tripp and Chicago's Howard Miller. Participating record companies included Columbia, DOT, Mercury, RCA-Victor, Atlantic, Roulette, Capitol, ABC-Paramount and Epic. The beauty part is that it was free to the DJs, underwritten by the record companies.  Says so right on the registration form.


The convention was relatively boring, with Mitch Miller somehow asked to speak, although it was widely known that he hated rock 'n' roll.  Plus Kansas City in March was no picnic.  But things got better.  Just wait til May 1959.


In 1958 an unfortunate fashion fad was the "sack dress," also known as the chemise.  Apparently a '20s look was the intention, as it was accompanied by a flapper headband and (ugh!) tights.  Gerry Granahan wrote a song about it called "No Chemise, Please!" that reached #23 on the charts.  On March 5, 1958, Bob Possehl, reporter for the St. Louis Park Echo, had this to say:

Males Veto Modern Modes


Nowadays the only way you can tell which direction a girl is walking is by looking at the point on her ducktail and assuming that she is moving the opposite way. 


She does try to overcome the handicap of "sack" dresses, lovingly called chemises, by using her new pointed shoes to "lead the way home."


How can she possibly adore something that disguises her womanly attributes as a paper sack would an hour glass? Is this feminine logic?


She even covers her legs with such shocking stockings that it's hard to look at them without sunglasses.


Most of the boys are in favor of returning to the "good ol' days" when sheaths and curly locks distinguished members of the fairer sex.

A couple of weeks later, Sue Berstein retaliated with an article entitled "Females Frigid to Fanciful Fashions," decrying the boys' fads of loud plaid vests and pants with the buckle in the back.

In 1958 E.F. Sandberg bought Don Leary’s record store at Miracle Mile for his son Don to operate, and it became Don’s Records and Hi-Fi. The Grand Opening, held on April 24-26, 1958, featured 12,000 records and offered orchids to the ladies and candy for the kids. (Men apparently never got anything at these Grand Openings.) Appearances were made by Disk Jockeys Roy Carr (WTCN), Jim Boysen (WLOL), and Stanley Mack (WDGY). Beverly Reinicke, who had worked for Don Leary for the last three years, was announced as an employee of the new store. An ad in the April 23, 1958, St. Louis Park High Echo announced the grand opening with much hep cat patois.


On April  25, 1958, Alan Freed's Big Beat show rolled into Minneapolis.  Tickets were $2.75.  In 2006 local musician Sherwin Linton sold a poster of the event to a collector for $20,000.  On the bill that night at the Minneapolis Municipal Auditorium were 17 acts, including:

  • Buddy Holly and the Crickets
  • Chuck Berry
  • Screamin' Jay Hawkins
  • The Diamonds
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Frankie Lymon
  • Danny and the Juniors
  • Billy and Lillie
  • Billy Ford
  • The Chantels
  • Larry Williams and His Orchestra
  • Dicky Doo and the Don'ts
  • The Pastels
  • Jo Ann Campbell

A huge rock 'n' roll show came to the Minneapolis (8pm) and St. Paul (3pm) Auditoriums on Sunday, May 4, featuring 17 acts.  They included:

  • Sam Cooke
  • The Everly Brothers
  • Paul Anka
  • Clyde McPhatter
  • George Hamilton IV
  • LaVern Baker
  • Frankie Avalon
  • The Silhouettes
  • The Royal Teens
  • The Storey Sisters
  • The Crescendos
  • The Monotones
  • Jackie Wilson
  • Jimmy Reed
  • Paul Williams and His Orchestra

From Ben Welter's blog in the Strib:

Minnesota's sweetheart filled stadium with song


Accompanied by 32 "hand picked" members of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, Judy Garland fought through a case of laryngitis on May 11, 1958 to help her home state celebrate its centennial.  More than 20,000 gathered at the U's old Memorial Stadium on that steamy Sunday to hear Garland belt out such hits as "The Trolley Song" and "For Me and My Gas.  Midway through one song, she stopped and said: "Can I start again?  I missed the lyric.  Isn't this terrible?  I was trying to be so good."  Garland... finished the show with - what else? - "Over the Rainbow."    



KRSI radio debuted in June 1958, but it promised "no long commercials, soap operas, kiddie shows, rock 'n' roll, 'top 40,' or 'over-enthusiastic' disk jockeys," reported the St. Louis Park High Echo

Percy Mayfield performed at the Labor Temple on July 3, 1958.

In the fall of 1958, Pastime Arena manager Larry Tobin came before the St. Louis Park City Council to request permission to hold a public dance at the Arena on October 3 from 10-11:30. Only Councilman Jorvig voted nay. Subsequent dances were approved as well, including the Twin City Teen-Dance held New Year's Eve and advertised in the St. Louis Park Echo newspaper.  The Pastime became the Roller Garden, still there today.

On September 19, 1958, the Minneapolis Spokesman reported that "300 St. Paul Youngsters 'Rock' For Freedom & NAACP." 

"WE'RE GONNA ROCK FOR FREEDOM" might well have been the cry of 300 of St. Paul's youth as they flocked to the block party sponsored by radio station WTCN under the auspices of the Youth Chapter of the St. Paul branch of the NAACP last Wednesday night in the 800 block of Iglehart.  Admission to the affair was the price of a youth membership in the NAACP.  A total of 50 new members were enrolled making the chapter's membership total to almost 300.  WTCN furnished music and refreshments to the singing and dancing youths in the roped-off area and, according to all reports, a 'good time was had by all.' 

Found!  In the book Wall of Pain, the Biography of Phil Spector by Dave Thompson (2003):  The story is about the song “To Know Him is to Love Him” by the Teddy Bears, Spector’s first group.  It was originally a B side, but even released as an A side the feeling was that it was “under-produced, under performed.  The girl had a nice enough voice, but where was the music, where was the ‘ooomph’?  You couldn’t sell a record unless it has some ‘ooomph.’

Not in Los Angeles, anyway.  Although one or two courageous DJs had flipped the record over under their own steam, the city itself seemed to leave the Teddy Bears on the shelf.  Way out in Fargo, North Dakota, however, KFGO’s Charlie Boone couldn’t get enough of it.  By the beginning of September [1958], listeners to his daily Boone in the Afternoon show were hearing ‘To Know Him is to Love Him’ every day.  (Boone himself would become an international name six months later, as host of the last ever Buddy Holly concert.)  The first orders for the single began trickling in.


Days later, KDWB Minneapolis followed suit, only this time it was the station’s programme director, Lou Riegert, who fell in love with the record, and made sure that all his DJs gave it a spin.  More orders came in, a handful at first, then more and more.

By the middle of the month the song had reached the top 100, based on regional sales alone.  The song eventually made it to #1 in the first week of December.


Louis Armstrong appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium Theater Section on October 26.


On November 13, 1958, jazz writer and historian Leonard Feather emcee'ed a show called "Jazz for Moderns" (venue unknown).  The featured acts were:

  • The Four Freshmen
  • Dave Brubeck Quartet
  • Sonny Rollins Trio
  • Maynard Ferguson Orchestra.

The St. Paul Auto Show took place on November 26-30 at the St. Paul Auditorium and featured:

  • The Four Lads
  • The Three Suns
  • Leo DeLyon  (?)
  • Lillian Briggs



The Key Club started out the year with some, let's say, interesting acts, such as:

  • The Four Zeniths
  • The Singing Falcons
  • Peat and Repeat
  • Tiny Topsy
  • Los Latinos
  • Crip Heard
  • Chi Chi Valdez the Cuban Bombshell
  • The Ink Spots (really?)
  • Myra Taylor
  • Laura the Body Beautiful

In August, however, they started bringing in some serious national acts:

  • Ruth Brown
  • LaVern Baker
  • Al Hibbler
  • Earl Bostic
  • The Treniers
  • Dinah Washington
  • Slappy White
  • Ben Webster, tenor sax player with Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway


*Shows at the Key Club are listed at the bottom of this 1959 section.

Big names at the 1959 Auto Show:

  • Nat King Cole, January 9-12
  • Frankie Laine, January 13-18.  Reporters at St. Louis Park High continued to demonstrate their squareness in a February 4 article in the Echo about meeting Frankie Lane (sic). 



On Wednesday, January 28, 1959, the ill-fated "Winter Dance Party" came to the Prom Ballroom in St. Paul.  The show was emcee'ed by WDGY DJ Bill Diehl who had also emcee'ed the show on January 25 at the Kato Ballroom in Mankato.  Local band the Del-Ricos, which included Darwin Eckholm (aka Donald K. Martin), opened the show.  In addition to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper, who died in a plane crash six days later, the show featured Dion and the Belmonts and Frankie Sardo.  At the Prom was a crowd of 2,000 people, including a lot of screaming girls.  On the day the musicians died, Bill Diehl did a three-hour show on WDGY playing nothing but songs by the three young stars.


                                                                                         Postcard from my pilgrimage to Clear Lake in 1984

Bobby Vee, a Fargo kid, put together a band called the Shadows and performed at the Moorhead show that night.  Later that year he came to Minneapolis to record "Suzie Baby" on SOMA Records.  It was re-released on Liberty Records and broke the Billboard charts on August 31, 1959, reaching Number 77.  His next record only charted to 93, but then "Devil or Angel," a cover of a song by the Clovers from 1956, hit Number 6 in 1960 and he was on his way, charting 38 records during his career.

Junior Miss at Knollwood Plaza held an Open House on April 2 & 3, 1959. Advertised were door prizes, entertainment, a disk jockey broadcasting direct from store, refreshments, and informal modeling.  In the April 15 issue of the Echo, reporter Dede Smith told of the appearance by the Kingston Trio, "dressed in Ivy League clothes and spouting the latest 'Frisco jazz talk."  The Kingston Trio had performed at Northrop Auditorium on April 3 and were scheduled to appear at Southdale the Saturday after the 15th.   


Maurice Turner and Irv Williams appeared at the River Road Club nightly.

Mahalia Jackson appeared at a concert at the St. Paul Auditorium on May 1.  It was sponsored by the Elks, with proceeds going to a scholarship fund.


Excelsior Amusement Park held its 20th annual Twin City & Suburban High School Jamboree on May 8, 1959.  "10,000 students attended last year."  They said that every year.


B.B. King appeared at a Mother's Day Matinee Dance at the Marigold Ballroom on May 10, presented by the Horsemen.



The notorious Second Annual International Radio Programming Seminar and Pop Music Disk Jockey Convention, which became synonymous with "Booze, Broads and Bribes," was held at the glamorous Americana Hotel in Miami Beach on May 29-31, hosted by Todd Storz, owner of WDGY and several other Top 40 stations.  2,500 jocks came down to listen to speakers, make contacts, and get educated about how to make their programs better.  Ha!  The liquor flowed like... wine, prostitutes were on call, and the record companies were giving away cars, trips, and who-knows-what-else to curry favor with the men who could make or break a song.  Sessions were hosted by individual record companies; for example, Saturday breakfast was sponsored by Atlantic Records, co-hosted by Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler themselves.  Alan Freed was on the program, as was our own Charlie Boone, who was working in Fargo at the time.   Other big-name jocks included Robin Seymour, Gordon McLendon, and Al "Jazzbo" Collins.  The payola was flowing and so blatant that it led to Congressional hearings and the ruin of careers, most notably Alan Freed's.  But it was a fun party.  The Pavek Museum of Broadcasting has a copy of the program, and the list of entertainers was phenomenal:


-  Peggy Lee and George Shearing, who made the LP "Beauty and the Beast" during one of the cocktail parties

-  David Seville and Julie London, who hosted a Saturday afternoon cocktail party

-  County Basie and Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, an odd combination, at a dance and barbeque

-  And a Saturday night All Star Show emcee'ed by the "Dean of the Disk Jockeys," Martin Block:

  • Pat Boone
  • Cathy Carr
  • Chris Connor
  • Vic Damone
  • Alan Dean
  • Connie Francis
  • Johnny Horton
  • Peggy Lee
  • Lou Monte
  • Patty Page
  • The Playmates
  • Lloyd Price
  • Connie Russell
  • Jimmy Rodgers
  • Jack Scott
  • George Shearing
  • Dodie Stevens
  • Gary Stites
  • Kirby Stone Four
  • Jesse Lee Turner
  • Caterina Valente
  • Andy Williams                                    


WLOL-FM featured dance band music on Fridays and Saturdays, according to an article in the June 4, 1959 Echo St. Louis Park High School newspaper.  "We're promoting a better brand of music because we believe that most teenagers are getting tired of rock 'n' roll," a spokesman said.  Really?  Eight Miracle Mile merchants sponsored the program.

Willie Mabon appeared at the Marigold Ballroom for a Sunday Matinee dance on June 14.  It was billed as a "Wash and Wear Affair," promoted by The Horsemen.

The Youth Chapter of the Minneapolis NAACP gave their Second Annual Semi-Formal Dance at the Calhoun Beach Hotel on July 10, 1959.  Appearing for the second year were the Big M's. 


Bobby Bland appeared at the Marigold Ballroom on July 26. 

In one of their two-band, rock 'n' roll and smooth programs, the Prom presented The Big Beats and Larry Fisher, respectively, on July 25, 1959.

On the night of August 21 when the bars let out at Kent Street and Rondo Ave. in St. Paul, trouble broke out and the Spokesman reported that police cracked heads with batons and threatened to use fire hoses. 


KDWB, “the Good Guys,” went on the air on September 16, 1959, as a top 40 station. (Technically they were still WISK - formerly WCOW - until a few days later.)  As part of their promotion, they sold ads to rival WDGY (which had gone Top 40 back in 1956) and other radio and TV stations for a product called "Formula 63."  Will Jones of the Trib reported that the ads were recorded by Dudley LeBlanc, the former Louisiana politician who sold Hadacol years ago.  LeBlanc mentioned Hadacol and then said that the new Formula 63 was for people who were tired, dull, depressed "Get immediate relief from boredom with new Formula 63."  Little cardboard packages (about the size of a lipstick) were made up with Formula 63 labels, stuffed with pamphlets plugging the new station.  Security was so tight that the 120,000 packages were stuffed at the Society for the Blind.  Free samples at Snyder Drug Stores revealed what the "product" really was.  Even the disk jockeys weren't let in on it until that morning.  All the other radio stations fell for it and advertised the product until people started calling to complain.  Some stations were incensed, while others figured they were getting paid so why not?    See a good piece on the KDWB/WDGY rivalry from KARE-11 News.



Formula 63 box, courtesy Sam Sherwood.  Now on display at the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting.  Photo by Steve Raymer.



Inside of Formula 63 package, courtesy Sam Sherwood. 


The brochure inside the box was a ticket to a huge rock 'n' roll show that would kick off the station.  The show was to start at 8 pm and take place at both the Minneapolis and St. Paul Auditoriums at the same time, with the stars "shuttled" by helicopter between them.  (Helicopters had to be replaced by limos when things got too dangerous.)  Proceeds were to be divided between the Minneapolis and St. Paul Community Chests.  Advertised performers were:

  • Dodie Stevens
  • Carl Dobkins, Jr.
  • Billy Vaughan
  • The Four Preps
  • Randy Sparks
  • Ed Townsend
  • Jan & Dean
  • Jerry Fuller
  • Sandy Nelson
  • Jimmy Haskell
  • Ernie Fields
  • Bobby Vee

Unfortunately, the staff was so busy working out the show and the logistics that they forgot to promote the concerts, and they were poorly attended, Sherwood reports. 


Another early promotion involved a sticker that said "KDWB is Everywhere."  $630 would be awarded to the person who placed the sticker in the most unusual place, which turned out to be on the St. Paul Cathedral dome!  To promote the contest the jocks would ride around on a float in rush hour handing out stickers, hopelessly tying up traffic.


The Shrine Gala Day at the Marigold Ballroom was on September 25, 9 pm "til unconscious."  Music was provided by Hank Hazlett and His Band. 


The October 1, 1959 Trib posed the question:   "Does the Twin Cities have its share of beatniks?  The people interviewed were skeptical:

  • Suzanne Wolfe said "Yes, even if the majority of beatniks aren't serious about it.  There are a number of beatniks at the U of M.  They wear trench coats and goatees.
  • Errol Kantor said "No.  Most beatniks are out in California.  The fellows at the University who wear trench coats and goatees are all pseudo-intellectuals.
  • Sonja Blagen thought Minneapolis had its share but that St. Paul didn't have one beatnik joint.
  • Matthew Levison, a student at the U, said "No.  Perhaps 10 percent of those popularly known here as 'beat' are actually so.  The balance are nothing more than hangers-on.  Beat movement is entirely nihilistic in 20th century tradition.  Its center is New York and the West Coast.
  • Bonnie Erickson made the decision unanimous:  "The concentration of individualistic existentialists, as I prefer to call the 'beatniks,' is definitely in Minneapolis.  Only a few are sincere iconoclasts.  Fakes who claim to be beatniks do it for attention, rather than for a purely esthetic cause.

On October 2, "The Big Country Record Show 1959" came to the Minneapolis Auditorium.  Featured acts were:

  • Webb Pierce
  • George Jones
  • Lonzo & Oscar
  • Freddie Hart
  • Margie Bowes
  • Bill Anderson
  • Frankie Miller
  • Phil Sullivan
  • Eddie Noack
  • The Casuals
  • KEVE's Mike Hoyer, M.C.

On October 28, the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars came to the Minneapolis Auditorium.  The show included all the WDGY disk jockeys and:

  • Paul Anka
  • Lloyd Price
  • Annette
  • Duane Eddy
  • Jimmy Clanton
  • LaVern Baker
  • The Coasters
  • The Drifters
  • The Skyliners
  • Bobby Rydell
  • The Jordan Bros
  • Phil Phillips
  • Arnold Dover

Golden Valley jazz venue the White House refused to seat three black patrons and a jury found for the defendants, awarding them damages.


Rollie Williams was a presence in St. Louis Park for many years. From November 1959 to November 1960, Northwest Guitar and Organ Studio (aka Northwest Guitar and Accordion) was located at 3699 Joppa “under personal supervision of Rollie Williams.” The company's Minneapolis office was located at 6436 Penn Avenue South. On November 18-26, 1960 the store had an open house at its new location at 4520 Excelsior Blvd., this time called Rollie Williams Music Company. It became R.W. Music Co., and was at that location until about 1974.  A second location at 504 Cedar Ave. So. in Minneapolis opened in September 1969.

WDGY sponsored a contest to win an interview Troy Donahue, who was at the Nicollet Hotel promoting his film "A Summer Place."  St. Louis Park High student Susan Fuehrer was a winner, and brought her sister Mary with her for the exciting event.

No rock 'n' roll was played on radio station WMMR, which was broadcast from Coffman Union at the U of M to the dorms.  Park senior Irwin Gold a/k/a Dean Curtis reported that its repertoire was easy listening and swing.



In 1959 the Key Club took over where the Labor Temple had left off a few years before, bringing major Rhythm & Blues acts to the Twin Cities. 


Sister Rosetta Tharpe, January

Cozy Cole and Quintet featuring Barney Bigard, January 14

Big Maybelle, January 26

Roy Milton, February

Jimmy Witherspoon, February

Sarah Vaughan, March 16-22

T-Bone Walker, March 23-29

Abbey Lincoln, March 30-April 5

Ray Charles and the Raelettes, April 6-12

Ernestine Anderson and Joe Medlin, April 13-19

Della Reese, April 24-May 3

Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, May 4-10

Chris Connor and her Trio, with Miles Davis, May 17

Ruth Brown and the Paul Williams Band, June 12-21

Clyde McPhatter, June 22-28

Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five

Stepin Fetchit

Miles Davis with John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderly

Sammy Turner, August 31

Steve Gibson and the Red Caps - as seen on Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, and Arthur Godfrey, September 9

Anita O'Day, September 27

The Bombastic piano and singing of Nellie Lutcher

Hammond organ stylist Bill Doggett




*Shows at the Key Club are listed at the bottom of this 1960 section.


From the Little Sandy Review Issue 11:

The year 1960 was, among other things, the Year of the Folk Boom.  Folk LPs and single sold across record counters like hotcakes; the Kingston Trio was on everybody's Top Ten list; guitar and banjo sales soared; coffee houses sprang up like weeds in college area; everyone had Odetta's new LP; and Jean Ritchie and John Lee Hooker even got on television.  Strange things were happening.  For the first time in history, American folk music became Big Business:  it was found that you could make a buck by knowing such old chestnuts as SKIP TO MY LOU or DOWN IN THE VALLEY.  (You could, in f act, make even more by writing them.)  Madison Avenue and Tin Pan Alley, taking stock of the situation, set about rewriting our American heritage 1960 style.  Most of our songs were debased beyond recognition, and folk (in most cases, folkum) albums flew off the presses so fast you literally needed an IBM machine to count them.  (Our estimate:  there were at least 300 different folk albums released in 1960.)  Any three people walking down the street became a folk group, and, chances were, had an LP out within a week.  The Weavers, Harry Belafonte, and Odetta were in and out of Carnegie Hall so often it made your head spin.  Mitch Miller (substitute any record company president) frantically grabbed four college kids, bought them two guitars and a banjo (in this case a TENOR banjo!), dressed them in Bermudas, and sent them off to Newport (where, of all things, they were accepted).  Teenagers swooned over Dave Guard and Bob Shane and called Nick Reynolds "cute." 

For more interesting commentary by the Little Sandy Review, see the Publications section below.


The Weavers appeared at Northrop Auditorium on January 30.


On February 7, 1960, the Lake Minnetonka Knights of Columbus sponsored a country/western show at Wayzata High School, featuring:

  • Don Gibson
  • Margie Bowes
  • Rusty and Doug (Kershaw)
  • Bob Gallion
  • Ken Allen
  • Harry King

The Kingston Trio appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on February 13.


Jazz singer and pianist Hazel Scott appeared at Freddie's in April 1960.


The Fendermen consisted of Phil Humphrey and Jim Sundquist, from Madison, Wisconsin.  Amos Heilicher was their agent.  On May 15, they appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium with the Johnny Cash Show.  Other performers were Johnny Horton and Kitty Wells.  The Fendermen were booked at the last minute because of their skyrocketing popularity in the Twin Cities.  "Muleskinner Blues" (written in 1931 by Jimmie Rodgers) was originally released on Cuca Records in 1959.  They re-recorded it in at Kay Bank Studios in Minneapolis and it was released on SOMA  It entered the Billboard chart on May 23, 1960.  The record peaked at #5 and stayed on the chart for 18 weeks.  On June 11, they appeared on American Bandstand.  Lightning didn't strike twice, and the two split up in 1961.  The Fendermen were inducted into the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame in 2005.




St. Louis Park High spawned the folk group the Diablos, featuring Jerry Roberts on vocals, piano, and ukelele and Vicki Dulac on drums.  The group was on the Mary Jo Tierney TV Show, Judge Wright Talent Show, and played around town at places like Stillwater Prison and mental institutions, according to an article in the Echo in May 1960.

Tony Bennett and the Ralph Sharon Trio began a stint at Freddie's starting May 9.  Buddy Hackett was also on the bill.

The annual Excelsior Park Teenage Jamboree took place on May 13, 1960.  The ad in the SLP Echo did not name the entertainment.

A three-day jazz festival was held at Northrop Auditorium in 1960:


Friday, May 13:

  • Dave Brubeck Quartet:  St. Louis Park High reporter Dave Perlman interviewed Brubeck, who said that the album "Time Out" was written by his brother Howard, with accompaniment by the New York Philharmonic.  Critics did not like the song "Time Out," which had a 5/4 beat patterned on African rhythms and took three years to write.
  • Miriam Makeba
  • Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
  • Union Jazz Workshop Quintette

Saturday, May 14:

  • Ahmad Jamal Trio
  • Ernestine Anderson
  • Coleman Hawkins Quartet
  • Harry Blons

Sunday, May 15:

  • Louis Armstrong
  • Clara Ward and the Ward Singers
  • Rod Aaberg and His 15-Piece Band


Bo Diddley played an engagement at the Loon Teen Club (which became Mr. Lucky's) on May 14-20, 1960.


Oscar Peterson played Freddie's on May 21, 1960. 


Josh White brought his repertoire of blues, spirituals, and folk music to Freddie's on May 23, 1960.  He was followed by an appearance by Bob Newhart.

The "Biggest Show of Stars" came through the Cities in 1960, with 10-12 acts including Frankie Avalon, the Paris Sisters, and Cliff Richard.

"Music on Parade," an Aquatennial Spectacular, took place on July 17 at Met Stadium.  Performers included:

  • Mahalia Jackson - World's Greatest Gospel Singer
  • Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross
  • Woody Herman and His Band
  • Vic Damone
  • 500-voice choir

Dorothy Dandridge and Vaughan Monroe were some of the performers at the Radisson Flame room in the fall of 1960.


Arne Fogel's favorite Rock 'n' Roll Movie


Comedian Shelley Berman performed at the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 21, 1960. 

The Limelighters and comedian Mort Sahl performed at Northrop Auditorium in the fall of 1960.

Skirts at the knee were considered too short by some St. Louis Park High School boys.  Really??



From a blog by the Minnesota Historical Society:

Thanks to Minneapolis resident Cleve Pettersen, the original recording of what fans and music buffs know as the “Minnesota Party Tape” is now available for the first time to the public at the library in the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.  Pettersen was just a teenager in 1960 when he bought his first reel-to-reel tape recorder and spent a lot of time in coffeehouses in the Dinkytown neighborhood near the University of Minnesota. Pettersen wanted to get a local folk singer to sing songs into his new recorder and asked some local musicians who would be willing. A young Bob Dylan agreed to be recorded.  Pettersen went to an apartment [711] on 15th Ave. S.E. in Minneapolis and hung out with Dylan, Bonnie Beecher, and “Cynthia”- another local musician and friend of Dylan’s. Pettersen set up the recorder and Dylan casually sang 12 folk songs into it.

Petterson has been the sole owner of the original tape ever since – until he made the decision in 2004 to donate it to the Society for all to enjoy. ”The surfacing of this original recording should correct all the rumors and speculation circulating on the Internet and within the circles of Dylan followers and music critics,” said Bonnie Wilson, curator at the Society. “Citizens donating historically significant items and artifacts, such as this recording, have enabled the Society’s collections to grow and make rare works accessible to all. ”The play list includes: “Blue Yodel No. 8,” “Come See Jerusalem,” “San Francisco Bay Blues,” “I’m a Gambler,” “Talkin’ Merchant Marine,” “Talkin’ Hugh Brown,” “Talkin’ Lobbyist,” “Red Rosey Bush,” “Johnny I Hardly Knew You,” “Jesus Christ,” “Streets of Glory” and “K.C. Moan. ”The original tape is copied onto CD and cassette formats and is now available for listening at the library free of charge. Making copies of the recording will not be allowed.

                                        Apartments where "Minnesota Party Tape" was recorded

Dylan lived in a couple of places at the U, including the Sigma Alpha Mu Jewish fraternity at 928 SE 5th Street.





The Key Club continued with its major musical acts, although the first performer, Christine Jorgensen, was known more for her sex change operation than her stage show.  Other performers included:


Etta James, February

Billy Eckstine, February 26 to March 6

Dakota Staton, May 1

Chris Connor and Her Trio, May

Cab Calloway, June

Redd Foxx, July

The Treniers, October


*Shows at the Key Club are listed at the bottom of this 1961 section.


On the subject of records, in the January 18, 1961 Echo, Park High reporter Linda Weiner wrote "LPs Offer Wide Variety of Subjects, Albums Range from Bernstein to Buddy."  She meant Buddy Hackett, not Holly. In fact she mentioned no rock 'n' roll at all.


Roy Milton and Mickey Champion, who were appearing at the Key Club, did a show at the Marigold Ballroom on March 12.

Folk music was all the rage, and St. Louis Park High had a group called the Statesmen, consisting of Dave Kushner, Jeff Liebo, Chuck Enestvedt, and Steve Hobart.


The Little Sandy Review reported on an appearance by comedian Shelley Berman at an unidentified "posh Mpls. night club," with  folk singers the Clancy Brothers and Tom Makem on the bill.


Odetta, "the most dramatic interpreter of American Folk Music," appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium Theatre on May 19, presented by Paul Fink. 


From the Little Sandy Review, Issue 13: 

The Minnesota Folk Song Society got off to an enthusiastic start with a Hootenanny that featured local talent.  It was encouraging to see a 3 1/2 hour program that contained no youngsters performing commercial folkum.  The acts were about equally divided among Bluegrass, Blues, and Old-Timey Hillbilly performers. 

The Magazine later reported that Bob Dylan made "a brief, but extremely telling, appearance at a University hootenanny," so maybe it was this one.


Joe Williams, formerly with Count Basie, appeared at the Marigold Ballroom on June 16, 1961.


Pianist Eddie Heywood appeared at Freddie's in July.

Rock 'n' roll and muscle cars go together, so here's a graphic from the 5th Annual Rod and Custom Show:



Big Joe Turner, "Boss of the Blues," came to Stem Hall on September 22, presented by the Progressive Gents.  Also appearing were Lefty Bates and his band.


Sarah Vaughan appeared at Freddie's on October 2, quite a difference from the bawdy Rusty Warren, who followed her.


The St. Louis Park Echo reported that since October 5, recorded music was being piped into the study halls, corridors and lunchroomm of the high school "to soothe, settle and satisfy the students as they study.

However, these soft and smooth sounds often tend to disturb the class routine rather than contribute to it.  Sometimes one may find himself listening to the background music instead of to the instructor.  At other times the entire class may burst into laughter as the tune changes from something quiet and moody to the "tooty" notes resembling those made by a circus calliope. ....  Before and after school the music is very pleasant to hear.  Between classes it is impossible to hear. 

The Twist had hit and the Key Club was on top of it.  An ad in the Minneapolis Spokesman from December 22, 1961 says "It's Twisting Time at the Key Club - Learn to Dance the Twist with the Hortense Allen Dancers and the Bill Pinkard Combo.  Dance on the largest nite club dance floor in the Twin Cities."  Also featured was Harold Connors, blues singer formerly with B.B. King. 


The Jolly Northerners presented a Holiday Dance at the Johnny Baker Post Hall (2951 - 5th Ave. So.) on December 23, with music by the Big M's. 




Roy Milton featuring Mickey Champion, blues and ballad singer, January 19

Ink Spots Revue, featuring Bill Josephs and Daisy Banke, March 15

The Flamingos, November 24

Bill Doggett, December

The Twist was hot and in December the Key Club offered Twist lessons to its patrons.




1962 was all about the Twist.  Hank Ballard had recorded the song in 1959, and Chubby Checker covered it in 1960, when it reached #1, but somehow it came back with a vengeance in 1962, hitting #1 all over again. 




On January 12, 1962, the film "Twist Around the Clock" came to the Lyric theater on Hennepin Ave. near 7th Street.


St. Louis Park High held a twist contest on January 20, won by Jackie Dubbe and Jack Beaudoin.  The Echo reported that the fad was wildly popular except that it led to horrible side aches, and advised twisters "not to eat anything before engaging in this dance, and those with weak hearts and stomachs should forget this madness." 

The Brothers Four appeared at Northrop Auditorium on January 13.

Brook Benton appeared at Freddie's on February 19 - the paper said he was mobbed when he was here several months ago.

The Kingston Trio appeared in town on February 22.

Sonny Thompson performed at the St. Paul Auditorium on February 27, 1962. 

The Chad Mitchell Trio also performed in February, at Macalester College. 

WDGY sponsored a 17 lap (50 mile) run around Lake Harriet on February 17, 1962.  The run was inspired by JFK's famous phrase, "with vigah!" 

On March 3 Dee Dee Sharpe's "Mashed Potato Time" hit the airways and reached #2 for two weeks on the pop chart and #1 on the R&B chart.  The way it was explained to me is that you stomp your feet as if you were mashing potatoes..  The first song about the lowly tuber was "(Do the) Mashed Potatoes" by Nat Kendrick and the Swans, which reached #84 on the pop chart in 1960.  This was a two-part instrumental done on the sly from his record company by James Brown (Kendrick was his drummer).  More potato silliness was to follow, including one I can't think of right now where the guy swoons about how romantic it was to do the mashed potato with you.  Who thinks up these things?  And who does them in a tux?




Bob Dylan's self-titled first album was released on March 19, 1962.  It did not chart on Billboard, but was given a very positive review in Issue 22 of the Little Sandy Review.


This poster's date indicates that the show was in 1962 (thank goodness for that old calendar web site!)  Image courtesy Rich Packer.  Turns out it was at the Prom.




Not quite sure, but Chubby Checker may have been here on April 20.

Jerry Lee Lewis, possibly touring with Fabian, Bobby Vee, and Faron Young, was in Minneapolis on April 22, 1962, the day that his three-year-old son Steve Allen Lewis (named for the entertainer) accidentally drowned in the family pool at his home in Memphis.  It was Easter Sunday.

A big Twist show came to town on May 3, performing at the St. Paul Auditorium (7 pm) and the Minneapolis Auditorium (8:30 pm).  Acts included:

  • Chubby Checker
  • Joey Dee and the Starlighters
  • Gary (U.S.) Bonds
  • Dee Dee Sharp
  • The Dovells
  • The Carroll Bros
  • Plus Celebrities Twisting
  • Extra!  Bobby Gregg & Friends (Jam Part 1)

Preston Epps of "Bongo Rock" fame came to the Loon Club on June 10, 1962.


Muddy Waters did a one week stay at the Loon Club, June 18-24. 


Little Jr. Parker performed at Stem Hall on July 8.


On July 15 Club "15" presented a Benefit Matinee Dance for the NAACP Freedom Fund at the Union Hall on Ford Parkway.


Louis Armstrong came to town for the Minneapolis Jaycees' Second "Music Under the Stars" concert series at Met Stadium on July 30.


Headliners at the State Fair Grandstand were Dennis Day, Jane Russell (did she sing?), and Jimmie Dean.

Brothers Jerry and Irv Trestman opened Trestman Music Center in South Minneapolis in 1962. It later moved to St. Louis Park, at 5600 Excelsior Blvd.  Irv died in 1985 and Jerry sold the business in 2007.

Jimmy Reed and Lefty Bates performed at Stem Hall on September 9, presented by Royal Attractions.


Gene Chandler appeared at the "Ford Local Hall" on September 30, also presented by Royal Attractions.

Bobby Darin was in town in October 1962.

On October 21, 1962, Twin Cities folk group the Yeomen recorded an LP called "Session One:  The Yeomen."  The four 17-year-olds from Edina had been friends since third grade:  Bob Finkenauer, Jack Otterness, Keith Critchlow, and Don Bennett.  The record was a Minneapolis Junior Achievement project, and the recording engineer was David Hersk.

Miriam Makeba and the Tarriers gave a folk music show at Northrop Auditorium on November 3.


Johnny Mathis came to the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 9.


Ray Charles performed at the Minneapolis Auditorium Concert Bowl on November 19.

In December 1962, look in the sky for KDWB's Santa Copter!

If you believe the Echo, ukuleles were popular in late 1962.

Dickey Lee played the Marigold Ballroom on December 26, 1962.

In a feature about where to hear folk singers around the country, Life Magazine's December 14, 1962 issue reported that the Chad Mitchell Trio would be performing at Freddie's Downtown from December 31, 1962 to January 12, 1963.  It also recommended the Padded Cell (near beer) and Le Zoo (sing alongs). 


*Shows at the Flame in Minneapolis and the Prom Ballroom are listed at the end of this 1963 section.


By March 8, 1963, Will Jones stated that the twist is dying, but the Jockey Club, which had prospered during the twist boom, responded by running a 4-girls-4 chorus line led by Gloria Bush, aka Sheena, aka Jerry.  "What she devised is a half-twisting chorus line.  Right now they're twisting on an every-other-show basis, doing nontwist numbers the rest of the time, and rehearsing for the days when they may not twist at all."  An ad announced the "50 Mile" Paper Dolls, Twisting With Vigah!"  The reference was to a challenge to the Marines and to the citizenry from President Kennedy to walk 50 miles.




If 1962 was all about the Twist, 1963 was all about folk music.  Or what passed for folk music.  For if folk music was handed down from generation to generation, how could you write new folk music?  Anyway, the movement became a fad, and the clubs advertised in the Minneapolis Tribune all touted their singers as folk singers, whether they were or not.  Here are some examples of folk music fever:


The Contemporary Folk Group was from Minneapolis, and almost hit the big time, performing at the Troubadour Club in Hollywood in February 1963.  They performed at the Chalet in Crystal in June 1963.  They also did "folk type commercials for Aunt Jemima, Quaker Oats, and B.F. Goodrich," reported Will Jones.  The group consisted of Dick Winther, Jerry Longie, Ed Knutson, and Jerry Goodge.


The Kingston Trio, Stan Getz and His Bossa Nova Quintet, and comedian Ronnie Schell appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on February 22.


Will Jones reported that Mercury Records released seven folk albums at once:

  • The Smothers Brothers
  • Knob Lick Upper 10,000
  • Inman and Ira
  • Flatt and Scruggs
  • Josh White
  • The Couriers
  • Sheldon and James

The New Holland Bar featured Caribbean and Latin music, with Bill "Boss" Gordon and his LaBombas.  "Come see and learn the new dance craze - Limbo"


The Chad Mitchell Trio appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium Concert Bowl on May 17.  Franklin Hobbs of WCCO radio was the emcee.  The concert was promoted by William A. Meyer, a U. of M. student.


Will Jones, May 26, 1963: 

All right, folk-music faddists, hear this:


Folk singer Pete Seeger, a recent visitor, observed that Minnesota's folk music is the so-called old-time music played by the polka and oompah bands hereabouts.  New Ulm, Minn., for example, is a hotbed of folk music.


"It really means," observed folk singer Maury Bernstein, "that Whoopee John is our Leadbelly."


There you are, kids.  If you're really with it, you'll start demanding to hear the Six Fat Dutchmen and Fezz Fritsche and Elmer Scheid and all the rest of those cats in your favorite coffeehouses.  Or is it only folk music from some other are that has the snob appeal.

Among the clubs advertising acts like the Jolly Swag Men and the Countrymen (direct from New York) was the Anglesey at 14th and Hennepin. 


"The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" was released on May 27, 1963.  Although his first LP failed to chart, this second release reached Number 22 and was on the Billboard chart for 32 weeks.  This time the Little Sandy Review was quite unkind, using such  phrases as:

  • melodramatic and maudlin
  • affected and pretentious
  • strangely foppish manner of singing
  • dull and monotonous
  • bad beatnik poetry
  • no logical continuity or point
  • wacky verses

The LSR didn't count Dylan out, but hoped that he would veer closer to his folk roots.  It also reported that some copies were released that omitted "Girl From the North Country," "Masters of War," "Bob Dylan's Dream," and "Talking World War III Blues" and instead included "Rocks and Gravel," "Let Me Die in my Footsteps," "Gamblin' Willie's Dead Man's Hand," and "Talking John Birch Blues."  Collectors items?



Hootenanny '63 (no details) happened at the Minneapolis Auditorium on July 26.


Hootenanny was a folk music show from April 6, 1963 to September 12, 1964.  It was broadcast on Saturday nights on ABC.  The host was Jack Linkletter, Art Linkletter's son.  The show expanded to an hour on September 21, 1963.


Harry Belafonte and a cast of 32 came to the St. Paul Auditorium for five days on July 9-13.


In about July 1963 Ann Oleson and Genie Evans bought the Scholar, and celebrated with (what else?) a Hootenanny.


On August 8 the traveling American Outdoor Hootenanny Festival came to Parade Stadium.  Participants were encouraged to bring their guitars, banjos, and vocal chords (and $2), sit on the grass, and be discovered in the talent hunt.  Then it turns out that the first two hours featured "TV and Recording Folk Stars" for two hours, and then it was time for the amateurs.  That made it 10:30 p.m. on a Thursday night so how many folkies were discovered that night is unknown...

















From the St. Louis Park Echo:

Hootenanny For Dancers


What is a hootenanny?  The dictionary's slang definition is "a meeting of folk singers, especially for public entertainment."


On September 14, St. Louis Park's first hootenanny was presented by the Parkettes to raise funds for their planned tour of Europe next summer.


The almost four-hour festival provided entertainment for everyone who paid his $1.50.  There was a wide range of folk music as well as the dancing of the Parkettes.


The show was opened with the Parkettes dancing, followed by the master of ceremonies, Hal Murray of radio station KDWB.  The Contemporary Folk Group was the first of the folk singers, followed by The Countrymen.


Maury Bernstein was next, playing his accordion and telling jokes.  The Flinthill Singers from Washburn High then entertained with the Goldbriers following.  After the intermission, The Bondsmen, Jeff Espina, The Blues Stompers and Gary Holmberg entertained.




Will Jones reported that Bob Hope promised a hootenanny to end all when he introduced the team of Hoot, Nanny, and Hope on his comedy special on September 27.


McGuire's Restaurant and Lounge, not normally a place for young people, featured the Folksinging Voyagers in September 1963.  Gene Bass and Bob Monfort sang calypso, songs from Israel to Ireland, American Ballads, comedy and novelty numbers. 


In October there was something called the Hootenanny Hoot at the Orpheum Theater but no details.


An Inter-University Hootenanny was held at the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 10, featuring:

  • The Clancy Brothers
  • Tommy Makem
  • Oscar Brand
  • Judy Collins (buried in the list)
  • Josh White, Jr.
  • Jean Ritchie

Irv Letofsky, subbing for Will Jones, started his October 7, 1963, column:  "I was sitting around the living room the other morning waiting for folk singing to die.  I was hoping they would kill each other off.  But now they've collected into hootenanny gangs and proliferate."  He goes on about the latest Peter, Paul and Mary album, which contains three songs by "22-year-old Bob Dylan, the sulking Minnesota expatriate.  Of these, two are inconsequential" [that would include "Don't Think Twice It's All Right"] but he was duly impressed with "Blowin' in the Wind."  "Anyone who watched the TV coverage of the civil rights march on Washington and heard Peter, Paul and Mary sing it before the quarter million demonstrators must have been touched.  It was haunting.  If nothing else survives this era of social protest after all the profits are taken out of it, this one may." 


More Irv Letofsky (he's funny), October 11:  "I was trying to do my bit to help drown out folk singing - when I'm besieged.  Two young nuts named Gary Flanders and Bob Liebo went into the booking business through metropolitan Enterprises, they call it.  Their first effort will be the Midwest Hootenanny, they call it [October 12] at Convention Center in Bloomington."  Stars:

  • The Travelers Three
  • The Contemporary Folk Group, a rising local company
  • Maxine Sellers
  • Robert Glaze - the last two singers from Chicago

Jack Linkletter, host of the national "Hootenanny" TV show, brought a traveling show to the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 22, featuring:

  • The Big Three (perhaps including Mama Cass?)
  • Joe and Eddie
  • Les Baxter's Balladeers
  • Raun MacKinnon, an 18-year old self-taught guitarist


Another feature in the Tribune dated November 10, 1963, by Allan Holbert was titled "Folk Music Revival Has America Singing - And Minneapolis Strums Along."  He reported that the fad had pushed guitar sales to more than 400,000 last year, leaving some manufacturers backordered as much as two years.  [Just wait 'til the Beatles hit!]  "One reason for the new popularity is the wide range of songs, styles, messages and performers that can be included under the term folk music."   "Folk music in Minneapolis is the Monday night hootenanny at the Padded Cell, a night spot that formerly booked jazz and now offers folk music every night."  Local groups were the Flinthill Singers from Washburn High School and the Yeomen from Edina High School, who put out a record but broke up when it was time for college.  Local groups going for professional status were the Contemporary Folk Group and the Goldbriars.  Guitar store owner and teacher Rollie Williams reported that kids wanted to trade in their electric guitars for acoustic models.  Performers around the U of M highlighted in the article were:

  • Dave 'Snaker' Ray, "a shaggy-haired white student who sings Negro blues as few non-Negroes can.  'Blues Rags and Hollers,' an LB album recorded recently by Ray, 'Spider' John Koerner and Tony 'Little Sun' Glover, has been selling briskly to traditional fok music fans throughout the country."
  • Jeff Gilkenson, John Hay and Rod Bellville, "three students who sing bluegrass, a kind of hillbilly style, under the collective name of The Down and Outfit.  They accompany themselves on guitar, banjo, fiddle and a cheap cello that's plucked like a bass."
  • Jeff Espina, "the son of Spanish immigrants, whose guitar technique and voice are highly regarded by both performers and fans around town."
  • Maury Bernstein, "who describes himself as an international folksinger.  He isn't quite sure whether he's more interested in being a folk musician or a folk musicologist.  He sings in 19 languages, but he looks more like the musicologist than the successful commercial folksinger of today.  He wears tweedy old sport coats and bow ties instead of bright button down shirts.  His long curly hair would look ridiculous with an Ivy League trim, and he plays not a guitar, but an accordion."




Perhaps the most authentic and long-lasting release of this period was the aforementioned, seminal album "Blues, Rags & Hollers" by "Spider" John Koerner, Dave "Snaker" Ray, and Tony "Little Sun" Glover.  The album was recorded on March 24, 1963, in Milwaukee, produced by the trio and Paul Nelson, editor of the Little Sandy Review, "for a long time the most influential folk music journal in America."   The album was first released in June 1963 on red vinyl on Audiophile Records, a "hobby label" owned by E.D. Nunn, the heir to Nunn-Bush Shoes.  The album was reissued in November 1963 on Elektra Records with four of the original songs deleted.  In February 1995 the album was reissued in CD by Red House Records, with the four deleted songs restored and the Elektra mono restored to stereo.   


In June 1963 Will Jones notes:  "They make a big point of going back to the true roots of folk music and a painfully detailed set of liner notes gives full credit whenever they have borrowed material and ideas from such heroes as Leadbelly and Blind Lemon Jefferson."  "Just for laughs" Jones said he liked to compare the album to something called "Folk Tunes Swingin' Band Style" with Tony Martell and his orchestra doing "Greensleeves," "Mary Ann," "Buffalo Gal," and "Scarlet Ribbons" with a smooth '40s big-dance-band sound.  "That, too, is folk music, folks.  The contrast is startling, to say the least, and either extreme is preferable to the middle ground described in the Koerner-Ray-Glover liner notes: 'Half-baked pop adaptations being palmed off as real folk music.'"


The original album was followed up with "Lots More Blues, Rags and Hollers," recorded in September 1963.








1963 was the year that New York native Doris Hines came to the Twin Cities.  Doris’ talent was discovered early when she won an Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts Show. (Photo below left)  Over her long career, she performed with or opened for Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Maya Angelou, Duke Ellington, Dinah Washington, Harry Belafonte, Nat King Cole, Freddy Cole, and Illinois Jacquet.  Doris came to Minnesota for a two week performance; the job was held over for two years, and Doris decided to stay, becoming a familiar performer at such local venues as The Sheraton Ritz, The Point, The Key Club, Ruby's Cabaret, Big Al's and The Sherwood.  She also brought her talents to the stages of the Guthrie, Ordway, Orchestra Hall, Orpheum Theater and Penumbra Theater, and sang with local legends Percy Hughes and Irv Williams. She was the first African American woman to be seen in a Minnesota television commercial, appearing in Northwestern Bell’s “Get Out of Town Fast” long distance promotion. Doris has six children, including Gary Hines, director of the acclaimed ensemble Sounds of Blackness. The 1970 book Minneapolis Negro Profile by Walter R. Scott, Sr., said about Doris:  This vivacious local young vocalist is known as a Brown Bombshell in the business with torrid vocals and heart-stirring soul music renditions."  See a 1980 performance here.  Doris was inducted into the Minnesota Rock/Country Hall of Fame in 2010 and also a recipient of a Minnesota Black Music Award.  More information and photos are Here; thanks to Gary Hines for providing this information.





A Gigantic Country Music Show took place at the Minneapolis Auditorium on February 16, starring:

  • Rex Allen
  • Web Pierce
  • Jimmy Dickins
  • Bill Anderson
  • Suzi Arden
  • Johnnie Lee Willis

The Harlem Globetrotters came to the Minneapolis Auditorium for two shows on February 24.  Also on the bill were Cab Calloway, five undescribed variety acts, and two table tennis stars.;


The Dave Brubeck Quartet appeared at the Macalester Field House on March 15, 1963.


The Northwest Builders Show took place at the Minneapolis Auditorium from March 15-24, with appearances by Jimmy Dean, the Skeets Trio, The Ashtons, and local announcer Howard Viken.  The troupe did 19 shows in the two weeks.


The Northwest Boat, Sports & Travel Show took place from March 29 to April 7, and an ad boasted a 15-act stage show of Internationally famous entertainers, but no location or list of acts was provided.  Two shows were to be presented per day.


THE BEACH BOYS AT DANCELAND - Click here for this epic event that took place on May 3, 1963.


Will Jones, entertainment columnist for the Minneapolis Tribune, is hilarious.  In May 1963 he told a long story about how the Musicians' Union was giving clubs a hard time, and in response many were pulling their live music and bringing in

that Parisiann phenomenon, the all-record night club.  There's already a modified version of it in the Lipstick Lounge at the rear of the Black Angus restaurant.  After pianist Joe DeMarsh was given his notice in the middle of the hassle with the musicians, the Lipstick Lounge took out its piano and installed a hi-fi record player in the piano bar, with a girl disc jockey behind it..  The girl in charge of records is Kay Clark Nygaard, who for disc-jockey purposes is being billed as K.C. Nygaard.  The curvy Mrs. Nygaard is a bit of a kook with a big toothy smile and a pair of Ben Franklin glasses that tend to slide down her nose.  She was three hours late for work on her opening night because she had trouble selecting just the right dress...  The requests ran to Brubeck and Jamal and Kenton the night I visited the Lounge.  Sometimes Mrs. Nygaard vocalized along with a record, and once she stood on the bar and twisted, but mostly she just sat smiling and wiggling and making sly little comments to the customers..


The Modern Jazz Quartet performed at the Guthrie on May 27.  It was advertised as the first musical event held in the new theater. 


On June 1 The Sam Cooke show came to the Minneapolis Auditorium Concert Bowl, with Gorgeous George as emcee.  Featured acts were:

  • Jerry Butler
  • Dee Clark
  • The Crystals
  • The Drifters
  • Little Esther Phillips
  • Solomon Burke
  • Dionne Warwick
  • Johnny Thunder
  • Little Julius High
  • The Upsetters Band (Little Richard's old band)


"Six Days on the Road" by Dave Dudley made its debut on the Billboard pop chart on June 8, 1963.  The song was recorded at Kay Bank Studios. Released in mid-May 1963, went to Number 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart that summer. The record peaked at Number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached Number 13 on Billboard's easy listening chart. From the web site above:

Songwriters Earl Green and Carl Montgomery were a pair of over-the-road drivers for Robbin's Floor Products in Tuscumbia, Alabama, who made a regular six-day run to Pittsburgh with a load of floor tile. With a guitar along for the ride, the pair penned a factual account of their experiences, as they consumed amphetamines ("little white pills") to stay awake and tried to dodge ICC inspection stations ("I'm a little overweight and my log book's way behind"). The song's gear jammer jargon also refers to specific truck models ("Jimmy" is a nickname for GMC, while "White" was a popular brand now owned by Volvo) and driving techniques ("Georgia overdrive" is a slang term for neutral). Greene and Montgomery recorded a demo of "Six Days on the Road," which they slipped to Cajun singer Jimmy C. Newman during a visit to the Grand Ole Opry. Newman didn't think the song suited his style and had Nashville publisher Jimmy Key pass the tape on to their mutual friend Dave Dudley, in Minneapolis, who stashed the song in his guitar case. The last minute addition also worked to the strength of teen guitar sensation Jimmy Colvard, who did his best Duane Eddy impression.



On June 8 radio station KTCR presented the Grand Ole Opry at Met Stadium.  Headliners were:

  • Claude King
  • Skeeter Davis
  • Don Gibson
  • Merle Travis
  • Tex Ritter
  • Marvin Rainwater (who was robbed of $650 from his suitcase at the Leamington Hotel)
  • Roy Drusky
  • Bobby Hankins
  • Texas Bill Strength, emcee


The British movie "Play it Cool" was released here at the Lyric Theater on June 13, 1963, featuring Brits Helen Shapiro and Billy Fury and Fargo's own Bobby Vee.  Couldn't find much of a plotline, but here's the trailer. 




WDGY DJ Bill Diehl appeared at a Record Hop at the Lucky Twin Drive-In on June 15, 1963.  The Lucky Twin, located at 35 W and Highway 12, featured two Elvis movies (I hesitate to say films) that night:  "Girls, Girls, Girls" and "Blue Hawaii."


Oh to be young on June 19, 1963:



Sonny Rollins and his Trio played the Guthrie on June 24, 1963.  Will Jones of the Trib loved it and music critic Sherman hated it.  Around that time Herb Pilhofer became the musical director at the Guthrie.


This is too funny:  There is an ad for Breezy Point Lodge (on Big Pelican Lake) and the Co-Owner and Developer is Ginny Simms - Kay Kaiser's girl singer!  It gets better:  the Convention Director is... Ish Kabibble!  This is not a joke!  An inquiry has been made to the folks at Breezy Point to clarify this craziness. 


Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians came through with their "Wonderful World of Music" tour on July 1, 1963 at Met Stadium.  Included on the tour was our own Miss Betty Ann McCall, accordionist extraordinaire and runner up to the Miss Minnesota contest in 1959. 


On July 6 the Lucky Twin Drive-In Theatre (35W and Highway 13) featured a DANCE-DANCE-DANCE with Bill Diehl ("N.W.'s Top Disc Jockey") and Mike Waggoner and the Bops.  On the screen was "The Cool and the Crazy."  The IMDB only shows a 1958 movie by this name, with the plotline:  "High school thug is front man for a local marijuana ring."  Hard to believe Bill Diehl would be associated with that.





The cast and crew of the hip show Route 66 came to town in July 1963 to film three episodes in Minneapolis.  By this time Tod Stiles' (Martin Milner) original traveling companion, Buz Murdock (George Maharis) has been replaced by Lincoln Case (Glenn Corbett) because Maharis came down with hepatitis.  Will Jones reported that the filming took a crew of 60, plus 15 or 20 wives and a couple of dozen children of crew members who travel with the show during the summer.  Filming the three hour-long episodes was expected to take about a month.  The whole crew stayed free at the Sheraton-Ritz, which was a prominent locale for the first episode. 




The episodes were:

  • "Where Are the Sounds of Celli Brahms?"  aired October 18, 1963.  As Tod and Linc drive across a bridge into Minneapolis they are stopped and told that they are the millionth visitors of the season, qualifying Linc (who is driving) to be a judge of the Aquatennial Queen contest.  Tod gets a job at the Sheraton-Ritz.  They meet Celli Brahms (Tammy Grimes), a no-nonsense career girl whose job is to soundproof the hotel.  A girl from a poor family enters the contest and wins, according to Jones.
  • "And Make Thunder His Tribute," aired November 1, 1963.  Tod and Linc find work with an eccentric farmer. He is at odds with his son about using any new farming ideas and actually uses a shotgun for noise to scare birds away from his crop. The son and he escalate the battle between them over the possible use of the farm as the site of a motel.  
  • "Kiss the Monster - Make Him Sleep, aired January 24, 1964. "Tod and Linc are in Minneapolis working in construction on a river lock project. Linc becomes "involved" with the sister of their boss. She resents her brother being overprotective and buying off her men friends. Linc tries to help her make it on her own but later finds she has neuroses involving dependency and nymphomania."  (synopsis from imdb.com)

                            TV Times image courtesy Jeff Lonto


On July 19, 1963, WDGY presented an Aquatennial Music Spectacular at Parade Stadium.  Headliners were:

  • Little Peggy March
  • Tommy Roe
  • Mike Clifford
  • Ray Stevens

Not to be outdone, on July 23, 1963, KDWB and William A. Meyer promoted a concert by "the Dynamic" Ferante & Teicher at Metropolitan Stadium, playing the exciting themes from "West Side Story," "The Apartment," "Cleopatra," and "Exodus."  It was also an Aquatennial event.


The Minneapolis Jaycees presented a concert by Al Hirt and the Schmitz Sisters at Met Stadium on July 29.

What you can learn on Facebook:  In about 1963 the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce ran a contest to write a song about the city.  The winning entry, "A Song for Minneapolis!," was written by local resident Dick Wilson and composer Ray Charles, who led the choral group the Ray Charles Singers ("Love Me With All Your Heart").  The two had also written "We're Gonna Win Twins."  Hear it on this web page from Hymie's Vintage Records.






Meat-packing heir Geordie Hormel was a regular singer at the White House in Golden Valley.  He'd had his own club, King's Wood, apparently in Austin, but it failed.  Hormel was apparently a real character; here's one interesting article


On August 9 Frank Seifert took over the old Key Club (see Key Club under venues below).  His plan was to have two house bands:  the Key Noters played Bossa Nova, Fox Trot, Waltz, Mambo, and Cha Cha, while Augie Garcia covered Rhythm & Blues, Twist, Surfing, and Rhythm-Jazz.  Or was it Surfing Rhythm and Jazz?  In the old South of the Border Bar next door was the Inn-Tuition, a "key club" (meaning you literally needed a key) for "Single Men and Girls."


Loretta Lynn appeared at the Flame for a week in September, doing "Three Big Shows Nightly!" 




Headliners at the State Fair Grandstand, August 24 to September 2, were Rosemary Clooney, the Smothers Brothers, and Buster Keaton. 


At KDWB's Teen Danceland, performers were:

  • Rooftop Singers
  • Rhythm Masters
  • The Yeomen
  • Libby Horne
  • Paul & Paula
  • Smothers Brothers
  • James Darren
  • The Galaxies
  • The Corvets
  • Mike Waggoner and the Bops
  • The Starliners

Kids' Day, for children up to age 15, promised a free Grandstand show at 10 a.m. starring:

  • Bobby Vinton
  • The Rhythm Masters teen comedy band
  • Libby Horne
  • The Rooftop Singers
  • The Yeomen


On September 17 you could go to the St. Paul Auditorium Arena and - if you wanted to - you could Sing Along With Mitch.  Also on the ticket were Leslie Uggams and 50 singers, dancers, and musicians.


In September 1963 the Chancellors played a dance at St. Louis Park High School.  This photo from the yearbook isn't very good but it's all we have. Dave Rivkin and John Hughes were from Park.  A previous iteration of the band called the Continentals had played at Park High that spring.




The Grand Ole Opry was back at the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 5, 1963 with a show called Blockbuster Number One.  Featured performers were:

  • Hank Snow
  • Ernest Tubb and His Texas Troubadours
  • Carl Smith
  • Buck Owens and His Band
  • Skeeter Davis
  • Martha Carson 


Ray Charles appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 6, 1963.


Nat King Cole appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 30 with the Merry Young Souls and Joe Zito's 19-piece orchestra.


Meade Lux Lewis, boogie woogie piano player, did an extended stay at the Chateau de Paris at the Hotel Dyckman in Minneapolis


In 1963 WDGY DJ Bill Diehl was the emcee at a Halloween dance at the St. Louis Park Roller Garden featuring The Trashmen, who had released their national smash hit, “Surfin’ Bird” earlier that month. Expecting about 800 kids, an estimated 2100 showed up. The enthusiastic crowd pushed in the building's glass door, and Diehl had to call the police department and hire 5-6 members of the local constabulary to keep the peace. Even at only $2 a head, money was made hand over fist, stuffed in wastebaskets and whatever they could find.  Diehl had promoted the dance in partnership with his brother, who was a plastic surgeon.  So much money was made that his brother was ready to quit his practice and keep promoting dances, but the next three turned out to be flops, so he returned to facelifts.  Notes on the Trashmen: 

Despite their landlocked situation, three of the four band members actually did go to California, where they absorbed the Dick Dale sound and rode the waves.

The famous album cover in front of the trash truck was taken at Wally McCarthy's Lindahl Olds at 494 and Penn Ave. where scenes from “Fargo" were later shot. It’s now Best Buy headquarters.


"Surfin' Bird" entered the Billboard Charts on December 7, 1963 and stayed there for 13 weeks, peaking at #4. The song was originally to be called "Surfer Bird," but Bill Diehl suggested that "Surfin'" leant a little more action to it.  Reaction to the song was mixed; in January 1964 Will Jones reported that one Texas listener offered a radio station there "any amount of money" to take it off the air.  "The station told him to send his money to the March of Dimes, and smashed its copy of the record....Meanwhile the Minneapolis record company that created the hit is lining up extra pressing plants in Michigan and California to keep up  with the demand for the disk." 


The B-side of "Surfin' Bird" was "King of the Surf," the best surfin' song of all time, bar none!  The sudden success of "Surfin' Bird" required that a flip side be written quickly, and Larry LaPole was enlisted to write it.  Larry had never been to California, but fellow Minneapolis Tribune writer Mike Jann gave Larry a column that Will Jones had done on July 28 with definitions of surf terms.  The column, "Avast, Gremmies--Surfing Tide is Rolling In," has virtually all the terms Larry used in the song.  Click here for a pdf of the column.




On December 8, 1963, Irv Letofsky wrote a two-page feature on the Trashmen for the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune - "Trashmen 'Have the Beat Kids Love.'"  Although Tribune music critic Dan Sullivan "applied the rare superlative 'It's the worst song I've ever heard,' It matters not.  The beat's the thing.  (Surfin music's the thing, too, although surfing style of dancing hasn't really reached the Midwest, informants say.  It's coming from the West Coast.)"  George Garrett noted that the name the Trashmen might have come from a record about a trash man that was out about three years ago. [Maybe "My Old Man's a Dustman" by Lonnie Donnegan?]  "But we like what the disc jockeys do with the name... like 'Back up and get a load of this.'" 


On January 12, 1964, a party at Kay Bank Studio celebrated 500,000 in sales for "Surfin' Bird."  Will Jones reported it as "one of the more remarkable parties of the season," hosted by officials from Soma, distributor; Garrett Records, producer; and Kay Bank, where the record was made. It was also a launch party for "Bird Dance Beat" and the "Surfin' Bird" LP.   "The party was attended by disk jockeys, record peddlers, and a few young persons whose function was to dance The Bird." 


"Bird Dance Beat" (b/w "A-Bone") charted on February 8, 1964 and stayed for seven weeks, peaking at #30. 


The "Surfin' Bird" album (see very top of this page), on Soma Records, hit the Billboard Chart on February 15, 1964 and stayed there for 15 weeks, peaking at #48.  It was available at Record Lane and Musicland for $2.88.  2013 ebay prices range from $120 to $1,000 for a copy autographed by all four members.


A third single release, "Bad News" b/w "On the Move" hit the Billboard Bubbling Under charts on May 16, 1964, but by then the Beatles had hit and surf was over. 


The Trashmen were featured on "American Bandstand" - only the show was too cheap to fly out the entire band, so Steve Wahrer (the drummer and singer) was out there alone, doing the Bird.  Now we know how to do it!


In late 1964 the group went on a tour of South America.  A planned tour of the UK in 1965 had to be postponed because of the British Invasion but they finally made it in 2010. 



Jack Benny appeared with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra at Northrop Auditorium on November 7, 1963.  Benny did 7-8 of these benefit concerts a year.  The reviewer in the Tribune was not impressed with Benny's... anything, and said that conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski was mean to him, but it was probably all in the act, since Benny was said to be hilarious.  Which shows that he is a pro, since days before his wife had been robbed of $250,000 in jewels in her hotel room in New York City and he was hopping mad.  Mary Livingstone was unharmed and the jewels were insured.


Perhaps the first mention of the Beatles in a Minneapolis paper appeared in the Tribune on November 10, 1963, with a UPI story dateline London.  The article was couched as a fairy story and kind of made fun of them, except that it was quite impressed that the group was making $14,000 a week.  "The Beatles, who just a year ago were making only about $50 a week, have turned Britain topsy-turvy with their brand of music, called the 'Mersey sound,' the 'Liverpool sound,' 'Beat with a Drive' and 'Pop with a beat.' ....  In recent weeks, police in cities throughout Britain have become engaged in almost uncontrolled warfare with thousands of young fans..."


Johnny Mathis, with Sy Zenter and His Nationally Famous Orchestra, played the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 15, 1963.


The Ahmad Jamal Trio appeared at the Macalester Fieldhouse on November 16.




Myron Lee and the Caddies was an early rock 'n' roll group from Sioux Falls.  On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Myron posted this story on Facebook .

In early November of 1963, 58 people met at a New York City hotel for the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars Tour. The next morning we boarded two buses for a short trip across the river to Teaneck, New Jersey, where we rehearsed 12 acts doing 6 songs each. This lasted about five hours and then it was time to change clothes and do our first show to start a six week tour. I knew who the acts were in advance so we had already done a lot of work on the songs before we left Sioux Falls. Myron Lee and The Caddies were on Bus #1 with Dick Clark sitting up front across from the bus driver. Some of the stars on the show were Brian Highland, The Ronettes, Paul and Paula, The Thymes, Little Eva, Freddie Cannon, and Bobby Vee was the headliner. Del Shannon joined us for a couple of shows and The Rolling Stones did two shows with us in Philadelphia.


By November 20th we had traveled down the east coast and across country, arriving in Sioux City, Iowa, to do a show in the auditorium that night. The band and I looked forward to this date because a lot of family members came to visit us and enjoy the show. It was a GREAT show and the band was tight with great musicians. Jerry Haacke - bass, Curt Powell - lead guitar, Stu Perry - drums, Fred Scott - sax, and Joel Shapiro - sax.


On November 21st we did a show in Wichita, Kansas, drove all night and arrived in Dallas, Texas around 10AM on November 22nd, 1963. We checked into a downtown hotel and the plan was to get some sleep before the night show. I was brushing my teeth and planned on getting some sleep when an announcer on TV stated that the president's motorcade would be arriving in about 30 minutes and the parade route was just two blocks from our hotel. I called Brian Highland who had a room next to mine and asked him to join me. We were so excited in 1963 to have a chance to see the President of the United States up close and just a few feet away. There were people lined up on both sides of the street as far as you could see. We could spot that black limo two blocks away and all of the sudden there they were right in front of us. We felt and wanted to believe that the Kennedys were looking right at us as they smiled as waived their hands in our direction. We were ready to head back to the hotel when we spotted a sign that read Nieman Marcus so we decided to check it out. Just as we were about to enter the store, we heard what we thought were firecrackers. Never in our wildest dreams in those innocent times would we think we were hearing gun shots three blocks away. We entered the store and there was a little television set on the counter near the cash register. All of the sudden the screen showed "News Bulletin." A local TV personality came on and said "It is believed that gunshots have been fired at the presidential motorcade." A few seconds later, Walter Cronkite came on and read that very emotional statement we've all seen many times. Brian and I, the city of Dallas, and people all over the world were in shock. We quietly walked back to the hotel not saying much. For the rest of the day and night, all we heard were sirens. Later on that afternoon we watched TV as Air Force One took off to fly back to Washington, DC. I could see the plane on TV and I also spotted it live out of my hotel window as it disappeared into the clouds.


After this happened the show that night was canceled of course and the next two dates also. One of those dates was Nashville, which I so much was looking forward to. I've always had a special thing for Nashville and country music. We continued the tour four days later I think in St. Louis.  I will be forever grateful to Bobby Vee as he recommended my band to Dick Clark.


Now 50 years later, it all comes back to me like it happened only yesterday.


              Photo from Myron Lee's Web site.


Pianist Peter Nero was scheduled to perform with the Minneapolis Symphony in a sold-out show at Northrop Auditorium on November 24 but because of the assassination the concert was rescheduled for March 9, 1964.   

KDWB presented the annual 13-hour Thanksgiving Hop on November 29 at the Minneapolis Armory.  Admission was $1 donation at the door with net proceeds donated to Cerebral Palsy.  It went from 10 AM to midnight.  Appearing were:

  • The Ripchords
  • Lou Christie
  • The Pixies
  • Vic Dana
  • Diane Rey
  • Debby Dovell
  • Tim and the Galaxies
  • The Belmonts
  • The Corvettes

Special Attraction Lou Riegert and the Troops - and all the swinging gentlemen of KDWB.  Lou Riegert was a KDWB jock and later became Lou Waters of CNN fame.

The Grand Ole Opry came to the Minneapolis Auditorium on December 7, 1963, featuring:

  • Ferlin Husky
  • Slim Whitman
  • Dave Dudley
  • Bobby Bare
  • Loretta Lynn
  • Wade Ray
  • Simon Crum




Bobby Lord, February 3-10

Suzi Arden, February 11-16

Webb Pierce, February 17-24

Kitty Wells with Johnnie and Jack, February 24-March 9

Bob Wills, March 10-17


Rex Allen made his first night club appearance at the Flame in May 1963 as a favor to owner Raye Perkins.  Allen had made 38 musical Western movies for Republic pictures.  Not sure if the photo below is from that appearance.



Stonewall Jackson, June

Sons of the Pioneers, July 10-20




In 1963 the Prom was usually sticking to its formula of having one rock band and one "smooth" band each night.  A frequent local rock band was the Corvets; another was the Galaxies and Tim.  During the summer there was usually a name band on Wednesday nights, for only 90 Cents admission.


In February the Prom was advertising Bossa Nova classes:  "You might meet the most important person in your life!"

Dion, February 13

Joey Dee, with Danny and the Diamonds, May 8

The Trashmen (with the everpresent Jules Herman) played the Prom on May 18.

KSTP presented Stan Kenton at the Prom on May 29.


Spring Shower of Stars, May 31:

  • Paul and Paula
  • Steve Alaimo
  • Lou Christie
  • Johnny Cymbal
  • Ronnie Cochrane
  • Charlie Russo
  • Extra Added Attraction:  Dick and DeeDee

Mike Waggoner and the Bops, "The Northwest's Busiest Rock Band," played the Prom on June 8.

The Dovells and Eddie Randall, June 26 - possibly this Eddie Randall?

The Cascades, July 3

Bill Miller and the Accents, July 10

Les Elgart, July 12:  "KSTP Invites You"

The "Roaring" Trashmen and the Bob White Orchestra, July 17

The Beach Boys, August 2

Little Peggy March (with the Warner Brothers Band), August 7

Johnny Cash, August 21

Lou Christie, Brian Highland, Ronnie Cochrane, and the Kasuals, August 30 (all for $1.49!)

Lonnie Mack, September 7

Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, November 12

The Kingsmen, December 28




*Shows at the Guthrie are listed at the end of this 1964 section.


Bill Diehl coordinated the WDGY Winter Carnival Spectacular, which drew 20,000 people: 16,000 inside the St. Paul Auditorium and 4,000 outside. It was the largest crowd in the auditorium's history. Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs was one of the acts.

The Auto Show was held in the Minneapolis Auditorium from January 10-19.  Entertainers included:

  • Roger "Mr. Piano" Williams - January 10 and 11
  • The Osmond Brothers - January 12-16
  • Jerry Van Dyke
  • The Topnotchers
  • Leo DeLyon - comedian and emcee

The New Christy Minstrels appeared at Northrop Auditorium on January 25.


The local folk group the Goldebriars made its network debut on the national "Hootenanny" show in January 1964.  The group had been together for about a year, playing at LeZoo in the spring of '63 and then at the Padded Cell.  Members were Ron Neilson (West High), Curt Boettcher (former U of M), and sisters Dottie and Sheri Holmberg (White Bear Lake).  Here's an article about the Goldebriars.


On February 8 the Prom Ballroom hosted the Caravelles, Counts Four, and the Jack Gabel Sextet as part of its "rock vs. smooth" programming.  It generally had a big band and a teen band every weekend.


Beatlemania hit big when the Fab Four crossed the pond and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.  Local reaction was swift:

  • Reviewers in the TV Times could hardly think of enough synonyms for "trash." 
  • On February 5, Will Jones of the Minneapolis Tribune reported that from the moment the Beatles arrive, WDGY will follow their progress with five one-minute beeper-telephone reports daily, supplied by Radio Pulsebeat News.  Before the ink was dry on the Trib, KDWB "worked a fast shuffle" and signed with the same company, edging out their rival, Jones reported the next day.  Curses!  Foiled again!  
  • Front page headline on the Tribune, February 10:  "'Beatlemania' Hits City."  It was not pretty, calling it a "disease," "malady" and "epidemic" caused by a "germ."  Ringo was called "homely" and complained about teenagers combing their hair down to their noses or, if they were in a hurry, buying Beatle wigs.  Buyer for Woodworth's couldn't keep the darn things in stock.  Kids were accused of rebelling against "conformity to cultural stereotypes."  They haven't even seen the Stones yet.
  • Meanwhile, back in St. Paul, the Beetles (formerly the Tornadoes) performed at the Belmont Supper Club in Beatle wigs on February 12.
  • On February 15, KDWB's Ed Rudy was the station's Eastern Correspondent covering the Beatles' first American tour. 
  • In the February 22, 1964, edition of the TV Times there were extensive ads for Beatle wigs at two drug stores and a Ben Franklin in Wayzata.  Plus there was a coupon for 50 cents off on said Beatle wig. 
  • Speaking of Beatle wigs, Will Jones described the Compleat Beatles kit he received from Capitol Records:  "besides copies of their first single records and album to be released in this country, a large lapel button bearing photos of all four and the command, 'Be a BEATLE Booster!'  There's also a newsletter and a tabloid newspaper devoted entirely to the Beatles.  the tabloid shows the Beatle-cut coif for women, and also four Capitol executives wearing Beatle wigs.  There's an ad for Beatle wigs ('reasonably authentic') for $2 each." 
  • KDWB's music survey for March 14, 1964 advertises the Beatles Closed Circuit TV show on the giant screen, March 14 & 15 at the St. Paul Auditorium Theatre and the Minneapolis Armory.  Tickets were $2 and available at Field-Schlick and Melody Music City. The show was promoted by National Talent Consultants, Beverly Hills, represented in Minneapolis by 23-year-old Larry Goldblatt.  At the Armory, a group of kids showed up at 2am the night before, and a National Guardsman let them in for their safety but kicked them out at sunrise.  About 100 kids were literally beating down the doors at 8 am, although fewer than 1,000 of the expected 7,000-8,000 seats were filled for the 11am show.  

In the wake of the Beatles, every male teenager wanted to play the guitar.  If you were a pre-teen, there were substitutes, courtesy of with-it toy companies.


Battle of the Bands, SLP High School, Feb. 15, 1964: Chancellors vs. the Rays. Each band played for 20 minutes at a time, and at the end of the night the kids voted for the best band. Never heard of the Rays. And if you didn't like rock 'n' roll there was a jazz combo in the activity room.


Also on February 15 was a Grand Ole Opry Show, Blockbuster Number 3, at the Minneapolis Auditorium.  Mike Jann says that the Grand Ole Opry shows were booked by a guy named Smokey Smith.  This show featured:

  • Faron Young
  • Webb Pierce
  • Lefty Frizzell
  • Earnest Ashworth
  • Sonny James
  • Elton Britt
  • Jan Moore
  • Texas Bill Strength

Peter, Paul and Mary appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on February 22, 1964.


Folk singer Theodore Bikel made his first Twin Cities appearance on February 23 at the Guthrie, presented by the Minneapolis Chapter of the Hadassah.


Allan Sherman, my favorite singing comedian, appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium Theater Section on March 7, a benefit for the Organization for Rehabilitation Through Training.

On March 14 and 15, 1964, Twin Citians were able to see the Beatles concert in Washington, DC, over closed circuit at the Minneapolis and St. Paul Armories.  Thanks to Barb Frost for posting the images below on Facebook:






On April 10, 1964, the St. Louis Park dance team the Parkettes hosted the River City Talent Tournament at the Minneapolis Auditorium. Professional acts included Jimmie Rodgers and the Big Three, a group from Greenwich Village featuring Cass Elliot. The Castaways (pictured right) placed first in the rock and roll category, beating out the Blazemen from North High.

The Castaways consisted of Robert Folschow (Southwest), Roy Hensley (Richfield), Jim Donna (DeLaSalle), and Dennis “Ludwig” Craswell (Richfield). Denny's the one on the bottom, looking like he was about 12 years old.  He is also kind of my cousin.  They won the $50 prize with “(Turn On Your) Love Light.” This big win led to professional jobs, press interviews, and more, essentially launching their career. The band went on to have a huge monster national hit, “Liar Liar,” written by Jim Donna and Denny Craswell and produced by Timothy D. Kehr. Kehr was also a  a booking agent, music reviewer, record producer, magazine publisher, and more. "Liar Liar" entered the Billboard chart on August 14, 1964 and stayed there for 14 weeks, peaking at #12.  Unfortunately, their followup, “Goodbye Babe,”  didn't fare as well - it entered Billboard's Bubbling Under chart on November 13, 1965 where it stayed for only two weeks and made it to #101. 


Nevertheless, the momentum of “Liar Liar” was huge, and in '65 they went out to California for 22 days.  They appeared on many rock 'n' roll TV shows, including "Where the Action Is," "The Lloyd Thaxton Show," "Shivaree," "Never Too Young," and "American Bandstand."  When they played on "Hollywood a Go Go," Roy Hensley ruptured a tonsil.  In 1967 they were even in a beach movie called “It’s a Bikini World.” (Only afterwards did the Beach Boys advise them never to do a beach movie.) Universal Pictures paid them $800 just for playing the song twice, reported the Minneapolis Tribune.  (Check out Denny's wink at the end of the scene!)  They worked with the Animals, Beach Boys, Sonny and Cher and the Shangri-Las. 

Gary Gimmestad remembers the Castaways on a float in the Aquatennial Parade doing "Liar, Liar."  "It may have been the same year that Jan & Dean were in the Aquatennial parade riding skateboards pulled by a car on tow-ropes. I also saw the Castaways performing at a dance (1968?) in the gym of Incarnation (Catholic school) in south Minneapolis. It was most memorable because the Castaway's drummer had metal pans on a couple of his drums which contained the flames from burning lighter fluid during the climax to the only live version of he Beatles' 'A Day in the Life' I've ever heard."

Did I mention that Denny was kind of my cousin?  His dad's brother married my dad's sister.  So there.




The PTA at Brookside Elementary School in St. Louis Park sponsored a Hoot-nanny at the school carnival on April 11, 1964. Those who could sound like the Christy Minstrels (presumably the New Christy Minstrels) were encouraged to participate. Seven ponies were available for riding, and the prizes included transistor radios. Other activities included a trading post, country store, chuck wagon, merry-go-round, make-up booth, candy peg board, and a fish pond.  One of the musical participants was the newly-formed Jaguars, all students of Brookside School.  


Seen practicing their "British Invasion" song list are Bobby Rivkin on drums (age 8), Stephen Rivkin, Craig Schadow, and Gary Oxman, all on guitars and all age 12.  The honed their skills playing dances at the old Community Center, Central Jr. High Canteens, and possibly the Roller Garden.  Bobby, of course, went on to play with Prince and the Revolution, and Stephen became a big Hollywood film editor.  Older brother David Rivkin was already making his way through some classic Twin City bands.  Read more about the Rivkins here.   Thanks ever so much to Craig Schadow for the photo.

Jayne Malana, an assistant to Dick Shapiro remembers:

In (I think) 1964 although I don't remember the date, the Beach Boys played the Armory. After the show, we (the five band members -- Brian, Carl, Dennis, Mike and Al, and their manager, who I think was their father, and I) went to dinner at Giovanni's on Hennepin Avenue. They were staying at the Inn Towne Motel near the Greyhound Station. I dropped them off there that night and went home like a good girl. The next morning I picked them up and drove them to the airport in my mom's '53 Plymouth. There must have been another car, too, but I don't remember it. I still have a picture strip of Dennis Wilson and me in a photo booth at the airport that day. Dennis left his sport coat in the car and I kept it for years. My mother finally got rid of it.


Stebbins reported that in 1964 there were 22 jazz groups working in and around Minneapolis.  The majority were playing for dancing, two backed strip acts, and six played for listening.  Approximately one-fourth of the working musicians were black and almost all were male.  There were around 2,000 members in the Minneapolis musicians' union.


Dayton's Department Store's teen concerts got too popular - one show drew 5,000 kids and got out of control.  To regain order the store formed a "Top Ten Teen Club," limiting dance attendance to 1,500.  Mark Riley remembers: 

It required a "membership card;" it definitely existed in Spring 1964 (height of Beatlemania); it was a Saturday event held in the Dayton's auditorium; it probably offered record-purchase discounts for "members;" it may have had a WDGY disk jockey on-site during the show (possibly even live broadcasts OF the show); it definitely distributed "current chart" information, possibly the 'DGY chart of the week.

An aircheck from www.radiotapes.com in 1964 tells us that there was indeed a simulcast, and that admittance was by club card only, which was free at the teen department at Dayton's.

Dick Gregory, the Freedom Singers, and top jazz and calypso artists appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 10, 1964, sponsored by the Minneapolis Friends of Civil Rights in cooperation with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). 


On June 5, KDWB presented The School's End "Battle of the Bands in the Round!"  with Gregory Dee and the Avanties, the Jades, the Lancers, the Mystics, and the Wanderers.  At Aldrich Arena "on St. Paul's East Side." 


Koerner, Ray, and Glover released "Lots More Blues, Rags and Hollers" in June.  As with their first album, it was well received by the Little Sandy Review.



June 12, 1964: The Rolling Stones performed at Danceland.  There are so many versions of this story that I've made a separate page for the event. 

The Key Club was still around, but not advertising in the Spokesman nearly as much.  On July 2, 1964 it presented Mojo Buford, but also a Saturday afternoon Bikini Beach Party. 

A huge Country/Western show was held on July 11, 1964 at Met Stadium, featuring Marty Robbins and Red Foley, with 20 other acts including Sheb Wooley, Tex Williams, Johnny Bond, and Bob Luman.

On July 14, KDWB sponsored a "Super Collossal Midsummer Hop!" aka "Battle of the Bands in the Round" at Aldrich Arena.  Appearing were:

  • The Underbeats
  • Keith Zeller and the Starliners
  • The More-Tishans
  • The Tremadons
  • The Sting-Rays

In July 1964, WDGY brought Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs ("Sugar Shack") to Danceland.


Jan and Dean appeared at Parade City in a big show for the Aquatennial on July 17, 1964, sponsored by WDGY.  Other acts were Johnny Cymbal, Johnny Nash, Betty Everett, Jerry Wallace, the Initials, and new singing sensation Frankie Randall, with his song "Girls in Summer Dresses."



                            Courtesy Jeff Lonto


Headliners at the 1964 State Fair Grandstand shows were the New Christy Minstrels with Anita Bryant and Al Hirt with John Gary.

The State Fair included a Teen Age Fair for the first time:

Straight from Hollywood - a 3-acre "Fair within a Fair" for teeners.  Non-Stop Record Hop, Battle of Bands, Custom Car Caravan, Fashion and Beauty Shows, Karate demonstrations, Miss Teen Northwest competition, Hootenanny, dance contests, and MUCH more.  Continuous program, all ten days and nights  Adjoins the Midway, west of Grandstand.  Admission (50 cents) covers all attractions.  (Accompanied by cartoon of the State Fair Gopher playing a guitar)

The first live band to play was called the Casualties, who started out with "Hello Josephine."  The Casualties eventually became the Sir Raleighs.  The Lancers and Michael's Mystics also played at the Teen Fair that first year. 


In 1964 Danny Stevens and his band (Danny and the Night Sounds) entered into a battle of the bands contest at the Teen Fair. Competing against 400 other groups, Danny and the Night Sounds took first place in the massive contest. Later that year, Danny started a new band, this time calling it "Danny's Reasons."



Count Basie appeared at the Prom Ballroom on August 19, 1964.


Big Al's became a force in jazz shows, presenting:

  • Jimmy McGriff
  • Ahmad Jamal
  • Juaria Moore
  • Jimmy Smith, September 17-26

Tony Bennett and Duke Ellington appeared at Met Stadium on August 22.


Sammy Davis, Jr. came to Met Stadium in August 1964.


August 28, 29, and 30 were big nights at Mr. Lucky's:

  • On Friday, August 28, there was a Battle of the Bands between the Chancellors and the Renegades.  ("If it's a Rich Dance it's the Finest")
  • Saturday night featured a dance with the Chancellors
  • Sunday was Mr. Lucky's First Annual Scholarship Dance featuring "The Stompin' Underbeats," "The Accents," and "The Chancellors."  Proceeds from the dance will provide two Mr. Lucky's Scholarships for deserving freshmen students at the University of Minnesota.  Recipients will be selected by the University Scholarship Committee.  Services were donated by the bands, Pepsi Cola, KDWB, Mr. Lucky's Club, and Rich Enterprises.


Club "15" held their annual Bermuda Short Dance at Ford Parkway Hall on August 30.  Music was provided by Mojo Buford and his "Chi 4." 

WDGY gave away tickets to a Beatles concert in Chicago on September 5, 1964.  But they also advertised an album of Beatle songs as mangled by the Hollyridge Strings.  Oh why?

1964 was the breakout year for the Chancellors, which included two members from St. Louis Park:  David Rivkin and John Hughes. The other members were Mike Judge and Dan Holm.  In October 1964 the band recorded their famous version of "Little Latin Lupe Lu" and also "YoYo" at Kay Bank Studios.  Rivkin was associated with three major Twin Cities bands, starting with four years with the Chancellors.  In 1965 David left the Chancellors to join the High Spirits In late 1968, David moved to join Stillroven. Now known as David Z, he had two brothers:  born Robert Rivkin, Bobby Z is a musician and producer, most famous for being Prince's drummer as a member of the Revolution. Steven E. Rivkin is a film editor and producer. 


Ray Charles performed at the St. Paul Auditorium Theater on October 9 and the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 10.


Harry James, Buddy Rich, and Ruth Price were at the Prom on October 16.


Roger Miller performed at the Prom on October 21.


Harry Belafonte and Greek singer Nana Mouskouri came to Northrop Auditorium on November 11.


The Gestures' big hit, "Run Run Run," hit the Billboard chart on November 14, 1964 and had an 8 week run, peaking at #44.  The Gestures hailed from Mankato and featured Dale Menten, Gus Dewey, Tom Klugherz, and Bruce Waterston.  Despite their big success (the record was played on "American Bandstand"), the band broke up in 1965. Menten went on to enjoy a successful career in music. 



The Modern Jazz Quartet appeared at Northrop Auditorium on November 15.


"Mr. Dynamite" James Brown and His Famous Flames gave a dance and show at the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 17, 1964.


Marian Anderson came to Northrop Auditorium on November 24 as part of her Farewell Tour.


The Dave Clark Five Came to the Minneapolis Armory on November 17, 1964.  Kevin Odegard says that they "rocked the rafters. Best sound and (black)light show ever (their own)...  They were a monstrous, huge live act. One of the three best shows I ever saw. Two more happened in rapid succession the next year with the Yardbirds (Page on bass, Beck on lead) at Daytons 8th floor auditorium and the lads from Liverpool at Metropolitan Stadium. Nothing before or since ever came close to those shows."   On December 12, 1964, Billboard Magazine reported that the group grossed $10,000 but concert promoter Ray "Big Reggie" Colihan lost $4,000; he had paid $25,000 for two shows, one in Des Moines.


Del Shannon appeared at the Prom Ballroom on November 28, 1964.  Roland Anderson and his sister Marilyn, who Roland describes as a "Del Shannon nut," were there.  Roland has graciously shared his diary entry for that evening with us:

Tonight will be one of the greatest memory nights of all time. At 9:40 Marilyn and I got up to the front of the stage and when Mike Waggoner introduced him and Del Shannon came out on the stage we were only about 6 feet away. He sang Runaround Sue, Hats Off to Larry, Crying, Little Town Flirt, Keep Searchin’ (his new one), Handyman, Runaway and then Keep Searchin’ again. Seeing Del seemed like it would have felt to see President Kennedy. It just didn’t seem real. While Del was resting back stage I bought pop for everyone.


Before Del came out again, Marilyn and I got right in front of the microphone at 11:00. While there, Del Shannon walked by right in back of us and I told Marilyn to et his autograph. First he just happened to walk by and then he happened to stop so Marilyn could get his autograph. She had brought a blown-up picture of Del playing a guitar and when she asked him to sign it, he said that picture was taken in England. Marilyn told him she had all of his records and he put his arm on her and said “good girl” and asked her how she liked Keep Searchin’. I’d pay $20 bucks to have a picture of that moment. Everyone else was so unconcerned. No one else was around when she was getting the autograph.


When Del was singing again, he sang Twist & Shout, Hats Off to Larry, Runaway, Handyman, Keep Searchin’ twice more and Do You Wanna Dance? He said that everyone should buy his new record so he could pay his income tax. All this time we were practically breathing on his shoes. When we left at 11:45 we saw Del in a hall with an old grey jacket on signing an autograph. When home we had cocoa.



On December 16, 1964, religious radio station KUXL changed its programming to Rhythm and Blues. See Radio Stations below.

"Out:  Dances like the hully gully, in which partners kept their distance and did their own thing, are not as popular now.  They had their peak in 1964 when the discoteque was the dance atmosphere."  So sayeth the Minneapolis Tribune on December 21, 1964.  What did they know?  Shown are hully gulliers Mike Andreas and Jane Ingram of Wayzata, photoshopped with magic marker.  One correspondent remembers a dance called the Funky Four Corners.  How did that go?

The 1964 Holiday Hop at the Prom featured Chad and Jeremy and a host of other big acts.  Poster image courtesy Rich Packer.





The Guthrie's Center Arts Council sponsored a series of Folk concerts in early 1964:


Mountain String Band and Banjo Songs, January 25:

  • New Lost City Ramblers of NYC
  • Roscoe Holcomb of Daisy, Kentucky
  • Dock Boggs of Norton, Virginia

American Negro Folk Songs and Blues, February 8:

  • Bessie and the Sea Island Singers of St. Simon's Island, Georgia
  • Mississippi John Hurt, Avalon Mississippi.  Will Jones reported that Hurt, 72, was rediscovered about a year prior by record  collector Tom Hoskins from Washington, DC.  Most collectors of his 1928 records had assumed he was dead.  Hoskins found Hurt at home in Mississippi and told him he was going to take him to Washington to record.  Hurt was convinced that the record buff was really from the FBI:  "I knew I hadn't done anything sinful, but I went along anyway.  Now I'm sorry the FBI man didn't discover me a few years earlier." 
  • Sleepy John Estes, Lowry County, Tennessee with Hammie Nixon and Yank Rachel


Traditional Ballads and Folk Songs, February 22:

  • Jean Ritchie of Viper, Kentucky
  • Doc Watson of Deep Gap, No. Carolina with Fred Price and Clint Howard of Mountain City, Tennessee

Coleman Hawkins Quartet, July 19

Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, August 19

Paul Taylor, August 30

Gerry Mulligan Quartet, September 27


*Shows at the Guthrie and the Prom Ballroom are listed at the end of this 1965 section.


Local group the Escapades played their first job on New Year's Eve, opening up for Chuck Berry at the St. Paul National Guard Armory. The Escapades pretended to be British, sporting Beatle wigs and accents. Fellow musicians weren't fooled but their fans were - at least for awhile. 

1965 saw the High Spirits become major players in the local music scene. Over the lifespan of the band, it included up to six residents from St. Louis Park. Click for detailed information about this (mostly) St. Louis Park band.


The H.T. 3 was started by Harley Toberman and featured Hal Witzman, Rick Holten and Myron Goodman. They were one of the first groups to record at Dove Studios when it was on Lake Street. Their instrumental "Cool Breeze" was a "pick hit" on CashBox magazine and was also included in the seminal "Money Music" album.  


January 9, 1965: The Novas debuted their seminal recording, “The Crusher.” 230 lb. lead singer Bobby Nolan lived on 44th Street, just over the St. Louis Park line in Edina. The band had been previously known as the Avons. The record was turned down by SOMA, and the Heilichers really kicked themselves for that when it took off when distributed on the Parrot Label (same as Tom Jones).  It reached number 88 on the charts, appearing on the radar for three weeks. Apparently some in-fighting resulted in this genuine masterpiece not reaching #1.  The real Crusher was wrestler Reggie “The Crusher” Lisowski, who hailed from Milwaukee and performed on "All Star Wrestling," straight from the Calhoun Beach Hotel on Channel 11. Leave it to Doug Spartz to find Bobby Nolan, who recreated his masterpiece as he was inducted into the Minnesota Rock/Country Hall of Fame on April 27, 2007.  Alas, the Crusher died in 2005.



Louis Armstrong worked hard at the Upper Midwest Auto Show, doing two shows a day for ten days, January 8-17, 1965.  Tickets were $1.50, but available for half price at Super Valu stores. 

Weather prevented Bobby "Blue" Bland from making a KUXL-sponsored dance at the Marigold Ballroom in March 1965, but a local musician was found to substitute, admission price lowered, at the event still drew 2,600 people. 

Liberace was the entertainment at the Builders' Show at the Minneapolis Auditorium, March 12-21.  Why did I put that in?  The performance referred to below would have been much earlier (people had to be taught how to pronounce his name) but until I find out when that was I'll put it here.




The Trashmen played at a Hawaiian Surfari at Coffman Union at the U of M.  With special entertainment:  exotic dancer LaLoni!  Prizes for the Swingingest Hula Dancer, Brightest Shirt, Brightest Muu Muu.  April 30, 1965.

Larry O'Connell says the best Battle of the Bands took place at Aldrich Arena during the summer of '65:  noon to midnight!


Dizzy Gillespie and his Quintet, including James Moody, performed at Davy Jones' Locker at the Downtowner Motel in July 1965 and got a heavenly review from Don Morrison in the Minneapolis Star.

The Beatles came to town on August 21, 1965 and had a terrible time.  See their separate page for the details. Meanwhile, out here in the suburbs, Archie Walker had a Beatle wig (made by Hoigaard’s out of dyed mops) placed on the revolving Beetle at his Volkswagen dealership in homage to the visiting moptops.  That summer you could get imported British clothes at J.W. Stephens in downtown Minneapolis.

The appearance of the Beatles created a huge market for guitars at local music stores, as every guy suddenly wanted to become a rock ‘n’ roll star, mostly for the chicks. At B-Sharp, guitar sales quintupled, jump starting the local music renaissance here in the mid 1960s. See a poster for B-Sharp on Robb Henry's blog.


Grandstand shows at the 1965 State Fair included an odd pairing of Dixieland and Motown with Pete Fountain and Mary Wells.  Roger Miller also appeared with the Ray Charles Singers, who were not to be confused with the Raelettes.  Their hit was the lovely "Love Me With All Your Heart."  The Fair also featured the second Teenage Fair.

Horror producer William Castle made an unlikely appearance at a party at the Cascade 9 to celebrate the premier of an unnamed movie at the State Theater, according to Nancy Nelson's column in the Twin City a-Go-Go magazine, August 1965.

Dan Holm of the Chancellors reports that the band provided backup for Jan and Dean in a 1965 show at Danceland.  The group was given the wrong key, but because of their professional musicianship they were able to adapt onstage.

Little Stevie Wonder appeared at Carleton College in August.

Think of Wolfman Jack and you may think Mexico, but Bob Smith as the Wolfman had several ties in Minnesota.  In January 1965, the Wolfman made his first appearance in the Twin Cities when he and record store owner/record label owner George Garrett bought radio station KUXL AM  1570.  The Wolfman did not appear on the air, but he managed the station and from there he recorded his oldies shows he broadcast from border radio station XERF in Mexico.  He didn't own his share of the station for long, leaving the next year.  But in 1974, with newfound fame, he came back and bought a house in Minnetonka.  He made a deal with KDWB to broadcast live shows and also do a syndicated radio show.  That arrangement ended in January 1975.  He was back in 1980-82 to do occasional oldies shows on  station WWTC.  The Wolfman died in July 1995.

R&B station KUXL sponsored an appearance by Ike and Tina Turner at the Marigold Ballroom on August 1, 1965. The appearance brought 5,000 fans, apparently mostly black teenagers.  Since changing its format to R&B at the end of 1964, the station sponsored many major acts, mostly at the Marigold Ballroom.  They included:

  • Solomon Burke
  • Chuck Jackson
  • The Temptations
  • The Impressions
  • Fats Domino
  • Little Milton
  • Junior Walker and the All-Stars
  • The Four Tops
  • BB King - September 12

Paul Revere and the Raiders came to the Minneapolis Armory on August 19, 1965.


The Byrds performed in St. Paul in August/September.

The Miss Teenage Twin Cities Pageant aired on September 28, 1965 on Channel 11.

A new shop called The Losers was opened up downtown next to Music City at Seventh and Hennepin.  Twin City a' GoGo reported "you won't believe it when you walk into the place.  They sell everything!  Contemporary greeting cards, tiki gods, lighters the size of a boulder, rare coins, and they even have an art gallery.  The proprietor is as unique as his establishment.  His name is Hal Krieger and he states that the motto of The Losers is, 'Where madness is a way of life.'"  An item says that Danny Klayman, a comedian from St. Louis Park, was appearing at "The Losers," a well-known downtown daytime spot - same place?


In an October 17, 1965, article in the Minneapolis Tribune, band booker and record producer Dick Shapiro estimated that there were "350 rock 'n' roll bands in the Twin Cities area that are 'good enough to get away with a dance job.'"


The Northwest Skiing and Winter Sports Fair, a/k/a Ski-a-Go-Go, was held on October 22 at the Minneapolis Exhibition Hall.  Performing were the Del Counts, the Fables, and the Deacons.

The Coronados played for the Sadie Hawkins dance at St. Louis Park High School in October 1965.  The photo below is from the Echowan yearbook.  Did someone say that James Walsh on the keyboards?




Also from the Echowan, here are the Goliards:  Al Strand, Bob Lidfors, lead singer Ed Holland, and Terry Rentz (sitting).  At a youth conference, 1965-66.



Bob Dylan appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 5, 1965 before an audience of 9,000. He refused any contact at all with anyone, but the day before he was cruising Dinkytown looking for Tony Glover, visiting old spots, and hanging out at McCash's Bookstore.  The Twin City a' Go Go reviewer was not impressed, calling the music "tedious, uninspired, and harsh."

On November 19, 1965, the "KDWBeach Boys" performed at the Minneapolis Auditorium.  Also appearing were the Gentrys, the Strangeloves, and the Castaways.  Ticket prices were $2.50, $3.50, and $4.50.  Roland Anderson reports that the concert was great and sent us this radio commercial for the event.

A December 1965 issue of the Westwinds newspaper of Westwood Jr. High reports that Granny dresses, though not exactly functional, are one of the fashion statement one sees lately.


The Beach Boys appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium at the end of 1965 or the beginning of 1966.



Count Basie, March 24

The Strangeloves and the McCoys, August 25, 1965.  At the time the Prom was featuring rock bands on Fridays, and both a rock band and a big band on Saturdays.

The Sir Douglas Quintet, September 10, 1965.

Dee Dee Sharpe, September 1965

Dick and Dee Dee, September.  Dee Dee Lee/Sperling was born in Minneapolis.  They were backed by the Daze and Knights, a group that was "half colored, half white."


Billy Joe Royal, the first week of October 1965.  Attendance was low because there were a lot of homecomings that weekend. Backing him were local act the Marvelous Marauders.  Poster image below courtesy Rich Packer.




Duke Ellington, March 23

Cotten, Davis, Fuller, April 30

Charles Mingus Quintet, May 30

John Coltrane Quartet, June 20

Herbie Mann Trio, August 29

Bill Evans Trio, September 19

Odetta, November 14



*Shows at the Guthrie are listed at the end of this 1966 section.


Louis Armstrong was back at the Auto Show at the Minneapolis Auditorium, January 7-16, 1966.


The Kingston Trio performed on January 18, 1966.

At an 8th Floor teen dance at Dayton's on January 22 a 14-year-old boy was beaten and kicked as he and three friends were leaving the dance.  The same day a store security officer was attacked while trying to control a crowd of about 100 kids on the fifth floor.  Minneapolis police pressed Dayton's to shut down the events, and none were scheduled through February.  But they were resumed on March 1 and national acts would be brought in for some of them.  See August 1966 below.

WDGY sponsored a WDGY Spectacular on Sunday afternoon, January 30.  It was held at the St. Paul Auditorium as part of the 1966 Winter Carnival. Performing were the McCoys, Bobby Goldsboro and an Indiana group called the Boys Next Door.  Also on the bill were the Marvelous Marauders.  Marauder Jerry Cadwell is looking for information about the event, including newspaper accounts, other performers, and anyone who might have been directly involved with organizing the show.   

Dudley Riggs moved his Brave New Workshop to 2605 Hennepin in late '65/early '66.  The satire repertoire group was started in 1961.  In a Twin City a' Go Go interview, Riggs revealed that he had opened a coffeehouse in 1958, but in 1959 it became a haunt of beatniks, to Riggs' consternation. 

An April 1966 issue of the Westwinds newspaper from Westwood Jr. High in St. Louis Park announced that paper dresses were in this spring.  Not available in stores yet, these wild colored dresses could be had through the mail. 

Marcia from Marcia and the Lynchmen reports that they were one of the teen bands highlighted in the St. Paul Pioneer Press Pictorial Magazine, June 5, 1966, “Those Teen Bands.” The article was entitled “Behind the Twang of the Guitar” and the text was by Bill Diehl.  Maddie Shay scanned her copy for us! 

June 10, 1966 was the fifth annual "School's Out Spectacular" at Aldrich Arena in St. Paul, sponsored by KDWB.  Over 5,000 kids attended the event, dancing to eight bands, including the Ides of March and Dee Jay and the Runaways.  Funds raised went to the Ramsey County Jr. Sheriff''s Patrol for rain coats, hats, and safety signs.

In the summer of 1966 Dayton's sponsored a month-long "Youthquake Explosion" series of concerts in their 8th floor auditorium.  On Saturday, May 7th, 1966 (1:30-2 & 3:30-4pm)  Lou Christie was one of the performers of that series, backed by the Marvelous Marauders.  Marauder Jerry Cadwell reports that it was the first time he ever saw a man put on makeup (the dressing room was in the employee's men's room) and it kind of freaked him out! The Seeds and the Electric Prunes also played at Dayton's that year.

Don Betzold reports on the time KDWB DJ Jimmy Reed spent (a reported 21 days) on top of a flagpole in downtown Minneapolis starting on July 5, 1966.  "It wasn't really a flagpole. It was a small shack hoisted on a small tower on the corner of 9th and Nicollet . I stopped and visited him one morning, and he lowered a Bob Dylan album for me. Although he broadcast his morning show from there, there were reports that he went inside the adjacent Young-Quinlan-Rothschild building at night. I don't recall if he spent 21 days up there, but it was a while."  A KDWB "Fabulous Forty" survey that Don donated to the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting called the shack a "four-story-high flag pole playhouse."  John Pratt saved an article from the Minneapolis Star reporting that four hoodlums set the crepe-paper wrapping on the 40-ft. pole on fire.  "Police said the wood snow fence frame beneath the paper had ignited at several points.. The whole tower and Reed's escape rope would have burned had the wood had a chance to get a good start."  Reed slept through the whole thing.  The stunt was in conjunction with the Aquatennial, the paper reported.

The Animals and Herman's Hermits played the Minneapolis Auditorium in July 1966, written up by Dave Mona in the Minneapolis Star/Tribune.  The opening act was the local band The Marvelous Marauders. 

The National Ballroom Operators Association awarded citations to the Castaways, the Hot Half Dozen, Michael's Mystics, and the Underbeats for being outstanding, neat and danceable bands. 



The Young America Center was featured at the State Fair.  The center featured permanent display booths, a circular dance pavilion and a fashion building, all built last year.  Admission was 50 cents and approximately 100,000 teens came through in 1966.  The highlighted groups were the Chieftones (billed as an "All-Indian band from Canada"), the Enemies, and the Fabulous Flippers.


A brou ha-ha erupted when Chad and Jeremy walked out of the Fair after only two of their scheduled 15 performances after finding out they would be in the teen pavilion rather than in the Grandstand. They found they were booked to play three shows a day in what they termed a "hastily assembled wooden tent about 45 ft. in diameter which, with cramming, could accommodate 135 standing teenagers," reported In-Beat Magazine in October 1966.  They objected to being on the bill with local groups, to teenagers who got in for free (which apparently wasn't true). The graphic at right was found in the negatives of WCCO-TV, leading us to believe it was a pretty big deal. 


The real Grandstand shows were the Supremes with Jerry Van Dyke, and the Smothers Brothers with George Kirby.

"Where The Action Is" came to Minneapolis for the Aquatennial in July 1966.  Clark did his intros from the lake, and showed a turtle race and karate exhibition. Apparently the format of the show was to go to various places and film acts lipsynching to their songs.  Then each week Clark would be at one of the locations, show a clip of one act from that location, then the rest of the acts were from various other locations.  The Minneapolis episode aired on August 16, but the only act shown that performed in Minnesota (Lake Calhoun) was Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, who lipsynched "See See Rider/Jenny Take a Ride" and "Takin' All I Can Get" from a pontoon boat in the lake.  The other acts were in other geographical settings:  Brenda Lee was in California ("Bye Bye Blues" and "I'm Sorry"), Keith Allison was in Tokyo ("Brown-Eyed Handsome Man"), Steve Alaimo sang "Hold On, I'm Coming" from Central Park in New York, and Steve and Tina Mason sang "You Got What it Takes" from California.  Bullwinkle sold Cheerios and kids were encouraged to buy Stridex pads for "excited skin."  Although Paul Revere and the Raiders were not in the episode, they must have been there and taped a performance there for future airing; supposedly they were the victims of an airplane strike and were stranded in Minneapolis for two days after filming.  Their song "The Great Airplane Strike" resulted.  The Happenings were also there doing "See You in September."  The show is now available on DVD:  Where The Action Is Volume I at www.thevideobeat.com - check out the Rock 'n' Roll TV section. 


In May 1966 Stuart Wells, Vice President of Merchandising and Publicity for Dayton's, visited London and observed the fashions the young people were wearing on Carnaby Street.  On his return he immediately sent Dolores DeFore, buyer of junior dresses, to London to tour the showrooms and boutiques of Mary Quant, Angela Cash, and Gerald McCann.  She observed the shorter skirts, unique fabrics, and fun feeling of the clothes. She signed Cash, Quant, and McCann to come to Minnesota.


That August the store sponsored a "Super Youthquake" with a month-long schedule of fashion shows and concerts in the 8th floor auditorium.  Performers included Simon and Garfunkel (August 4), who were spotted at the Triangle Bar after the show; the [Chad] Mitchell Trio; and the Yardbirds on August 5.   See a collage of pictures about the Yardbirds show on Robb Henry's blog.  Another act was a Beatles tribute band from Liverpool.  There is an ad for the shows in the '60s chapter of a book about Dayton's. It features a picture of a guy with a cape on a motorcycle, but the print on the calendar is maddenenly too small to read.  One legible name is Roger Nelson, a designer who showed his London Mod collection.  DeFore asserts that the other major department stores, in the other major markets, didn't come out with their London collections until September.  Dayton's put on six shows like Youthquake a year, costing $30,000 to $50,000 each.  In the August 22, 1966 issue of Newsweek, Dayton's was named the "swingingest spot in Minneapolis"

The photo above of Jimmy Page of the Yardbirds was taken by John Morris and posted to the Old Minneapolis Facebook page.  He is pictured just outside the auditorium on top of the parking ramp between 7th and 8th Streets, just east of Hennepin.  The Lumber Exchange Building is over his left shoulder.  Page was quoted as saying "This was the first date of any American tour for me, and on this day I played with the Yardbirds on bass.  In fact, although having had two visits to the States prior to this, this was the first time I ever played a show there.  The first date here in Minneapolis, Minnesota on the 5th of August was at Dayton's Department Store, 8th Floor Auditorium and the surroundings felt quite surreal." 



The photos above are also from Facebook.


From Jimmy Page's Web site


In an October 1966 interview with the Underbeats in In-Beat magazine there is a telling paragraph:

"The group agreed that the rise of quality pop music has revived this country's interest in rhythm and blues but their interest is not desegregated. They pointed out that, ironically, it is difficult for Negro R and B bands to get jobs in the Twin Cities. This, they said, was because many places in the Twin Cities won't serve or hire Negroes. 'A lot of really good Negro musicians can't even get in groups because the group is afraid that if they take them, they won't get jobs.'"

Gene Chandler played Stem Hall on October 9.


Sammy Davis, Jr. with Count Basie and His Orchestra performed at the St. Paul Auditorium on October 13.


The Temptations played the Marigold Ballroom on October 16.

Dave Brady and the Stars were chosen to warm up for the KDWB sponsored concert, the Mamas and Papas (with hit single California Dreamin' just out) at Convention Hall in the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 19 [26], 1966 for over 15,000. The “Stars” were regulars three days every week as the house band at Magoo’s.  The band was noted for being one of the first “mixed groups” to widely popularize the Motown style of music (Temptations, Impressions, Imperials, Four Tops, Jackie Wilson, Sam and Dave, Smokey Robinson, Martha and the Vandellas, etc.) in many of the numerous dance clubs around the Twin Cities and the five state region.

The Cyrcle appeared at the Prom Ballroom on November 2.


Joe Tex appeared at Stem Mall, St. Paul Auditorium, on November 2.

Ray Charles played the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 6, 1966.


Not to be confused with the Ray Charles Singers, who put out an album in 1966 called "What the World Needs Now is Love."  On that Command LP was a song called "Minneapolis," written by the prolific Dick Wilson and that "other" Ray Charles.  The Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce held a contest and this was the winning entry.  Hymie's Records (bless them) has posted the song so you can hear it Here





Dave Brubeck was at the Minneapolis Auditorium (and/or the St. Paul Auditorium Theater) on November 19.

The Lovin' Spoonful played the Minneapolis Convention Center on November 27, 1966.

December 26, 1966 was billed as the "Biggest Dance in History," held at the Minneapolis Auditorium.  On the bill were the Fabulous Flippers, the Electras, the Underbeats, the Del Counts, T.C. Atlantic, the Castaways, Michael's Mystics, the Accents, and "many more."

The Flippers were on a roll, performing at the Prom on December 30.  Poster image courtesy Rich Packer.



Sonny and Cher were scheduled to perform at the Minneapolis Auditorium on December 30.


Mike Jann and Tony Andreason of the Trashmen started Metrobeat Records in 1966.  The LP "The Best of Metrobeat" now goes for $200.  See a partial 45 discography here. 


Modern Jazz Quartet, January 21

Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, March 5

Ella Fitzgerald, April 21 and 22

Oscar Peterson Trio, July 24

Miriam Makeba, September 12

Ahmad Jamal, October 16

Don Shirley, October 31



*Shows at the Guthrie are listed at the end of this 1967 section.


KUXL hosted the Impressions at the Marigold Ballroom on January 22, 1967.  Also appearing were the Amazers.

Acts at the WDGY Spectacular (in conjunction with the Winter Carnival) included Paul Revere and the Raiders, Roy Head, Tina Mason, Steve Alaimo, and Keith Allison - most from the show "Where the Action Is."  Emcees were Johnny Canton and Scott Burton.


Another Winter Carnival event was held at the St. Paul Auditorium, one remembers, featuring the Blues Magoos and Music Machine.

On March 4, 1967, Steven Cohen and Peter Nevard, both 24, known collectively as Fantasy Unlimited, produced a "happening" at Dayton's with the goal of reproducing an LSD trip with lights and music and sounds.  Integrated into the show were 20 rolls of photos of images from inside the store.  They stood on top of two towers with about 15 slide projectors each and a couple dozen light switches.  A rock band played below.  The pair were graduates of Carnegie Tech and came from New York where they had done similar shows for fashion shows.  The dream was to build a walk-in psychedelic kaleidoscope nine feet tall, completely lined with mirrors.  The 12,000 sq. ft. auditorium was transformed into an "environmental envelope" where dancers were "showered with 1,000 shattered images of light."  In her column explaining all of this, Barbara Flanagan commented "I wondered if all of the sights, sounds and possibly smells might not make one nauseated.  Should teens with tipsy stomachs stoke up on Dramamine before showing up tomorrow?"  "It could happen, of course, said Cohen.  "But it never has," said Nevard.  Similar shows were planned for May 20 and June 17. 


WCCO-TV aired this picture of Gary Lewis and his new wife, so we presume the happy couple were in the Cities on March 11, 1967, but there's no guarantee.



Did I get a record player on my birthday in 1967?  I don't remember, but it was white, and not quite a Close 'n' Play.





Remember Elvis?  WDGY did on March 31, 1967, hosting a triple feature at the France Ave. Drive-In.  Must have been a warm spring.


Twiggy made a trip to the U.S. in 1967, stopping at Dayton's on April 23.  It was the only department store that she visited in the U.S. that year and the only city she visited outside of New York.  When she arrived at the airport she was met with about 300 teenage girls and eight Minneapolis girls made up to look like emaciated fashion models, holding silver "Welcome Twiggy" signs.  1,500 teenage girls came to the 8th floor auditorium to see her; one fan who attended the show reports that the girls got free Yardley lipsticks. 

James (Dynamite) Brown - "Mr. One-Man Riot" - played the Minneapolis Auditorium on April 25.  The show included his 18-piece orchestra and several other acts.  it was billed as the "largest Twin Cities rhythm & blues concert ever scheduled in the Twin Cities area" in the Spokesman.  Young reporters from In-Beat Magazine got an all-expense paid trip to Brown's next venue - see PUBLICATIONS below.


The Turtles played the Prom on May 3 and August 16.

The Surfers - local band with members from Hopkins and Minnetonka - made a record in a private home studio in St. Louis Park.  See Robb Henry's blog for a brief history of this short-lived band.

Vice President and Mrs. Humphrey attended a Minneapolis Symphony Ball on May 6 in Southdale's Garden Court.  "For the swinging ball-goers there was more lively dancing to the Underbeats in a separate room," reports The Music Scene.

An article by JoJo Esko in the May 1967 Music Scene commented on how Twin Cities audience don't applaud performers.  One guess is that the Scandinavians don't want to bring attention to themselves.

On May 20, 1967, Dayton's Department Store sponsored a second "Sensations '67" show. Local heroes the High Spirits appeared with the likes of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (which included Elvin Bishop on guitar and Mark Naftalin - son of Mpls. Mayor Naftalin - on keyboards). Music Scene promised that the psychedelic show would transform Dayton's 8th Floor Auditorium into an "'environmental envelope' of another time, space, and place." Shows were at 12, 2, and 4.   A third was scheduled for June 17 (happen?)


May 22, 1967 was the date of the first Connie Awards, thought up, organized by, and named after Connie Hechter, jazz drummer and editor of the  T.M.C. (later Connie's) Insider. 325 industry insiders attended the formal ceremony at the Sheraton-Ritz Hotel in Minneapolis, emcee'ed by Charlie Boone. Winners were determined by the Midwest Academy of Contemporary Music.


The nominees for best band were Danny’s Reasons, T.C. Atlantic, the Underbeats, the Hot Half Dozen, and the Del Counts. The Del Counts won best band that first year. Here's a U Tube Del Counts recording of "With Another Guy."  Also see pictures.


Other winners that year were:

  • Don Beauclaire of the Hot Half Dozen - 3 Connies
  • Freddy Freeman of T.C. Atlantic - best keyboard player
  • Danny's Reasons - best show band
  • Underbeats - best instrumental band

In May, the “Psychedelic Sound-Burst” took place at Aldrich Arena. The show, emcee'ed by KDWB’s Charlee Brown and Earl L. Trout III, featured the Grasshoppers, the Del-Counts, Danny’s Reasons, the Chancellors, the Hot Half Dozen, the Litter, the High Spirits, the Youngsters, and the Happy Dayz. The concert promised the world's best light show - the Fillmore Light Show.  The show was presented by Rich Hanson, who planned another for June called "School's Out - Book Burning Blast."  (happen?)


JUNE 1967

Tommy James and the Shondells played the Prom Ballroom in June.

The Del Counts never made an appearance on any of the national charts, but they had regional success in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. On June 3, 1967, one of their songs, a cover of "What is the Reason," went to #4 on the KDWB Radio Big 6 Plus 30 chart, and #13 on WDGY Radio 1130's 30 Star Survey. That record was also mentioned as a Breakout Single in Billboard Magazine's May 27, 1967 edition. Local teens also fondly recall their rockin' cover of "Let The Good Times Roll."

Danny's Reasons appeared on Bill Carlson's show "This Must be the Place" on June 10, 1967.  On the show Danny crowned "Miss 16:" are you out there Miss 16?  Here are some pictures of the band on the show, courtesy of the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting.




Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash and the Carter Family, the Statler Brothers, and Carl Perkins played the Minneapolis Auditorium on June 22, 1967.  Poster below from Hennepin County Library Special Collections.



On June 25, the Beatles appeared on a BBC program "Our World," which was broadcast to 31 countries and an estimated 500 million people.

Trestman Music Center's 2nd Annual Battle of the Bands drew 64 bands.  It took place June 28-30 and July 5-7 in Richfield.  Contestants had to be ages 13-17 and non-professional.  First place went to the Defenderss.


Donald K. Martin played soul sounds on his overnight show on KDWB.


The Casinos, a 9 man vocal group from Cincinnati, appeared at the Prom in June. 


In June 1967 the Star's Forrest Powers interviewed Jan Melchior of WDGY and Sam Sherwood of KDWB and both agreed that they stuck to the standard Top 40 format:

From 6 a.m. till 9 a.m., the dic jockey is a "conservative swinger," playing to both the teens and the young aduluts who are up and about at the time.  The pitch grows a bit softer from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the housewives make up the main audience, bu the tempo begins to "really swing" thereafter when the teen-agers start arriving home from school.

Melchoir and Sherwood were also asked about Gordon MacLendon's charge that "tunes glorifying dope addition and immorality in general are being pushed for radio play."  Both stations said that they check the lyrics before they play a song and ask the publisher to send the words if they are hard to understand.  Which doesn't explain "White Rabbit." 




JULY 1967

The Ike and Tina Turner Revue hit the stage on July 10 at the Minneapolis National Guard Armory for a dance and show.  On hand were the Ikettes, Bobby John, and Jimmie Thomas in a 5 1/2 hour show.  Danny's Reasons opened, and from there were heading to New York where they were booked to appear on the Tonight Show and Merv Griffin Show. 

Marcia and the Lynchmen were one of the opening bands at the Buckinghams concert when they played in Minneapolis on July 12, 1967.

WDGY persuaded Sonny and Cher to perform as an Aquatennial event at the Minneapolis Convention Hall on July 14.  Stillroven and the Del Counts opened.  From Johnny Canton:

Frankly, It was I who convinced Sonny to appear sans Cher at WDGY's Minneaplis Auditorium concert July 14th. Cher had just suffered a miscarriage a few days prior to our concert and Sonny was reluctant to appear without her, much less leave her. The night before he was to fly to Minnesota, I was on the phone with Sonny at their home. The doctor was with Cher and both Cher and the doctor convinced Sonny it would be OK for him to do the show. I applied some pressure and he acquiesced and came to Minnesota. In order to cover for Cher, I put Sonny on the air and we appealed to our female listeners to "audition" to sing with Sonny at the concert. We had several viable singing candidates and it turned out to be one heckuva show with that twist. It was the first time Sonny had ever appeared without Cher. I nearly experienced suffering from an ulcer considering it was a well-promoted WDGY show and had Sonny not appeared we would have had much egg on our faces.

WDGY sponsored a show by Aretha Franklin at the Minneapolis Auditorium on July 19. Johnny Canton introduced her.


KDWB and the Aquatennial sponsored "Happening '67" at the Minneapolis Auditorium. It was a "three day psychedelic feast," held on July 19-21.  Sheets of brilliant silver mylar and colorful fabrics decorated the auditorium.  The KDWBeat Magazine, August 26, 1967:  "KDWB - Where The Action Is!  For three nights the Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield, Electric Prunes and Shadows of Night filled the flour city with their flower music.  'Happening '67' was a total experience.  Each group wished they could have stayed longer, but about 11:30 each night, some guy would come in and yell, 'Hey, they're rolling up the sidewalk!'  On Friday all the groups were taken out to Lake Minnetonka for an afternoon on the largest boat on the lake.   Even though most of the people were from California, they were truly impressed.  The groups said they really hated to leave the twin cities. The Jefferson Airplane said that they wished they could have stayed longer, but they had to get out to the airport because someone had written 'Spirit of St. Louis' across the fuselage.  The Electric Prunes asked, 'Is St. Paul really putting Minneapolis on?' And then they were gone."




Will Jones gave a generally good review of the event, describing three huge rear-projection screens that had colored lights and images flashing on them from behind, frequently in synchronization with the music.  Sometimes the shadows of what appeared to be nude go-go dancers appeared on the screens.  Our party strolled behind the screens to see what went on behind there [and found] go-go dancers in bikinis making those lively silhouettes."  They were chased away by the police though, which Jones said "put a crimp in the proceedings." 


Molly Ivins, then a Tribune staff writer, observed "If most of the kids were hippies, then they were too young to grow beards.   Their clothes ranged from Carnaby Street Moderate to All-American Slob.  The Jefferson Airplane was the big hit of the evening.  the Airplane has more fun, more noise, more style and more hair than the three other groups..  The kids danced, sat, lay down, or just stood listening to tthe music and watching the lights and a no-sense film made by Marcus the Hippie and his friends." 



Marshall Fine, student reporter for the St. Louis Park Echo, wrote a story about the hippie phenomenon and interviewed some of the performers who were here for the Aquatennial.  Sonny Bono:  "Because I have long hair and wear extravagant clothes, to the adults, I'm a hippie.  But to the hippies, I'm not a hippie.  My ideas are too conventional."  Marty Balin:  "Sure, but what is a hippie?  It's just a name.  Adults had to call us something because we were happening and they had to label us something, to prove to themselves that they knew what was going on.  Personally, I think 'hippies' sounds like the name of a breakfast cereal."  Grace Slick:  "It's not that we all walk around loving each other, but we just don't like violence.  That's why there's so much protest of the war in Vietnam.  But we're only human.  We'll argue and get mad just like anyone else."  Fine ended his article:  "Predictions have been made that the hippie culture will die out within the next year.  If so, it will not go unnoticed.  Summer '67 is proof enough of that."

On July 19, 1967, racial unrest erupted along Plymouth Avenue in North Minneapolis. Crowds threw rocks and set fires over two nights. Governor Harold LeVander called in 600 national guardsmen. Three people were shot, two policemen and one fireman injured, there were 34 arrests, and four businesses burned to the ground. A KDWB news cruiser was destroyed and the reporter called in his report from a phone booth.


Jimmie Rodgers had an extended engagement at the Manor Restaurant in St. Paul.  Later that year, on December 1, 1967, he suffered traumatic head injuries after the car he was driving was stopped by an off-duty police officer near the San Diego Freeway in Los Angeles. He had a fractured skull and required several surgeries. Initial reports in the newspapers attributed his injuries to a severe beating with a blunt instrument by unknown assailants.  He recovered but his career was over.

It was the summer of 1967, and the Chancellors were playing at Danceland.  Bandleader Dan Holm remembers that in the middle of "Wipeout," they saw "a group of dancers on the left of the stage, about 20 feet out, suddenly all fall down.  It wasn't at first apparent what had happened.  Dancers around the fallen continued dancing, pointing and laughing.  It turned out that a section of the dance floor had slumped about three feet and everyone who was dancing on it lost their balance and tumbled down. They got up.. and continued dancing.  After a few minutes, Big Reggie came out and had a look at the floor, then asked Dan to please announce for kids to stay off the area in case it collapsed some more.  The band finished the set and the night as if nothing happened.  It was no big deal."  Another version of the story says that the floor fell 11 feet into the basement!

A new booking agency called Uphill Productions, based in St. Louis Park, announced its startup in July 1967, with a wish to give new groups a start. 

200 people gathered for a love-in in Loring Park on July 23.  The four hour event was organized by the Free Music Society, and music was provided by the Family, Jokers Wild and a band called the Weeds.  Any former Weeds out there?  It was at this or another 1967 Love-In that the group Blue Sandalwood Soap performed "Friends I Haven't Met Yet."  Here is a video of that performance.  Dan Knutson with Harley Toberman, Steve Luck and Dave Bergsland play while various people grab the 8mm camera and trip out.  The song was featured on the show "Mad Men," Season 6 in April 2013.



Photo by St. Paul Dispatch and Pioneer Press, courtesy Minnesota Historical Society



The movie "The Trip" opened at four drive-ins around town on July 26, and Peter Fonda was making the publicity rounds.  In an interview with Will Jones, Fonda revealed that Roger Corman made the first seven reels but ran off to Europe to avoid paying taxes, so Fonda and his friends finished it.  The film is about a director of TV commercials who takes LSD and the latter part of the picture records his experiences.  "It's the psychedelic climax that Fonda concentrated on, writing the music, urging the film editor to insert one- and two-frame flashbacks and flashforwards, and even shooting some extra scenes on the Sunset Strip after Corman had departed.  Fonda said he didn't take LSD during the making of the picture, but had had enough previous experience with it to know what it's about."  Unfortunately, "It's a Bikini World," that opus starring my cousin Denny Craswell (and the rest of the Castaways), was only  billed as the "Action Packed Second Feature!!"





The Monkees played the St. Paul Auditorium on August 4.  See the Individual Page on the Monkees in Minnesota.

A huge Battle of the Bands took place at the Mower County Fair, August 7-13.


On August 10, 1967 Dayton's St. Paul sponsored a Back to School event that featured the Litter and Danny's Reasons.

Dayton's also initiated an experimental film series in its 8th Floor Auditorium, some with what Will Jones described as "rock-and-light overtones."  Jordan Belson's "Allures" was described in the program notes as "a hallucinogenic voyage into the distance of outer space [that] suggests an emotional significance like that of music, the subliminal rhythms of the inner cosmos."  It reminded Jones of the time he was given either for a tonsillectomy. 


The Turtles returned to the Prom on August 16.


Dayton's 8th Floor Auditorium hosted the Association and Spanky and Our Gang on August 17.

KDWB presented "Super Sunday," starting with their third annual Drag Race Festival at Minnesota Dragways (Highway 242 in Coon Rapids) on August 20. 10,260 spectators watched 552 cars race, and trophies were presented by Miss Mann Theaters Teenager (where is she now?).   Also featured was a grudge match between Earl Trout and Tac Hammer.  That night at the Minneapolis Auditorium they presented Herman's Hermits, the Blues Magoos, and the Who, who totally wrecked their instruments.  Ticket prices ranged from $3.25 to $5.25, with discount tickets available at Pedwin Shoes at Knollwood.

In August the Fillmore Light Show came to Aldrich Arena, with six top bands (unnamed in the ad).


The Flame hosted some big names in 1967:

  • Carl Perkins, August 7-12
  • Wanda Jackson, August 14-19


The grandstand acts were the Baja Marimba Band with George Kirby, and Bob Newhart with the Young Americans ("Western Union.")


The Young America Center at the State Fair was the place to be, with performances by:

  • The Fabulous Flippers
  • The Kingsmen
  • The Sandpipers
  • The Jade Set - an Oriental pop-variety group

On September 16, 1967, KDWB DJ Earl L. Trout III was jailed for obstructing traffic, and he refused to be bailed out until $10,000 was raised for the Aid for Leukemia Stricken Children Fund.  Read about it in The Beat Magazine, courtesy www.Radiotapes.com

Photo copyright Mike Barich, reproduced with permission

Spanky and Our Gang came back on September 21 to Northrop Auditorium.


The Everly Brothers played the Prom on October 6, 1967.  Also Chicago's The Mob, and the Cities' System.

Nancy Sinatra and the Fifth Dimension participated in a Rat-Pack-type show with Frank Sinatra at the St. Paul Auditorium on October 8.




The Metropolitan Sports Center was built for the new National Hockey League expansion team, the Minnesota North Stars.  Construction took a year, from October 1966 to 1967, at a cost $7 million.  The first game of the season was on  October 11, 1967, on the road against the St. Louis Blues, another expansion team. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. On October 21, 1967, the North Stars played their first home game against the California Seals. Spectator seats were in the process of being installed as fans arrived at the arena for the first time. The North Stars won 3-1. 


At some early point, a team song was written by Herb Pilhofer and Dick Wilson, called "Go For a Goal, North Stars."  Arne Fogel gives us great background info:  "That's me singing on it. Dale Menten is probably there as well, and also a guy on many sessions at the time, Bruce Winther. Most prominent female voice on the disc is that of Joanie Knutson (Joanie Pilhofer at that time).  We cut the song during one session, and were called in several days later to re-do it; the client could not hear the articulation of the 'L' at the end of the word 'Goal' (it sounded like 'Go for a Go'). So, we did it again, and that's why you can hear us seemingly 'over-articulating' the letter 'L' at the end of the word 'Goal'... "  Just saw this for sale for $337.50, but you can Hear it Here




On October 23, 1967, KDWB and Dayton's sponsored a High School pep fest at the bandstand at Lake Harriet.  Ron Block was the emcee for the event that attracted 2,000 students, cheerleaders, football players and homecoming queens from 30 schools.  The Dayton's Teen Council put on a fashion show.  Robbinsdale won $100 for having the biggest turnout, which was earmarked for their American Field Service fund.

In October 1967 KDWB sponsored a cheerleading competition where cheerleaders from 20 schools submitted tapes and kids called in to vote for their favorite school.  On the last night there were so many calls that they spilled into other exchanges.

The Byrds performed at the Marigold Ballroom (and also in Mankato), some time between September 10 and November 10, 1967.

Candy Floss Records took shape in the fall of 1967.  It was a record label and management company, recording at Dove Studios.  In 2006 a CD called "Candy Floss - The Lost Music of MidAmerica" was issued with these liner notes:

The music of Candy Floss was all about carnivals, calliopes, tight harmonies and hope. The songs were whimsical, not edgy, its instrumental attitudes were fun, not angry. It was Leonard Cohen meets Mother Goose. It was George Martin meets Spike Jones.


Peter Steinberg, Dale Menten, Barry Thomas Goldberg, and Gary Paulak – the original Candy Floss song writing team – would sit around a piano in Dove Recording Studios in Bloomington, MN and weave lyrics of fantasy with melodies that “bounced.” The songs were alive, and they would make you smile.


In 1968, with America’s music becoming loud and political with angry agendas and endless drum solos, Candy Floss offered an alternative that some major labels found very refreshing. There were the orchestral productions released on ATCO, Parrot and Sire Records and the lighter “bubble gum” tracks released on Mercury and Sire.


But all too quickly America lost its desire to laugh, and, suddenly, everything was so serious. So personal. Somewhere in the middle of 1969, Candy Floss packed up its bag of un-recorded songs, closed its doors, and disappeared, leaving behind a legacy that has all but been forgotten.


Special note: Candy Floss also offered production assistance to other artists who had their own songs, like the pioneering guitarist Michael Yonkers and the versatile Freddie Freeman, and the Seraphic Street Sounds, and Longman & Fogel (Steve Longman and Arne Fogel).


In 1967 and '68, Timothy D. Kehr wrote a music column "Musically Yours" for the local TV Digest.

Tom Pinkert was a freshman living in the dormitories at the U of M 1967-68. "My circle of friends used to go over to the west bank and see a local band called The Paisleys. They performed in a fire trap called Dania Hall circa 1967-68. There was always a psychedelic light show. I just found a clip on youtube from a slightly later era which captures the spirit."

Simon and Garfunkel appeared at Augsburg College on November 10, 1967.


Dionne Warwick appeared at the Dayton's Skyroom for two shows on November 20.

The Young Rascals played the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 24, fronted by the local band the Nickel Revolution.  NR member Kent Saunders says:  "They were a great bunch of guys, and very supportive of our comparatively rookie status. I even have a Gene Cornish guitar pick, with his name on it, as a memory."  For an eyewitness account, see the Nickel Revolution's blog.  Also advertised to be on the bill were Dave Brady and the Stars and the Seraphic Street Sounds (formerly the Escapades).  WDGY's Scott Burton was the emcee.

The Shadows of Knight came to the New City Opera House on December 9, 1967, inaugurating a new policy of presenting national acts.

Sergio Mendes and the Brazil '66 and Glen Campbell came to the new Metropolitan Sports Center on December 16, 1967.   Mendez had been here previously in the spring of 1966.

Stillroven, the Castaways, and the Litter played a show at the Mayo Auditorium in Rochester.  Part of the Stillroven set was filmed in 8 mm but with no sound.

KDWB presented a Christmas Concert series that featured area high schools on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Each school presented a half hour concert. 13 schools participated.


KQRS's George Donaldson Fisher did a progressive rock show in the winter of 1967.


KUXL featured an Oldies show on Saturdays from 5-6:30, with DJ Bill Blast.

Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company performed at Northrop Auditorium.

Magoo's/New City Opera House hosted two New Year's Eve Party extravaganzas that featured eight local bands.  All those bands and a Magooburger - sounds like heaven!




Carlos Montoya, March 7

Ornette Coleman Trio, April 30

Cannonball Adderly Quintet, May 21

Nina Simone, June 18

Blues Project, July 9

Horace Silver (Jazz) - July 30

Buffy Sainte-Marie, September 10

Ramsey Lewis Trio, September 24

Butterfield Blues Band, November 12

Ian and Sylvia, December 1




*Shows at the Minneapolis Auditorium and the Guthrie are listed at the end of this 1968 section.


The Lemon Pipers came to the New City Opera House and Magoos's on January 12.

The Dave Rooney Trio recorded their album "A Different Breed of Cat" at Diamond Lil's on February 2 and 12, 1968.  Leigh Kamman was the producer and Dick Driscoll was the recording engineer.  Cool cars, cool chicks, cool cats!




Al Hirt, with Pee-Wee and the Young Set, appeared at Northrop Auditorium on February 10, 1968.

In the February 24, 1968 issue of The Beat, "KDWB Asks YOU To Help Bring The Beatles Back to U.S."  Earl Trout III spearheaded the letter writing effort to get the Beatles back.  At issue was the promise of the audience to be quiet so the music could be heard.  The goal was to send Trout to London with a million cards, letters, and petition signatures.  Alas..



On March 8, 1968, WDGY sponsored "Super Scene '68."  The show was at the Metropolitan Sports Center in front of 6,000 fans.  It was co-sponsored by WDGY, and the station's DJs Scott Burton and Johnny Canton cut fine figures in their Oleg Cassini Nehru suits (the "Raja" model), courtesy Kieffer's.  Also appearing were JJ Bowman and Jerry Brooke.  The show was produced by Dick Shapiro and the list of performers was impressive: 

  • Wilson Pickett (the Insider said the band used the gig for practice)
  • The Hollies
  • Strawberry Alarm Clock (Insider said "disappointing")
  • The Mystics
  • The Del Counts
  • The Sir Raleighs
  • The Nickel Revolution.  Read an account of this monumental event on the Nickel Revolution's blog.

Connie's Insider noted a "shortage of Negroes," wondering if they knew that Pickett was on the bill.

On that same day, March 8, the Who were said to be playing in St. Paul.

Joan Baez appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium on March 12, 1968.  Also appearing were anti-war activist Daniel Berrigan and Spider John Koerner.


The Them and the Litter appeared at the New City Opera House/Magoos on March 15 and manager Gary Jorgensen said it was the biggest crowd in two years.


John Fred and His Playboy Band appeared at the Prom on March 27.

The Temptations played the Minneapolis Armory on April 7, 1968.


Vavro Music, 50 W. 7th Street in St. Paul, sponsored an amateur band contest at the Minneapolis Auditorium as part of a giant Easter Fair, April 9-14.  Winners were to get bookings and prizes.


Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, and comedian Jack E. Leonard appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on April 28.


Cream performed at the New City Opera House on May 5, 1968. The show was fraught with problems – the band was late, the equipment didn’t work, the show was less than an hour, and one report was that the musicians made out like they were doing the audience a big favor – but the music was superb. Our reviewer said the show was “worth the agony: the ecstasy was delicious.”  It was rumored that Cream had played so loud that a structural beam in the floor had cracked and split. John Ebert reports that they jammed next door at Magoo's after the show.  "I was on Nicollet Avenue near Lake Street and went into a club just by chance (it must have been Magoo's) and when I got to the band room, The Cream threesome were in there playing to an empty room. From time to time, a person might come in and would leave, but for the most part I recall myself being the only person present for their jam. Ginger Baker was kicking a double bass drum-kit. The room had a very low ceiling, black walls, and a few unnoteworthy colored lights for illumination. I can only attribute the lack of people as the band must have wanted to practice and play in relative secret. Of course, the other people present were Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton."

Tom Pinkert reports:  "The city had been flooded with counterfeit tickets and we had gotten ours.  Security at the door was lax and aside from a surly look from the ticket taker everybody got in -- and I mean everybody, that place was jammed. I remember it so well because we found a place to sit directly in front of these gigantic speakers, and once we got there moving away from them was impossible. There were some warmup bands, there was a lot of waiting, and to say Cream played for an hour would be generous (I'd say more like a half hour). It was very obvious Cream was not happy."

Denny Waite remembered:  "It was the place of Cream's only concert, ever, in Minnesota. Hard to believe they played there in the fall of '68, when it was called by the grandiose name, 'New City Opera House' (Zippy Caplan's idea). The story was told by Cream's road manager, who stopped by the Litter house near Lake of the Isles, after the disastrous gig. Arriving early in the day to do a sound check for the afternoon concert, they were royally pissed. The rock megaliths discovered it was just an really old dance hall with a fancy name. They took "Opera House" literally. Being from Europe, where every decent city has one, they looked forward to playing in a great concert hall with wonderful acoustics. The manager told us Cream was very close to not doing the show at all, but relented when they realized they'd be paying the club for breach of contract. The plan was to make their own P.A. system go down at the beginning of the first song. So they showed up an hour late, which gave us (the Litter, in stage hog heaven) an hour and a half to warm up the crowd. Cream's first song was 'Sunshine of Your Love.' On purpose, Clapton started it a fret too high and then a fret too low. Half way into the first verse, the P.A. made a loud buzz and stopped working. They could have used our P.A. but didn't. Cream played the minimum time required per the contract: exactly 45 minutes, but no vocals, no encore, not a word to the totally packed house of adoring fans! I must admit that they sounded fantastic, even on auto pilot, and probably half asleep! Oh well, rock gods are only human, after all. Still, it wasn't nice to spit beer on the audience, Ginger!"

According to the Insider, the Litter, Castaways, and Stillroven were preliminarily to be on the bill as well.


Herb Alpert, Blue Cheer and the Castaways (an odd grouping to say the least) played Williams Arena at the U of M on May 11, 1968.  Nearly 17,000 attended.


Gladys Knight and the Pips appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 12, which was Mothers Day.


May 27 was the date of the Second Annual 1968 Connie Awards, presented by the Midwest Academy of Contemporary Music and the Insider.  The ceremony took place at the Grand Ballroom, Sheraton-Ritz Hotel, and was emcee'ed by Bill Carlson of WCCO TV.  Wilson Pickett was expected to speak, but apparently was not there.  Connie showed his rather un-hip sensibilities by making the event black tie and hiring Dick Whitbeck and his 15-piece Blue Diamonds Orchestra.


The Mystics won the best band award over other nominees the Underbeats, Grasshoppers, Stillroven, Del Counts, Litter, TC Atlantic, and South 40. If you've never heard of the Grasshoppers, it's because they never really recorded.  The group was fronted by Jiggs Lee who went on to front Cain.  See scans of the program on Jerry Lenz's blog.

Local musician and man-about-town Arne Fogel recorded a song back in ’68, kind of a Simon and Garfunkel/Chad and Jeremy type ditty called “I Once Had a Dream“ (aka “December Song”), recorded at Dove Studios with fellow singer/songwriter Steven Longman. The record never made it to the big time, but is available from Get Hip Records on a Dove Records compilation called "Free Flight." Arne started his singing career when he was 17, and made his mark singing over 1,500 commercials and jingles. He owns every Bing Crosby record ever released, and shares his record collection on various radio shows.

Park High Junior Barb Friedman got the chance to made a demo of her songs in New York in June 1968.  Besides singing, Friedman played guitar, piano, drums, tambourine, bongos, harmonica and recorder.  She played for school clubs, community organizations, and at local places like Big B's Pizza at Texa-Tonka Shopping Center.  She also played at the Cafe Extempore and with an Aquatennial traveling group.  She taught guitar at Park Music. 

The Beach Boys played the St. Paul Auditorium on July 9, 1968. Also on the bill were Gary Puckett and the Human Beinz.

Frank Sinatra and the Four Seasons played a benefit concert for the Citizens for Humphrey Committee at the Met Center on July 16, 1968.

The Temptations and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas played the Minneapolis Armory on August 6, 1968.

Dick Clark Action Tours sponsored a "Summer '68 Action Tour for Teenagers," from August 9 to 29.  Stops included Hollywood, Hawaii, and Mexico.  Price:  $775 from Los Angeles.  This ad was in the St. Louis Park Echo, June 4, 1968:


By August 13, 1968, Jonny Matthews was playing "Underground Music" on KDWB, 11 pm to 5 am.

On August 23, 1968, the Vanilla Fudge was scheduled to do a show at the Minneapolis Armory, but never showed up.  Local Group the Nickel Revolution opened the show, followed by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.  Next came bubblegum act 1910 Fruitgum Company, which overcame its nursery rhyme image to pull out a performance that satisfied the crowd screaming for Vanilla Fudge.  Read a great account of the event on the Nickel Revolution's blog.  Promoter Arne Sigarski had to provide refunds for that show.


The Spokesman advertised a free concert in Loring Park featuring the Marvelettes on August 30, 1968.  It was sponsored by the Mayor's Council on Youth Opportunity.


Grandstand shows were: 

  • The Fifth Dimension with Frank Sinatra, Jr. and Ballet America
  • Marty Robbins, Sonny James, Hank Williams, Jr., and Connie Smith
  • Jack Jones with the National Ballet of Mexico

The Young America Center featured The First Edition (presumably with Kenny Rogers),





Rufus Lumley recorded this single, but where and when is up for debate.  One site said he recorded it in a bowling alley in Detroit in 1968.  Facebook fans say they bought it in 1965/66.  One discography site just says "unknown" for release date. But it's a funky tune - listen Here. 





The St. Paul Police Historical Society's web site reports:  "During the evening of August 30, 1968, violence erupted in Stem Hall of the St. Paul Auditorium when police officers attempted to intervene in a fight between patrons. An officer responding to the call for assistance was wounded by gunfire. The incident sparked a full-scale riot that rapidly spread to the streets, where large numbers of citizens hurled bottles, rocks and other debris at police lines. Extensive vandalism and property damage was reported from area businesses and private citizens in the area of the riots. The severity of the violence led to a total recall of the Department’s sworn personnel. After reinforcements arrived and the unruly crowd dispersed, rioting continued in the Selby-Dale area well into the early morning hours. The disorder continued for the next 24 hours, eventually resulting in the wounding of three officers by sniper fire.


Tiny Tim played the Metropolitan Sports Center on October 18, 1968.  David Hicks remembers:  "I was an usher for Bob Sims (who had the ushering concession) from 1966 to 1971 and I saw many of these concerts. The Tiny Tim concert at Met Center was sort of neat to me. He entered the stage (the stage was not at the end of the arena but on the side right in front of the hockey benches) with the lights out from one of the entrances for the hockey team and I was asked to escort him to the stage. He had a wireless microphone which was quite new at the time, and was talking to the crowd in an eerie voice as we entered the arena. There I was walking with Tiny Tim escorting him by the elbow from the dressing room to the stage. For a 17 year old kid it was quite a thrill."  Local band the Sir Raleighs opened up the concert, which also included Joe Tex; Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and the Young Rascals as the headlining act.

David Hicks again:  "Also in 1968 election night HHH had his election party at the hotel Leamington which had Tommy James and The Shondells playing at one side of the grand ballroom and Sonny and Cher playing at the same time on the other side of the ballroom. What a night. I was about 10 feet in front of the stage when HHH gave his [ever optimistic] speech at about 2:30 in the morning."  Humphrey officially conceded the next day.

Andy Williams and Roger Miller played the Met Center on December 6.  Johnny Canton remembers:  "One of WDGY's largest concerts/shows starred then-popular Andy Williams along with Roger Miller at Met Center. It was our Christmas Concert and we filled Met Center. Of course, Andy was the pride of network TV at the time with his weekly show. Miller was no slouch either having had several hit songs. The entire WDGY air staff had a chance to take the stage and emcee. Great evening!"

Dick Gregory spoke at Carleton College in November.

The Brothers Four appeared at Melby Hall, Augsburg College, on December 7, 1968.  Bass player Bob Flick is now married to Minnesotan Loni Anderson. 

In his November 18, 1968 column "Musically Yours" in the TV Digest, Timothy D. Kehr writes of the group H.P. Lovecraft. Was this local? Can't find it anywhere. But Howard Philips Lovecraft was a poet and novelist.

Joe Cocker braved a snowstorm to perform at the Prison (at the Burnsville Bowl) in December. Tom Barbeau reports:  "There couldn't have been more than 2-300 hundred people there. Part of it was certainly the weather, but he was also a total unknown at that time. That was a small crowd in that room, as I recall a lot of empty space. My group of 6 or 7 guys who made the trip (packed into a '53 Ford coming from St. Paul, through a snow storm), had no trouble getting to within 20 to 30 feet of the stage with lots and lots of empty space behind us. Everything he had at Woodstock the following August, he showed us there, that night, and the crowd was totally blown away."


Blue Cheer appeared at the New City Opera House on December 8, 1968, in front of a small crowd of 200-300 people.  Also on the bill were Happy Dayz and White Lightning.  "They were too damn loud."




KDWB, in conjunction with MGM Records, held a talent contest in an extensive campaign to promote the film "The Impossible Years," a film about the generation gap.  The record company wanted to find a band that they could name after the film (and presumably either appear in the movie or sing the theme song).  In the Twin Cities more than 30 bands submitted audition tapes.  The winner is the relatively new band Flight, a precursor to the mighty Pepper Fog, made up of Dale Strength on guitar and vocals; Gregg Inhofer on guitar and vocals; Ron Merchant on bass guitar and vocals; and Bob Strength on drums and vocals. The band plays cover songs from the hard rock bands of the time including: Jimi Hendrix; Cream; The Who; The Rolling Stones; and Vanilla Fudge. In the fall of 1968 Flight recorded a version of “Sugar and Spice” (by The Cryan’ Shames from Chicago) at George Garrett’s basement studio as their audition tape. Flight won our local contest, moving on to a regional competition in Chicago.  Runners up were Holy Smoke and Dandelion Wine, and all-girl band.  In Chicago the winners were the Pacers, from Lincoln, Nebraska, but the theme of the movie was ultimately performed by the Cowsills.



Flight, from the December 21-28, 1969 Insider; photo by Mike Barich

Flight also earned the job of opening for Indian teen idol Sajid Khan, who opened his show at the Minneapolis Armory on December 14, 1968 by riding in on an elephant.


Sajid Kahn,  from the December 21-28, 1969 Insider; photo by Mike Barich


Concert promoter and local music industry giant Marsh Edelstein held the first of his annual Christmas parties at Magoo's on December 18, 1968.  He had already been holding an annual Memorial Day Barbeque.  The Insider reported that a jazz trio was hired but there was no piano so they went home.  "Everybody in the industry was there, including some who just dropped in off the street seeking shelter from the snow.  He fed them too."  Marsh is still hosting Christmas parties to this day.


"Big Daddy Wagg" owned Wagener Music, the Vox dealership in Minneapolis, with one store on Penn Ave. No. and another in on Highway 61 in the White Bear Shopping Center.  On December 25, 1968, he held a music marathon featuring local bands:

  • South 40
  • Del Counts
  • Grasshoppers
  • System
  • Bananas
  • Clover
  • Electric Brigade
  • Soul Purpose
  • Youngsters
  • Stillroven (maybe)




The Insider reported that all the teen clubs except Magoos' and Dania Hall were closed, citing too much trouble controlling underage drinking. 


Almost 1,000 people crammed into Magoo's to hear seven bands:

  • Flight
  • Stillroven
  • White Lightning
  • South 40
  • Youngsters
  • Del Counts
  • Zarathustra

The Dania Hall show was promoted by Steve Barich and either was planned as or turned into a "jam session for musicians."  One of the bands there was Poison Bird Pie.



Buck Owens and his Buckaroos appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on February 17.  Now you may say that Buck Owens isn't rock 'n' roll, but the show was advertised on my February 10, 1968 WDGY 30 Star Survey, so here it is.  Also on the bill were Freddie Hart, Tommy Collins, Kay Adams and Wynn Stewart. 


The Righteous Brothers appeared on March 10 - new time and date from a previous booking.


An Easter Fair took place April 9 to 14, 1968 at the Minneapolis Auditorium, and featured the Electric Prunes and Blue Cheer, two of the noisiest national bands running.  Another band was The Mob, and local groups the Underbeats and Perspectives were slated to appear.  Also there were the gentler Buffalo Springfield -- and Pat Paulson, who was running for President for the first of six times.


Not exactly rock 'n' roll, but Tony Bennett appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on April 28, 1968.  Zane reports that he was accompanied by Duke Ellington and Orchestra. 


There is an interview of sorts with Peter, Paul and Mary in the May 22, 1968 Park High Echo, in conjunction with their appearance at the Minneapolis Auditorium. 


Aretha Franklin, headlining "The Aretha Franklin Revue," appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on July 19, 1968 as part of the Aquatennial Teen Spectacular, sponsored by WDGY. Also on the bill were the Mystics and Things to Come. The Blues Cube, formerly Marcia and the Lynchmen, were also scheduled to appear, but Marcia was in a car accident on her way home from a gig in Eau Claire and was in the hospital for a month so they were unable to perform.  The Blues Cube played their final gig at the Prison in Burnsville on August 24.  WDGY jocks in the program were Scot Burton, Johnny Canton, Jay J. Bowman, Perry St. John, and Jerry Brook.  Entire production under the supervision of Arnie Sagarsky, A&S Enterprises, Inc. and under the direction of Richard Shapiro, Central Booking.  Floor direction by Patrick Devine!


Simon and Garfunkel played the Minneapolis Auditorium on August 20, 1968.


Jimi Hendrix was slated to play the Minneapolis Armory on August 11, 1968, but the date was moved to November 2 at the Minneapolis Auditorium.  See a collage of tickets and photos on Robb Henry's blog. Cat Mother and the All-Night Newsboys opened the show - do you remember their hit?  Hendrix had equipment trouble and many of the 6,000 concert-goers rushed the stage, making it "a very brief show in a very bad room."  Photo below of Jimi and unidentified stewardess at the airport from Robb Henry's blog.


The Doors played the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 10, 1968.  Opening act was Midwest Hydraulic Company. Tony Glover on harmonica in photo below.




A jazz festival at the Minneapolis Auditorium featured Hugh Masekela and Herbie Mann on November 29, 1968.



Ravi Shankar, January 17

Judy Collins, February 18

Miles Davis did two shows on May 26


The Who, June 8.  The show was opened by Koerner, Ray, and Glover; Koerner told a dirty joke.  Half of the show came from the rock opera "Tommy."  The Insider reported that as they smashed their equipment, "an impetuous boy who attempted to join in got as far as a couple of licks on the drum and guitar before a sideliner gave him the heave-ho.  It was a dramatic ending to a bash of a concert."

Muddy Waters, July 14.  See an ad on Robb Henry's blog.


Muddy Waters (guitar and vocals), Otis Spann (piano and vocals), Sammy Langhorn (lead guitar), Luther "Georgia Boy" Johnson (bass and vocals), S.P. Larrie (drums)


Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company, August 18

Doc Watson, September 15

Flatt and Scruggs, October 13

The United States of America, October 20

There were others - a page of the Guthrie's records from 1968 is missing



*Shows at the Labor Temple and the Guthrie are listed at the end of this 1969 section.


Local Rock 'n' Roll Disk Jockey Barry McKinna started his career in radio in 1969 at KDWB.  His real name is Barry Siewert, and he is a 1965 graduate of Park High. 

4811 Excelsior Blvd. was the address of the La Querida Ltd. Boutique: “body jewelry, suede department, wild wild earrings, mod scarves, all at prices to suit you swingers.”  Strong stuff for St. Louis Park!

Deep Purple appeared at Dania Hall in 1969, someone remembers.


Johnny Matthews did his KDWB Underground Show from the New City Opera House on January 5 in front of 700 fans.  Appearing on the show were:

  • White Lightning
  • Jokers Wild
  • CA Quintet
  • Skin Trade
  • Michael Yonkers
  • Nickel Revolution
  • Poison Bird Pie


The Lemon Pipers appeared at the New City Opera House on January 12, 1968. 


The Buckinghams performed at Hamline University's Norton Fieldhouse on January 17, 1969.


Johnny Matthews did a remote "Pop and Head Show" on KDWB from the New City Opera House on February 2.


Sweet Water, supported by Blackwood Apology and Zarathustra, appeared at "Magoo's New City Opera House" on March 7 and 8, 1969.  "Stars of Miami Pop Festival - Album picked as one of '68s 3 Best - The IN Group of 1969!"


Liz Anderson played three shows a night for a week at the Flam, the week of March 16, 1969.


The Association appeared at Melby Hall, Augsburg College on March 22.


The George Shearing Quintet appeared on March 23, possibly at Northrop Auditorium.



1969 was the year that Dale Menten (music) and Frederick Gaines (script) wrote and produced the rock musical “House of Leather.” The show was set in a house of prostitution before, during, and after the Civil War.  I was shocked to find a program among my mother's souvenirs! The music was played by the group Blackwood Apology:  Dale Menten, Dick Hedlund, Dick Rees, Scott Sansby, and Dennis Libby.  And that's our Patrick Devine in the cast!  The show opened on March 26 at Minneapolis's Cricket Theater, where it played nearly 50 sold-out shows.  It then played in St. Paul at the Crawford-Livingston Theater July 18-August 24.  On the strength of its popularity in the Cities it was taken to New York City.  Dick Hedlund and Dick Borotolussi reported in the May 16-23, 1970 issue of the Insider that all sorts of things went wrong in New York, including the addition of more sex to the show.  Its debut on March 18, 1970, at the off-Broadway Ellen Stewart Theater (240 E. Third Street) brought a bad review from the New York Times, but favorable ones from the Village Voice and the Wall Street Journal.  Nevertheless, it closed after that first night, and union disputes left the Minneapolis musicians stranded in New York for awhile. 


The House of Leather LP won the Connie Award for 1969 as Best Album of the Year.  Dale Menten also won Best Artist and Repertoire and Best Composer for the work.  Bob Schultz won the honors as Best Recording Engineer for his work on the album. 


Menten went on to write a follow-up to "House of Leather" called "Seventh Indiana Cavalry," which had to do with Wounded Knee.  It premiered on June 10, 1970 at St. Paul's Crawford-Livingston Theater, produced by Hugo Square Productions and the Schubert Club.


Insider photo by Mike Barich with members of Zarathustra, Litter, and Blackwood Apology at Dania Hall.

B.A. members from right to left:  Dennis Libby, Dik Hedlund, Dale Menten, Joey Piazza, Bruce Pedalty



Vanilla Fudge and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown played the Metropolitan Sports Center on April 11, 1969.


The Iron Butterfly played the Minneapolis Armory on April 13, 1969.  The show was opened by the Steve Miller Band and featured an early use of fire pots on stage.

Dick Winter at RW Music sponsored a Hootnanny on April 18, their second.  KQRS had an RW Music Hour on Sundays at 9 pm. 

On April 19 Smokey Smith presented a Grand Ole Opry Show (Blockbuster Number 26) Spring Spectacular at the Minneapolis Auditorium with 12 acts, including:

  • Marty Robbins
  • Webb Pierce
  • Kitty Wells
  • Johnny Wright
  • Bobby Bare
  • Bob Luman
  • Bill Phillips
  • Bobby Wright
  • Ruby Wright
  • Max Powell
  • Don Winters
  • Bob Bishop


Ravi Shankar appeared on April 27, 1969, possibly at Northrop Auditorium.

Peter, Paul, and Mary performed at the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 24, 1969.



Thanks to Jerry Lenz, quoting from the June 7, 1969 issue of the Insider

The 1969 Connie Awards on May 19 packed the ballroom of the Pick-Nicollet Hotel in Minneapolis with over 300 musicians and industry personalities who came in their finest threads to witness the selection of the best pop talent in the area as determined by the votes of club and ballroom operators and a triad of musicians.  The audience dined on an eight course dinner and listened to Chess Records' advertising and promotion director Dick LaPalm deliver an informative discourse on the record industry before the Awards ceremonies began. 


It was a most colorful and exciting evening.

Charlie Boone was the emcee of the evening.  The Nickel Revolution won Best Single for "Oscar Crunch," a song they weren't particularly fond of.  Thanks to Jerry Lenz of the Nickel Revolution for posting the "Oscar Crunch" and Candy Floss story on his blog. 


The Jokers Wild won the award for Best Show Band, which was an achievement for a three-man band!  Photo below from June 7-21, 1969 Insider by Mike Barich.  Lonnie Knight (the tall one in the middle) also won for Best Lead Guitar and Best Other Instrument (harmonica). 




Other winners:

  • Best Band: Mystics (second year in a row)
  • Promising new band:  Zarathustra
  • 21+ Club band:  (tie) Danny's Reasons, Dave Mark Syndicate
  • Instrumental group:  Mystics
  • Male Vocal:  Grant Gulllickson (Zarathustra), Jimmy Lawrence (Danny's Reasons)
  • Showman:  Danny Stevens
  • Female Vocalist:  Susan Drude
  • Versatile Musician:  Dale Menton, Blackwood Apology
  • Drummer:  Bill Lordan, Mystics
  • Rhythm Guitar:  Mike Stokes, Mystics
  • Bass Guitar:  Willie Weeks, Mystics
  • Keyboard Instruments:  ? Peterson (second year in a row)
  • Saxophone:  Wes Hayne, Mystics
  • Trumpet and Other horn (trombone):  Dave Hanson, Mystics
  • Producer:  Warren Kendrick for "Paupers and Poets" by White Lightning

House of Leather won a bunch of awards:

  • Recording Engineer:  Bob Schultz
  • A&R and Composer:  Dale Menten
  • Best Album

An interesting comment at the end of the report of the event in the Insider is "Many (my italics) of the Connie Winners truly deserve the recognition..."  Guess Connie didn't agree with all the selections?


Rhinoceros and Aorta appeared at the Minneapolis Armory on May 31, 1969.  "Ride the Space Waves of the Mind!"  With light show by NOVA. 


Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, the Peppermint Rainbow, and the Corporation appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on June 6, 1969.  Also appearing were WDGY's All-Americans:  Johnny Canton, Jerry Brook, Scott Burton, Gene Leader, and Jim Dandy.  Instruments were provided by B-Sharp Music.  Puckett was born in Hibbing and spent a very short time in (was it Pelican Rapids?). 


Before Woodstock, Santana came to the New City Opera House but the crowd numbered only about 75.

The Doors played the Minneapolis Auditorium on June 15, 1969.  The Staple Singers were also on the bill, and Tony Glover played harmonica with the band for three songs.  An internet account indicates that members of the 8,500 audience called out for Jim Morrison to repeat his "Miami performance," which led to a charge of obscenity.


Chet Atkins and the Nashville Sound played the Minneapolis Auditorium on June 17 for the first Minnesota Orchestra Summer Pops Jubilee concert.  The Cowsills played the second on June 24, and O.C. Smith the third.  The Minnesota Orchestra played the first half, and the pop act the second.


An ambitious show billed as the "greatest night in the history of local music" was held at the Minneapolis Auditorium on June 30, 1969.  It was sponsored by members of the Minneapolis Musicians' Association (Swanee Swanson of Northwest Organ and Franny Dear) as a benefit to help musicians pay medical bill.   The four hour show was called  Bach to Rock, emcee'ed by Charlie Boone.  Performers included:

  • Minnesota Symphony Woodwind Quintet
  • Doc Evans and His Dixieland Band
  • Golden Strings from the Radisson Hotel
  • Dick Whitbeck and his Big Band
  • Clyde Olson on the pipe organ
  • Kay Nygaard and the Sound Effects
  • Buddy Davis Trio
  • Zarathustra
  • Sherwin Linton and the Cotton Kings


Dionne Warwick appeared at the Aquatennial on July 18, brought in by Arnie Sagarski.


Three Dog Night appeared at the Prison.


Big Daddy Wags Night was at the Prison on July 19th.  He brought the Voxmobile.  Bands participating included the 19th Amendment, Bananas, Pure Honey, Pride & Joy, Olivers, Pepper Fog, CA Quintet, Stone Hedge, and Boiling Point.


The New Christy Minstrels performed at a Hootenanny with the Minnesota Orchestra at the Minneapolis Auditorium on July 23.

The Midwest Rock Festival took place at State Fair Park in West Allis, Wisconsin, on July 25-27, 1969, and had a huge lineup of acts that played to a relatively small audience of 25,000.  A poster from the show recently went for $1500!  The following is a list of performers who were advertised to come, but not all did:

  • Delaney and Bonnie and Friends (including Eric Clapton)
  • Blind Faith
  • Jethro Tull
  • Johnny Winter
  • The First Edition
  • Taste with Rory Gallagher
  • Joe Cocker
  • Buffy Sainte-Marie
  • Jeff Beck
  • Pacific Gas & Electric


Blood Sweat & Tears made their second appearance in a year in a sellout concert at the Minneapolis Auditorium on July 29.  John Denver opened.

The KDWB Drag Festival was held on August 3, 1969 - Free!

Steppenwolf played the Minneapolis Armory on August 8.  Rod Wallace remembers:  "I was at that concert and it was the 1st time I heard a headliner mess up the sound system for the opening act. I'm not sure who it was but their sound was terrible. Then before Steppenwolf came on stage they announced that the keyboard player was out sick. So I was expecting a bad set from them also; but when they started playing the sound 'magically' got perfect, and they sounded better than their records."  Also on the bill were the bands Skin Trade and Danny's Reasons.

Something must have gone wrong, because in the next Connie's Insider, it was announced that KDWB was refusing to accept advertising for Danny's Reasons.  From Danny's web site:  "Following a show that the band played with Steppenwolf on August 8th, 1969, KDWB Radio pulled all advertising that had anything to do with Danny's Reasons. This was decided after the The Reasons performed '... Songs which were highly suggestive of off color material...' Club owners and operators grew increasingly nervous; if they couldn't advertise the band that was already booked to play their nightclubs and concert halls attendance would plummet. Though KDWB took a very harsh stance, (going so far as forbidding any employee of the radio station to even attend a Danny's Reasons show) it ultimately had the opposite effect: using the image of 'banned in Boston', the band's popularity continued to sky rocket."  Apparently the controversial material was from "Hair" and the matter was resolved when Danny agreed not to perform it before a teen audience.

The Buckinghams played the Prison on August 9.


The American Breed, the Del Counts, and Danny's Reasons played the New City Opera House on August 15.


Triangle Productions presented Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Minneapolis Auditorium on August 22, 1969.  The Litter opened. 

KUXL's program director organized the Jackie Awards on August 30, 1969 to recognize the black musicians in town.  The event was held at the Honeywell Union Hall, attended by 850 people.  Bobby Lyle was voted Best Jazz Artist, and Maurice and the Champions were the Best R&B band.


Lee Michaels and the Mystics played the Prison on August 30.


In mid-1969 radio stations started presenting "underground" programs, usually late at night.  Jimmy Reed and Tac Hammer did theirs on KRSI, and George Fisher had a Nightwatch show on KQRS. 



1969 Grandstand shows continued to be middle-of-the-road (or perhaps even off road): 

  • Buck Owens, Susan Rye, and Billy Walker
  • Lesley Gore with George Kirby
  • The Johnny Cash Show with the Statler Brothers
  • Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lynn Anderson, Speck Rhodes, and Conway Twitty (whew!)
  • Pattie Page with Kids Next Door and Don Rice III

The 1969 youth fair at the State Fair was called Inside Young America.  National acts were:

  • The Sir Douglas Quintet
  • The New Colony Six
  • The Bob Seger System
  • (and possibly the Grassroots). 

Local acts included the all-girl band the 19th Amendment.  100,000 kids paid 50 cents to see music, karate and judo demonstrations, fashion shows, etc.

Michael's Mystics hit Billboard's Bubbling Under chart with their local hit "Pain" on August 23, 1969.  It languished there for two weeks, only reaching #116.  My story:  I was making a tape for my dentist and naturally I wanted to include "Pain."  I looked for it in my Billboard Top Pop Singles book and it wasn't there.  How could this be?  It was such a monster hit in Minneapolis.  Couldn't believe it.  Still sounds great. 

Paul Revere and the Raiders came to Augsburg College on September 5.

On September 18, KDWB sponsored the Association at the Minneapolis Auditorium.

The Soul of a City Community Arts Festival was held on September 18-21, organized by Lonnie Morgan and the Center for Creative Communications.  The festival included art, music, film, plays, dance, painting, even cooking.


October 4 saw another Grand Ole Opry Tour at the Minneapolis Auditorium, starring:

  • Charley Pride
  • Slim Whitman
  • Johnny Bush and the Bandoleros
  • Jimmy Dickens and the Country Boys
  • Grandpa Jones - Star of Hee Haw

In an October 1969 article in the Insider, frustration was expressed about high schools opening up their dances to non-students, taking business away from the teen clubs.

There was also discussion in the Insider about the fact that downtown clubs would not book bands with black members for fear that it would be labeled a black-only club and draw trouble.  A solution offered was to have more than one to avoid concentration.  This was a very controversial subject and discussed in detail in the Insider. 

There was a fire at the Red Baron in October and the Paisleys lost all of their equipment.


Buddy Miles Express played the Prison in Burnsville on October 10 and 11.


Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts played at the Bank in October 1969.  Really, follow the link.

Duff's house band the Titans recorded "Ode to Billy Martin," dedicated to the Twins Manager who had just been fired.  It was on the Duff's label.  Didn't find it on Youtube - probably a collector's item!


Santana kicked off a new policy of national acts at the New City Opera House on October 16.  Also appearing were Triad and the Paisleys.  It was only a medium-sized house.


Johnny and Edgar Winter appeared for a Homecoming Concert at Northrop Auditorium on October 18.


The Fifth Dimension played the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 21.


John Denver appeared at the Hamline University Fieldhouse on October 23.


The First Edition and Pat Paulsen appeared at Augsburg College's Melby Hall on October 31.


Pacific Gas & Electric played at the New City Opera House on October 31, 1969.

Ray Charles played the Minneapolis Auditorium on November 19.  The show was billed as a WDGY Thanksgiving Holiday Spectacular, promoted by Arnie Sagarsky of A & A Enterprises.  Sagarski was the force behind the "Purple Cigar" teen dance hall in St. Louis Park. 

Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and O.C. Smith played the Met Center on November 21. 

Janis Joplin and the Kozmic Blues Band played the Minneapolis Armory on November 22 to a crowd of 8,000.  For a change we'll cite a review by the Current, which was a short-lived underground newspaper at St. Louis Park High.  This review is by Shelly Thomas:

Janis Joplin has a definite hold over her audiences that finds them wanting much more than they get at her concerts.  Saturday, November 22, at the Minneapolis Armory was no exception.  The billing started out with Danny's Reasons, who sounded like a recording of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.  The lead singer was a good dancer..


The Crow followed.  They came out saying "we aren't going to stuff all that political crap down you."  It was unsophisticated, wild fun.  They performed music on their next album, to be released in February.


By the end of their part of the show, many people agreed that they'd already gotten their money's worth.  But the best was yet to come - Joplin walked out on stage!


Her presence drew loud applause.  Then came her plea to turn off the balcony lights.  "I'll take full responsibility," Janis offered.  Unfortunately there are city ordinances forbidding it. 


She launched into songs from her first solo album "I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again, Mama." ...  After singing the album's title song she received a standing ovation, which was continuous through the rest of the concert. 


Until this time all the audience witnessed was Janis wiggling around on the stage.  She overcame this problem in the first fifteen minutes of the concert and just sang (which was greatly appreciated).  Next came "Piece of My Heart" from about a year ago.  Joplin's new back-up band (complete with brass) performed much better than "Big Brother." 


Most of the main floor audience found their way to the stage.  Those in the balcony were standing and dancing.  Janis was called back for an encore.  She wailed out "Ball and Chain" to the delight of her fans.  Someone shouted out "Janis, we love you."  "I love you to," she replied.


The New Colony Six appeared at the New City Opera House/Magoos on November 29.


James Brown brought his "Popcorn Festival" to the Minneapolis Armory on November 29, 1969. Wikipedia says "The Popcorn" is a 1969 instrumental written and recorded by James Brown. It was the first of several records Brown made inspired by the popular dance of the same name. Released as a single on King Records, it charted #11 R&B and #30 Pop."


1910 Fruitgum Company appeared at the New City Opera House on December 5, 1969. 


Glen Campbell, Jackie DeShannon, and comics Gaylord and Holiday appeared somewhere - possibly the Minneapolis Auditorium - on December 6.  WDGY's Johnny Canton was the emcee. 

Joe Cocker made his last appearance in the US before returning to England on December 14.  Despite the fact that it was a snowy Sunday, there was an overflow crowd at the Prison.


Iron Butterfly appeared at the Armory. 



The Labor Temple, which had hosted killer rhythm & blues shows in the 1940s and '50s, opened as a rock venue and hosted several concerts in 1969.  The shows were booked by local promoter David Anthony.  Concerts were presented on Sunday nights on the third floor of the hall.  No liquor was sold. 

The first set of concerts were "Presented by Community News," a group headed by Charlie Campbell.  After graduating from White Bear Lake High School in 1965, Charlie traveled to California where he "interned" with a group called the Magic Theater, an offshoot of the Merry Pranksters, where he learned the psychedelic light show trade.  He returned to Minnesota and started a light show group, Community News, with his brother and two others.  One manned an overhead projector, one a slide projector, one did the requisite liquid light show with vegetable oil and food coloring (the trick is in the concave clock face), and Charlie had the movie projector.  He would check the movies out of the public library - some art films mixed with some Busby Berkley.  Charlie:

Our first gig was with the High Spirits at Coffman Memorial Union at the U of M, May 19th, 1967. After realizing that the bands at the time didn't see the value of splitting their fee with a light show group, I concluded that we needed to put on our own shows and hire the band. We started our run at Dania Hall on the West Bank, which was perfect, in the fall of '67. The bands we worked with were Noah's Ark, TBI (True Blues Incorporated), Pandemonium Side Show, Mill City Blues Band, Jokers Wild and the Litter among others. The Paisleys, with a competing light show, played every other week. It was after a Jokers Wild show there in Dec. '68 that their manager, Dave Anthony (Wachter), lamented that there wasn't a bigger venue to handle the crowds (we were over capacity at Dania) that we revealed our discovery of the Labor Temple.

The owners of the Labor Temple wouldn't rent to a long-haired hippie freak like Charlie, but they would do business with David, so David hired Community News to do the light shows and handle the tickets and posters.




1969 Shows:  Ads below courtesy Mike Jann.  See a collage on Robb Henry's blog. 

The first act, opening on February 2, was the Grateful Dead, who arrived with an iguana, a rooster, goat, snake, and three kids.  Although it was 25 below zero and tickets were an onerous $3.50, the people came.  Local band Blackwood Apology performed their rock opera "House of Leather" to open.  The next day the Minneapolis Tribune reported:   


The Labor Temple was packed. The audience, mostly late-high-school and college-age youth, completely filled the chairless main floor, sitting or standing. And all other seats and aisles were taken in the balcony. As a preliminary to the Grateful Dead, a local group called the Blackwood Apology held forth for an hour or so with the same sort of electric sound. It came on like just what it was: hundreds of watts of electrified musical power pounding out of great stacks and racks of amplifiers. And above, lights flashed multicolored, changing images of psychedelia on great wide screens. Making it happen was the Grateful Dead, a group billed as the leader of underground rock, as the nationally famed but uncompromised original. The more than 2,000 young people who jammed the Minneapolis Labor Temple to hear them Sunday night took it quite coolly. They liked it, they clapped a lot, and some of them danced. But mainly, they did what you do with this kind of youth art: They experienced it. After a long delay for setting up their nearly 100 pieces of equipment, the Grateful Dead came on with a sound like the end of a bad trip. It was a horrendously penetrating hum from an amplifier gone mad. But when they got the amplifier squared away, they showed that they can play as well as make noise. Using some incredibly complex tempos and fine improvisations, they did the mixture of jazz and rock and folk that - along with the lights and, in some cases, marijuana - has been turning on people around the country for several years.  Poster image courtesy Charlie Campbell.  Photo below possibly this show, possibly by Gary Schwartz.




Other Labor Temple Shows in 1969 include:

Jethro Tull and Rotary Connection (with Minnie Ripperton) on February 9:  Warren Walsh remembers:

As I recall it was another one of those nasty cold Minnesota nights. It was a Sunday night and there couldn't have been more then a couple of hundred people there. Jethro Tull was just releasing their 1st album and nobody knew who they were [their first US stop]. We didn't care much for the Rotary Connection but it beat sitting around on a Sunday evening. We sat on the floor about 10-20 feet from the low stage. Can't remember the Rotary Connection but Jethro Tull took our heads off! During the break Ian Anderson just stepped down and mixed with the crowd. I remember him sharing some cigarettes with a few of us stand near the front.


Spirit and Mother Earth on February 16


Poster image courtesy Charlie Campbell                              




Procol Harum on February 23.   Blackwood Apology was replaced by Jokers Wild



On March 2 the Minneapolis Tribune had a feature on the Labor Temple:  Rock Temple Is Where It's At - The Sunday-Night Social" by Allan Holbert.  Holbert seemed extraordinarily interested in all the hair.  Even this early the reviewer likened the venue to the Fillmore in San Francisco.  Up the marble stairs three "young girls looking their most mod" sell tickets, and on the third floor "equally pretty young things" check coats, take tickets, and sell refreshments that include tangerines.  Floyd B. Olson's quote "Our Rights Which Labor Has Won, Labor Must Fight to Protect," written in Gothic letters across the proscenium arch, seemed incongruous.  Promoter David Anthony said that he can get acts for between $2,000 and $5,000, particularly when they have played Chicago on Saturday night.  ".. the Jokers Wild present some wild, crashing rock that will turn out, in the minds of most listeners, to be better than that to be presented later by the foreign group [Procol Harum]."

Buddy Miles Express with South 40 on March 2






Pacific Gas & Electric and Savoy Brown on March 9.  This was Savoy Brown's first American tour and they would come back to the Cities many times.



Jeff Beck Group, Zarathustra, Spider John Koerner, and Willie Murphy on March 23.  At this point Rod Stewart was singing with Jeff Beck, and "when the sound system kept cutting out Stewart threw the mike stand through an amp and walked off the stage, never to return."  Stewart left the group that July.



Jeff Beck photo by Jay Smiley via Robb Henry



Ten Years After and the Litter on March 30



Aorta, Mojo Buford, Stillroven, Spider John Koerner, and Willie Murphy on April 6 (Easter Blues Festival)



Muddy Waters and Sweetwater on April 20



Grateful Dead  and the Bobby Lyle Quintet, April 27.  The photo below may be from that show, and may have been taken by Gary Schwartz. 




Canned Heat and the Serfs (from Wichita), May 4    (Taj Mahal originally scheduled).  Charlie Campbell remembers that when Canned Heat launched into "Boogie" the crowd formed a conga line that snaked outside the building and back in!



Spirit and Clover, May 11




Deep Purple and the Serfs, May 18   (Illinois Speed Press originally scheduled)




Pacific Gas & Electric and Tradewinds, May 25    (Goldstreet originally scheduled)




Albert King, Jokers Wild, Skin Trade, June 1.  But what really happened is that Jokers Wild did their set and a rep for David Anthony announced that Albert King was not coming.  No refunds were offered, but tickets could be used for future shows.  There were no more shows in the near future:  those planned for Illinois Speed Press, Paul Butterfield, and the Mothers of Invention never materialized.  On July 5 it was announced that the Labor Temple "has closed for the summer."  Charlie Campbell said that without air conditioning the room was just too hot, and if they opened the windows the neighbors (who were actually very close by) got sore.  Campbell felt that Community News got unjustly blamed for the Albert King fiasco and ended his relationship with Anthony and the Labor Temple.




The Labor Temple reopened in September with a new light company, Center of Consciousness.

MC5 and Cottonwood, September 21




Serf and Triad, September 28




Dr. John the Night Tripper and John Lee Hooker, October 5.  John Lee Hooker didn't show so Dr. John played another set.  The Serfs may have played that night as well.  That was the night that David Anthony and his assistant Greg Gray were arrested when they refused to let narcs in without buying tickets.  He represented himself in court but Molly Ivins of the ACLU was involved and when the case came before the judge it was immediately dismissed.


The Velvet Underground and Pepper Fog played the last show of the season on October 12. Concert promoter David Anthony Wachter remembers that Andy Warhol showed up for the show!  In an interview, band member Sterling Morrison remembers staying at the infamous Gopher Motel. 






Blood, Sweat & Tears appeared at the Guthrie on January 16 as their eponymous album came out that February.  Warren Walsh:  "I was disappointed as I expected the Al Kooper line-up but quickly forgave them when David Clayton-Thomas powered up." 

Pete Seeger, March 22

Michael Lessac and Tony Glover, March 30

Led Zepplin played the Guthrie on May 18, 1969 and it was reported to be an Amazing Show - they played for 2 1/2 hours with no opening act.  Photo below posted by Tom Hebers. 






The Who played the Guthrie on June 8, shortly before Woodstock.  They had to add a second show as the 7 pm show sold out immediately.  Koerner, Ray, and Glover opened.  The first half consisted of material from "Tommy."   Gary Gimmestad reports: 

Very near the end and leading up to the much-anticipated destruction and mayhem, Keith Moon slinked offstage while Townsend held focus. As the frenzy came to a fever pitch the floor trap opened and Moon rose out of the pit and circled back to his drums and the real destruction began. However, a stoner approached the stage, walking slowly toward Townsend with his arms outstretched. I don't know what Townsend's thinking was - "This guy is clearly whacked and potentially dangerous and I should just hand over the guitar," or "What the hell, this could be interesting." He did hand over the guitar and the energy was drained from the stage. It ended in ant-climax.

A review by Scott Bartell in the Trib complained that the set he saw was only 45 minutes long.  "After about six short pieces from 'Tommy' the group went back to three old songs and ended very abruptly aver a version of 'Shakin' All Over,' leaving the audience unsure whether to go or stay...  It was a concert worth hearing, but no o ne could be sure they had really heard a whole concert."


Photos of the Who by Mike Barich and John Gilbeath, published in the June 7-21, 1969 Insider.


Johnny Winter and the Holy Modal Rounders, June 29.  It was Johnny's first time in Minneapolis.  See a poster on Robb Henry's blog.  Here's a photo by the very famous Mike Barich!




Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention (10 members) and Alice Cooper, July 13 (2 shows).  Reportedly the Zappa show featured mostly instrumentals as it was before Flo and Eddie joined.


Elvin Jones, July 27

Fleetwood Mac, August 3

John Koerner and Willie Murphy, August 24

Chuck Berry, Spider John Koerner, and Willie Murphy, September 7

Silver Apples, October 5

Steve Miller Band and Bonzo Dog Doo Dah, October 12

B.B. King, October 19

John Eaton and his Moog synthesizer, November 2

Joe Cocker and the Grease Band, opened by the Sons, November 9.  Cocker's first Twin Cities appearance.

Tim Hardin, November 16

Arlo Guthrie, November 23.  He played two shows, packed houses.

Incredible String Band, November 30



*Shows at the Labor Temple, Minneapolis Auditorium, Met Center, Guthrie, and the Depot are listed at the end of this 1970 section.


In 1970 Al Jarreau moved to the Twin Cites from Milwaukee to play music. Shortly thereafter he formed a band called Jarreau. The nucleus of Jarreau were members of Zarathustra (Rich Dworsky, Kinky Schnitzer, Dick Hedlund, Dick Bortolussi). They gigged at, among other spots, the Depot and Puff the Magic Dragon. In 1971 Jarreau (the band) broke up and Jarreau (the singer), along with Dworsky, moved to LA. The rest is (better known) history.  (Thanks to Paul Strickland for this Insider info!) Below is Jarreau appearing on Bill Carlson's "This Must be the Place" program three days after forming the new band.




The New Christy Minstrels performed at Northrop Auditorium.

The Insider applauded Northwestern National Bank for using John Denver's music in their commercials, 1970-71.

The Winter Carnival show was a "terrible flop," according to the Insider, with less than 1,500 in attendance.  Performing were Tiny Tim, Al Martino, and Johnny Nash.


Cold Blood, a 9-piece jazz rock group from San Francisco, appeared at the New City Opera House on January 30-31.

Bobby "Blue" Bland performed at the Cedar Village Theater, sponsored by the Walker Art Center.


The Butterfield Blues Band played Northup Auditorium on January 31, 1970.


Mercy performed at Northup Auditorium on February 28.


Spirit and Zephyr appeared at the Magoo's New City Opera House on March 8.  The ad promised Nova Lights and a new stage. 


A source on the Internet says that the Allman Brothers Band played in St. Paul on March 1 and April 18. 


Doug Kershaw was at the Cedar Village Theater on March 2.  Bamboo opened.


In an interesting ad in the April 1970 Insider, we find:  "Records from this market have long been criticized for their 'Minneapolis-sound.'  Sound 80 has definitely broken through that barrier and brings a refreshing change to recording in this market.  When you release a record remember it has to compete for air play with the best..  Prior to deciding where you want to record make certain you consider Sound 80 'Cuz It's A Gas!'"  Not many years later Minneapolis would be proud of its "Sound." 


Howlin' Wolf was at the Cedar Village Theater on April 2, 1970. 


Glenn Yarborough appeared on April 4 at Melby Hall, Augsburg College.


Dania Hall historian David Markle speculates that the last event in the large hall took place in April 1970:

According to Glen Hanson, members of the Jokers Wild band registered surprise on looking out over the "abnormal" crowd that had arrived.  The hall had been hired for an event for students following a [pop artist] Robert Rauschenberg opening at Dayton's Gallery 12.  Apparently Rauschenberg enjoyed the party.




The Eau Claire Peace Festival was held at the University of Wisconsin on April 18, 1970.  Rain moved the 1500 celebrants inside.  Acts were:

  • Mandrake Memorial
  • Townes Van Zandt
  • Zulu
  • The Paisleys
  • Cottonwood
  • Thundertree
  • Pepper Fog
  • Mauraders
  • Seaman's Mark
  • Chesterfield Gathering


The Sound Storm Rock Revival took place on April 24-26, 1970 near Madison, Wisconsin, billed as the Midwest's First Great Freak Festival and organized by Golden Freak Enterprises, Inc.  It featured:

  • The Grateful Dead
  • Crow
  • Biff Rose
  • Illinois Speed Press
  • Rotary Connection
  • Sorry Muthas
  • Author Ken Kesey
  • Headlights by Glateic Vision


An unknown Norman Greenbaum and the Hollies appeared at the Prison to a small crowd on April 25-26, 1970.


The Friends of Distinction and Young/Holt Unlimited appeared at the Minneapolis Armory.

The 1970 Connie Awards took place on June 1 at the Holiday Inn Central at 13th and Nicollet in downtown Minneapolis.  National rock promoter Bill Graham was planned to be the featured speaker, but the honors were done by Jon Carroll from Rolling Stone Magazine and Amos Heilicher.  The Sir Douglas Quintet performed, and KQRS program director John Pete was the emcee.  The big winners were the Sir Raleighs, who won in the Show Group and 21+ Club Band categories.  Michael's Mystics won Best Band for the third time but provoked Connie Hechter's ire when they didn't show up.  Connie was also upset that WDGY did not promote the awards or attend.  The only non-musician award was presented to producer and promoter Timothy D. Kehr.

Jimi Hendrix played the St. Paul Civic Center on May 3.  The concert (the "Cry of Love" tour) was taped by a member of the audience; read about it here.  Tom Pinkert's dentist sort of remembers that Jimi may have been airlifted into the venue.  Opening acts were Oz and Savage Grace, a band from Detroit.  Although Jimi was at the top of his fame (he would die that September), someone managed to spell his name wrong in the ad in the Insider, at right.



Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger appeared at the Cedar Village Theater on May 6.

Tom Pinkert:  "For some reason during a lunar eclipse I chanced upon Mance Lipscomb playing an outdoor concert somewhere on the west bank campus, must have been summer of 1970."  Cool!

On May 9 there was a March for Peace from Hamline University to the State Capitol, organized by Barry Knight.  The Paisleys were playing at the finish line, and there were speeches by Indian activists Clyde Bellecourt and Dennis Banks.  That night there was a concert at Macalester College with the Flying Burrito Brothers.



Advertised in the Insider was the Bacchanlia (sic) Revival, scheduled for May 30, 1970, indoors at the State Fair Hippodrome, organized by John Brevik of Twin Town, Inc.  Performers were to be:

  • Shocking Blue
  • Ike and Tina Turner Revue
  • Tony Joe White
  • Steam
  • The Paisleys
  • Zarathustra
  • Youngsters
  • Fairport Convention


A People's Fair held near Steven's Point, Wisconsin on June 26-28, 1970, was marred by band no-shows and bad behavior, according to an account in the Insider.  Drugs were rampant, there were no police except the six helicopters hovering above, there was garbage everywhere, and a bunch of bikers came on Sunday and literally shot and beat people.  Many people left before the headliners appeared.  The list of acts that were supposed to perform includes:

  • Chuck Berry
  • Paul Butterfield
  • Taj Mahal - cancelled at the last minute
  • Steve Miller - backed out
  • S.R.C.
  • Crow
  • Buddy Rich
  • Buffy Sainte-Marie
  • Johnny  Winter - backed out
  • Mason Proffit
  • Ravi Shankar
  • Ides of March
  • Terry Reid


Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee appeared at the Cedar Village Theater on June 30, sponsored by the Walker Arts Center.

July 8-12, 1970:  Local hero band Crow plays at the famed Whisky A-Go-Go in Los Angeles.  The other band listed was Crucible. 

The Aquatennial Admiral's Ball was held at the Pick-Nicollet Hotel on July 17, 1970.  Performing were Danny's Reasons, Thundertree, the Sir Raleighs, and Joey Hyatt.


An Open Air Rock Festival was held at Parade Stadium on July 19, 1970, attended by 6,000 people.  150 cops made 20 arrests for gate crashing but left dope smokers alone.  Organizer Pat Rains, owner of the Prison, hired 10 Olympic karate experts to keep people off the stage.  For his trouble he lost $35,000.  Despite a cold, foggy day, the participants enjoyed performances by:

  • White Lightning
  • Sly and the Family Stone (who supposedly called Minneapolis “worthless”)  Sly went on late, starting with the words "Minneapolis stinks" and played too long, leaving no time for the planned performance of Bloomsberry People.
  • Illinois Speed Press (subbing for the Amboy Dukes)
  • Richie Havens
  • Johnny Winter

The U of M held a series of blues concerts on the Anderson Hall Mall.  Mississippi Fred McDowell performed to an audience of 1,200 on July 22.


August 9th was KDWB/63's 6th Annual Drag Festival.


During the summer of 1970, brothers Bill and Paul Svensson hosted concerts on their barge, called Puff, the Magic Dragon.  The Insider's article was a bit unclear whether the vessel actually went anywhere or was just tied to a dock in St. Paul.  Citing noise and thefts, the St. Paul City Council shut it down on September 23, 1970.

The 1970 Soul of a City Festival, August 20-23,  was organized by Lonnie Morgan of F&M Bank, and took place on Nicollet Mall, the U of M, and Fair Oaks Park by the Art Institute.  The list of acts scheduled to perform is below.  The Insider reported that some of the acts didn't get paid. 

  • Mojo Buford
  • Lazy Bill Lucas
  • George Avaloz jazz group
  • Sam Bivens Sextet
  • Cyril Paul's group
  • Grizzly
  • Cottonwood
  • Light
  • Midwest
  • Mauraders
  • House of Fire



The 1970 youth pavilion was called Mind Odyssey, and promised "no bubblegum."  Nova Lights put on the light show, as they did at the Labor Temple.  Among the activities were performances by Shakespeare in the Street.  National headliners were the James Gang and Sha-Na-Na.  The Insider listed no less than 13 local bands for your dancing pleasure:

  • Mystics
  • Marauders
  • White Lightning
  • System
  • Big Island
  • Danny's Reasons
  • CA Quintet
  • Sir Raleighs
  • Zarathustra
  • Fenatiks
  • Pride and Joy
  • Peace
  • Sunshine World

Dave Lowe also remembers that his band, Karisma, played at Mind Odyssey that year, and posted this photo to Facebook:


Dave Olson, Connie Olson, Dave Lowe


Acts at the 1970 State Fair Grandstand were:

  • Jeannie C. Riley ("Harper Valley PTA"), Sonny James, Faron Young, and Jimmy Davis
  • Bobby Vinton with the Cowsills
  • The Johnny Cash Show with the Statler Brothers
  • The Lawrence Welk Show
  • Petula Clark, Art Linkletter, and the Golddiggers (Dean Martin's chorus girls)
  • Charlie Pride (with Fess Parker?)



The Judd Group formed in Rochester.  Lead singer Steve McLoone has lived in St. Louis Park since 1981.


In the fall of 1968 Jim Johnson got back from Viet Nam, rejoined the Underbeats, and they made their way west to Los Angeles.  They were soon playing regularly at clubs on the Sunset Strip and changed their name to Gypsy.  Their eponymous debut album, only the second double album of the era, hit the charts on October 10, 1970, stayed there for 20 weeks, and peaked at No. 44.  The single "Gypsy Queen - Part 1" entered the charts on December 5, 1970, peaking at No. 62.  A second album, "In the Garden," charted on August 7, 1971 reaching No. 173. 

The Association appeared at the St. Paul Civic Center on October 17, 1970.

The film "Airport" opened in 1970, starring our own WDGY DJ Johnny Canton!  Well, he had one line.  But without it, Maureen Stapleton wouldn't have known where the gate to Rome was.  The movie was filmed in Minneapolis, and also included local actress Nancy Nelson (billed as Nancy Ann Nelson) as Bunnie, the girl who sold the bomber his travel insurance.  Nancy was a hip chick in the '60s, costarring on "A Date With Dino" (see TV Shows below), writing a column and being the secretary for Twin City a-Go-Go (see Publications below), and doing a stint as the go-go booted "Saturday Night Weather Girl" just before Dave Moore's "Bedtime Newz."  Her debut on local TV was at age 3, where she sang "Good Night Ladies" on "Toby Prin's Talent Show."  While working on "Mel's Matinee Movie" she interviewed Don Stolz and started working as an actress at the Old Log Theater.  She was also “Princess of Prizes” on Don Dahl’s Bowlerama.  She spent a year as Miss Minnesota, and in 1970 she married local heartthrob Bill Carlson.  John Denver wrote "Follow Me" for them and sang it at the wedding (which I think is a little weird if you listen to the lyrics and think of a couple with two big careers).  Danny's Reasons also played at the event.  She and Bill had competing talk shows for awhile until she moved to Los Angeles, commuting home every weekend.  She later became the queen of infomercials, doing almost 100 of them.  She was inducted into the Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2009, where she declared that as a child she could never stop talking and could memorize anything. 


The Cafe Extraordinaire, formerly Magoo's, opened at Lake and Nicollet in late 1970, owned by Bobby and Doris Jackson.  They started with a Jazz Festival, bringing in such big names as the Elvin Jones Quintet, Joe Henderson, Eddie Harris and his Quartet, Kenny Burrell, and Freddy Hubbard.  The people just didn't respond, so they switched their format to soul, featuring acts such as Zulu and Showtime I and II.  In 1971 there was some sort of "Buddy Miles imposter fiasco" that basically put them out of business. 



A Festival of Hope was held on December 23, 1970 at the Minneapolis Convention Hall.  It was organized by Rev. Roger Paine and folksinger Ken Schaffer.  Acts included:

  • Pepper Fog
  • Willie Murphy
  • The Paisleys
  • Lonnie Knight
  • Roy Alstad
  • Charles Keating



By the end of 1970, the Purple Barn was the only teen club left, and it was only open on Fridays.  Club owners blamed the schools, who had changed their policies to allow non-students to attend their dances. 




David Anthony resumed booking bands in the Labor Temple.  This time lights were by Nova.  Ads below courtesy Mike Jann.  See a collage of more ads from Robb Henry's blog. 

Pacific Gas & Electric, Golden Earring, comedian Bobby Kosser, January 18



Grand Funk Railroad, Flash Tuesday, comedian Bobby Kosser, January 25.  This was Grand Funk's first Minneapolis appearance.  The concert sold out in 2-3 hours and Anthony remembers Grand Funk to be really LOUD.


John Hammond, Jr. and the Allman Brothers, February 1.  It was the Allman Brothers' first appearance above the Mason-Dixon line, according to David Anthony, who persuaded them to come north for $500.  Stephen Pfeiffer recalls: 

It was an ungodly frigid Sunday night (-30 below).  Only around 100 people made it to the show to see an unknown southern rock band play their first show in Minneapolis. John opened, then the Brothers, with the third set featuring both acts jamming together. I do remember having to lock my car with the engine running to ensure my getting home after the show. In the late '60s I was attending the School of Associate Arts on Summit Avenue in St. Paul, and made extra cash by working as a freelance artist. I did some poster art for the Labor Temple, as well as ads for the early Electric Fetus when it was at its original location at 514 Cedar Ave. Because of my 'connections,' I was often able to score tickets to music venues across the Twin Cities. Being a starving artist, it was about the only entertainment available at the time, but it has made for some fond memories.

Billy Hallquist remembers setting up the sound for the show, and that since there were so few people, the first show attendees could stay for the second show.  "During Hammond's second set, the Allmans sat on the floor with the audience and watched him in awe.  Then invited him to jam with them at the end to Donovan's "First There is a Mountain."  They were pretty down to earth."



Savoy Brown and local band Daybreak, February 8


Byrds and Teagarden & Van Winkle, folksinger Ken Schaffer, February 15


Sweetwater (jazz rock; without Nansi Nevins), South Wind (country rock), folksinger Ken Schaffer, February 22



Youngbloods and S.R.C., March 1.  S.R.C. was from Detroit and had a few albums out on Capitol Records.


Country Joe and the Fish and the Rugbys (from Kentucky), March 8


Golden Earring and 5th Ave. Band, March 15


Johnny Winter (with Edgar) and Thundertree, March 22



                                                                                                    Photo by Mike Barich from Insider, April 1970

Fever Tree and Mojo Buford Blues Band, March 29


Buffy Sainte-Marie, April 5  (possibly cancelled)

Small Faces (with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood) and Alice Cooper, April 19.  The band had big compressed air tanks on stage. They opened the valves and ripped feather pillows and blew feathers all the way to the back of the hall.



On April 26 David Anthony brought in a show called the Tony Williams Lifetime, which featured Williams on drums, John McLaughlin on guitar and Jack Bruce of Cream.  The Jazz-fusion sound didn't attract concert-goers - the review in the Insider called the show "incredibly bad and sparsely attended."   Illinois Speed Press was also on the bill. 



Anthony reportedly lost $12,000 during the season and could no longer continue bringing shows to the Labor Temple.  One of the problems was that he had based his ticket prices on an occupancy of over 3,000, but the fire marshall cracked down on him and limited him to half that, after the contracts had been signed.  He also got flak for not using union labor. 


The following were planned but may not have happened:

Buffy Sainte-Marie and the Sorry Muthas, May 3

The Byrds, May 18 

BB King and Mojo Buford, May 31 




Enter Dana Marver, a 17-year-old who, with his mother Gloria, formed Joint Productions and brought in major acts to the Labor Temple in 1970.

Savoy Brown, September 13

Gypsy with Pepper Fog, September 20

Johnny Winter (with Rick Derringer) and local group Big Island, September 27

Sha-Na-Na and the Mystics, October 4  (Dana says the guys were playing jazz to warm up and only took on their '50s personas when they "greased up.")

Poco with Al Jarreau, October 11


The MC5 and Brownsville Station were scheduled for October 25, but the MC5 cancelled two days before.  Brownsville Station went on, plus a band from Detroit called Night Train.  This setback caused Marver to have to cancel the Allman Brothers. 


Albert King with the Sorry Muthas, November 1.  This show was reviewed by John O'Brien in the Hundred Flowers underground newspaper dated November 6, 1970.

Amboy Dukes and Alice Cooper, November 8.  Dana Marver remembers being with the bands at the Holiday Inn Central and bumping into Frank Zappa and the Fifth Dimension in all their glory.






Shows at the Minneapolis Auditorium in 1970 (with no dates) were James Brown, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Ray Charles, and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown.


Delaney, Bonnie and Friends with Eric Clapton and John Koerner, Willie Murphy, and Tony Glover, February 12. 

Smokey Robinson (planned for March 10)

Moody Blues (planned for March 15).

Iron Butterfly and Mason Proffit, March 13.  The Butterfly was panned in the Insider.


Rod McKuen appeared on April 17, 1970, before a crowd of 5,000.  Bonnie Usan, journalist for the St. Louis Park Echo, found McKuen's work "melancholy, dejected, and lonely," good for business, and just a little boring and repetitive.  His basic themes were "his aborted attempts at love, memories of lost animal pets, and the bittersweet pain of being lonely."  She offered up "my mother or two affectionate goldfish."  


Blood, Sweat & Tears drew 8,000 on April 28.  Bob Mikkelson remembered that John Denver opened and no one cared. When Denver said it was his last number the place cheered. Denver just replied that he was as excited as the rest of us to hear BS&T.


Chicago Transit Authority's first performance in Minneapolis was on May 10, 1970, at the Minneapolis Auditorium.  Illinois Speed Press was also on the bill. 


Jefferson Airplane played at the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 15, with local – now national - band Crow playing warmup.


The Byrds and the Peppermint Rainbow appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 18, 1970.  The KDWB hit list told how you could win the Byrds to play at a dance at your high school!  Did that happen?

Peter, Paul and Mary played the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 22.


Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were scheduled for the Minneapolis Auditorium for May 24, with ticket prices at $5, $6, $7, and $10.  Hundred Flowers reported that Barry Knight and John Kome organized a boycott over the high prices, and the group cancelled, supposedly for other reasons.  They eventually rescheduled for July 9, with prices at $2, $4, $5.50, and $7.


Neil Diamond, June 13, 1970.  KDWB issued a flier "saluting" the performance.

Traffic was scheduled at the "Auditorium" for June 21, 1970, as advertised on a KDWB music survey.

The Who on July 3, 1970.  There was a 90-minute equipment delay, and the band played selections from "Tommy," which by then was a little worn out.  The Mystics opened.


Three Dog Night, July 12, 1970, as advertised in a KDWB music survey. 

KDWB brought Bobby Sherman to the Minneapolis Auditorium on July 31.  Scream!!!!

Steppenwolf, August 9, 1970.  Tickets were $4.  The Underbeats were scheduled to open but were replaced by Gypsy.

The Rascals, with the Litter and Kiwani,  played the Minneapolis Auditorium on August 16, 1970.

Eric Burdon and War, Crow, and White Lightning appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on August 23.

The Lettermen appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 10.

John Mayall, with the bands Flock and Ned, appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 16.

The Fifth Dimension, October 25 (sponsored by KDWB)
Mountain, November 1 (sponsored by KDWB)

KDWB's Top 6+30 Chart advertised a Country Music Spectacular for November 28, 1970 at the Minneapolis Auditorium. Presented by Smokey Smith, the concert featured Stonewall Jackson and the Minutemen, The David Houston Show, Barbara Mandrell, and George Hamilton IV and The Numbers.  


In an article in the Minneapolis Tribune dated November 27, 1972, journalist Terry Farrell noted that a change had come about two years before in terms of black patrons of clubs.  A.B. Cassius, a bar owner for 36 years, said "For years it was just a policy:  No Negroes served on Hennepin Ave."  A dramatic transformation took place in 1970 "particularly on Hennepin Ave., between  6th and 9th Sts.  Significant numbers of black people began frequenting those establishments, which previously - by design or informal social custom - had been patronized almost exclusively by white people." 



B.J. Thomas, Roy Orbison, and the Four Tops (February 6)

What was billed as the First Met Center Pop Festival was held at the Met Center with 12 bands on March 20, 1970. Featured acts included:

  • Canned Heat
  • Grand Funk Railroad
  • Buddy Miles Express
  • The Amboy Dukes (Ted Nugent)
  • The Litter
  • Brownsville Station
  • The Stooges (Iggy Pop)
  • Johnny Winter, unexpectedly joined on stage by brother Edgar
  • Rotary Connection
  • S.R.C.
  • Truth

Originally scheduled acts the Who, Brian Auger and Trinity, and Conqueror Worm did not make the show.  Although it was much advertised that a special sound system was being brought in by Tomorrow, Incorporated from Chicago "for undistorted sound," apparently the acoustics were terrible.  The show was a joint venture of Gary Jorgensen of the New City Opera House and Ray Heim of the Met Center.



Photos of Grand Funk Railroad and Iggy Pop by Mike Barich from Insider, April 1970


Vanilla Fudge reportedly bombed. 

Led Zeppelin (April 12) - sponsored by New City Opera House.  "Large and spirited crowd."



Crosby, Stills, and Nash (July 9)
Tom Jones (July 19)

Iron Butterfly and Crow ( November 13) - ad below from the underground Hundred Flowers magazine courtesy Wayne Elliott Klayman


Grand Funk Railroad (November 22)





Sam and Dave, February 15

The Band, opened by Robert Pete Williams and Rev. Robert Wilkins, March 22 - two shows, starting an hour late.  Johnny and Edgar Winter showed up but didn't play.

Photo of The Band by Mike Barich, Insider April 1970


Gordon Lightfoot, May 17

The Pentagle, June 7

James Taylor, June 21


Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, July 5, 1970



     Mothers of Invention with Flo and Eddie, above.  Photo by Tom Berthiaume


Homegrown with Roy Alstead, Bamboo, John Koerner, Willie Murphy, Leo Kottke, Sorry Muthas, August 23

Leon Russell, September 6, 1970.  He was backed by a 7-piece band.

Leonard Cohen, October 11

Youngbloods, September 2

Grateful Dead, October 18

John Sebastian, November 15


Elton John, November 29.  Warren Walsh remembers:  "The first set was just him on the piano. The second set included the full band. What a show."  The Insider reported that he wore a purple cape and yellow bib overalls.  The opening act was Polipto, a band from Bemidji.  Last minute booking, played in the afternoon because of a play in the evening, smallish crowd.


Leo Kottke, December 26




The Depot opened in an abandoned Greyhound Bus Depot competed with the Labor Temple for name acts - see ads on Robb Henry's blog.  (See venues, below)  The club featured a wrap-around screen and light show.  The Grand Opening was on April 3 and 4, 1970, and an estimated 2300 people came to the club over the two days to see the Mad Dogs and Englishman tour featuring Joe Cocker. Leon Russell was the musical director of this American tour, which descended on 48 cities over 60 days.  With over 20 musicians, another 20 Englishmen on stage just for fun, two kids (allegedly on acid), a dog, and characters like the Lunar Teacake Snake Man, the Ruby-Lipped Essence of Lubbock, Texas, and the Mad Professor, it was an experience for everyone involved.  Photo below by Mike Barich from the Insider, April 1970.




On opening night there was a nominal cost to get in, but there was a $10 charge to sit down, with much poaching of seats going on.  Marshall Fine had few good things to say about opening night in his review in the Minneapolis Star, and said that Cocker's first set was only 20 minutes long.  The Tribune's review was more concentrated on the sheer numbers of people who showed up, saying that people were lined up four-deep around the block.  Allan Fingerhut said that they ran out of booze by 8:00 and had to send out for more.  One account said that the "beautiful people" numbered 2,000, which was 600 over capacity.  A reviewer in the underground magazine The Minneapolis Flag noted that what seemed like the entire Tactical Division of the Minneapolis Police Force (off duty) had been hired as floorwalkers and bouncers.


Johnny Canton was the emcee, and appeared in the "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" film that was made of the event.  Will Jones of the Minneapolis Tribune tried to cover the opening, but opening act Bear, Beaver, Peacock was just too loud.  The Del Counts also performed on April 3.  On April 4 the opening acts were Kaleidoscope and the Paisleys. 


Other shows at the Depot in 1970 were:


The Butterfield Blues Band, April 11 (relatively small crowd)

Poco (former members of Buffalo Springfield), April 17-18, opened by Big Island and the Hot Half Dozen.


The Ramsey Lewis Trio performed for two nights in May.  Danny's Reasons opened on one night.  The reviewer for the Insider said that the band that opened the second night was so bad he was glad he forgot its name.


Jethro Tull and Clouds, May 31 - special teen show

Pacific Gas & Electric, July.  This was their fourth appearance in the area in two years.

Sha-Na-Na, June 7

Rotary Connection with Minnie Ripperton, June 14.  Opened by Thundertree.

BB King, June 28

Mason Proffit, October 4 - "Back Because the Multitudes Requested Them"

Frank Zappa and the Flying Burrito Brothers, October 25

Jazz artist Don Ellis, November 1

The James Gang concert at the Depot on December 8 was cut short by a family emergency.

Savoy Brown, December 13

Country Joe McDonald, without his band the Fish, appeared in an acoustic show on November 15.  Opening act was Wire.

And this, just because someone posted it on Facebook, the Mighty Tiny!  See demonstration here.






*Shows at the Minneapolis Auditorium, Met Center, Guthrie, and the Depot are listed at the end of this 1971 section.

On its 30 Star Survey, WDGY advertised the International Auto Show '71 at the Minneapolis Convention Hall, January 6-10.  Appearing in person would be Tiny Tim & Miss Vicki, Pat Buttrum (sic) (Mr. Haney on "Green Acres"), Barnabus (?), Spider Man, and Donna Wandrey, an actress on "Dark Shadows."



Note on Tiny Tim:  While playing at a gala benefit at the Woman's Club of Minneapolis on November 30, 1996, he had a heart attack on stage and he later died at the Hennepin County Medical Center.  Supposedly Fishman’s Deli in St. Louis Park had a photo on its wall of Tiny Tim buying a large sausage from them, one week before he died.  His remains are entombed in a mausoleum in Lakewood Cemetery. 








Gypsy, opened by Copperhead, played at the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium on January 10.


The Nashville Brass appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra on January 17, 1971.


The WDGY Listen List for February 10, 1971, advertised professional Motorcycle Races indoors at the Minneapolis Armory, featuring riders from 6 states - added attraction, "Mini" bike races.  The event was on February 20.  Tickets were $2.  

John Denver performed at Northrop Auditorium on February 18, 1971.  Tickets were $3.


Tafi's, a jazz venue, hosted Latin jazz musician Cal Tjader and his Quintet on February 22-27.

“Hair” played sold-out performances at the St. Paul Civic Center Theater, opening  February 23, 1971, then the same cast returned for another engagement in May – the first show ever to be brought back to the Twin Cities for a second run in the same season. The February engagement broke box office records at the venue.

The Cowsills appeared at the North Hennepin State Junior College, 74th and 85the Ave. No. in Brooklyn Park, on February 27. 

The Gopher State Timing Association presented its 15th Rod and Custom Spectacular at the Minneapolis National Guard Armory (6th and Portland Downtown) on March 5-7, 1971, as advertised on KDWB's Top 36 for that week.


Leo Kottke appeared at the Whole Coffehouse on March 4 and got a good review from Hundred Flowers.


The Allman Brothers Band and the Litter played two shows at the O'Shaughnessy Theater on March 25. 


Quicksilver Messenger Service with Brewer and Shipley appeared for two shows on April 7 at the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium.


Ten Years After appeared at the St. Paul Civic Center on April 9, 1971.


MC5 plus SRC, presented by North Country Music, were at the Minneapolis Armory on April 16.


Big Mama Thornton came to the Whole Coffeehouse on May 4 and 5, [5 and 6] 1971.


Son House appeared at the Whole on May 10.


Poco and a "special performance" by Shawn Phillips came to the St. Paul Auditorium Theater on May 21.



A rock festival was planned near Hibbing for May 14-16 [28-31], organized by one John Grimes.  The April 17, 1971, issue of Hundred Flowers reported that the actual location would not be disclosed until the date came closer, for fear of an injunction.  Plans called for 25 local and three national bands.  Security was a big issue; Grimes planned on having 150 security guards on horseback and 500 volunteers from Karate and self defense clubs to keep anyone from hurting anyone else. 


The next issue reported that St. Louis County had issued an injunction against the festival and arrested Grimes for selling tickets in advance.  The location was identified as the 600-acre Nels Rude Farm, 20 miles west of Cook and 20 miles north of Hibbing.  So far Thundertree and some bands from North Dakota had signed on.  Hundred Flowers expressed an objection to the festival because it appeared to be a money-making endeavor on the part of Grimes.


On May 21 it was reported that the festival had been moved to Woodstock, Minnesota, and that Alice Cooper and the Stooges had been signed.  By now Hundred Flowers was convinced that Grimes was a "rip-off artist" and urged readers not to buy tickets. 


No indications that this festival ever happened.



A free Music Festival took place on May 21 and 22, 1971 in Loring Park, sponsored by Metro State Jr. College.  Performing were:

  • John Koerner
  • The Hall Brothers
  • Lazy Bill Lucas
  • Dave Ray
  • The Marauders
  • Baby Doo Caston


Poco appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium on May 21, 1971.


The Insider alluded to a "Buddy Miles imposter fiasco" at the Cafe Extraordinaire in April or May of 1971, which basically put the place out of business.



Two of three planned open air concerts were held in the summer of 1971.  The first was on June 26 at Midway Stadium and starred The Band.  Special guest stars were John Sebastian, Delaney & Bonnie, the Butterfield Blues Band, Crow (subbing for Free), and Muddy Waters.  The concert was advertised on the June 4, 1971 WDGY "Listen List."  The Minneapolis Tribune cited the crowd of 24,000 as the biggest at a single musical event in Minnesota.  Sound was provided by Magnum Opus, out of Boulder.




Open Air Celebration II "Superball" featured:

  • It’s a Beautiful Day
  • The Allman Brothers
  • Little Richard
  • Richie Furay and Poco
  • John Baldry
  • Joy of Cooking
  • Redeye
  • Jam Band/Mike Quatro

The Insider also mentioned Lee Michaels, Rita Coolidge, Chuck Berry, the Grateful Dead, and New Riders of the Purple Sage but they didn't come to pass.  The M.C. was Tony Glover.  This one was also at Midway Stadium, on July 24.  Sound was provided by Magnum Opus of Boulder, Colorado, who brought a 24-channel system "the only one of its kind" with 60 microphones and 12,000 watts worth of amplifiers.  An ad in the paper promised:

  • Free Celebration souvenir editions of Connie's Insider
  • 100 ushers
  • 24 parking lots
  • "Tao will be on hand with a large selection of organic health foods. Footlongs and soft drinks will also be available."
  • 130 first aid volunteers
  • One doctor
  • 7 Internes
  • Ambulance Service
  • Complete First Aid Station

Photo below of the Allman Brothers courtesy Bill Lydon.  "Tony Glover sitting next to Gregg, staring at the wonder that is Duane."





Newspaper ads courtesy Jim Froehlich




Open Air Celebration III, featuring the Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, Leo Kottke, and four others, was scheduled for Midway Stadium on August 22, 1971, with Koerner and Glover to emcee.  But the concert was cancelled  - Midway refused to host it and when the promoters tried to get it into the Met Center the Insider reported that "the Mayor encouraged the Bloomington City Council to apply pressure to cancel" and the "Bloomington Police voted among themselves not to work."  The two previous shows at Midway Stadium were marred by gate crashers, and someone jumped off a high pole at the second concert.  The three promoters, Timothy D. Kehr, Harry Beacom, and Walter Bush, had all their money tied up in the third concert and lost "tons of money."  The Insider reported that the disaster lost Harry Beacom $70,000 and sent him into self-imposed exile.  Below are early ads for the show that did not go on, courtesy of Jim Froelich.





David Tanner found the Insider ad above.

MORE 1971

August 8 was KDWB's 7th Annual Drag Festival at Minnesota Dragways.


Big Mama Thornton appeared in front of Northup Auditorium on August 15.


There was a "Soul of the City: The Urban Environment" event held the week of August 16, with arts events held in venues all around Minneapolis.


The Guess Who and Gypsy appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium on August 28.


Genesis (the Genesis?) and Cree appeared at the Cedar Village Theater on August 28.


The 1971 State Fair youth pavilion was again called Mind Odyssey, and again featured Shakespeare in the Streets.  National acts were Sugarloaf and Mason Proffit.  The Insider listed 17 local bands that played throughout the fair.

Grandstand shows at the State Fair were: 

  • The Carpenters, John Davidson, Della Reese, and the Harmonicats
  • Sandler & Young
  • Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Jack Green, Jeannie Sealy, and Roy Acuff
  • Liberace
  • Neil Diamond
  • Charley Pride


Jeff Lonto offers this interesting item:

On September 7, 1971 the Doobie Brothers performed the first rock concert to air live on a Twin Cities radio station.  But the concert was not heard on KQRS; it was heard on WWTC (1280 AM) of all places.


WWTC, then primarily a middle-of-the-road music station, broadcast the concert live from Sound 80 recording studio in south Minneapolis.  The show lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes.  Dick Driscoll (who had moved from KQ to WWTC in 1969) interviewed the band.  Driscoll recalls asking them why they called themselves the "Doobie Brothers" when they weren't brothers and none of them were named Doobie.


"They looked at me like I was some kind of square," Driscoll recalls.


Performing the concert on a 5,000-watt AM station gave the Doobies much needed exposure while allowing minimal risk of pirates "Bootlegging" recordings of the show.


A Minneapolis Star article the following day pointed out that the show was unlikely to be bootlegged anyway "because the Doobie Brothers are not an extremely popular group."

The Doobies would not have their first hit until the next year.  The show consisted of an acoustic set and an electric set.


John Baldry with Madura performed at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium on September 19.


On September 21, 1971 there was a Blues and Folk Marathon held at Memorial Stadium at the U of M. Scheduled performers were:

  • Leo Kottke
  • John Lee Hooker (apparently did not appear)
  • Fred McDowell
  • Doc Watson and Son
  • Charlie Musselwhite
  • Harmonica George Smith

George Shearing was at the St. Paul Civic Center on September 24.


Don Ellis and Friends appeared at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium on September 25.


The Allman Brothers came to the St. Paul Civic Center on September 30.


On October 12 WCCO aired "Moore on Tuesday" at 9:30 pm with a segment on the Minneapolis music scene.


Crow and Willie and the Bumblebees appeared at O'Shaughnessy on October 18.


Joan Baez came to Northrop Auditorium on October 28.


Roberta Flack appeared at the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium on November 6.

The Doors, minus Jim Morrison, appeared in the area, but one page on the Internet shows two different venues:

  • Melby Hall, Augsburg College, with the Spencer Davis Group
  • Auditorium Concert Bowl

There was a Richard Nader Rock 'n' Roll Revival at the St. Paul Auditorium/Civic Center on November 14, featuring:

  • Chuck Berry
  • Bill Haley and the Comets
  • Bo Diddley
  • The Shirrelles
  • The Dovells
  • Gary U.S. Bonds
  • Bobby Comstock and the Comstock Ltd.

Bonnie Raitt did a stint at the Whole Coffeehouse on November 17-20.


The Lettermen were at the Minneapolis Armory on November 19.


John Hartford was at the St. Paul Civic Center on November 28.


Pentangle was at O'Shaughnessy, also on November 28.





Rod McKuen, April 23


The Jefferson Airplane appeared as part of their farewell tour on June 24.  The last time they were here Marty Balin and two roadies were busted at their motel in Bloomington.  "Light show by Heavy Water."


Ike and Tina Turner, with the Grease Band, appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on June 24. 


Blood, Sweat & Tears, summer of 1971.   6,000 attended the concert, which was panned in the Insider.


The Faces, Deep Purple, and Southern Comfort - July 11.  This lineup of the Faces would have included Rod Stewart, Ronnie Lane on bass, and Ron Wood on guitar.  Ticket stub below courtesy Jim Fischer.


Black Sabbath, July 5


A big country show, sponsored by WMIN for the Aquatennial, appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on July 18, featuring:

  • Roy Clark
  • Sonny James
  • Hank Thompson
  • Sammi Smith
  • Ray Price


Leon Russell, July 30, 1971.  Paul Strickland recalls that "the great Freddie King was the opening act. He had just signed a deal with Shelter, also Leon's label, and they were touring together." Thanks to Paul for the photo!




Steven Stills, August 7

Judy Collins, August 13


Elton John played the Minneapolis Auditorium on August 31, 1971.  Ad below from the Insider; photo courtesy David Tanner.  That year, DJ Barry McKinna was the first person to play a song not on a record in the Twin Cities - a tape cartridge of Elton John's "Crocodile Rock."  Also on the bill was Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.




James Gang, September 12

Howlin’ Wolf appeared with Chase, September 18


Allman Brothers, September 30.  David Tanner recalls that it was a snowy night and the opening band didn't show.  He took these great photos - thanks, David!




Moody Blues, October 9.  The first show sold out so they added a second midnight show.

Jeff Beck and BB King, October 22

Donovan, November 5

Jose Feliciano and/or John Sebastian, November 14



Three Dog Night (January 8)  (See also October 15 below)

Sly and the Family Stone, the Mystics, February 19.

Savoy Brown & Grease Band & Small Faces (February 20)  Tickets were $4.  The hippie rag Hundred Flowers published a story about a guy with no money who hitched a ride to the concert, sneaked in with a paying customer's torn ticket, and complained about bad sound and capitalist pigs.

The Guess Who ( March 18)
The Grass Roots and special guest stars Alice Cooper were paired up at the Met Center on April 23.

Tom Jones (June 3)

The Who (August 15), also featuring LaBelle.  Various reports are that gate crashers or an influx of phony tickets resulted in bedlam at every entrance, and the Bloomington Police Department used teargas for the first time.  Most of it blew in the cops' faces.


The Jackson Five (September 8)
The Bee Gees with the Ian Forrest Orchestra and Tin Tin (September 24)

Three Dog Night ( October 15) with Gayle McCormick (from Smith) and the Underhand Band.  Wolfman Jack was working with Three Dog Night, and Johnny Canton introduced him.  Hank McKenzie recalls: "It was memorable because while we were in enjoying the concert, there were a number of disgruntled fans outside who couldn’t get in and the police were called. When we came out of the concert we were confronted by police and told to move on. I explained that we were waiting for a ride home and were to meet our ride in front of the auditorium. The cop told me that I could not meet them there. We ended up walking into downtown to catch a bus back to Robbinsdale where my driver was extremely angry as my friends were 'under age' so to speak. All was smoothed out the next morning when the news came on about the riots at the concert the night before." 


Jesus Christ Superstar ( October 19)
Grand Funk Railroad and Ballin' Jack (October 27).  Concerts West Presents an Historic Event!
Johnny Cash (October 29)
Elvis (November 5)    See Elvis in the Twin Cities.





Jethro Tull, January 4 (check)

Neil Young, January 14

[Leo Kottke, January 28]

Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band and Ry Cooder, February 11

Taj Mahal, February 14 [4]

Ian and Sylvia, February 28

Gordon Lightfoot, March 7

Miles Davis, March 19

With Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Gary Bratz, Airto Moriera, and Michael Henderson.  Henderson got snowed into O'Hare, so Jarrett played the bass parts on an electric keyboard.

Jethro Tull, April

Don Ellis and Friends, April 4

Laura Nyro, April 25

Kris Kristofferson, May 3

Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Mott The Hoople, May 11

John Mayall and Judee Sill, May 16 (two shows)

Livingston Taylor, May 30

Tom Paxton and Judee Sill, June 13

Cat Stevens, July 14

Crosby/Nash and Judee Sill, September 10

Shawn Phillips, September 26

It's a Beautiful Day, October 3

Johnny Rivers and Fanny, October 10.  Fanny, four girls featuring sisters Jean and June Millington, were known for their hit “Charity Ball.”

Carly Simon, November 14 (Cancelled)

Beach Boys, November 21 - Surf's Up Tour

Sea Train, November 28

Randy Newman, December 5

Leo Kottke, December 26




Ritchie Havens, February 21.  Opening was Otis Plum, a band from Chicago.

Sly and the Family Stone was scheduled to play the Depot on February 19 but didn't show - a common occurrence.

Local heroes Crow and Pepper Fog, March 7.


Ike and Tina Turner were scheduled for two shows at the Depot on March 21, the first starting at 7:30.  They got there so late that the people who came for the second show were left waiting in the cold and rain for up to 4 1/2 hours and the police had to block off traffic.  Owner Allan Fingerhut was furious at their manager.  He called in comedian Ron Douglas to keep the crowd entertained until they got there, and had to do over an hour.  Ike and Tina finally arrived and said they would only do one show, but Fingerhut kept them to their contract and the second show didn't go on until midnight. 


Procol Harum, April

Little Richard, May 9.

Johnny Winter and Zephr, May 23

Edgar Winter, June 6

Allman Brothers, June 13

(Stan Kenton, June 25)


The Insider reported that the Depot closed on June 14.


*Shows at the Minneapolis Auditorium, Met Center, and Guthrie are listed at the end of this 1972 section.

Traffic appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium Theatre on January 13 [18].  Presented by Howard Stein.


Alice Cooper, with Edgar Winter and Redbone, appeared at the St. Paul Civic Center on January 28


Bill Haley appeared at f. david's on February 13.  Kudos to Jim Froehlich for finding this Pioneer Press ad!




Weather Report, February 18 (venue unknown)


Emerson, Lake & Palmer appeared at the St. Paul Civic Center on March 16, 1972.


Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac, and Long John Baldry appeared at the St. Paul Civic Center on March 19.


Black Sabbath appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium on March 21, presented by Howard Stein.  Apparently windows were smashed after the concert, making venue managers wary of booking hard rock acts.


In April 1972 the Insider devoted pages to a discussion of racial discrimination in the music business, saying that black musicians were not being hired except at all-black or "head" clubs.  This topic had also been addressed in its June 5-19, 1971 issue.


Leon Russell performed at the St. Paul Civic Center on April 10, 1972


The Jeff Beck Group and Tranquility played the Minneapolis Armory on May 14, presented by Howard Stein.


The Snoose Boulevard Festival was held in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood  from 1972 through 1977.  Click on the link for much more about this interesting part of Minneapolis musical history.


Uncle Sam's opened on July 1, 1972 after the building - the former Depot - had been closed for a year.


Alice Cooper played the Minneapolis Armory on July 27, presented by Howard Stein.  Special guest star Wishbone Ash.

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer appeared at the Minneapolis Armory on August 10, presented by Howard Stein.


Black Sabbath with Jo Jo Gunne and Gentle Giant at the Minneapolis Armory on August 28, presented by Howard Stein.


On a night in late July 1972, the Minneapolis Tribune reported that a group of 20-25 black youths went to at least three Minneapolis bars that were owned by blacks or had primarily black clientele.  They demanded that the bars be closed by 8:00 pm, and one reportedly carried a high-powered rifle.  Among the bars were the Peacock Alley and the Cozy Bar and Lounge.  Only one apparently closed down for the night. 


Local group Batch, featuring our friend Arne Fogel, performed at Powderhorn Park in the summer of 1972.  There is footage of this event taken by the incredible Michael Yonkers, available on YouTube.  Arne sings "Domino."  Others in the band are Barry Thomas Goldberg, Gary Paulak, and Gary Lane.



The 1972 State Fair youth pavilion was again called the Mind Odyssey, and featured national acts:

  • Tony Joe White - August 25-27
  • Cold Blood - August 28-30
  • Bill Withers - August 31 - September 2
  • Muddy Waters - September 3-4.  Photo below posted by Randy Nordquist.

  • Brave New Workshop (Satirical Revue every day)

Also appearing were the biggest of the local bands, as reported by the Insider:  the Litter, Pepper Fog, Cain, Cold Duck, Copperhead, Teen King and the Princes, Purple Haze, Daybreak, Sterling, Octopus, Blackbone, Danny's Reasons, Fairchild, Powerhouse, Skogie and the Faming Pachucos, Phaedra, Jasper, Sunshine World, Brave New World, Menagerie, Spice, and Birth. 

1972 State Fair Grandstand shows were: 

  • Sonny and Cher with David Brenner
  • John Denver with Kenny Rogers and the First Edition
  • Sonny James, Lynn Anderson, Del Reeves, Tom T. Hall, and Tex Ritter
  • Bobby Goldsboro, Anne Murray, and George Kirby
  • Merle Haggard, Sammi Smith, and Waylon Jennings
  • Neil Diamond
  • Up With People


Leon Russell appeared at the St. Paul Civic Center on September 10, 1972.  Badfinger opened.  Image below courtesy Jim Froelich.


The Allman Brothers Band and Eric Quincy Tate played the Minneapolis Armory on September 12, presented by Howard Stein.


Yes, the Eagles, and Gentle Giant at the Minneapolis Armory on September 23, presented by Howard Stein.


The Blues and Folk Marathon II was held on September 24, 1972, at Memorial Stadium at the U of M, presented by UPC Welcome Week.  Performers included:

  • Shawn Phillips
  • The Albert King Revue
  • Bonnie Koloc, from Chicago
  • Casey Kelly
  • Special Guest Stars Loggins and Messina

Photos below courtesy Mike Evangelist







Pete Seeger appeared at Northrop Auditorium on October 1.  Here is a touching story from Alan Freed:

During his visit he stayed at a neighbor's house, a friend of his. Your trusty kid correspondent (me) could not wait to get an interview using his new Sears cassette recorder, an audio device that was yet to be a common item in the households of America.   I recently found what I had thought was the forever lost cassette containing the conversation. He was amazingly patient, especially considering I showed up at the house practically minutes after he had arrived. Following some audio cleanup (the kid had some technical issues during the recording), the 10-minute interview has been uploaded at http://goo.gl/viDHxc


Here is Pete outside the Winters' home on S. Cedar Lake Road during that visit, and the postcard he sent me a few months following my first celebrity interview.

RIP Pete Seeger.

Postcard and audio © Alan Freed, photo © Amy Winters Galberth, Ellie Borkon



Peter Yarrow did a solo at the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium on October 2.


Bonnie Raitt graced the Whole Coffeehouse at the U of M on October 6 and 7


Buffy Sainte-Marie appeared at Northop Auditorium on October 22.


The Beach Boys appeared at the Minneapolis Armory on November 8, 1972. 


Rare Earth with Special Guest Star Poco, November 25 at the Minneapolis Armory, a Greathall Production


The Allman Brothers, frequent guests in the Cities, appeared at the Minneapolis Armory on December 7, 1972.

Sunshine Productions and Capitol Records presented Preview "73" featuring the Raspberries, Special Guest Stars from England Flash, and Introducing Bang.  Minneapolis Armory, December 28, for the unbelievable low price of $3.



Reportedly the auditorium manager began refusing to hold concerts by some hard rock groups like Alice Cooper and Jefferson Airplane after an incident at the St. Paul Civic Center where windows were smashed after a Black Sabbath concert.

On April 21 Rod McKuen played the Minneapolis Auditorium, to "what must have been the best-groomed straight-arrow audience ever at" the venue, according to Linda Hoeschler of the Star.  She reported that his performance was much more varied than the show presented two years ago, but "nevertheless soon settled into tedium." 


Jeff Beck was at the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 14.


Elton John, May 16, 1972


New Riders of the Purple Sage, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, and the Exciting All Girl Group Fanny, July 10.


B.J. Thomas - first Twin Cities appearance - July 28.  Presented by Sunshine Productions and the Minneapolis Aquatennial.  Cancelled because of illness.


David Cassidy - At Last in Person!  July 30.  Presented by Sunshine Productions and the Minneapolis Aquatennial.


Uriah Heep, Long John Baldry, and White Trash, August 3.


B.B. King entertained at the Minneapolis Auditorium on August 6.  Presented by Grodnik/Sharpe


Stephen Stills and his band Manassas (spelled wrong in the ad) and including Chris Hillman played the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 22.  Ticket image below courtesy Jim Fischer.



Bread, November 10




Deep Purple, Buddy Miles and His Band, and Uriah Heep (January 21).  Triangle Productions
Sly and the Family Stone (February 4)
Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac, and John Baldry (March 19)
Joe Cocker (April 3)
Ten Years After, Wild Turkey, special guest star Procol Harum (April 19)
James Brown (April 28)
Credence Clearwater Revival (May 5)
Jethro Tull (June 5), presented by Howard Stein.

Rolling Stones (June 18).  The concert was marred by gate crashers, counterfeit tickets, and teargas, and ultimately cut short, but the Stones were reportedly gentlemen.  17,500 attended.  Tickets were $6.  Stevie Wonder opened. Presented by Howard Stein and Sunday Promotions.  Review by Jon Bream of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

The double-disc "Exile on Main Street," arguably the band's finest album, had just been released, and the single "Tumbling Dice" was rolling up the charts. Opening act Stevie Wonder, perhaps at his creative peak, did a 10-minute drum solo in his first number that wasn't appreciated by the 17,300 concertgoers. Jagger, in a purple jumpsuit with pink sash, rocked for 15 songs and 75 minutes. The lack of air conditioning was as annoying as the ineffective sound system. (Or was it the arena's acoustics?) Most memorable was the tear gas that filtered into the building from police skirmishes with ticketless fans outside the arena. (three stars out of five stars)



Stones at the Met, 1972

Three Dog Night, Buddy Miles, and Black Oak Arkansas (July 15)
The Osmonds, the Heywoods, and Jan Baker (August 19)

Grand Funk Railroad (October 13)
Moody Blues (October 29)
Chicago (November 17)
Deep Purple and Fleetwood Mac Plus Dick Heckstall-Smith (December 3).  Triangle Productions




An article called "The New Rock Concert Promoter" in the September 1972 Insider talks about Sue Weil, coordinator of performing arts for the Walker Art Center.  "Her Guthrie concerts are part of the Walker Art Center's commitment to displaying contemporary art forms.  The concerts consistently lose money because she usually brings in acts before they beak nationally.  Weil picks acts on instinct and on advice of friends, other artists, and anyone else who offers it.  Her only criterion is that the artists be developmental or experimental...While Weil has capital to work with, she is only interested in breaking even and exposing the talent."


Seals and Crofts, January 9

Bill Withers, January 30

John Prine/Steve Goodman/Bonnie Koloc, February 5

Mahavishnu Orchestra, February 27

Cathy Berberian, April 16

Shawn Phillips, April 23-24 (4 shows)

Tom Rush, April 30

It's a Beautiful Day, May 7

Todd Rundgren, June 4


Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin, William Cobham, Rick Laird, Jerry Goodman, and Jan Hammer, August 12 or September 13


Argent, August 20

Pure Food and Drug Act, September 20

Randy Newman and Jim Croce, October 8

Commander Cody and Merry Clayton, October 29

Paul Winter Consort, November 5

Curtis Mayfield and Danny Holien, November 12

Taj Mahal and Steely Dan, November 19

Boz Scaggs with Dr. John and the Night Trippers, December 10

Leo Kottke Christmas Show, December 19-20.  Taped for a live album.


*Shows at the Met Center and Guthrie are listed at the end of this 1973 section.

In 1973 St. Louis Park resident Jack Volinkaty, 29, wrote the song “Satin Sheets,” which came to him while he was grocery shopping.  The song made its way to country singer Jeanne Pruett, who brought it to #1 on the country charts for three weeks. The song was also recorded by Bill Anderson and Jan Howard. Volinkaty was an accountant for Univac and lived at 27th and Florida.  In November 1973 he was nominated for song and songwriter of the year in Nashville.  Story on Page 43 of the July 1973 issue of the Insider.

Denny Craswell, veteran drummer of the Castaways, Crow, South 40, and sort of my cousin, premiered his famous solo "Ape Show" at the Coffeehouse Extempore.  He apparently incorporated fire into his act at one point. 

Blood, Sweat and Tears appeared at the Orpheum Theater on February 9.  KQRS broadcast the concert, recorded and encoded in four-channel sound.  Hear an introduction to the concert on KQRS at www.radiotapes.com/KQRS.html

The Grateful Dead appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium on February 17.

Mason Proffit was scheduled to perform at St. Louis Park High for their Sno-Daze concert on February 28, 1973, but not enough tickets were sold to cover his $3,000 fee so he was replaced with local performers not quite so well known.

John Denver performed at the Minneapolis Auditorium on March 23, 1973.


March 31 gave you three good choices:

  • John Hammond and Jerry Jeff Walker at the Whole Coffeehouse
  • Leo Kottke and Michael Johnson at the Extemp
  • Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge at O'Shaughnessy.  Due to bad weather the show started an hour late, but Star reviewer Roy M. Close was well  pleased with the performances and was told that the second show was even better.

April 1 brought Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show and Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids to a less than one-quarter full house at the Minneapolis Armory.  Marshall Fine reported in the Star that Dr. Hook handled their generally serious songs with a great deal of incongruous humor and showed fine musicianship.  He was not impressed with Flash Cadillac.


Wet Willie, Black Oak Arkansas, and Beck-[Tim] Bogart-[Carmine] Appice, the newest reincarnation of the Jeff Beck Group, appeared at the Minneapolis Armory on April 5, 1973.  Marshall Fine, an experienced rock critic, found the whole thing just too loud, and 30 minutes into the Beck set he had to leave. 


Folksinger Michael Johnson appeared at the "New West Bank Auditorium" on April 6.  Also on the bill was Jerico Harp, which consisted of Jim Thomas and Tom Schmidt.


Shawn Phillips played four shows over two nights on April 10 and 11, 1973, at the Orpheum Theater and all were sold out.  Reviewer Marshall Fine just couldn't figure out why Phillips was so popular here in the Twin Cities - "His four albums have all sold well here while making an unappreciable dent in the record business elsewhere.  Phillips has received more radio airplay in the Twin Cities than in any other market."  Why?  It's his long hair, silly!  (See November, below.)




Wishbone Ash and Vinegar Joe presented "several hours of generic British boogie" at the St. Paul Civic Center on April 11, according to the Star's Tom Murtha.  The house was about two-thirds full, with 80 percent of the audience male.  Murtha had nothing nice to say about Vinegar Joe, and Wishbone Ash was all about posturing and decibels.  He walked out after four songs.


Stan Kenton's 19-piece big band appeared at the Prom on April 18, and Star reviewer Tom Murtha just loved it!


Jack Costanzo and Gerrie Woo appeared at the Kobbersted in April.  Costanzo was known as "Mr. Bongo."  I think I have one of his albums but not this one:



The Faces featuring Rod Stewart and Jo Jo Gunne appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on April 23 and the new St. Paul Civic Center Arena on April 24.  Minneapolis Tribune reviewer Michael Anthony reported that the sound was fuzzy and unbalanced and the ushers lost the battle to keep several hundred of the 4,000 in the audience from rushing the stage.  "The set was generally too loose and [Rod] Stewart's vocal energy low, though he seemed to be enjoying himself playing his role of the fey madcap ("Hyeh's anothah numbah of great social significance...') in painted lips, white gloves, silk pants, sequined vest and what one might call a very chintzy-looking necklace."  Ah, the Seventies.  Tom Murtha reviewed the show for the Star, and while he liked the Faces, "Second-act Jo Jo Gunne, on the other hand, amplified the worst aspects of rock in its decline as a pure form: pretentious, even prideful banality; melodic bandruptcy; third-rate showmanship, and empty technique.  How any group can play so well and display so little imagination will always escape me."  Ouch. 


Gram Parsons appeared at the Whole Coffeehouse April 27 and 28.


Ferrante and Teicher appeared at the St. Paul Civic Center on April 29.


Pepsi sponsored 10 Years After, Foghat, and the Strawbs at the Met Center on April 30.  The show was presented by Howard Stein as "A British rock Spectacular." 


Stevie Wonder appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 3.

“Dueling Banjos” first hit the charts in the Metro area.  Connie Hechter described how it happened in the Insider.  WCCO got hold of a promotional copy sent out by producers of the movie "Deliverance" and the radio audience flipped for it.  Allen Abrams, sales director of Warner/Elektra/Atlantic Records for the Minneapolis region contacted Warner Brothers in California and told them it was a hit.  Warners issued a single and it went nationwide.  Warners wanted to follow up with an album and discovered an old LP on Elektra by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell that was on the shelf.  They redid the cover and that became the "Dueling Banjos" album.  The song was performed by Eric Weissberg and the group Deliverance at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium on May 4, 1973. 31 years later he would recreate the moment, this time with Peter Oshtrushko at the Pantages Theater on February 3, 2004.  The song was actually written by Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith in 1955, and he sued when he was not credited as the author.

The Prom was still featuring big bands, with Buddy Rich ("Mr. Nice") on May 9.


A "Festival of Music" was presented at the Minneapolis Auditorium on May 12, starring:

  • Boots Randolph
  • Floyd Cramer and the Boots Randolph Orchestra
  • Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass
  • The Music City Sound of Strings
  • Special Guest Star Jethro Burns

Also on May 12 was Taj Mahal at the St. Paul civic Center Theater.


A "Monday Nights at the Orpheum" concert on May 14 featured Cold Blood and Joy of Cooking.


Mankato State held a free concert on May 16 with WDGY's Jimmy Reed as emcee.  The bands scheduled were:

  • Climax Blues Band
  • Axteca
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Rise and Shine
  • Rue Delight

"Teenagers - Get Tickets Now!  $1.50" ran the headline for the Love Sounds Contemporary Folk Music Festival at the St. Paul Civic Center on May 18.  The acts were:

  • The Way
  • The Sixth Day
  • The Dayspring
  • Fishermen

The Doobie Brothers, Argent, and Bob Seger played the St. Paul Auditorium on May 25. 

Fleetwood Mac tickets for the Orpheum Theater sold out in three days so another show was added (date?).


Photographer Mike Barich was trampled, attacked, and badly bruised at a Loggins and Messina concert by a rowdy crowd, reports the Insider.  Weren't Loggins and Messina comparatively mellow? 


The Hollies are in here somewhere.

On June 1, 1973, the age of majority - and thus the drinking age - was changed from 21 to 18 in the State of Minnesota. Regulars at the bars were leery at first of the new teenagers, but kids flocked to the watering holes of Excelsior Blvd. and to discos like Uncle Sam's.  The Insider reported that many bars changed to a rock format to accommodate the new customers.  In 1976 the drinking age in Minnesota was raised from 18 to 19.  On September 1, 1986, the drinking age was raised from 19 to 21, with a grandfather clause that allowed people who were at least 19 on that date to drink legally.

Harry James, or at least his band, appeared at the Prom on June 7.


Jam presented Savoy Brown and Dr. John at the St. Paul Auditorium on June 7.


Sonny and Cher appeared with comedian David Brenner at the Met Center on June 8.


Savoy Brown appeared at the St. Paul Auditorium on June 11


Jethro Tull was/were here on July 3, venue unknown.

Led Zeppelin performed at the St. Paul Civic Center on July 9, 1973.  The show was delayed 45 minutes until people stopped crushing the stage.  If the article I've got is about this concert, potential concert goers started lining up at 2am for the 8pm concert, camping out on the concrete in front of the west entrance.  Someone thought "festival seating" was a good idea - tickets were first-come, first-served.  Someone remembers fireworks.  The show was recorded and can be heard at https://soundcloud.com/david-allan-wright/sets/led-zeppelin



KDWB sponsored an Aquatennial Beach Party/Rock Festival at Lake Calhoun on July 19, 1973.  It was organized by Don Cline and Chuck Buell from KD.  Rain kept the crowd to 5,000 - 10,000.  Performing were Tony Joe White, Brownsville Station, and Don Bleu and the Upper Division.  Rain cancelled Marshall Tucker, but they came back the following Tuesday and performed at Minnehaha Falls, as did the band Straight Up. 


Focus appeared at the Orpheum Theater on July 19.

The Pointer Sisters opened for Chicago at the St. Paul Civic Center Arena on August 16.


Weather Report and Stairlight (or was it Starship?) appeared at the St. Paul Civic Center Theatre on August 19.  It was reported both ways in the Insider.


Leon Russell with Mary McReary appeared at Parade Stadium on August 30 (28?).


The 1973 State Fair youth pavilion apparently didn't have any national acts, but it did have no less than 27 local acts on its schedule, including:

  • Joy of Cooking
  • Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids
  • Gypsy
  • Danny's Reasons (who appeared naked in the September 1973 issue of the Insider)
  • Salt, Pepper & Spice ("Funky as Hell")
  • Jesse Brady
  • Rudy ("5 Pieces that will blow your mind")
  • Be Bop and the Hubcaps

State Fair Grandstand shows included: 

  • Mac Davis with the Fifth Dimension
  • Dawn featuring Tony Orlando with the Brady Bunch Kids
  • Bill Anderson, Donna Fargo, Tommy Overstreet, Leroy Van Dyke, and comedian Jerry Clower
  • Pat Boone Family and Rich Little
  • Engelbert Humperdinck
  • Charley Pride, Johnny Russell, and ventriloquist Alex Houston and Elmer


A rock festival took place at the Donnybrooke Speedway in Brainerd on September 2, 1973.  It was a 425-acre site with an 80 ft. stage and featured a People's Cultural Fair.  Performing were:

  • Black Oak Arkansas
  • David Bromberg
  • Gypsy
  • Iggy and the Stooges
  • Baby
  • REO Speedwagon
  • Tony Joe White

Other announced acts may or may not have come:

  • Quicksilver Messenger Service
  • Dr. John
  • Roy Wood's Wizard


Steely Dan played the Orpheum on September 10


Marathon III, part of Welcome Week, took place at Memorial Stadium at the U of M on September 23, according to the Insider.  Groups performing were:

  • Paul Butterfield's Better Days
  • Freddie King
  • David Bromberg
  • New Grass Revival
  • Michael Johnson
  • Ellen McIlwaine
  • Moondogg and Muledeer Medicine Show was/were? the emcees


George Carlin appeared at the Orpheum Theater on September 24.


Muddy Waters appeared at Macalester College Field House in the Fall of 1973.  He also played at St. Olaf College that fall for homecoming, replacing Jim Croce, who died one week earlier.


On October 5, 1973, the Memphis Blues Caravan came to the St. Paul Civic Center Theatre.  Performers, some of them quite elderly, included:

  • Furry Lewis
  • Bukka White
  • Sleepy John Estes
  • Hammie Nixon
  • Piano Red Williams
  • Harmonica Frank Floyd
  • Houston Stackhouse
  • Joe Willie Wilkins and the King Biscuit Boys


Helen Reddy and Robert Klein appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on October 14.


Grand Funk Railroad appeared at the St. Paul Civic Center on October 20, 1973.  Kathy Larson remembers that the opening act that night was Ballin' Jack.  Humble Pie may have been there as well.  "They took the stage in front of a large screen showing a vintage black and white film clip of a steam locomotive heading straight towards the camera."


Taj Mahal was in town on October 25, 1973.


The Mahavishnu Orchestra and John McLaughlin appeared at the Orpheum Theater on November 2.


Black Oak Arkansas and the James Montgomery Band appeared at the St. Paul Civic Center Theatre on November 3.

Shawn Phillips appeared at the Orpheum Theater on November 5 and 6, 1973.  Photo below courtesy Mike Evangelist.




In 1973 or '74 Phillips performed at St. Louis Park High School.  Phillips was born in Fort Worth, grew up all over the world, and some say had ties to Edina.  Roni Broms Gingold remembers:  "At the concert everyone would yell 'Let down your hair' and he would take the ponytail out."  Roni took the photo below at the concert.



November 11, 1973, was a big night for music, resulting in smallish numbers for each of the shows.  Your choices were:

  • The Allman Brothers (opened by Charlie Daniels) at the Met Center
  • The Pointer Sisters and Martin Mull at the Guthrie
  • Joe Walsh with Barnstorm and the Climax Blues Band at the St. Paul Civic Center Theatre

Wishbone Ash and Renaissance appeared at the St. Paul Civic Center Theatre on November 19.


The Steve Miller Band, Lynrd Skynrd, and Chick Corea were at the St. Paul Civic Center Auditorium on December 11.

Johnny Winter appeared at the St. Paul Civic Center on December 27, 1973.


On November 29 at the St. Paul Civic Center there was a big show with the Edgar Winter Group, Brian Auger, Jo Jo Gunne, Frampton's Camel, and REO Speedwagon.


Kris and Rita Kristofferson performed at the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium on November 30.




Neil Young with the Stray Gators, Time Fades Away Tour (January 7)
Sha Na Na (February 3)
Guess Who (February 16)
Santana (March 19)

Ten Years After (April 30)

Sonny and Cher (June 8)

Roberta Flack (July 27)

Quicksilver Messenger Service, BB King (August 12)

Elton John (August 23)

Three Dog Night, Foghat, and Teen King and the Princes (September 2)

Grateful Dead (October 23).  From Facebook:  "In the middle of 'Casey Jones' a fan went over the security barricade in front of the stage.  The security guards started tearing into him.  Bobby took his mic stand and swung at the security guys.  He said something to the effect of 'Stop punching our *** audience.'  He then refused to start the music until the security guys left the front of the stage.  They left, the song continued.  In what turned out to be the finial encore, there was pushing up front.  Wier did yell '*** knock it off or we will leave.'  They left."  (If this is your quote and you will let me add your name, please let me know.) 


Allman Brothers Band, November 11 (Opened by Charlie Daniels)
Loggins and Messina (November 16)
Doobie Brothers (November 28)
Emerson, Lake and Palmer (December 1)
Guess Who and Poco (December 7)

Sly and the Family Stone (December 16) - did they show up?




Miles Davis, January 28

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, February 4

Weather Report, February 11

Josef Zawinul: Keyboards, Wayne Shorter: Saxes, Miroslav Vitous: Bass, Eric Gravatt: Drums, Dom Um Romao: Percussion

David Bromberg, February 24

John Prine and Bonnie Raitt, March 10

Bette Midler, March

Joshua Rifkin, March 17

Mahavishnu Orchestra, March 18


Steve Goodman, May 6.  Jim Croce was scheduled to appear but cancelled at the last minute.  Minneapolis Star reviewer Roy M. Close said that many people chose refunds, but 700 stayed for two sets by singer-composer Goodman.  Close called the sets appealing and well-played, especially when singing his own compositions.


David Bromberg, June 3.  The show lasted 3 1/2 hours, featuring a jam with Bill Quaiteman

Bobby Lyle, August 26

Charles Mingus, September 23

Dan Hicks and Martin Mull, September 30

Pointer Sisters and Martin Mull, November 11

Leon Redbone, December 2




*Shows at the Met Center, St. Paul Civic Center, and the Guthrie are listed at the end of this 1974 section.

In January KDWB published an apology about some unspecified remark that DJ Bob Shannon had said on the air.  It turned out to be a publicity stunt to let everyone know about new guy Shannon, who had actually been at the station eight years before as "Kelly."  Shannon was no Howard Stern but he did generate some angry calls and letters, according to Irv Letofsky in the Trib.


Frank Zappa came to the St. Paul Auditorium in January or perhaps April.  This may be the show that Gary Gimmestad remembers:  "Frank Zappa with Flo and Eddie - truly one of the greatest rock shows ever. The programs for the show were printed on bubble wrap and the effect of the audience randomly popping them was great! The warm-up was a magician who made birds appear and disappear (a local guy I think) and two springboard acrobats. I don't know if this was Zappa's idea or not but it was brilliant. Zappa's guitar skills were clearly evident (much more so than on recordings) and the band was killer. (George Duke on keys?). It ended with "Happy Together' - Flo and Eddie were shirtless with banana peels dangling from their waists."

KDWB and Dick Shapiro sponsored a Winter Carnival Spectacular at the St. Paul Civic Center Arena on January 26, starring Steely Dan and Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show.




T.J. Skinner: "In 1974, I starred in the rock musical "Tooth of Crime" at the old Cricket Theater.  My poster along with Mike Brindisi, Chanhassen Dinner Theater's Artistic Director/Owner, was all over the Twin Cities and suburbs. The "Rockin' at the Cricket" article and photos was published in a local rock magazine at the time. The show caused a local sensation and I was a local celebrity for a while. I was on Alan Stone's KQRS show, he loved the show, and I appeared on all the local talk shows in costume. It was an amazing thing to shave my head in 1974 when even my conservative father was sporting long hair and sideburns."  


Indeed, "Tooth of Crime," written by Sam Shepard, opened on March 29 at the Cricket, located at 345 - 13th Ave. NE at University Ave. (the old Ritz Theater).  The story was about the world of rock 'n' roll projected to the year 2000.  The score didn't arrive in time, so it had to be written by Cricket music director Bob Lynn.  The music was performed by a band called Nirvana:  Tim Moeller, Randy l'Allier, Steve Cassidy, Mark Kryser, and Bob Lynn.  In the March/April 1974 issue of the Insider, reviewer Peter Dwyer described the Crow character thusly:  "..bald head with a painted on mask, yellow-patent-leather-knee-high platform boots, tight jeans and a black feathered cape...  T.J. Skinner's acting ability is attested to by the believability of his performance as Crow.  Chilling and even a bit stunning." 


The Pointer Sisters performed at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis on April 1.


The Electric Light Orchestra appeared at the Orpheum Theater on April 17.


Also on April 17, Foghat and Montrose were at the Marigold Ballroom. 


Tom Jones performed at the Chimera Theater from April 19 to May 5, if I'm reading the Insider's calendar right.


Who says Minnesota ain't got no culture?  Jim Froehlich posted this ad on Facebook and says that the Frontier Club hosted many national country and rockabilly acts, including Gene Vincent (who died in October 1971).  Junior Samples' phone number was BR-549, which was the name of a great faux hillbilly band that was on the same bill with Bob Dylan once in the '90's. 




KDWB sponsored the "Great Kiss-Off" contest in May 1974 in the nursery area of the Southdale Bowl.  Police busted it up at 2 AM when they found three couples on waterbeds kissing, two of the young men shirtless.  The contestants turned out to be between 14 and 17, and although they had permission from their parents to participate, charges of curfew violation were threatened against the kids and contributing to the delinquency of a minor against the bowling alley and the radio station. 

Led Zeppelin performed in around June.

Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee appeared at the Whole Coffeehouse at the U of M on June 7 and 8.  One of these was my first concert!


There was a Dance and Concert billed at the St. Paul Civic Center Auditorium on June 22.  It was alternately billed as a "Summer Solstice Spectauclar," "School's Out Wipeout," "'70s Stomp" and "the Largest Dance Party in Minnesota History."  The ad promised balloons, noise makers, beer, dance contest, and give aways.  Randy Levy of Schon Productions said that the emphasis was on dancing, and there would be no chairs.  Also planned were "revolving spotlights splashing multi-colored lights around the dance floor" like an old time ballroom.  10,000 to 12,000 people were expected.  The bands were:

  • Slade "England's No. 1 Rock And Roll Show"
  • James Gang (from Cleveland)
  • Brownsville Station (from Ann Arbor)
  • The Charlie Daniels Band
  • Maggie Bell "England's #1 Female Vocalist

Bob Dylan, unsuccessfully incognito, was spotted at a Ry Cooder/Ben Sidran concert at the Marigold Ballroom.

Chicago and the Doobie Brothers appeared at Midway Stadium on August 23.  Oddly, an article about the concert the next day described lots of things but failed to mention who was performing.  It did say that 27,500 people attended, and that all bottles and cans were confiscated at the gate.  Security men hired by Greathall Productions said "Even a can of Coke can turn into a dangerous projectile."  As the word got out, concert-goers chugged their beer before it got tossed.  Patrons were not checked for pot, other drugs, or weapons.  The concert was delayed for two hours because of the stop and frisk, but "on the whole, people seemed to be having a good time listening to the music, cuddling with their dates and enjoying the cool evening air."


Dr. John the Night Tripper appeared at the Marigold Ballroom on August 26.



The youth pavilion was called Youth Expo '74 and Music Festival, sponsored by KSTP and Schon Productions.  Promoters were trying to breathe some life into the dwindling youth center, which peaked in 1966 with 115,000 attendees to a low in 1973 of 78,000.  The national acts in 1974 were:

  • Charlie Daniels
  • Freddie King, August 26-28
  • Wet Willie, August 29-31
  • New York Dolls, September 1-2.  Bob Protzman of the Pioneer Press did his best to prepare the Cities for the Dolls; he said one local promoter said "he couldn't wait to see the expressions on the faces of the State Fair's hierarchy when they get a look at the New York Dolls in their platform shoes, bright red lipstick, earrings, tights, occasional miniskirts, necklaces, bracelets, unisex hairdos, and the rest."  He also prepared us for David Johansen's routine of "tying up his arm and injecting himself with an imaginary hypodermic needle while singing 'Looking for a Kiss.'"  When they arrived, the Dolls were reportedly ticked off that they were not playing in the Grandstand, and were two hours late for their first show because no cabs would pick them up from Downtown. (One account is that they had to be "dragged in from a drunken stroll down the midway.")  Paul Metsa also remembers that "The Dolls were late, and when they arrived and started playing they were greeted by some with beer cans and burning paper airplanes.  They were all wearing eye makeup and the bass player had on a pink tutu and bunny boots."  (Blue Guitar Highway, 2011)  Local group Skogie and the Flaming Pachucos opened the show.

National supporting acts were: 

  • Kansas
  • Renaissance, August 26-27 (progressive rock)
  • Heartsfield, August 28-29 (Chicago-based country blues)
  • Larry Raspberry and the Highsteppers, August 31-September 1-2 (rock 'n ' roll septet from the South)
  • Fresh Start (Los Angeles studio musicians)
  • Isis, August 26-30 (eight-piece female jazz-rock group)
  • Hydra, August 31 - September 1-2  (from Macon, Georgia)

Local supporting acts included:

  • Rush (not the Canadian group)
  • Gypsy
  • Straight Up
  • Jesse Brady
  • Rose
  • Uncle Vinty
  • Natural Life

*Find Out What's Happening With the Under 30 Crowd at the Market Place.  Exhibits Include:

  • Stereo-Audio
  • Camping
  • Records
  • Clothing
  • Skiing
  • Bicycles
  • Mountain Gear

State Fair Grandstand shows included: 

  • Liza Minelli, August 24
  • Bob Hope with Danny Davis & the Nashville Brass and Dian Hart, August 25
  • Charlie Rich and the Treasurers with Jim Stafford, August 26
  • Jerry Reed, Tanya Tucker, Jerry Clower, Judy Lynn, and Hank Snow, August 27
  • Redd Foxx, Demond Wilson, Slappy White, Gerri Granger, Harry "Sweets" Edison and the Little Steps, August 28
  • Jim Nabors with the Hagers, August 29
  • Mac Davis with the Fifth Dimension, August 30
  • Roy Clark
  • Helen Reddy with Jose Feliciano 


In September 1974, Bob Dylan recorded the tracks for his album "Blood on the Tracks" in New York.  During a visit home to Minneapolis, he was convinced that some of them needed to be redone, so his brother David assembled a group of local musicians.  That December, the Minneapolis musicians re-recorded several of the tracks, which were ultimately included on the album, albeit without any credit on the record jacket.  Those musicians were:  Kevin Odegard, Chris Weber, Billy Peterson, Gregg Inhofer, Bill Berg, Peter Ostroushko, and Jim Tardoff.  The Blood on the Tracks Studio Band has reunited several times, beginning with the Million Dollar Bash commemorating Dylan’s 60th birthday at First Avenue in 2001, a sold-out concert at the Pantages Theater in 2004, and its induction into the Minnesota Rock/Country Hall of Fame (now the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame) in 2005.  Also in 2005, British journalist Andy Gill and Kevin Odegard co-authored a successful book  A Simple Twist of Fate: Bob Dylan and The Making of Blood On The Tracks, distributed worldwide by HarperCollins, published by DaCapo Press/Perseus Books, Cambridge, MA. The book is available in local libraries or on websites such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 


In 2009 Kevin Odegard initiated a "Blood on the Tracks Live" show at the Veterans' Amphitheater in St. Louis Park, joined by fellow album mates Billy Peterson and Peter Ostroushko.  The response was incredible, and concerts have been presented every year since, with additional concerts in Maple Grove starting in 2011.  Throughout the years, numerous local musicians have joined "the family," giving Blood on the Tracks Live a constantly changing look and sound. The band has evolved into a Dylan tribute band, not restricting artist song selections to any one album.  In 2011 Kevin turned the reigns of the show over to the very capable hands of Billy Hallquist and it remains one of the highlights of the summer in the Twin Cities.


        Mojo Buford Blues Band at the River Serpent, September 1974.  Russ " Bucko " Williams on drums, Billy Black on

        bass, Dave "Cool Breeze" Brown.  Photo from Will Agar via Robb Henry.


The Lettermen appeared at Northrop Auditorium on October 24.


Weather Report played Orchestra Hall on November 4.


Arlo Guthrie appeared at Northrop Auditorium on November 7


Jackson Browne and Wendy Waldman were at Orchestra Hall on November 11.

Greg Allman played the St. Paul Auditorium on November 23.


Wishbone Ash played the St. Paul Auditorium on December 4.


Deep Purple (February 22)

Yes (March 5)
Seals and Crofts (March 20)
Bachman Turner Overdrive (May 11)
Ten Years After (May 31)
Cat Stevens (July 6) - just him, a piano, and a guitar.
Uriah Heep and Aerosmith (July 28)
Mac Davis (2 shows August 4)
Steppenwolf (September 29)
Deep Purple Burn Tour and Electric Light Orchestra (December 9).


Steely Dan with Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, January 26 (St. Paul Winter Carnival event sponsored by KDWB)

Canned Heat, February 9 (Theatre)

BB King and Bobby Lyle, February 15 (Theatre)

Tower of Power, March 23 (Theatre)

Todd Rundgren, April 5 (Theatre)

Paul Williams, April 6 (Theatre)


Allman Brothers Band Summer Campaign '74, July 8 (Arena).




Joe Walsh and the Eagles on July 20.


A reportedly off-key Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young performed on July 22.  Photo below courtesy Mike Evangelist.



Joni Mitchell on July 28.
The Guess Who and War performed on August 8, 1974, the night Nixon resigned.  They played to 22,060 fans, the best-attended single concert at the venue. 

The Jackson 5 performed on August 16.  A review  indicates that they were not yet superstars.
On August 17, Santana and Leon Russell shared the bill.
The Band came on September 1.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, September 19 (Theatre)
Elvis appeared on October 2 and 3.  Jon Rukavina remembers driving in from Excelsior and paying $7 for the ticket!
David Bowie with his Diamond Dogs Tour, on October 5.

Glenn Yarborough and the Original Limelighters, October 10 (Theatre)

October 16, 1974, brought Golden Earring and Mahogany Rush. 


Chick Corea and the Chuck Mangione Quartet, Return to Forever, October 27 (Theatre)


Elton John on Oct 31, 1974, Halloween night. A source says:  "That show is still brought up occasionally in local newspaper music columns. I was there. They sold the place out, probably 18,000, and then sold an additional 10,000 standing room I believe the week of the show or so. Almost 30,000 in the Civic Center that night. Someone having to do with the show got in trouble for fire code violation I believe and that was the last of doing standing room only tickets. It was a madhouse, everyone having fun. Kiki Dee was Elton's opening act."


November 15 featured Aerosmith, Edgar Winter, and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band

November 23:  Theodore Bikel (Theatre)

November 27:  Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention with the Climax Blues Band

December 1:  Johnny Mathis (Theatre)

T.J. Skinner saw the original Lynyard Skynyrd band do their 45 minute version of "Free Bird" at the St. Paul Civic Center in 1974 as well as the Rolling Stones.




Steve Goodman, February 23

David Steinberg, March

Waylon Jennings, Roger McGuinn, March 31

Graham Nash and Livingston Taylor, April 17

Harry Chapin, April 26

Melissa Manchester, April 27

Chick Corea, April 30

James Taylor, May 1

Jesse Colin Young, May 26

Return to Forever featuring Chick Corea , June 29

Sarah Vaughan Trio and the Woverines, August 19

Keith Jarrett Quartet, December 22.  With Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, and Paul Motian



At this point my chronology ends, except for the interesting tidbits below. 



From Facebook:  "Minnesota," this mostly-forgotten, Beach-Boys-in-flannel-shirts tribute to the North Star State debuted at number 98 on Billboard’s Hot 100 on May 10, 1975. It stayed on the national charts for five weeks, getting as high as 88. Northern Light was not a band as such—it was basically a group of local musicians who came together in the old Sound 80 studios in Minneapolis to create a home-grown version of the California Sound. (The group’s front man, David Sandler, had worked closely with the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson.) By the way: That loon you hear at the beginning of the record? It was recorded in Wisconsin. May 9th, 2013.  [I have an email from someone who says he performed the loon call, but I'll have to find it!]  From You Tube:  Northern Light was formed in 1974 and is made up of four members: guitarist, Spence Peterson, lead guitarist, Nick Raths, bassist, Gary Lopac and David Sandler on piano. The group shares singing roles and is particularly noted for their pristine vocals and masterful pop productions. Sandler writes most of the material and does the arranging and producing with aid from other members of the group.  Hear it on You Tube.  Northern Light was inducted into the Minnesota Rock/Country Hall of Fame in 2007. 


On October 3-5, 1975, U-100 was one of 200 stations that broadcast the syndicated “Fantasy Park: a Concert of the Mind.”  It was billed as the ultimate rock concert featuring over 40 “super rock stars.” Ads did not elaborate, but Scott Iwen remembered the event:  "It was quite the (semi) hoax. While most people realized that this 'simulcast concert' was in fact just a bunch of songs being played to mimic a three day rock festival, there were some people who were convinced that this sold out concert was really happening somewhere in the Twin Cities and were just trying to figure out where. Everyone from the Rolling Stones, to the Beach Boys, to you name it, was there. The climax of the whole thing was a bunch of clamoring backstage - and sure enough, a full impromptu Beatles reunion occurred! (Funny how everyone’s songs sounded exactly like the recorded versions, not some live set somewhere, oh well.)

"Turns out that this Fantasy Park Studio Production was making the rounds throughout the US. Each weekend some new, unsuspecting city would 'host' this event via a local radio station. The concert would always be halted due to rain on the Sunday morning to allow the locals to get in their regular (usually religious) programming and the whole event always ended promptly at 6 pm on Sunday. It was so popular in the Twin Cities that a return to Fantasy Park was held about a month later. Same radio station, same format, same songs. But everyone now knew there was no 'real' concert to be found.  One more item regarding that 'faux concert' – it was more than just songs being played on the radio, grouped by performer. Fantasy Park had their own emcee and special reporters covering the weekend event giving you the 'play-by-play' details along with with some 'behind-the-scenes' updates. Of course there were no interviews, but a lot of 'unplanned' performances arose – for example, I recall the reporter exclaiming how John Sebastian just happened to be at the concert and was then coaxed onto the stage with a borrowed guitar. From a radio station point of view, it was probably a good way to give most of the regulars the weekend off."


The show was produced by KNUS, Dallas. DJ Beau Weaver described:  The 48 hour opus had college students hitchhiking all over America hoping to get to "Fantasy Park." In New Orleans when the concert aired, the IRS came knocking on the doors of WNOE trying to attach the gate receipts to make sure the Feds got their cut!  In 1975 I had the honor of accepting the Billboard Magazine Award for Best Syndicated Radio Special."  An 18 minute demonstration demo can be heard at www.reelradio.com/bw/index.html, but a paid subscription is required.


A "Return to Fantasy Park" was broadcast on U100 on April 2-4, 1976. 


According to the book The King on the Road (see 1971), Elvis performed at the Met Sports Center on October 17, 1976.  He came two other times, in 1956 and 1971.

Danny Stevens of Danny's Reasons hosted the "Halloween Party of the Year" at his spacious home at 1819 Mount Curve Ave.  Guest list included a number of musicians who were performing in town, including Hall and Oates, Neil Sedaka, John Denver, and Lou Rawls.  200 other guests rounded out the event. 




David Solberg was born on August 18, 1943 in Chicago.  In the early '60s he was a bank teller in Bloomington and spent his lunch hours at the Suneson Music Center at 1611 E. Lake Street.  As a folk singer he appeared many times on the Merv Griffin Show as "The Covered Man," wearing a ski mask.  He changed his name to David Soul and became an actor, playing Joshua Bolt in "Here Come the Brides" and Ken Hutchinson in "Starsky & Hutch."  In 1976 he formed Band of Friends and recorded "Don't Give Up On Us," which debuted on the charts on January 29, 1977 reached #1 for one week, and stayed on the charts for 19 weeks.  Follow up releases were "Going in With my Eyes Open" (#54) and "Silver Lady" (#52), also in 1977.



From Wikipedia:


"The Suburbs were formed in the western suburbs of Minneapolis in 1977 following introductions by Chris Osgood of the Suicide Commandos. Following live performances they released "The Suburbs" on the Twin/Tone label (the label's first release) in early 1978. The record was a nine-song 7-inch red vinyl EP. The band also had two songs, "Urban Guerrillas" and "Ailerons O.K.," included on the compilation "Big Hits of Mid-America, Volume Three." Band guitarist Bruce C. Allen did the art direction for the compilation.  The band's popularity increased during the early to mid-1980s, and during this time their new wave dance sound, eclectic lyrics, and stage presence gained a following that broke out of the Midwest and reached both coasts. In 1980 Twin/Tone released their first full length LP, "In Combo." The single "World War III" (and its B-side, "Change Agent,") showed development of the band's songwriting abilities and improved sound. A year later, they released the double album "Credit In Heaven" which added elements of jazz, funk, and disco to the mix. The single "Music for Boys" was taken from the record and became a radio hit. In 1982, the band released a 12-inch single "Waiting," which frequently found its way onto dance club playlists. An EP "Dream Hog" followed on Twin/Tone, featuring three new songs and a remix of "Waiting" on the B-side, all produced by Steven Greenberg of Funkytown and Lipps Inc fame. Greenberg then brought the Suburbs to the attention of Mercury Records, which added them to their roster in 1983. Mercury started by re-issuing "Dream Hog." By this time the band's live performances were muscular and funky, attracting rabid fans and keeping the band busy as an opening act for the likes of Iggy Pop and the B-52's, as well as headliners in their own right. In 1983 Polygram released "Love is the Law," a harder-rocking album that included a horn section and some of their most off-beat lyrics, also produced by Steven Greenberg. In 1986 the Suburbs signed with A&M Records and released "The Suburbs," produced by Prince's Revolution drummer Bobby Z. (Robert Rivkin). Frustrated by a lack of radio play and abandoned by the major labels, the band broke up in 1987."




 1977-85 were big years for Sussman Lawrence. Members, who had all gone to junior high together in St. Louis Park, were:

  •  Peter Himmelman (lead vocals, guitar)
  • Andy Kamman (drums)
  • Eric Moen (sax, keyboards, guitar, vocals)
  • Jeff Victor (keyboards and vocals)
  • Al Wolovitch (bass, vocals). 

The name came from a character on Steamroller, a local Public-access television comedy show that came on after Saturday Night Live and was produced by Park alum Buddy Cohen and written and hosted by Himmelman.  The band mixed it up with some rock, reggae, jazz, punk, and performance art, playing a taped educational message before each performance just for fun. Once at Duffy's they passed out apples and oranges from Sol's Superette in St. Louis Park.  The band played at the Park High Homecoming dance in October 1978.  In an October 22, 1978 interview in the Echo, Himmelman was quoted as saying, "I want to be famous.  I don't really want to want to be famous - I know I will be.  I know it won't be the answer to everything, but I want to taste it."  In June 1979 they played at Park High's all-night party. 


Their first album, "Hail to the Modern Hero," was released on December 19, 1979, on Bigger Than Life Records.  It was advertised as "Music for the New Decade" and was recorded at Tracks on Fifth studio in St. Paul.  Sussman Lawrence was featured (with other St. Louis Park band Future Legend) at "Spring Jam '80" on June 1 at the High School Auditorium, a show produced by student radio station KDXL and coordinated by junior Bob Nelson.  [Future Legend was Carey Lifson, Mark Lauer, Bill Perkakis, Keith Globus, and John French.]  Sussman Lawrence also played at the St. Louis Park Prom in 1983 - "slightly sluggish after a big trip to the East Coast," according to Ian Nemerov of the Echo, but they kept people dancing to songs such as "Torture Me" and "Call me on Monday." 

Their second album, the double LP "Pop City," was issued in 1984.  Both albums were issued on CD as "The Complete Sussman Lawrence" in 2004 on Shag Records. 


In 1980 Eric Clapton was confined to St. Paul's United Hospital for several weeks for ulcers.  He was on his way to a show at the St. Paul Civic Center when he was stricken.  His manager and his wife, Pattie Boyd, were "stuck in a hotel in Minneapolis with ten feet of snow outside.  Minneapolis in winter is not the most exciting place.  The lake (sic) is frozen and the locals' idea of fun is to drive a car into the middle and place bets when it will sink."  (from Pattie's autobiography) So what's wrong with that, Pattie? 

The Replacements, purveyors of "Trash Rock," released their first record, "Ma, I Forgot to Take Out the Trash," in August 1981.  The band had fronted Iggy Pop at Duffy's, and each member of the band was paid $13 for the gig.

On September 1, 1988, the Medina Ballroom was the site of a show called the 30th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll.  Among the 13 original artists were Otis Day and the Knights, Badfinger, the Coasters, Bobby Day, the New Seekers, Jerry Wallace, Danny's Reasons, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, the Tokens, Al Wilson, Donnie Brooks, Spencer Davis, Blues Image, and Mike Pinero of Iron Butterfly.

In the 1980s Cliff Siegel of the High Spirits worked for Warner Brothers, and at some point Prince stayed at his house in St. Louis Park near Cobble Crest.  Bandmate Owen Husney was Prince's manager, and Cliff got him his first big record deal. 

1990 marked the debut of singer, songwriter, and St. Louis Park resident Dan Israel.

In 1998 Minneapolis band Semisonic has a #1 hit with "Closing Time."



The Monkees made a triumphant return to the State Theater in downtown Minneapolis on November 15, 2012.  See the Individual Page on the Monkees in Minnesota.


For more Minnesota music, see Minnesota's 50 Greatest Hits



The following is a list of TV shows that featured rock 'n' roll music.   If you have any more specific information, please contact me.  The list does not include shows such as Ed Sullivan, Hollywood Palace, and the many variety shows hosted by big stars. Thanks to the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting for the use of their TV Guide collection.  Also see www.thevideobeat.com.

"American Bandstand" premiered in the Twin Cities on August 5, 1957, Channel 11.  The first song played was "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" by Jerry Lee Lewis.  In the early days, it could be seen daily for two hours, from 3 to 5pm.  From October through December 1957, there was also a prime time version, airing on Mondays at 6:30.  From February 1958 to September 1960, the prime time "Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show" aired with the same format as "Bandstand."  "Bandstand" started as a local show in Philadelphia in 1952.  Dick Clark began hosting in 1956. In about 1961 it moved from Channel 11 to Channel 9.  Although the show was available to stations for1 - 1/2 hours, it was shown in the Twin Cities for only the last hour, from 4 to 5pm.  In 1963 it went to once a week on Saturdays.  In 1964 it moved to Los Angeles.  The Twin Cities group the Nickel Revolution was thrilled to have their single "Oscar Crunch" played on Bandstand, presumably in 1969.  The group wasn't particularly thrilled with the song itself, and unfortunately the airtime didn't do much for it.  Bandstand ran until 1989.



"B-Sharp Beat" was sponsored by the B-Sharp Music Store.  It started sometime between July 1966 and April 1, 1967 (resources are limited).  It was broadcast on Saturday at 1:30 on Channel 11, hosted by WDGY DJ Jimmy Reed.  Bands that performed on the show included the Still Roven, Hot Half Dozen, the Sir Raleighs, the System, the Underbeats and the Del Counts.  The Del Counts performed in April and on the last show, which was broadcast on June 10, 1967.  See an EXCELLENT, photo-filled page on B-Sharp Music on Jerry Lenz's blog on his band the Nickel Revolution.

"Bandstand" was the name of a show that ran in Duluth from at least February 1959 to June 1960.  It was broadcast M-F at 5:00 on Channel 3, hosted by Jim Rassbach.  It appears that many local dance shows took on the Bandstand name, although there was only one "American Bandstand."

Bill Carlson had a weekly show that featured local bands.  The debut was on Saturday, January 5, 1963, and was for 15 minutes at 5:15 pm on Channel 4.  The description in the TV Guide was:  "Bill Carlson - Variety.  Host Bill Carlson presents teen-age talent, guest recording stars and reports on Youth Activities on this weekly 15 minute variety show.  This week, The "Galaxies," a teen-age combo from St. Paul, are featured." The January 12 show featured the Rovers folksingers and a piece on the Minneapolis Auto Show.  Subsequent shows were not described in the TV Guide, but Dan Holm of the Chancellors remembers being on the show.  On Saturday, March 16, 1963, the show moved to 12:30 and expanded to 30 minutes.  Alas, "American Bandstand" also expanded to Saturday afternoons at the same time slot on Channel 9, and the Bill Carlson Show on Channel 4 apparently chose not to compete.  We don't know if Carlson's show was moved or discontinued. Bill Carlson also had a nighttime show called "This Must be the Place," and We see in January 1968 he had a ten minute show called "Something Special."

"A Date With Dino" was a local rock 'n' roll show that was broadcast on Channel 9 at 4pm.  It started twice weekly on October 13, 1964, and on January 25, 1965, the show went daily.  Up to that time the kids had just danced to records, but the show's producers had plans to bring in live local bands.  It ran the school year to June 7, 1965.  (See Upbeat #1 below.)  Day, nee George Murphy, had been a radio DJ.  (He is not the same Deano Day who was a successful DJ in the Detroit area.)  The ad at right is from December 1964.

David Jass, vice president of Young Adult Productions, remembers:  "Bruce Goldstein and myself created the 'Date with Dino' TV dance show. We got kids from the local high schools to dance on the show. They would all show up outside the studio. Bruce and I would 'screen' them. The turnout was easily 10 times what we needed. Dino Day was hired to emcee the show. Our proposal was for me to do the honors. Oh well, so it goes. We also pitched a 'Teen Tonight' show to channel 11. We got turned down."

The ad in the TV Times reads:  "Dino Day hosts television's swingest (sic) Dance Show...'live' from Channel 9 Studios... exciting top record stars perform their hit records... keep informed with Teen News International and Sports All-American."  Dino couldn't have been too "swingest:"  that's a Ray Conniff record behind him.  A teenage Nancy Nelson was in the cast doing teen news, as was Rod Person and Twins stadium announcer Bob Casey with "teen sports reports."    Someone with a very sad "Date With Dino" story remembered that Dino wore makeup and was not at all fond of "babysitting" his teenage costars.  Local bands performed on the show; Danny's Reasons and the Escapades were the first to do so, we learn from Danny Stevens.  Channel 9's studios were located at the Foshay Tower.


"The Folkswingers" was a 12-week program produced by John Degan and Dan Nelson of KSTP-TV in the summer of 1966.  The program was a tour of local folk singing and folk dancing in the Twin Cities.  One of the groups featured was the Northstar Singers from south Minneapolis.  The group formed in 1965 and sang at venues such as the No Exit at Macalester, the Whole Coffeehouse and the Scholar at the U of M, and the 14th Circle at Hamline University.  The draft broke the group up, but in 2010 a videotape of a Folkswingers show was found by KSTP archivist Glenn Griffin.  Members of the Northstar Singers included Al Benson, Dan Nelson, and Tom Pederson.


"Happening '68" was produced by Dick Clark Productions  hosted by Mark Lindsay and Paul Revere of the Raiders.  It ran here from January 6 to September 14, 1968, airing at Saturdays at 12:30 (following "American Bandstand" on Channel 9 (ABC).  Indications are that its last appearance in the Twin Cities was on September 14.  Nationally, ABC added a weekday spin-off, "It's Happening," which ran on Mondays through Fridays from July 15, 1968 through October 25, 1968, but this may not have been shown here.  When 1968 ended, Happening '68 became just Happening, which was canceled in October 1969. There were guest performers lip-synching their latest releases, a band contest with celebrity judges and other bits to attract a teenage audience.  Local band Zarathustra may have competed in one of these contests.


"Hi-Five Time" shows up in January 1958 on Channel 5, Monday - Friday at 5:00 -5:45, replacing the TN Tatters kids' show. Harry Zimmerman was the host on the show.  Since the "High Five" clap had probably not been invented yet, the name was probably derived from the Hi-Fidelity sets that teens played their music on, and the fact that the show was on Channel 5. 

Betsy Command and her brother Johnny Command (shown at right) were regular dancers on the show.  Betsy says, "Our mom, Freda, a fabulous dancer herself, taught us to dance and drove us to channel five from our home in Richfield every afternoon. My brother Johnny Command and I danced on the show almost daily during that time. We even won a dance contest and received fan mail from kids from all over the channel 5 area. (I kept a lot of it). American Bandstand's Justine and Bob were contemporaries of ours.  We wrote to kids who sent letters to us and I kept a box of them to remind me of the good times we had. Kids that watched the show assumed we were sweethearts.  Harry used to pack the regulars up on a bus and take us to outlying teen dances for promotion of the show. My brother John Command became a professional dancer, director and choreographer, and toured with shows all over the country.  I married and had children."  Betsy generously shared this photo of her dancing with her brother Johnny.  The man standing behind Johnny could be Jim Lange, who went on to host "The Dating Game."

The show was aired daily, at least until May 1958, perhaps much longer.  By January 1959 the show had been moved to Saturdays at 4:30 - their old M-F timeslot was taken by reruns of "My Little Margie."  It also shows up on December 31, 1959 at 4:30 Saturday on Channel 5 - notes say that the teens were visited by George Montgomery, in town for the Winter Carnival. But no sign of it could be found in the few 1960 TV Guides they have at the Pavek Museum.

"Hollywood a-Go-Go" was a syndicated show based in Los Angeles and hosted by L.A. DJ Sam Riddle.  It featured the Gazzarri Dancers, from the nearby Gazzarri discotheque on the Sunset Strip.  The show ran in the Twin Cities from May 16, 1965 to June 4, 1966.  At first it was shown on Sunday at 7:30 pm, but then moved to Saturday at 3:30 pm, always on Channel 11.  The poster at right comes from http://www.gazzarridancers.com/ and the text is from


"Hollywood A Go-Go" was a Los Angeles based rock 'n' roll series hosted by Sam Riddle. The performers included many well known recording artists, as well as regulars The Sinners and The Gazzarri Dancers.

This 1-hour series was videotaped at KHJ-TV, channel 9. It premiered Dec. 26, 1964 as a local, LA program titled "9th Street a Go Go" (a spin-off of KHJ-TV's weekday series "9th Street West"). By the fifth show (January 23, 1965), it was rechristined "Hollywood a Go Go." In March 1965, the program became nationally syndicated. According to Chicago and New York City TV listings, national syndication began with Show #6. (Since other cities aired the episodes several weeks, or sometimes months, after the LA broadcasts, this guide lists the original LA air dates.)

Hollywood a Go Go's producer, Al Burton, wanted the set to resemble a Sunset Strip-style nightclub. This look was achieved through the use of lower ceilings, special lighting, and brick walls (which upon closer inspection were actually thin walls with painted-on bricks).

The Gazzarri Dancers, the show's go-go dancers, also contributed to the nightclub atmosphere. They didn't wear the wholesome, cheerleader-style clothing seen on other rock 'n' roll TV shows. And their dance moves were considered more risqu...at least for mid-1960s television. In a May 1965 article on the rock 'n' roll industry, TIME magazine made the outrageous claim that the Gazzarri Dancers' moves would "bring a blush to the cheeks of a burlesque stripper." The individual dancers were selected by Al Burton, with input from Bill Gazzarri, the owner of Gazzarri's nightclub on Sunset Strip.

A total of 52 episodes were produced for syndication.


"Hootenanny" was a folk music show from April 6, 1963 to September 12, 1964.  It was broadcast on Saturday nights on ABC and taped from various college campuses.  The show honored the blacklist of the 1950s, in particular with regard to Pete Seeger, so many figures from the Greenwich Village folk scene did not appear, including Joan Baez.  The powers that be relented and said that Seeger could perform, but only if he signed a loyalty oath.  Which was ridiculous, since that's why he was on the blacklist to begin with.  Seeger, Baez, Peter Paul & Mary, and other big names did not appear, and soon the Beatles put the kibosh on the folk music genre.  The host was Jack Linkletter, Art Linkletter's son.  A good site about this show is http://ronolesko.blogspot.com/2007/01/abc-tvs-historic-hootenanny-tv-series.html 

"Hullabaloo" was a big time rock 'n' roll show that mixed adult schmaltz with great rock performers.  It was widely known for its frenetic dancers, including go-go dancer extraordinaire, Lada Edmund, Jr.  The show went on the air on January 12, 1965 on NBC (Channel 5).  It was on Tuesday nights until September 1965 when it moved to Monday nights.  The last show was August 29, 1966.

The show's owners made franchises available to people to open teen clubs with the Hullabaloo name, and there was one right here in St. Louis Park, in an industrial area commonly known as Skunk Hollow.  More about Park's Hullabaloo Teen Scene here.







Jack Thayer started out his career as a DJ on WLOL.  In August 1952 he went to work for WTCN radio and TV.  One of the first shows aired by WTCN-TV was "Jack's Corner Drug Store," hosted by Jack Thayer at 4:00 pm.. It started just days after WTCN went on the air: September 7, 1953. From the TV Guide: “Jack Thayer, emcee. The scene is the replica of a drug store. High School and college students are invited to the show.” Another description went: “jivey teen-age dance get-together. Dance contest $180. Tangos, rhumbas, and other South American Favorites.” Thayer had been a DJ at WLOL.



           Set of Jack's Corner Drug.  Photo courtesy Pavek Museum of Broadcasting


During the summers of 1954 and 1955, the show was alternately called “Jack Thayer’s Beach Party” and “Jack Thayer’s Sun Fest.” TV Guide again: “Broadcast from the veranda of the Calhoun Beach Hotel, overlooking beautiful Lake Calhoun.”



           Photo courtesy Pavek Museum of Broadcasting


After the 1955 Sun Fest, the show was renamed “Record Hop.” This is probably different from the "Record Hop" that started in 1957 (see below). It went off the air (partly because of the Mickey Mouse Club) on October 28, 1955. Jack


Thayer also had a Saturday night show, just called the "Jack Thayer Show." It was broadcast at 10pm on Saturday nights on Channel 11. It ran from February 13, 1954 to June 25, 1955.  Photos are labeled "Lip Synch Show," if that's a clue to the format.  Jim Ramsburg remembers that he and his wife Donna did back-to-back local variety and bingo-type jackpot shows.


              Photo courtesy Pavek Museum of Broadcasting


And if that's not all, Jack and his wife Donna also hosted "Miracle Mile Theater," showing a movie with 16 commercials for Miracle Mile shops.  And he hosted dances at the Prom on Wednesday nights.  And sometimes he did the weather report.  Ramsburg calls him "The most visible TV personality in town."  In fact, Thayer took on so much that he lost his voice and had to be hospitalized.


"Lloyd Thaxton's Record Shop" was a local show in Los Angeles that started in 1959.  In 1964 it went into national syndication via video tape.  It debuted here on September 7, 1964 and featured Frankie Avalon.  It was seen on Channel 5 at 4:30 daily.  At least at first, the show ran 55 minutes, with the last 5 minutes for "Doctor's House Call" before the evening news.  The last show locally was on December 30, 1965, replaced by "Cheyenne."  Thaxton can be heard on the LP "Lloyd Thaxton Goes Surfing With the Challengers," released in 1963.





"Lucky 11 Dance Time" was apparently a show hosted by Channel 11's Brad Johnson. TV Guides for that time are scarce; what we found was "Dance Show," hosted by Brad Johnson and featuring 20 teen age couples who danced at the Calhoun Beach Hotel. The only evidence  we have is in the May 29, 1961 volume of TV Guide. (It is not in the February 11 edition nor the July 1 edition.)  It aired on Saturday at 2:00.  Brad Johnson substituted at least once for Dick Clark on "American Bandstand," presumably when the show was still broadcast from Philadelphia.

"Midnight Discotheque" was aired at the strike of midnight, December 31, 1964.  It promised the latest in dancing, with hostess Mary Davies (aka Carmen the Nurse).

"Music Scene" was broadcast by ABC for 17 episodes, from September 1969 to January 12, 1970.  It was hosted by David Steinberg, with guest hosts.  It aired on Mondays at 6:30 pm on Channel 9 - curiously for 45 minutes.


"9-Teens" went on the air on October 24, 1955 on TV station KEYD.  An article in the March 18, 1956 Minneapolis Tribune explained:

An appraisal of television programming early last fall convinced the staff of KEYD-TV that TV shows are almost entirely geared to moppet or adult audiences.


KEYD thereupon decided to allow time for teen-age interests.  After consultation with a group of Twin Cities teen-agers, the station invited high school students of this area to take over daily programs devoted to teen-age activities - sports, fashion shows, displays of talent, hobbies, panel discussions, clubs and the like...


The first magazine-type "9-Teens" show went on the air last October 24 and was produced by students of Murray high school, St. Paul.  Since then Twin Cities teen-agers have written, produced, directed and staged more than 100 such shows.  The show now and hour long, can be seen from 5 to 6 p.m. daily Monday through Friday.

Highlighted in the article were singer Irene Borsheim from Wayzata; German band and dancers from Bloomington; chemistry demonstration by Judy Sausen and Rosalyn Carroll of Holy Angels Academy; and fashion designers from Sibley High.


"Platter Party" was a 15 minute show on Channel 4 in Fargo, hosted by Pete Evenson.  He could have been playing Elvis Presley or Montovani for all we know.  All we know about this is a listing of July 1957 in the northern edition of the Twin Cities TV Guide.

Shortly after "American Bandstand" went national in  August 1957, there was a local teen show called “Record Hop.” Our records are spotty, but we see "Record Hop" with Jim Eddy listed in the local listings at 4:30 on Saturday on Channel 9, starting in October or November 1957. In February 1958, Eddy is described as a singer in an article in the St. Louis Park Echo.  Jump to May 1958, and the host is Jere Smith. In December 1958 the host is listed as Don Anderson, but in January 1959 it says Dan Anderson is listed as the host. There was a Dan Anderson who was a DJ at WLOL at the time.


                            TV Guide, December 20, 1958.  Thanks, Jeff Lonto!

"Shindig" was broadcast from September 16, 1964 to January 8, 1966 on Channel 9 (ABC).  In the beginning it was broadcast at 7:30 on Wednesdays.


The following comes from http://www.tv.com/shows/shindig/:

Shindig! was created and produced by Jack Good who had previously produced rock 'n' roll TV shows in his native Britain. With such shows as "Oh Boy!," "Wham!" and "Boy Meets Girls," he perfected his type of fast-paced rock 'n' roll series. In 1962, Good produced a pilot for American TV titled "Young America Swings the World" which was originally ignored, but eventually became one of three Shindig! pilots.

Shindig! premiered on September 16, 1964. During its first season, Shindig was broadcast Wednesdays at 8:30pm Eastern. Premiering as a half-hour series, it expanded to an hour in January 1965.

Most of the top American and British rock/pop acts of the mid-1960s appeared on Shindig!. The British performers often appeared in segments taped in the U.K.

Shindig! was different from the rock 'n' roll programs previously seen on American television. Shindig's music appeared to be non-stop, often only interrupted by the commercial breaks. And the performances were live...or so it seemed. In recent years it's been revealed that the backing music and many of the vocals were pre-recorded. The music and vocal tracks were recorded a day or two before the episode was videotaped. To make sure that these "mimed" performances looked live, the performers rehearsed numerous times.

Shindig! was hosted by Los Angeles disk jockey Jimmy O'Neill. Other series regulars included The Blossoms, a female group who provided the back-up singing. The Wellingtons were the male back-up singers. (Another male group, the Elgibles, often appeared in place of the Wellingtons.) There were also the Shindig dancers, a troupe made up of 10 (or so) young women who performed choreographed dances.

Shindig also had a roster of performers who appeared on a semi-regular basis. These included The Righteous Brothers, Glen Campbell, Donna Loren and Bobby Sherman.

Unlike other shows of the time, Shindig! did not have its own theme song. (The 1965 Shindig! LP begins with a "theme" song, but it's unlikely that it was ever performed on the TV series.) Most of the Shindig! episodes began with an opening song or medley performed by the Shindig guests and regulars. The medley consisted of short excerpts from current hits, vintage rock 'n' roll songs, along with gospel, country and folk songs. And the episodes ended with a finale, with a different song performed each week.

Shindig ignited a (short-lived) trend in television which could probably best be described as "rock 'n' roll...with go-go dancers." In January 1965, NBC introduced Hullabaloo, a variety show featuring rock 'n' roll guests and Shindig-type dancers. A few months later, the syndicated rock shows "Hollywood A Go-Go" and "Shivaree" premiered. And in July 1965, ABC added "Where the Action Is" to its weekday schedule. While Action's format was different from Shindig, it did feature a troupe of dancers called "The Action Kids." Shindig's influence can also be seen in two theatrical movies: "The T.A.M.I. Show" (recorded in October 1964) and "The Big T-N-T Show" (1966).

Instead of airing reruns, ABC produced new Shindig episodes for the Summer of 1965.

The final Shindig! episode produced by Jack Good aired on June 30, 1965. Beginning with the July 7, 1965 show, former Shindig director Dean Whitmore took over as producer.

For its second season, Shindig!was split into two 30-minutes shows airing Thursdays and Saturdays at 7:30pm. The episodes from 30 Sep 1965 through 30 Oct 1965 featured guest hosts.

Shindig's cancellation was announced in late October 1965. Dean Whitmore has often been blamed for the downfall of the series. Supposedly, when Whitmore took over, the show lost its pacing. To be fair, most of the episodes that aired from July through October 1965 are actually quite good. Although there were some changes, Whitmore didn't drift too far from Jack Good's original format. It remained a fast-paced show. Even the addition of guest hosts didn't hurt the show too much. Instead of taking over the whole show, the guest hosts usually sang one song and introduced a few of the other acts.

What probably hurt Shindig's popularity was the large number of rock 'n' roll shows on U.S. television by the Fall of 1965. As mentioned earlier, "Hullabaloo," "Hollywood A Go-Go," "Shivaree" and "Where the Action Is" were on the air. ABC also had the long running "American Bandstand." In September 1964, "The Lloyd Thaxton Show," previously a local Los Angeles series, became nationally syndicated. As if that wasn't enough, almost every large U.S. city had its own local rock 'n' roll TV series.

Another factor affecting Shindig's ratings had to have been time-shifting by local affiliates. Many ABC affiliates chose not to air Shindig in its regular Thursday/Saturday 7:30pm time slot (opting for syndicated or locally produced programs). These stations usually moved Shindig to non-prime time hours. While some time-shifting occurred during the first season, it became even more wide-spread for Shindig's 2nd season.

It wasn't until after the cancellation was announced that Shindig's quality started to decline. The Shindig! episodes from November 1965 through January 1966 are an odd mixture of programming. While some of these final shows resemble Jack Good's original series, there were others that looked nothing like Shindig and have nothing to do with rock 'n' roll. Examples of this are the episodes spotlighting Louis Armstrong (4 Nov 1965 & 11 Nov 1965); George Maharis (27 Nov 1965) and Johnny Mathis (25 Dec 1965).

Shindig's cancellation was part of a mid-season reshuffle at ABC, which the network called "The Second Season." The final Shindig aired on January 8, 1966. As if to add insult to injury, many of the songs performed on that final Shindig were presented as sketches saluting the new ABC shows! One of these sketches was a tribute to "Batman," the series that replaced Shindig!


"Shivaree" began as a local Los Angeles-based program on KABC-LA. It became syndicated in April 1965 and aired in more than 150 markets in the U.S. and seven countries internationally. Shivaree was created and hosted by LA's top all-night DJ, Gene Weed, once a president of the Academy of Country Music.  As a senior VP at Dick Clark Productions, he produced many awards shows.  The show made its Twin Cities debut on Saturday, April 17, 1965, on Channel 11 at 9 pm.  At some point it moved to Sundays at 2:30 pm, still on Channel 11.  As far as we can tell, the last show was broadcast locally on May 15, 1966.  Here's a clip from Shivaree with one of my favorite songs.





For one week in August/September 1964, there is a TV listing (presumably local) for "Teen Shindig," a special starring Jerry Smith (could this be Channel 9's Jere Smith?). The live, one-hour show featured teenage instrumental and folksinging groups - and five contestants for Miss Teen Northwest. By the end of the week, all the contestants were there, and one wonders whose shindig this is..

"Showcase '68" was a summer show that aired on Tuesdays at 7pm on KSTP.  Lloyd Thaxton was the host, and the show originated from a different city each week.

"Upbeat" (Local) came on in October 1965, hosted by Dino Day from "A Date With Dino" (See above.)  It was filmed on Friday nights at the Marigold Ballroom, and aired on KMSP-TV, first on Sundays from 2-3 and starting on October 9, 1965, on Saturday afternoons from 1:30 to 2:30.  Were you one of the Upbeat Dancers?  Some of the groups that appeared on the show at the end of 1965 were Cannibal and the Headhunters, Bobby Sherman, the Castaways, the Echomen, the Trolls, the Luvs. Also listed was Scott Burton, WDGY DJ.  The last broadcast was on February 19, 1966.


                       From Twin City a' Go Go, September 1965




"Upbeat" (National) was a syndicated show out of Cleveland, hosted by Don Webster.  It went on the air here in the Twin Cities on June 11, 1966, on Channel 11, Saturday afternoons.  It ended on January 27, 1968.  (The show started in Cleveland in 1964 and ended there in 1971.) 




From www.upbeatdancers.com:  From 1964 to 1971 Upbeat was one of Americas top television shows, syndicated in over 100 cities. It was Simon & Garfunkel's first TV appearance and Otis Reddings's last. Nearly every major rock,soul, and pop artist performed on Upbeat: The Who, Three Dog Night, Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, Kenny Rogers, James Brown, Sly & The Family Stone, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and many many more. But the recording artists weren't the only stars to appear on the show. The Upbeat Dancers (choreographed by Hank Nystrom) created the latest dance crazes, influencing contemporary dance in America. Upbeat was produced by Herman Spero and hosted by Don Webster. Note: One of Upbeat's original theme songs "Hey Let's Go With The Upbeat Show" was written by Dave C.


Local group the Nickel Revolution performed their minor hit "Oscar Crunch" on the show in late November 1968 and the show aired that December.  See the Nickel Revolution's blog about the event and how they hated the bubblegum song they were forced to record. 

"Where the Action Is" was a Dick Clark spinoff of "American Bandstand" that aired daily after school.   It debuted on June 28, 1965, and ran til March 31, 1967.  Locally it was aired at 3:30 on Channel 9, an ABC network show.  It was advertised as a show that "goes where the action is - on location to film big-beat performers."  On the first show they went to the beach (for the Beach Boys) and the Whiskey a Go-Go (for DeeDee Sharp-except she's from Philadelphia). Regulars on the show were Linda Scott, Steve Alaimo, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and the Action Dancers.  The show came to Minneapolis - see 1966.


There were many local teen shows around the country, with names like "Shebang" (originated from Los Angeles and was hosted by Casey Kasem); Swingin' Time; and Steamroller.  We don't know if they were shown in the Twin Cities.

TWIN CITIES ROCK COMPILATIONS - Know of others?  Please let me know!


Best of Metrobeat - Sundazed - 1990  (vinyl)


Big Hits of Mid-America, Vol.1 and 2 (Soma) (vinyl)



Big Hits of Mid-America: The Soma Records Story 1963-67 (CD)

Bloodshot! Gaity Records Story, Vol. 1 and 2 - 1994 (Vinyl and CD), Norton Records


Candy Floss - the Lost Music of MidAmerica


Free Flight – Unreleased Dove Recording Studio Cuts 1964-69 (Get Hip) - 1998


Gathering at the Depot - 1970 (Beta)



Hipsville, Vol. 3: The Return of the Frozen Few - 1984, Kramden Records


Hodad Hootenany - Includes the Baldie Stomp.



KDWB 21 All Time Dream Hits, Vol. 1.  No evidence of a Volume 2.



KDWB Disc/Coveries - August 1961.  "All proceeds from the sale of this album go toward the production of sound-on-film movie depicting life in the Explorer movement of the Boy Scouts of America.  KDWB will produce the film and make it available to interested groups throughout the United States."  The "Swinging Gentlemen" pictured on the cover are Hal Murray, Sam Sherwood, Randy Cook, Bobby Dale, Bob Friend, Lou Riegert, Art Way, and Don DuChene. 



KDWB – Solid Gold - 1972


KRSI Request Album - 1969 - 2 record set


Let’s Have a Ball: Early Rock ‘n’ Roll From the Midwest.  Don't know anything about this and the only image I could find is too fuzzy to read!





Minnesota Rock-A-Billy Rock, Vol. 1-5 - White Label, Netherlands  (LP)








Minnesota Rocked!, Vol. 1&2, Prattco Records, John Pratt


Minnesota Rockers, Vol. 1 - Collector Records, Netherlands - 1995 (Don't know if there is a Vol. 2)  CD

Midwest vs. Canada


Midwest vs. The Rest

Money Music – August Records - 1967 - probably the best and most collectible of the bunch, put out by Peter Huntington May


Monsters of the Midwest - Lost Tracks from the Action Sixties!   Vol. I - 1982; Vol. II - 1985; Vol. III - 1987; Vol. IV - 1989






When The Time Run Out (Italy)  Minnesota vs. Michigan Raw Cuts From 1965-67, Vol. 1.  LP, 1995.  Something to do with Reverend Moon?



The Psychedelic Changes Beat Album - Magistral Records, France, 1980.  This one is particularly interesting.  The notes read:

"This album was produced in a very small quantity, a few more than 200, only to demonstrate what had happened in the MINNEAPOLIS music scene during the sixties.  MINNEAPOLIS - home of the LITTER, T.C. ALTANTIC, AVANTIES, CASTAWAYS, C.A. QUINTET, ELECTRAS (here called IT WAS BRILLIG) ... now legends of their time - had brought us also several exciting obscure groups which were as good as the few noted above:  some of these you can hear on this LP.  The tracks by IT WAS BRILLIG, BEDLAM FOUR & CALICO WALL with wild driving psychedelic punk are the best cuts of an earlier album called MONEY MUSIC.  All other tunes are taken from local releases and have different style of music.  BEAT MUSIC with the GESTURES and the STILLROVEN, UNDERGROUND ROCK with DANNY'S REASONS, T.C. ATLANTIC and the THIRD WAVE PSYCHEDELIC SOUND from the C.A. QUINTET, HOPE AND SECOND THOUGHT.  We hope you'll enjoy the music too."  Only 230 were made and go for quite a pretty penny on ebay.


Rockin’ Your Socks Off! Volumes 1 - 12.  Minnesota Rock/Country Hall of Fame, Doug Spartz




Root 66: The Frozen Few - 1982


The Scotty Story – Minnesota’s Legendary ‘60’s Rock Label! - 1993 (Arf Arf)


Soma Records Story Vol. 1: Shake it For Me - 1998 (vinyl) Beatrocket Records


Soma Records Story Vol. 2: Bright Lights, Big City - 1998 (vinyl)  Beatrocket Records


Soma Records Story Vol. 3: A Man’s Gotta Be a Man - 1998 (vinyl)  Beatrocket Records


Surfin’ in the Midwest - 4 LPs issued by Unlimited Productions (Gail Anderson?)  Vol. 1 - 1985; Vol. 2 - 1987; Vol. 3 - 1998; Vol. 4 - 2005.  Twin Cities tunes scattered throughout. 






Top Teen Bands, Vol. 1 - Bud-Jet Records - 1965



Top Teen Bands, Vol. 2 - Bud-Jet Records - 1965


Top Teen Bands, Vol. 3 - Bud-Jet Records - 1966


Twin Cities Funk and Soul: Lost R&B Grooves from Minneapolis/St. Paul 1964-1979  (www.secretstashrecords.com)


Twist to Radio WDGY - Songs recorded by Bob Keene Big Band @1961.  This one is funny!  It was put out on Del-Fi, which was Ritchie Valen's label out in California.  Bob Keene owned Del-Fi and was Ritchie's manager.  They must have made these and sold them to the big rock 'n' roll stations around the country.  Those men in the fine red coats twistin' are Bill Diehl, Phil Nolan, Rod Person, Walt Carpenter, Tom Wynn, and (looks like) Paul Johnson. 



WDGY Yesterhits from Yesterday, Vol. 1 and 2.  Jeff Lonto says that an LP was issued in 1967 and a box of 45s in 1969.

From Johnny Canton:  It was my job to secure songs for these [WDGY] LPs. To get the good hits we had to agree we would not sell the albums. Since we were going to use them as a promo tool to give to our listeners, that was an easy concession. However, ABC Paramount/Dunhill records still sent me a 20 page contract to sign. They were an important label since one of the songs we wanted was by The Mamas & Papas - huge act at the time.




Here is a list of some of the local rock 'n' roll magazines and books of the 1960s.  Bird Dance Beat has a detailed list with pictures.

Magazine:  John Pratt:  "I do remember Beat Magazine, which was a national publication that was sold through various top-40 stations around the country, with editions tailored to each station's markets. Here, it was KDWB Beat.  KRLA had the Los Angeles edition of Beat; [at right is] a cover photo of an October 1967 edition of KRLA Beat."  The address given is Beat Publications, 9125 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles.

We have copies of four issues of KDWB Beat.  Each has a "local" page centered on the station.  The local page from the August 26, 1967 issue ("Special Hippie History Issue") featured pictures of Twin Cities music industry folk (Tac Hammer, Ira Heilicher, Charlee Brown) with the Jefferson Airplane, the Electric Prunes, and the Shadows of Night during an outing on Lake Minnetonka.  (See detailed in chronology above.)  The issue also reported on the Monkees concert in NYC, where the opening acts were Lynn Randell and Jimi Hendrix.  Micky did his best James Brown imitation.

The local page from October 21, 1967 reports KDWB's Earl L. Trout III being "jailed" in a charity stunt. It shows him broadcasting live from the corner of 7th and Hennepin, and Minneapolis police "arresting" him and taking him to jail until enough money was raised for the Leukemia Foundation to "bail" him out. (See details in 1967 above.)

The January 27, 1968 issue featured a silly "history" of KDWB going back to the cave men. It also supported a High School Christmas concert series involving 13 schools from the metro area (including St. Louis Park).    

And the February 24, 1968 issue featured KDWB DJ Earl L. Trout III's national-but-futile letter-writing campaign to bring the Beatles back to the U.S.   


Connie's Insider - See Insider




Flip Side:  An Illustrated History of Southern Minnesota Rock & Roll Music from 1955-1970; Jim Oldsberg, 1997.

Thee Apostles/Stormy Monday; Little Caesar & The Conspirators; The Chances R; The Continental Co-ets; The D.C. Drifters; The Defiants; The Depressions; The Emperors; The Epicurians/Highway; The Exotics/19th Amendment;; The Ferraris; The Furys; The Gestures/Madhatters; Mike Glieden & the Rhythm Kings; Steve Carl & the Jags; The Korners of Time; Kreed; Leaves of Grass; The Messengers; The Mods; The Mustangs; The Night Crawlers; The Nite-Sounds; The Notorious Noblemen; The Pagans; The Pilgrims; Prince & the Paupers; The Radiants; The Rhythm Rockers; The Rogues; The Secrets; The Shades; The Shags; The Silver Shadows; The Sensational Sleepers; Steve Ellis & the Starfires; The Stingrays; TBI; Us; Vultures; Wire


Hair was an underground paper published in 1968-69.  Issue 2's cover featured a naked girl with a breast in her cereal bowl with the caption "Some mornings nothing goes right!"  Publishers and contributors included Evan and Sally Stark, Jack Cann, Steve Kimmel, and Gus and Marsha Slelzer.  Much of the content was on local housing news, including reports on the condition of housing, particularly on Nicollet Island.  One issue had a long article on "Yellow Submarine" but I couldn't make out whether they liked it or not.  In April 1969 there were very big ads for Labor Temple shows. 



Hundred Flowers was published from April 17, 1970 to April 4, 1972.  Offices were first located in the Eastside Citizens' Community Center at 100 University Ave., but they reported that they were kicked out.  By 1971 they were located at "Liberty House," 529 Cedar Ave. So., operated by Minneapolis activist Marv Davidov.  It was primarily a political underground newspaper, publishing communiques from Bernardine Dohrn of the Weather Underground.  But it had some music reviews and ads in it as well.  In its January 1, 1971, issue it reported a rash of thefts of local  instruments.  It also complained that the Depot had withdrawn its free tickets to the paper's staff because of critical reviews of its concerts.  They responded by calling the Depot a "smoky, smelly, overcrowded plastic environment to hear often outrageously loud performances..  pathetic efforts at pleasure."  It also reported on an experiment where pregnant women took LSD.  They reported no birth defects, but all the babies turned out to be girls.  The sample size was... 10. 



In-Beat Magazine ("That's What's Happening"): 
This magazine was published monthly by Steven Kaplan out of his living room. Kaplan sold subscriptions at the Teen Age Fair at the State Fair [presumably August 66] for $2 - each subscriber got a free 45 rpm record, so the subscriptions were essentially free. In-Beat paid Twin City a Go Go (see below) $1500 not to compete. The first issue came out in September 1966.

Kaplan remembers:  "we were out only a few issues when we got some good national ads: Sprite automobiles and Clairol products among them. A coup for a small magazine.

"Also, a few months after we were out, the publisher of Where magazine called and wanted to meet. By this time our magazine was hot: I went from being a nerd to being hip in two issues (and back to being a nerd again after we stopped publishing). But we were hot and this publisher wanted us to associate our name with his, so he offered us an office — for free — and, this was

 the clincher, free meals every day at Luigi’s restaurant, which at that time was on the main floor of the Lumber Exchange, where Where was located (on the 12th floor). We took the office and were able to move out of my apartment. It was a big office and we always kept the doors closed because it reeked of marijuana fumes.

"One of our biggest coups came early in the season. Big names Chad & Jeremy (though, of course, no one today has any idea of who they were) were booked for the fair, but never showed up. It was an outrage and everyone — particularly the mainstream media — was trying to find out what happened. Chad & Jeremy called us, however, and sat down for an explanatory interview with us, the only interview they gave (and, perhaps, the last one anyone ever really cared about). [See 1966 above.]

"Our best time was with James Brown. He had come (maybe to the Flame Ballroom) and we made arrangements to photograph & interview him. Brown was my personal idol and I couldn’t wait to see him perform. We went to the concert and though it was sold out, there was hardly a white guy there: maybe 3 or 4 in the whole place (Danny & I were half of that). When the show was over we went back stage where Brown, who was indeed the hardest working guy in show business, was sitting at a chair with an attendant at both legs, each unlacing his high-laced boots. I started asking him my brilliant questions when he stopped me. “This is no place to do an interview,” he said, and, of course, he was right. “Why don’t you guys fly back with me to Cincinnati. That way we can do the interview on the plane, and it will be quiet and we won’t be rushed. After I’ll put you guys up in a hotel and in the morning we’ll tour King Records.” And that’s exactly what we did. We flew back in his Lear Jet, he, James Foxx, Danny & I. The plane’s interior was about as big as a restaurant booth, and the loudspeakers played Vivaldi."

The (final?) issue of In-Beat came out in August 1967.  Kaplan and friends went to San Francisco for the Monterey Pop concert in 1967, where hippies were in and teenage fanzines were out, and that was the end of In-Beat. Kaplan now edits the magazine Minnesota Law and Politics.

:  The Insider began in about April 1966 as the T.M.C. Insider, a mimeographed newsletter put out by Trestman Music Center and edited by Timothy D. Kehr.  It was strictly a trade sheet for the burgeoning teenage musicians in the Twin Cities (one estimate was that there were 4,000 of them).  "The Blue Musical Voice of the Midwest."  It had news about the groups, ads for TMC and band instruments, and featured an instructional column called "Drummers' Beat."  Colman “Connie” Hechter, a musician and former publicist for Mercury Records was the publisher, editor, and reporter, with Trestman acting as sponsor.  In 1967 Hechter began to publish the magazine independently as Connie's Insider, with music industry trade news, and music, arts and lifestyle features for and about the people of Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. Looking on-line at the holdings of the Minnesota Historical Society and the Hennepin County Library (downtown-Special Collections), it would appear that the last Connie's Insider was the July/August 1971 issue, and then it was just the Insider from September 1971 to May/June 1978.  Hechter passed away in 1978 and the publication became the Musician's Insider until it ended in 1980.  See the story in Twin Cities Funk & Soul, page 28.

Johnny Green and the Greenmen by Mark Starks, 2010.  Available at Lulu



Little Sandy Review, edited by  Paul Nelson and Jon Pankake, 1960-1968


This was a little paperback-sized magazine that contained mostly reviews of folk recordings.  Although the issues are not dated, it is estimated that the first issue came out in March 1960.  Initial cost was 30 cents, and the office was listed as 3220 Park Ave. So. in Minneapolis.  There was not much local content.  The editors were folk and blues purists, and launched often hilarious blasts at "all phonies who water, dilute, and pervert" folk music. It was very clear who they liked and who they thought were purveyors of "folkum."



  • Woody Guthrie
  • Pete Seeger
  • New Lost City Ramblers
  • Dylan's first album
  • Peggy Seeger
  • Joan Baez (off and on)
  • Ramblin' Jack Elliott
  • Jean Ritchie
  • Leadbelly
  • Carter Family
  • Cisco Houston
  • Koerner, Ray, and Glover
  • Stringbean ("important, gifted, and versatile country musician")


  • Harry "Belaphoney"
  • Kingston Trio
  • Limelighters
  • Coachmen
  • Bud and Travis
  • Josh White ("basks in moneyed glow of the expense account set")
  • Glenn Yarborough ("sounds like a male Judy Garland")
  • Odetta ("a poor musician")
  • The Weavers ("not much more 'folk' than Jo Stafford - just know how to play-act better")
  • Burl Ives ("darling of suburban matrons")
  • Jimmie Rodgers (mad because he claimed he wrote traditional songs)
  • Smothers Brothers ("not folk and not funny")
  • Peter, Paul, and Mary ("atrocious artificially canned, commercial enthusiasm")

Barry Hanson was the main blues reviewer - he went on to become Dr. Demento.  He moved west but continued to contribute.  In January 1964 the magazine graduated to professional printing and slick paper and the price went up to 85 cents.  The next issue came out in March and was $1.  Then there was a gap until 1965.  After that started Volume 2 in July 1966, and the magazine had moved to California, edited solely by Hanson, although Nelson (who had moved to New York to work at Sing Out!) and Pankake had offered to contribute.  Another three issues came out but the last was in about February 1968.  Bound copies are available to read at the downtown Minneapolis library.


Lost and Found: a '50s/'60s Rock & Roll 'Zine; Jim Oldsberg


     Volume 1:  Minnesota/Iowa.  Out of print

     Volume 2:  Minnesota/Wisconsin, 1993.  May be some copies at Half Price Books in Apple Valley

                       Jades, Benders, Velquins, DelRicos, Flames, Faros, Memories, Private Property of Digil, Lord Verley

                       Moss & The Moss Men, Denny Noie/In Crowd/4th of Never, Journeymen, Target/Tee Pee Records,

                       Yetti-Men, Calico Wall, Crucible, Galaxies, Spacement, Aldon & the E.C.s/Thundermen, Ray Peters

     Volume 3:  Illinois/Minnesota.  Out of Print.

     Volume 4:  North and South Dakota, 1997.  Out of Print.

                       Terry Lee & the Poorboys, Davey Bee & the Sonics, Ronnie Ray & the Playboys, Dale Gregory & the

                       Shouters, Bobby Vee & the Shadows, Boss Tweads, Treasures, Myron Lee & the Caddies, Pawnbrokers,

                       Steve Rowe & the Furies, Fragile Zookeeper, Escorts Four, Jay Bee & the Kats, Richie Wynn & the

                       Tornadoes, Bleach Boys, Shattoes/Chateaux, Ken Mills, Sir Laurence & the Crescents

     Volume 5:  Northern Minnesota.  Back in Print!  See Amazon.com

                       Rockets, Little John & the Sherwood Men, Reveliers, Renowns, Tommy Lee & the Orbits, Jeujene & the

                      Jaybops, Canoise, Avengers, Pretenders, Chet Orr & the Rumbles, Howie Butler & the Reflections,

                      Outcasts, Titans, Sounds Like Us, Devilles, Vaqueros, Unbelievable Uglies, Novas


Metanoia was a local arts magazine from the late '60s. In 1968 it was described as an Underground magazine with a circulation of 5,000, mostly college students and instructors.


The Midwest 60s Rock Art Collection by Tom W. Tourville, 1996.  Features the Legendary Danceland Collection.  Out of Print.



The Minneapolis Flag was a do-it-yourself newsletter than was political and musical, with some concert reviews in the April 10, 1970, issue. Classifieds were placed mostly by musicians and by photographers looking for "nice looking liberated chicks" to do nude modeling. 


Minnesota Rocked!  The 1960s; Tom W. Tourville, 1966 (the fourth edition was the last that I know of). This is an amazing list of Minnesota bands and their recordings.   Out of Print.

Music Legends: a Rewind on the Minnesota Music Scene; Martin Keller, D Media, Inc., 2007.  See Amazon.

In 1967 B Sharp Music published Music Scene, a competitor to the Insider. It had a wider audience than the first issues of the Insider, with bios of local and national musicians. The newsletter was written by Timothy D. Kehr. 

A Simple Twist of Fate:  Bob Dylan and the Making of Blood on the Tracks; Andy Gill and Kevin Odegard;  Da Capo Press, 2004.  See 1974 above.

TMC Insider - See Insider


Twin City a-GoGo ("The magazine for Twin City Young Adults on the Go"):  Editors were David Jass (vice-president of Young Adult Productions and son of Twin Cities television personality Mel Jass) and Bruce Goldstein (associated with Century Camera).  This was a jam-packed publication.  The first issue in May 1965 featured the Chancellors on the cover (see right).   Free subscriptions were available until October 1, 1965.  It grew to be a very popular publication:  In 1965 there were 3 staff members, and by January 1966 there were 30.

David Jass remembers: 

"We started all of this at the Teen Fair at the Minnesota State Fair [1965]. I think the teen fair only lasted that one time. We had a life-size display of the Beatles. Get your picture taken with the Beatles was a hit. It cost $.75. We also sold what we called go go hammers. The idea was to hit members of the opposite sex with them. It was a plastic hammer deal with accordion yellow ends that make a loud "pop" sound. We hired young ladies in swimming suits and tennis shoes to sell them. What a hit. By the 4th day of the Teen Fair we chartered an airplane to fly in more hammers. The last day of the fair I was in a cab going home. I had only one hammer left. Broken. The cab driver said his son had to have one. He paid me $1.75 for it. We also had kids sign up with name, phone, and address if they would be interested in a magazine for teens in Minnesota. Thus the list of finally 10,000 names.

"I have the original copy of a' GoGo . It is a small digest size mag of around 10 pages. Bruce and I wrote all the articles using pseudonyms. My fashion column "fling into spring" was my most memorable. We sold advertising to local businesses. Enough money was made to pay the rent for our office (above the Cascade 9 Bar and Grill in Mpls) and other expenses. Nancy Nelson was our secretary. We hired kids to call the rock n roll radio stations to plug our magazine. The radio stations started getting suspicious and stopped taking these calls. Kids would then call pretending some other "teen" topic and then slip in how much they loved Twin City A Go Go.

"When the Beatles came to the Twin Cities, I had a room one floor below them at some motel in Mpls. I met them, not much talking, but a thrill for me. I was 21 at the time. During their press conference one of our guys (Karnstedt) tossed some issues of our magazine (#2) at the interview table. The boys picked them up and started clowning around with them. Our 3rd issue shows them with our magazine. Kind of cool.

"I left the corporation shortly after this escapade. My partner Bruce Goldstein continued for maybe one more issue. He began selling our list of 10,000 subscribers. I think that he sold the magazine, which was to become InBeat.

"Well, lots of memories here. I' m now 64 years old. Have spent my working life as a teacher, social worker, and contractor. Have now lived in San Diego California for the last 30 years."

Thanks, David, for your memories!


Twin City Where was a nationally franchised magazine that published here in about 1966.  Howard Goldenberg was the editor.

Marcia from Marcia and the Lynchmen reports that they were one of the teen bands highlighted in the St. Paul Pioneer Press Pictorial Magazine, June 5, 1966, “Those Teen Bands.” The article was entitled “Behind the Twang of the Guitar” and the text was by Bill Diehl.  Maddie Shay scanned her copy for us! 



There were tons of dance and music venues in the Twin Cities and the surrounding area.  If you have any to add or corrections to make, please contact me


Some of the ballrooms in small towns came from a web site called Ballrooms of the Past.  I've never heard of many of these dancehalls, and even many of the towns! 

Much of the information on jazz venues comes from Joined at the Hip:  A History of Jazz in the Twin Cities by Jay Goetting, MHS Press (2011).  A must read.

A tremendous resource is a Ph.D. thesis written by Robert A. Stebbins in 1964 The Jazz Community:  The Sociology of a Musical Sub-Culture.  Chapter 4 is a history of jazz in Minneapolis and contains detailed information on performers, dates, etc.  He also provided an incredibly detailed list and description of the various jazz venues - using sources such as telephone books he researched when various venues existed, and in many cases noted house bands and traveling bands that came through.  A huge find! 


The Minnesota Historical Society has copies of an apparently short-lived newspaper called the Republican Register, dedicated to electing Dewey for President.  The copies run from 1941-1944 and for some reason included ads by just about every bar in the Twin Cities and surrounding area.  No explanation for this, but it is a treasure trove of information for venues with live entertainment. 





If there were more than one club at a single location, I have alphabetized them with pointers to the original club.  Thus, if the Huddle existed before Arturo's, the entry for Arturo's would say "See the Huddle" and any information about Arturo's would be under the Huddle.  Hope that's clear.


Also, hotels are not listed under H but under their other name, thus Nicollet Hotel, not Hotel Nicollet. 


Acme Palm Garden, St. Paul - jazz venue


Adolph's, Robbinsdale - jazz venue


Alary's:  See Heinie's


Allen's Tavern, St. Paul - jazz venue

The Aloha Club Ballroom was on Highway 13, 2 miles west of Prior Lake in 1954.  Dance by Moonlight - comfortably heated - on Beautiful Spring Lake.  No age limit.  Percy Hughes, Judy, and Dickie Mayes performed Fridays and Saturdays in April.


Alpine Room:  See the Chalet.


The Alps:  801 E.78th Street in Bloomington.  A new (1999) building sits there today.  Was originally supposed to be part Dixieland and part Rock, but the Dixieland was quickly dumped.  Had three levels and was frequented by stewardesses, pilots, and other airline folks due to its proximity to the airport.  In 1967 it had a "super soft" sound.  The Jokers Wild played several dates there, as did Danny's Reasons.  The Insider reported that as of December 1968 it had been closed for many months because it was too noisy for an adjacent trailer court.

Alvin Burlesk:  Not sure a strip joint belongs here, but their ads appear in every paper, including the Minnesota Daily!  One from December 1944 in the Republican Register advertises a show with a cast of 40, including Jessica Rogers and Jack Diamond.  The ad doesn't give an address but seems to indicate the name was Alvin and Hirsch's.  In 1952 Dagmar was all the rage.


Ambassador Motor Lodge, Highways 100 & 12 in St. Louis Park.  The Percy Hughes Trio was the house band in the Kashmiri Lounge from 1973 to 1982.


Ames Lodge, Number 106 of the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks - See Elk's Lodge




This building at 14 North Fifth Street housed many venues over the years. 

  • Elk's Club Lodge #44 (building on right)


  • Andy's (1940s).  Images thanks to Alan Freed's amazing surfing skills!  Ad below from 1944.




  • Tafi's opened on January 4, 1971, by James Theophilius Aladubi Babington-Johnson, Jr., known as Tafi. Tafi had been a dining car waiter for the Great Northern Railway, got a degree in political science and worked for Honeywell and the Institute of African-American Studies. The club was a restaurant/supper club featuring live jazz and folk. Ahmad Jamal Trio played at the opening, and Young/Holt Unlimited did two weeks at the end of 1970. The Insider described it as a "Playboy-type operation." Jazz just didn't bring in customers and it closed after three months.  An article from July 1971 said that brothers Danny and Gary Stevens were trying to line up financing to buy it and convert it to a rock venue called the Fillmore, but it was gone by 1972.
  • Sutton Place Disco - April 1, 1976 - Summer 1978.  Sutton Place "began as a quiet neighborhood bar in the Sumner/Glenwood area of North Minneapolis [2nd Ave. No. and 7th Street]. It was an unpretentious establishment owned by a heterosexual married couple, Harold and Elizabeth Sutton."  It became a gay disco, and apparently the fun was gone when too many straights showed up.  Ad from the Minnesota Daily, 1977, found by Alan Freed, who says:  "That was Ernie Pesis's place for many years until Shussler took over. I don't know how long it was Ernie's but certainly during the Fox Trap/Taste/Wells Fargo years and I bet during Sutton's and earlier, too."


  • Fox Trap - There by late '78, ended in late '80 or early '81.  "When the Longhorn eliminated Jazz and went Punk, the Fox Trap tried to lure the Jazz Beatnik crowd but it was really a funk and R & B club and had a short life there."  Alan Freed remembers that this "became a trouble spot and closed after a shooting or two (maybe a murder or two)."    Color photo below from about 1980, Minnesota Historical Society.


  • Taste Show Lounge was an R&B venue, extant July 1981.  Managed by Pete Rhodes.  Alan:  "Taste had three floors; main floor was live bands, second floor was what you see [below] and the third floor was another dance floor with a different DJ, not always open as was the second floor."  Richard says, "Taste had a second floor dance floor and the room was lined in stainless steel so that the lights from the dance floor reflected everywhere.. they also had a HUGE neon sign that would flash that had a phrase of 'Dance Your Ass Off' also later available as t-shirts.. (I know.. I owned one).. ANYWAY.. my point.. Before coming over to the Gay Nineties to be a manager, Michael Bloom used to be manager/accountant at 'TASTE' for awhile.. he occasionally would tell me stories.. and my favorite one was about two bouncer/doormen guys he would continually have to remind to get to work .. seems they were always talking music and not paying attention to the patrons. He claims the two guys were Jimmy Jam... and Terry Lewis !"  More from Alan:  "The Taste portrayed in Purple Rain, outside and inside, was not this place although the real Taste/Fox Trap was an inspiration. The Taste interior scenes with Apollonia 6 were shot at the Union Bar in NE Minneapolis and the exterior, I believe, was shot in LA, where a few other shots were filmed, including the Hotel Huntington exterior."  In 1981 had a "Fox of the Week" contest.  Photo below right around 1981, Minnesota Historical Society.  1981 pass courtesy Alan Freed.




  • Wells Fargo (country bar) - @ 1982
  • Juke Box Saturday Night/Twin Cities Banquet Centre - Summber 1985-90, owned by Steve Schussler


  • Sneaky Pete's/Dream Girls


The Anglesey Cafe/Motor Lounge was at 1331 Hennepin.  From 1940-44 Earl Irons' dance band was the house band, playing a little jazz.  An undated and unsigned memo (probably from the mid 1940s) says that the owner of record was the Minneapolis Bridge Co. but suspects that Tommy Banks may have held the deed.  In March 1946 owner George Sampanis was charged with discrimination by two black men who were not served at the bar.  Each filed a $500 suit against Sampanis.  The Spokesman reported that others had contacted the paper with complaints about discrimination.  In 1963 it hosted folk groups like the Countrymen and the Jolly Swagmen, but Will Jones noted that the owners were looking to kick out all the rock 'n' roll and folk music.  There was the Regency Room for dining and dancing and the Surrey Room Piano Bar.


From the collection of Mark Youngblood

Anoka Armory

The Apartment:  See the White House below.


Apex Hall:  635-55 Sixth Ave. No.; jazz venue dating from 1933.


Aragon Ballroom:  See Arcadia Ballroom



Arcadia Ballroom, South 5th Street across from the Court House, Minneapolis (a/k/a Arcadia Dance Palace, Conway's Arcadia Palace).  There was a busy schedule here in 1925:

  • Enagma Club Dance on Tuesday nights
  • Lucky Prize on Wednesday nights
  • Club dance every Thursday night
  • Candy Dance on Friday nights
  • Saturday and Sunday follow the crowd to the Arcadia Dance Palace. 

By September 1934 it was called the Aragon Ballroom, but the change must have been fairly recent as ads said "Formerly Arcadia."


Arcadia Gardens, 8th and Cedar Streets, St. Paul.


Archie's, 11th and Excelsior Ave., Hopkins.  1971:  Dance to your old time and new favorites to Chris Kober and His Orchestra.  Also Country and Western by the Big River Ramblers.

Armadillo Restaurant, 1619 Plymouth Ave. No., opened in November 1957 offering Southern style food and Your Favorite Dinner Music Presented Live.  Owned by Timothy Bender and Phillip Archer.

Arthur's - jazz venue


Arturo's:  See the Huddle. 


The Athletic Club in Minneapolis was a place to hear dance bands.


The Attic was in Chanhassen, 1972

Augie's:  See Lindy's


B&R, St. Paul - jazz venue

Balmoral Ballroom, Fergus Falls

The Bamboo Room:  See Cassius's Bar and Cafe


The Bamboo Room:  see White House below.


The Bank:  770 W. 7th in St. Paul.  Changed from the Cabaret in 1969, owned by Bob Mecay. 



The Barn was located south of Highway 494 and east of Highway 169 (then 18) in Eden Prairie.  It was variously known as the Purple Barn (Phil Kitchen says to sound more psychedelic) and the South Barn.  The front at least was painted purple.  Jim Mattox says:  "I used to work with a local band called the Soul Package in the seventies. We played at the Purple Barn regularly.  Below is a photo of the Caretakers at the Purple Barn, winners at a Battle of the Bands in 1969, sponsored by Len's Guitar City.  Photo courtesy Bob Burtis, shown on keyboards




Photo of the South Barn below courtesy Susan Shallman Anderson.




An item in a December 1968 Insider said that Bill Roslansky formed Young America, Inc. and purchased the South Barn with fellow shareholders Stuart Swartz and Stan Taube.  In 1969 it was owned by Roslansky and Timothy Millette and was a teen club.  Bruce Glewwe remembers:  "That whole area was probably farm land then. Went there only once…pretty freaky for a couple 16 year old guys from South St. Paul. The 'black lights' inside scared us off and we didn’t go in. We probably didn’t have the dollar or two it would have cost to enter either."   When the teen clientele started to drop in 1970 the Barn closed on Fridays.  By 1973 it was the only teen rock club left, open only on Fridays.


North Barn:  According to the eye witnesses on Facebook, there was another Barn in Plymouth, on Highway 18 (now 169) and Bass Lake Road, on the north shore of Bass Lake.  It was apparently a rough place, with chicken wire to protect the musicians from projectiles from the appreciative audience.


In 1960 there was a Barn Restaurant on County Road 18 and 42nd Ave. North, with dancing Saturday night to the Aristocrats.



Bartenders' Club, 32 South 6th Street, upstairs.  After hours jazz and gambling hangout.

Bashland: St. Paul dancehall (barn) owned by WLOL DJ Throck Morton. House band the String Kings.

The Bastille (an erstwhile coffee house, formerly near the corner of Oak Street and Washington Avenue on the U of M Campus): Dylan played here in the spring of 1960.

Beek's Pizza in St. Louis Park had a live combo on Friday and Saturday nights, at least in 1958.  There were several other Beek's Pizzas.

The Bel Rae Ballroom was located at 5394 Edgewood Drive NW (Highway 10) in Moundsview (one mile west of New Brighton Arsenal).  An Internet site says it was built and operated by Elhart Ebel from 1964 to 1971.  In 1967 it was open to teens only on Tuesdays. Friday was alphabet night - people with last names starting with letters in that night's ad got in free.  A 1967 ad just had polka acts.  It was owned by Bud Raemaker in 1971 according to the Insider.  At one time Tuesday nights featured Michael's Mystics.  Photo at right features the Underbeats.  The building was sold to the city on June 30, 1996 and became a community center.







Bellanote:  Sixth and Hennepin


Belmont Supper Club, 615 University Ave., St. Paul, 1953-74.  Go-go girls in cages in 1965.  Owned by the group the Belmonts (not Dion's Belmonts). 



Big Al's was at 1229 - 5th Street So., Minneapolis.  A snippet of an article from the Minneapolis Tribune (no date, no byline) tells us that this building, just feet from the Milwaukee Road the railroad tracks, was originally a "hotel and restaurant catering mostly to railroad men.  For a long time it was Peggy's Barbeque, with a cigarette machine that dispensed booze by the pint instead of tobacco.  For a year or so, in the late '50s, it was a fag joint."  At some point in about 1956-'57 it was Big Daddy's jazz venue.


In 1961 it became Big Al's, with jazz groups upstairs and downstairs in 1964.  That year they also instituted "Blue Monday" jam sessions during the day on Mondays.  In 1967 it was owned by Lloyd Beck and Dave Rooney, who performed with his trio. The 1967 ads say "Where it's Always Swingin.'" The building was decorated with cartoons.  The article noted that the "smoky, second-floor piano lounge" was the haven of "married men with their girlfriends and no one said anything.  It was a joint where black and white people mixed on the stage as well as at the little white tables and there were never any fights or problems.  The police never had to hang around.  There would be a hooker there every now and the, but she would usually be there with her pimp and they were there to enjoy the jazz, not to hustle.  It was the kind of a place that tourists would have liked, but they didn't know about it because it was off the avenue." 


It was demolished to make way for a freeway. 


Big Ten Bar, U of M Campus

Bill Bailey's, County Road 15 in Spring Lake Park.  1967:  "Sing-along and dance-along to the Bruce Leland Trio."

Bill’s Roller Rink in Anoka


Billybud's, Washington and Plymouth.  Country bar in 1973, with house band Freddie Haas and his Golden Nuggets.

Bimbo’s Old Tyme Saloon was located at 243 Cedar Ave. - Seven Corners on the West Bank. In 1967 it was open to teens Wednesdays through Saturdays.  In 1967 it featured Sing Along Music Tuesday through Sunday and Old Time Movies on Monday nights.  There was a fire in April 1968.  It’s now the Theater in the Round. Did it move to Coon Rapids by 1973?


The Black Angus had a piano bar that became a disco - see the story up in 1963.  Sue Earle performed nightly in 1969.




The Black Sheep Club, 901 Marquette, was supposed to be one of a chain of members-only "Key Clubs" that required patrons to pay a sometimes hefty fee for the privilege of admission. In February 1963 the club held a series of Open Houses, advertising their three rooms:

  • The Speakeasy Room had a Roaring '20s theme with a Dixieland combo and flapper girls
  • The Theodora Room was decorated in crystal and velvet and featured Toby Prin at the piano and songs by Lola
  • The Oriental Room featured Japanese hostesses singing and dancing traditional songs.  In June 1963 belly dancers replaced the demure Japanese girls.

In June 1963 Will Jones wrote about this place as if it had been there awhile.  The Four Lads were performing on June 5.   The project was undercapitalized, and two employees sued for back pay and took the furniture, which ended that.  Subsequent clubs at the location were:

  • The Ram's Club
  • Shaw's Cove - in March 1968, "Introduces a new concept in Night Club Entertaining," featuring 6-man comedy/musical group called the Second Edition.
  • Bradford's opened in December 1968 by Bernie Beaumont and lasted until at least 1974.  The Bradfords was a group from Bradford, England.


  • Zachariah's was a country place that featured the Sky Blue Water Boys.  It opened in October 1975.
  • When Duff's burned down on Christmas Eve 1977, the owners relocated here (I think) in March 1979.  Please contact me if this is wrong. 


Blitz Bar:  See Dome Bar.

Bloomington Roller Rink:  94th and Lyndale Avenue So.

Blue Eagle Tavern, 1105 - 26th Ave. No.  Not sure if this had any entertainment, but here's a story in case it did.  In March 1968 a bomb was thrown into the entryway, blowing an 11-inch hole in the concrete of the building's basement, blowing the door off its hinges, and breaking its front windows.  Eight idiots were arrested and charged, including three women; they told police that they planned to form a local chapter of Hell's Angels.  The bombing followed an earlier brawl at the bar, and co-owner Erling G. Nelson and two young men injured in the fight reported they had received threatening phone calls.


The Blue Lantern was a night spot on Sixth Ave. No. in the 1920s.

Blue Moon Ballroom, Marshall, Minnesota

The Blue Moon Cafe and Club was on the north side of Sixth Ave. No. between Bryant and Sumner Place.

The Blue Note Cocktail Lounge was located at 622 - 11th Ave. No. in Minneapolis.  Formerly Leo Roth's Bar, it opened on October 9, 1962.  Boyd Yancy and Thomas A. Lewis were the proprietors and Tilly Anthony was the manager.  Jazz venue, favorite of Dave Moore.  Tommy Lewis was shot and killed on August 24, 1969.  In 1972 the owners were Benjamin W. Fields and Claude S. Thomas.  In a 1972 interview they said that business was down because more blacks were going to downtown clubs.  Thomas said that when he first got there in 1967 "I thought I was in a western movie" for all the people with guns in the place. 




The Blue Ox was at 918 Third Ave. So. in Minneapolis, opening in March 1963 with "no strippers and no twisters." Ads promised "Floor Shows!  Dancing!"  Kitty and Her Aly Kats were the featured performers in 1963-64. A co-owner was Ockie Berman. Another owner was David P. Aronsohn.  1969:  Jolly Jacks in the main lounge. It was there until at least 1978.  "FACT: They had a few Booths back in the corner that had telephones in them. I knew a couple Bookies that took their Action there!"






Bobby's Teen Club:   See Safari Club. 

Boogie Woogie Club:  U of M, early 1940s. 


The Bottle Inn was on 78th Street in 1940, owned by Carl Miller.  "Dancing Every Nite."



The Boulevard Cafe was located at 533 Dupont Ave. near Sixth Ave. No.  May have been a converted store.  Fame confined to the 1940s.  Stebbins tells of a famous session in 1944 when some members of Duke Ellington's band showed up after hours and jammed until 10:00 the next morning.  Another night Ellington and Count Basie were in town on the same night.  The jamming started at about 10:30 pm and so many musicians joined in that there wasn't nearly enough room on the little bandstand.  Stebbins quotes from Jim Bennett, "Jazz in the Twin Cities," Twin Citian, Vol. VI, no. 7, March 1964, p. 17:

Along about midnight, the musicians took a break and the Boulevard was suddenly la Place Pigalle.  Hookers got up and promenaded around the room in search of the night's business.  Peddlers stopped at your table to offer magic store novelties, loaded dice or "art" photos.


A black dwarf, less than three feet tall, raced  through the room holding two flaming torches above his head.  He squirmed up on the bandstand and swooped the torches around in great arcs to attract attention.  The crowd quieted and he held one torch aloft, then plunged it into his mouth.  A moment later he drew it out, still flaming... He pulled a sword from under his coat, saluted the audience, and slid it slowly down his gullet.  The crowd applauded as he pulled it out...


There was a rush of tables when word went around that the Ellington and Basie groups were on their way...  And then an interesting thing happened.  Earlier preparations for the musicians' heroes appeared casual in comparison with the arrangements now in progress.  Heads craned to see who it was that merited such attention.  After a few minutes a middle-aged Negro wearing glasses and a conservative dark suit was escorted to the seat of honor...   There was no question of the position he occupied in the Boulevard's firmament.  He was a ranking star, the premiere personage...


His name was Fletcher Henderson...

In March 1945 proprietor Elmer Lewis and William L. Kelly were indicted by the Hennepin County Grand Jury on charges of purchasing stolen whiskey.  They pleaded not guilty and were released on $1,500 bail.  No details on the outcome.



Boulevard Cafe, 5530 Wayzata Blvd., Golden Valley.  Probably an early jazz venue.  1963:  "Ours is a humble place, but we think we have something to offer you."  1967:  dancing nightly to the Richard Conrad Trio.  1973:  Dance to the Skylarks in the main dining room every Friday and Saturday night, and the "Carnegie Hall of Piano Bars," frequently featuring my fourth grade music teacher, Judy Moen.  The Boulevard was torn down for construction of I-394.

Boulevards of Paris Ballroom, 1100 W. University Ave. near the Coliseum in St. Paul.  Played host to Fats Waller, Benny Goodman, and Louis Armstrong.  Became the Vanity Fair.  Very elegant.  Ben Pollack's band made a lengthy appearance in the late 1920s and early '30s, with Jack Teagarden.  Another band was McKinney's Cotton Pickers.  With the end of Prohibition, Norvy Mulligan's band played there frequently.  In 1984 the building was a grocery story.


The Bow and Arrow Club was located just north of First Street in Mendota starting in early 1941.  "In the early 1950s the Bow and Arrow became a modern jazz stronghold featuring the Bob Davis Quartet and Rook Ganz's band.  There were also Sunday afternoon sessions which primarily attracted local musicians.  A couple of years later the owner invited Doc Evans to take over in an attempt to bring Dixieland back to Mendota.  For the occasion the name was changed to the Rampart [Street] Club, but the venture was not successful.  A few years later it again became the Bow and Arrow Club, occasionally featuring a jazz group."  (Stebbins)


Bowery Tavern and Dance Hall:  9400 - 6th Ave. No. (Highway 55 and County Road 18), Golden Valley.  Live music and dancing on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.  3.2 beer and setups.  Lee Lofstrand, new owner, May 26, 1960.

Bradford's:  See Black Sheep Club


Brady's was on the corner of 6th Street and Hennepin Ave., on the site where a sandwich shop and two different restaurants had been.  It opened in 1936 and had intermittent jazz entertainment, including the Hall Brothers Dixieland Band.  Became Shinder's Bookstore.  Butch Thompson posted this photo of the Hall Brothers as they left work on New Year's Eve, 1964.  Left to right:  Don "Doggy Berg, drums; Charlie DeVore, cornet; Stan Hall, piano/leader; Mike Polad, banjo; Butch Thompson, clarinet; Bill Evans, bass.  Absent:  Russ Hall, Trombone.  Photo by Dave Pfankuchen.




The Brave New World (not Dudley Riggs) was in Cambridge, Minn., owned by Duane Huehn and Paul Malasky.


The Break was a folk spot at Oak and Washington in 1962.


Bridges Nite Club, St. Paul - See Stumble Inn

Briggs' Cafe:  See Dreamland.


Bright Spot:  702 Olson Memorial Highway, 1948.  Good Food - Latest Records - Arcade Games - Make Your Own Record.

Broken Drum:  327 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis - coffee house/jazz venue, 1967


The Bronco Bar was in Chanhassen, 1972-    The kids would endure the country band and then dance their asses off to the rock they played during the intermissions.



The Bullpen, 814 Excelsior Ave. in Hopkins.  Opened 1960.  Harry Blons jazz band played there early on.  Big Daddy and the Misfits played there for at least a year, 1963-64.  Ashtray below from the collection of Mark Youngblood.




Bungalow, 6221 - 56th Ave. No., 1967-69

Bunny's, 4730 Excelsior Blvd.  This venerable St. Louis Park institution graced the Boulevard from 1933 to 1998, at which time it moved to the site of El Patio (see below) and became a sports bar. 



The Burnsville Bowl - in 1970 there was a vocal group upstairs and "acid rock" downstairs.  In 1972 one of those (no doubt the former) was called the El Matador Lounge, managed by Milton Olsen.  In 1973 the El Tigre Lounge featured Bea Bea Benson, "Miss Showmanship;" pianist, songstress, and risque comedienne. 

Bursch's, 17 - 8th Ave. So., Hopkins.  1969:  Dancing to the Sociables.


Buster's, 111 So. 6th Street in Minneapolis, was described as a popular place for "young swingers" in 1965. 

The Cabaret, located at 770 W. 7th in St. Paul.  Opened in 1968 "newest and largest sports and entertainment spot."  It was ages 18+ on Fridays in January 1969 and offered ice skating.  Changed its name to The Bank in 1969.  Owner was Bob Mecay.

Cabaret Show Lounge, Minneapolis:  See Dome Bar.

The Cabooze, located at 917 Cedar Ave. on the West Bank.  Still there.


Cafe De Lisa, 602 Lyndale Ave. No.  Advertised as "Something Different" in September 1938, with "Chinese Foods and Good Entertainment."   Also see Club Delissa.


Cafe De Luxe, 1329 So. Fourth Street, Minneapolis.  Opened September 17, 1939, owned by Tommy and Harry Lewis.  Opening night entertainment by Rook Ganz and His Entertainers.  Chicken and Chinese Dishes their specialty - Come out and have a grand time. 


The Cafe Expresso, at 2605 Hennepin Ave., was included as a coffeehouse/music venue in a 1967 newspaper list.


The Cafe Extraordinaire was at 2933 Nicollet Ave. So. in Minneapolis in 1970, the former site of Magoo's.  It was owned by Bobby and Doris Jackson. At first they brought in some big name jazz acts, but it didn't catch on.  In December 1970 the format changed to soul.  In April or May of 1971 there was some kind of "Buddy Miles imposter fiasco" which basically put the place out of business.


Calhoun Beach Hotel, Minneapolis.  Site of many University of Minnesota Greek dances.


Camelot, 5300 W. 78th Street.  Norwegian Hans Skalle opened Camelot in 1964, bringing French cuisine to the Twin Cities.   Camelot was awarded the Holiday Magazine Certificate for Dining Distinction 1966, in less than a year of operation and again in each ensuing year. Continental cuisine, luncheons and dinner daily (closed Sundays/Holidays), buffet luncheons week days. Libations in Ale House - entertainment daily in Jester Lounge.  1967:  Harmonica High Hats."  1973:  The Fabulous Camelot Singers at the Backdoor.

Camden Bank was located in North Minneapolis at 42nd and Lyndale and was opened by Marsh Edelstein.  It was apparently an old building - the Underbeats remember not being able to play their hit "Foot Stompin'" there because the kids stomped the ceiling in on the janitor in the basement.


Camel's Club, 520 Hennepin Ave.  Illegal after-hours club, 1934-36, where jazz musicians would sit in after hours.

Canterbury Inne and Pub was at 6481 University Ave. NE, Fridley, 1969-74



Capp Towers Motor Hotel, 1313 Nicollet, Minneapolis.  This hotel cost $6.5 million, had 350 units, and opened in March 1963 (another, smaller Capp Towers had opened earlier in St. Paul).  The Minneapolis hotel had several venues:

  • The Dome at the Top of the Capp, which opened on March 1, 1963, was a jazz and blues venue.  Will Jones described the plan to have a low circular bar at the center, with the bartenders working in a kind of pit in order to give everybody a clear shot at the view in all directions.  A small musical combo will work in the center of the bar, , and they will make their entrances and exits on a moving stage that will rise from and  descend to the floor below for loading and unloading."
  • The Brandywine Bar was a piano bar.  Will Jones said the room, "with its Roman arches and wild stained glass windows by Bill Saltzmann, looks like a monastery for swingers and you almost wish the drinks were served by jolly fat monks instead of regular bartenders in red jackets."
  • The Blue Bar was "a unique stag bar for men only, 11 am to 4:30 pm.  Ladies welcome after 4:30 pm."
  • The Caribbean Room and Pool



The hotel still exists, as the Millennium Hotel Minneapolis.  Other former names were the Regal Minneapolis Hotel, Park Inn, and Holiday Inn Central Hotel.  It is apparently still owned by Martin Capp.



Captain's Galley:  see Downtowner Motel.


Captain's Table:  Ramada Inn, 494 and France.  1973 featured the Johnny Ricco Show.


Caribbean Room, Capp Towers, Minneapolis (see above). 

Carpenter’s Hall in Anoka



Casablanca Victory Bar and Cafe (Stage-Bar-Dancing):  408 Hennepin.  The Casablanca opened in 1943 in what had been a vacant building for a number of years.  William "Red" Dougherty had the first band there.  Neal Karlen says it was owned by Kid Cann.  Kid sold it after the bar's manager Reuben Shetsky shot and killed union organizer Al Schneider inside.  In 1948 it was owned by Herman Mitch.  An undated and unsigned memo (probably from the mid 1940s) says that the owner of record was George Benz but suspects that Tommy Banks may have held the deed.  Jazz venue (Dixieland). 



The Casablanca had become the Shanghai House restaurant by 1947.


In 1948 the bar had become the Gay Nineties Theater Cafe and Cocktail Lounge.  The Gay Nineties was a strip club that employed jazz groups. In 1952 it advertised Eddie Bach and His Jentlemen of Jest, 5 Outstanding Vaudeville Acts, and the Gay Nineties Girls!  On August 11, 1975, the Minneapolis Star reported that the Gay Nineties would close as a strip-tease bar as of August 23 and open on September 4 as a disco.  "Richard Gold, owner and manager of the Gay Nineties, said the change to recorded rock music will mark the end of 27 years of stippers and live entertainment at the nightclub.  'The romance of the stripper is gone,' Gold said.  He said the proliferation of pornographic filsm and adult book stores has diminished interest in live strip-tease performances."  Gold said the name and the period atmosphere would be preserved, would be a "jazz discotheque" and would attract  "the campy crowd that's on the street today." 



1958 Photo courtesy Minnesota Historical Society



Casa-Loma, 1830 E. Franklin at Cedar.  February 1942:  Ward Mitchell, proprietor (also owned Ward Mitchell's Beer Tavern).  Not sure the Casa-Loma had entertainment, but with that name it certainly should have!

The Cascade 9, located at 829 Hennepin, hosted the Del Counts.  Harry Blons and Band in 1969.  Owned by Jerry Agar in 1970-72.

The Casanova Lounge and Cafe, at 43-45 South 4th Street in Minneapolis, was owned by Tommy Ewing and Kipp Hale in July 1944 (across from Maurice L. Rothschilds).  An undated memo that lists several places that are suspected to be owned by Tommy Banks states "last recorded owner Thomas W. Banks and Harry Shepard, 1316 Nicollet Av., which is the location of the coin-a-matic machine company and of which he is the manager.  Shepard's resident (sic) is Maryland Hotel, 1346 LaSalle Av.  The first state band of Wabasha, Minn. holds a $8,000 mortgage on the building."


Casey's Saloon was in St. Paul in 1973, and made the news when it hired a male stripper named Romulus.  Owner Glen Triviski felt women should have their fair share.  On April 8 the St. Paul City Council ordered the club closed because the go-go-dancers were allegedly performing indecently.  A new ordinance was passed allowing dancers to be "covered with transparent or opaque clothing."  Romulus, a/k/a Gary Watkins, was a 23-year-old med student working on a degree at Indiana State University.  Although he had been touring the country, he sometimes forgot to unbutton his shirt.  "And when that happens, he says, sometimes a button pops off."  (Randy Furst in the Minneapolis Star).  'Spose there's a Dr. Romulus out there somewhere?

Casino Royale was located in Fridley, just north of Moore Lake on the east side of Hwy 65.  Steve Nelson remembers listening and dancing to Joker's Wild in '68/'69.


Casino Royale - Shorewood Plaza Shopping Center.  Formerly perhaps another Hullabaloo rock club.  Country place in 1973, owned by Lee Silverton


The Cassius Bar & Cafe was started by brothers Brutus Anthony and William M. Cassius, local black entrepreneurs.

  • In 1946 the bar was originally located at 307 So. Third Street in Minneapolis. 
  • The Bamboo Room opened in September 1949.  It was a jazz venue, featuring such local mainstays as Percy Hughes, Irv Williams, Oscar Frazier and the Four Notes, and the Rook Ganz Orchestra.  It apparently went dark summers, as it had re-openings in September 1950 - '53.  People would come in tuxedos and gowns to see the entertainment and dance.
  • In July 1958 it was moved to 318 So. Third St. in Minneapolis due to redevelopment of the original area. 
  • In the 1960s it was the site "Rhythm 'n' Blues Time," a simulcast on KUXL featuring the best in R&B as played by Prime Minister Billy G. 
  • In 1968 Anthony tried to relocate the bar to 401 E. Lake Street, which was outside of the "liquor patrol limits" and thus required a referendum among local residents, which he lost.
  • June 20, 1980:  The Cassius Bar closed for good.  It is now vacant land.


Castle Royal Night Club:  6 West Channel Street (215 So. Wabasha), St. Paul.  This (in)famous nightclub, located inside the Wabasha Caves, opened in 1933 by Josie and William Lehman and was a favorite hangout for the gangsters that enjoyed safe haven in St. Paul.  Entertainers like Harry James and Cab Calloway graced the stage.  The place is still open, offering tours and dances, as well as gangster tours of our Twin Cities.  http://www.wabashastreetcaves.com/


CC Tap was at 2600 Lyndale Ave. So. in Minneapolis, at least from 1967-74.  In '69 it was owned by Pete Boosalis and bands included the Vacant Lot and Matinee.  Photo below from Minnesota Historical Society.

Cedar Village Theater:  416 Cedar Ave. So.  The Walker Art Center sponsored concerts here in 1970.  Now the Cedar Cultural Center.


Cedric's was owned by WCCO radio personality Cedric Adams.  It was located on Highway 100 at 50th Street in Edina.  The restaurant featured music occasionally and Adams occasionally sat in on drums.  The restaurant failed for lack of a liquor license.

The Celebrity Lounge, located in St. Paul, was owned by Twins catcher Earl Battey and Sandy Stephens. 


Chain Link:  St. Paul country bar, 1973.


The Chalet Playgirl Club, 3516 No. Lilac Drive (Highway 100), from at least 1963-74.  In '63 its Alpine Room hosted several national acts in 1963, including:

  • Henny Youngman
  • Somethin' Smith and the Redheads
  • Orville Brooks and His Ink Spots - June 6-23.  Brooks was the only original member.
  • The Flamingos, direct from Las Vegas

In 1969, the A. F. of M.'s, featuring Doug Masters.

Chanhassan Frontier - apparently had three venues in 1969:

  • The Downstairs, featuring The Underground Expression
  • Bronco - Doc Evans
  • Courtyard - Don Daavidson Trio


Charlie's Cafe Exceptionale:  Seventh Street and 4th Avenue South.  1933 to 1982.  Music may have been confined to a piano bar.  Photo below from 1980.



Chateau de Paris - See Dyckman Hotel. 



Mark Karnowski remembers:  "The Chisago City Community Center was rented by a couple of different promoters in the mid to late '60s. Both 'renamed' the building to suit their purposes. The first group called the location the 'Peppermint Club' (because the building was painted a hideous pink). The other group dubbed the place "The Hideaway." The groups that played their weekly included the Trashmen, Chancellors, T.C. Atlantic, High Spirits, Stillroven, Castaways, etc. The city stopped renting to the promoters because the events were marred by fights and other problems in the parking lot. I cut a deal with one of the promoters and put up flyers and posters in exchange for free admission."




Chick's Steak House,  per Kenneth Stuart, "was a popular watering hole and I was there only once and that was to see some of the Woody Herman Band sidemen come and sit in with the house band. Seems that was the thing to do after name bands closed at other venues, namely the Prom Ballroom. Saw Woody Herman there the night I went to Chick’s. Woody, at that time, had the Four Brothers sax section with Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Serge Chaloff and Herbie Steward; Bill Harris on trombone; Billie Bauer, guitar; Don Lamond, drums; Ralph Burns, piano; Chubby Jackson, bass and Davey Tough on drums. I can’t tell you how many of the sidemen won the Downbeat Jazz Poll that year but the band totaled seven winners within a short span of years and they were fantastic. I say fantastic and back then it meant something; not just another term like young people use today. The word awesome was not in our lexicon then. had a house band and was also the site of after hours jamming with national acts that were in town such as Woody Herman's band in the '40s."

Chubb’s Ballroom was located in Eagle Lake, Minnesota. Advertised in 1959 were “Teen Age Hops” at the Spring Lake Ballroom (west of Prior Lake on Highway 13), featuring the Jolly Musicians.


Chuck's Skol Club, 4th and Cedar, Minneapolis.  In December 1955 there were three shows nightly.  Formerly the Klondike.


The Cinnamon Cellar was on Highway 10 in Anoka, open to teens on Saturdays in 1967.

The CIO Hall, 724 Fourth Ave. So.  This was formerly the Pla-Mor Ballroom, which went back to at least 1934.  Evidence is a dance by the Daughter Elks on April 10, 1944, billed as the first dance to be given in ten years at the beautiful Pla-mor Ballroom.  By July 1944 ads were calling it the CIO Hall, same address.  In 1944 you could dance to Bud Strawn's Orchestra every Saturday night, and if you were in the service you could get in free of charge.  The facility had a large and small hall.

Classic Motor Company, 4700 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, June 1979 - March 2001.  Click on the link for the story of this and the other clubs at this location. 

Clef Club Cafe:  See the Kistler Building

Clover Club:  501 University Ave., St. Paul.  First mentioned in the Minneapolis Spokesman in October 1955.  Proprietors were Alonzo Ellis of Minneapolis and George Green of St. Paul.  On October 14 the act was Coffee and His Cups featuring Little Jimmy and his Saxophone. 

Club Bengassi, 707 Olson Memorial Highway.  Opened August 1943 by William "Bill" Freeman - "For an evening of fun."  This site had previously been a hardware store, beauty salon, and Bill's Smoke Shop. In March 1945 Freeman was fined $100 because a pinball machine on the club premises paid off nickels instead of trade tokens.  The machine was found by Oscar Eidern, new Minneapolis police morals squad chief.

Club Carnival:  See the Flame, Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis


Club Delissa:  607 Sixth Ave. No.  September 1939:  You are invited and always welcome; "Where the Crowds Go"


Club 47:  University Ave. in Fridley, 1970

Club Kaposia in South St. Paul

Club Kongo:  See Cotton Club Chicken Shack.

Club Malibu, at 334 East Lake Street in Minneapolis, showcased rhythm & blues.

Club Morocco:  See Cotton Club Chicken Shack.

Club Reservoir (formerly Curtis's Place?  Cortls' Place?) went under new management in September 1955.  It was located at 1929 Rice Street in St. Paul and featured entertainment Fridays through Sundays.


Club 78 was somewhere on 78th Street, next to the Bloomington Drive-Inn.  The Twin City Tenpin of November 1964 included an ad welcoming bowlers; the ad shows there was live music and dancing every Thursday through Sunday and that the club had a capacity of 200.


Club 13:  Nicollet Ave. jazz venue that booked Jerry Berry's Quartet in 1959.


Club 350


Coachmen Inn

The Coconut Grove near 6th Street was over Brady's, later Schinder's, newsstand and had a 14-piece orchestra and a chorus line of 8 girls.  "Walk up a flight and save a dollar."  In the 1930s it was frequented by gangsters and featured the music of Norvy Mulligan's 12-piece band. 

The Coffee Break was located next door to the Oak Street Cinema in Stadium Village at the U of M, owned by Mel Lasky.  Rivals of the 10 O'Clock Scholar in the '60s.

The Coffeehouse Extempore has had many lives:

  • It first opened in 1965 at 2200 Riverside on the West Bank by the U of M. It was opened and run by a group of laymen and clergymen.  It included a small snack bar, a chess room, a conversation space, a library room, and a gallery. The gallery space, initially an art gallery, quickly became the place for musical performances. A 1969 article in the Tribune said, "Later the hippies moved in and in the fall of 1967 the cafe closed after acquiring a reputation as a center of drug traffic on the West Bank. 
  • Later in 1967 it reopened under the auspices of youth workers from the American Lutheran Church.  The hippies were not drawn to it.
  • In 1968 was moved to 325 Cedar Ave.
  • In January 1969 the Cafe was taken over by the West Bank Campus Ministry (WBCM), a loosely organized group of campus religious organization "to give a unified thrust to work with the hippie community."  Members were the Lutheran Campus Ministry, Newman Center, Episcopal Foundation, United Campus Christian Fellowship, Methodist Campus Ministry, University Baptist Church, University Lutheran Chapel (Missouri Synod), Covenant Campus Ministry and Assembly of God Campus Ministry.  The Cafe was run by Rev. Gordon Dahl, head of the Lutheran Campus Ministry.  The WBCM was also opening other services for the growing runaway and dropout population.  The music spaces in all locations was always called "The Gallery."   Live folk and rock was featured nightly from 8 pm to 2 am with light refreshments offered.  The cafe also hosted discussion sessions, club and community meetings, experimental religious services, and courses for the Free University, a self-education program run by university professors and students.  Courses included Nihilism Now, Philosophy of Sex, and Existential Christianity.
  •  In 1971 Young Adult Centers, Inc. was incorporated to run the "Extemp." Created as a non-profit organization, the Extemp was designed to be a place where young artists could perform prose, poetry and music to develop their talents. Run by volunteers and a part-time staff, the Coffeehouse became a well-known spot where musicians and others on the coffee house circuit could perform. Financial problems forced changes to professionalize management in order to attract investors. 

The Coffeehouse Extempore existed in five different locations on the West Bank over the years and closed in about 1987. 


Coleman's in Highland, 2239 Ford Parkway, St. Paul.  The Internationals Quartet in 1969.


Coleman's Stage, Bar and Cafe was at 444 Wabasha in St. Paul:  jazz venue in 1944. 

The Coliseum Ballroom was located at 2708 E. Lake Street. It was built in 1917 and is still there! In 1937 it was also known as the Lake Street Coliseum.  In 1967 it had Old Time Dancing.  In 1968 it was age 28+ "Smooth Dancing."

The Coliseum Pavilion:  449 Lexington Parkway at University, St. Paul.  With 25,000 sq. ft. of dance floor, it hosted dance marathons in the 1920s and '30s.  In the 20s, Wally Erickson's Coliseum Orchestra was the house band for most of the 1920s and early '30s.  The Coliseum was part of the fence for the Lexington Ball Park.

Colonial, Mendota


Colony Club, downtown St. Paul:  See Miller's Club.


Colony Club, White Bear Lake:  In December 1938 the club was described as one of the most exclusive swanky night clubs in the Northwest.  It was located 13 miles from Dale and Rondo Streets, just a half hour drive on Highway 61. 


Commodore Hotel, St. Paul:  Home of the Wolverines.


Conway's Dance Emporium was across from the Minneapolis City Hall in 1910.


Cooks' and Waiters' Club was an after-hours jazz and gambling house, probably on South Sixth Street, Minneapolis.


Cooper's West was at 1209 W. 7th in St. Paul, 1972-74


The Copper Hearth was at the Northstar Center, 618 Second Ave. So. in 1963.  "Stepping Out?  Know What's 'In'...Jimmy Bowman is 'In"...  The Copper Hearth... is... 'In'...  Northstar Inn .... is 'In'"


Copper Squirrel, 413 Hennepin, Opened August 1963.  On September 13 Will Jones reported that the new place had

the old Persian Palms license, the old management [Harvey Smull], and for a week or so they had what looked like the same old dancing girls and lady MC working there.  The only thing new was the address and the shining new wood and copper decor.  But the old shows didn't look right in the new setting, and the management nervously began shuffling acts.   This week a Chicago coffeehouse comic was imported.  He worked one night, was paid off for the week, and sent back to Chicago.  Now they've brought in the Hank Hazlett Trio to swing a little, and it looks as though those three will stay awhile.  And the show in the back room features Greta Gibson, Miss Sax Appeal, a tall, stacked blonde who blows everything from a Hungarian czardas to "Night Train" on a rackful of five saxophones...

At one time the Copper Squirrel was owned by the father of actress Kelly Lynch.  "The Copper Squirrel became a gay bar/drag bar in the 70's called the Sun Disco."



The Cotton Club was a "Chicken Shack" located at 718 Sixth Ave. No., Minneapolis, 1924-28.  One account says it was run by Ben Wilson, who also owned the Gin Mill and the Spot.  A shooting on the morning of February 3, 1928, injured two policemen who were breaking up a fist fight, which was started when Jack Sackter allegedly "made a remark to a Negro entertainer."  Also injured was Kid Cann, according to news accounts, although they gave Kid's real name as Harry Bloom, which is actually Kid's brother - which was it? Whoever it was was held without charge for days and then held for trial, accused of participating in the gunfight.  Four men were eventually charged in the shooting, including Verne Miller, a former sheriff from Huron, SD, who had served a prison term for embezzling county funds and was carrying a large amount of money when the police came to stop the fight.  A manhunt ensued for Miller and two others, with 1,500 fliers distributed, mostly over the Northwest.


Chicken shacks were common during Prohibition and this one had chicken and dancing and fighting all night.  At the time of the Cotton Club Shooting a City Alderman proposed an ordinance requiring that curtains and screens be removed from all chicken shacks, so as to permit a view of the interiors from the street.  In May owner Horace Pierson was denied renewal of his restaurant and dance hall license.  Shortly afterward, Wilson opened another place across the street.


The place became:

  • Club Kongo in 1933
  • Club Morocco - Grand Opening September 15, 1934.  "Hotsy Totsy!"  Music by the Club Morocco Band, the Northwest's Favorite Night Club Entertainers.  Apparently things did not go as planned, as there was another Grand Opening announced for December 13, 1934. 


Cotton Club, St. Louis Park:  See El Patio below.




There were two Covered Wagons, at least in November 1943:  In Minneapolis it was at 114 So. 4th St. at Marquette (first opened two doors north).  In 1956, music by Loren McNabb and his band.  "Largest and Finest Dance Floor in Town."  An undated ad  in a Minnegasco cookbook touts its 20th anniversary.  The house entertainment was the Cow Hands Band.  On the menu were Mallard Duck, Ring Neck Pheasant, and Hungarian Partridge, but you had to call ahead in the morning so they could go out and shoot it, I guess.





In St. Paul the Covered Wagon was at 320 Wabasha Street.  The 1943 ad that included both sites claimed "You Always Enjoy Yourself Here." 




The Cozy Bar and Lounge was located at 522 Plymouth Ave. No. and owned by James T. "Jimmie" Fuller, Sr. and wife Margaret Fuller. Ad dated April 1967 calls it Minneapolis' Newest and Most Exciting Bar and Place of Entertainment.  Live Music and Dancing Nightly. 


In the late '60s it was a major venue for R&B acts (Mojo Buford was a frequent performer) and one of the few black-owned bars in Minneapolis. 


In July 1972 it was one of at least three bars that was ordered to close by a group of 20-25 black youths, one reportedly carrying a high-powered rifle.  Manager James Gibson said the youths told him to close down the bar and that if he didn't "somebody would get hurt."  Around that time the bar was raided by police at 2:30 am and customers were still there, in violation of the 1 am closing time law.


The Cozy was lost due to construction of I-94.  Read the story in Twin Cities Funk & Soul, page 29-30. 


Photo below is of the Blazers performing at the Cozy in 1968, taken by Mike Zerby, courtesy Minnesota Historical Society.




In 1963 there may have been another Cozy Bar, owned by Frank Pastuszak and billed as "Minneapolis's Hottest Polka Spot."  Frank held a mortgage burning party that February and played with his band the Polka Pals. 



Criterion, 739 University, St. Paul.  Dick Clausen at organ and piano in the dining room, 1969.


Crombie's:  See Lindy's

Crystal Coach, 5630 Lakeland Ave.  1967:  dancing nightly to Mel Calbert Trio.

The Crystal Coliseum was one of the first - if not the first - venues in the Twin Cities area that booked rock 'n' roll bands on a regular basis in the 1950s and early '60s. The large Quonset hut styled building was owned by Bob Zimmerman (later Bill Cavenaugh?) and had a stage and a large hardwood dance floor/roller rink and served no alcohol. It could hold hundreds of people, and hosted early acts like Augie Garcia, Mike Waggoner and the Bops, and the bands that David Hersk recorded on his Gaity label, including the Glen Rays, the Flames, the Sonics, the String Kings, and Jim Thaxter and the Travelers, a precursor to the Trashmen. Teen night was Friday night.  It was on County Road 81 (at that time Highway 52) by the Clock Restaurant.  It burned down by the mid '60s.  One memory is when black artist Bobby Freeman ("Do you Wanna Dance," "The Swim") came to perform and some thugs tried to break up the dance.  Police were called and the show went on.

Culbertson's Restaurant 





Curly's Theater Cafe, 20 So. 5th Street.  Opened in 1933 where the Fifth Street Cash Market had been.  This strip joint brought in name acts over the years, but was often in trouble.  Curly was apparently Monroe "Curly" Shapiro, who was identified only as an employee in 1933 accounts, the owner being Nate Shapiro.  In 1937 it was called Curly's Cabaret.  Most of the time Curley's featured floor shows and local dance teams.  The place was under attack by Rev. Henry J. Soltar, vice crusader and head of the Minnesota Good Government League.  Thanks to him, Curly's got its dance hall and tavern license revoked for having slot machines, but got them reinstated in 1940 with a new owner.  In the early 1940s pianist Bob Zurke played here after working at Mitch's in Medota.  From time to time it also featured some Dixieland bands.  In the late 1940s it was "a very swinging place - it was so crowded you could hardly get to the bar."  Curley's featured jazz trios at the front bar.  In 1952 owner Meyer "Makey" Gordon was convicted of selling drinks after hours and shut down, whereupon he sold the place to Oscar Rubinsky.  Matchbook below from Robb Henry.  1944 photo from Minnesota Historical Society




Curly's became:

  • The House of Hastings Restaurant in 1952.  In October 1952 the Minneapolis City Council approved the transfer of Curly's liquor license from Oscar Rubinsky to Tom E. and Harry Hastings.  Tom Hastings had plans to make it over in a Hawaiian theme, but then the Nicollet beat him to it with the Waikiki Room.  In October 1952 it was reported that he planned to feature prime rib with Yorkshire pudding "and make a show out of it."  "Non-edible entertainment is planned, too."
  • Jimmy Hegg's Starlight Club in November 1953.  Jimmy Hegg had been the emcee at Curly's for 20 years.  Doc Evans appeared on November 9th, 1953.  Around 1955 or '56 Ray Komischke fronted the house band. There was a fire in 1958/59, and Hegg reopened at 420 Second Ave. So. as Jimmy Hegg's Restaurant.  It became a jazz venue in 1963.  It became a popular after-hours destination for theater people.  The restaurant closed in 1982 and Hegg died in 2001 at the age of 90.




The Curtis Hotel was at 3rd Ave. and 10th Street in Minneapolis.  Dick Long and His Curtis Hotel Orchestra was there as early as 1928; in 1933 he debuted his new 12-piece band at the Saturday Night Frolic. Long was also at the Nankin.  It was reported by Stebbins that he was at the Curtis for 47 years, so this need clarification.  In 1952 there was a Turquoise Lounge, and Long played at the Cardinal Room, which was still there in 1968.  In 1967 pianist Jimmie Cooper performed at the Garden Lounge. 






Dania Hall was on the West Bank at 427 Cedar Ave. So., on the second floor above Richter's Drug Store.  It was built in 1886 as a community center for the Danish community and hosted many cultural events. In 1963 pharmacist Phillip J. Richter bought the building from Society Danian for $25,000 - Richter had been operating his drug store on the first floor since 1948.  Dances were held in the large hall featuring groups like the Litter, Jokers Wild, T.C. Atlantic, and the Paisleys.  An article in the Star from February 1968 stressed the fellowship aspect; police officer Donald Reynolds, who worked dances, said "They're a group apart alright.  You should see them Friday or Saturday night.  Three or four hundred come, and they weaar costumes - rebel outfits, hats, and weird coats.  But these dances, with as many kids as there are, are less trouble than I've ever had bouncing at bars." 


When one of the groups wanted to advertise, Richter had the building inspected and got a dance hall permit, Alderman Jens Christensen insisted on a top-to-bottom inspection, claiming there were fire hazards.  In 1968 the building was acquired by Cedar Riverside Associates  and the building was in danger of being part of a sweeping urban renewal scheme.  Thanks to the testimony of an undercover cop known as "Charlie," who reported drug trafficking at the site, the hall's license was denied renewal on June 28, 1968. 


In 1975, with the help of the Danish American Fellowship and the Minnesota Historical Society, the building was put on the National Registry of Historic Places, giving it some measure of protection.  It was acquired by the Minneapolis Community Development Agency in 1986 and the first second floors continued to be used until a 1991 fire caused extensive damage to the roof.  Arson was suspected in that fire and the building was never used again.  There were several plans for redevelopment; it was undergoing a $2.7 million renovation to be used as a cultural center when the Hall  burned down in a four-alarm fire in the early hours of February 28, 2000.  Flames soared 70 feet into the sky and burned for more than four hours.  The fire was attributed to a discarded cigarette; a remorseful drifter was suspected, but his only asset was a pit bull puppy, so there were no actions to charge him.  More sinister suspicions of arson were highly suspected by parties who wanted the building gone, but those were never proven.  The front wall collapsed on top of burned-out cars that were in front of the building.  25 people were made homeless. 


A complete history of the building is told best in a chapter of the book Swedes in the Twin Cities, edited by Philip J. Anderson and Dag Blanck (2001, MHS Press).  The chapter, "Dania Hall:  At the Center of a Scandinavian American Community," was written by David Markle.


Dania Hall, courtesy Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis Collection.        Paisleys ad from March 16-23, 1969 Insider.


Above, interior of Dania Hall's large hall, 1969.  Original gas chandelier still in place.



Above, Zarathustra, New Year's Eve 1968-69 according to the January 11, 1969 Insider.  The Insider also had a picture of Zarathustra at Magoos the same night.  Clarification needed!





This photo of Poison Bird Pie (above) is also identified as Dania Hall on the same night.  Mike Barich, who took both photos, thinks this must be the second floor hall.  Caption says "Band has a lot of promise."


DANCELAND AND BIG REGGIE - Click here for a special page.


Dantis Cafe and Bar, 1372 Nicollet.  In 1937, Dancing every night.

Davy Jones' Locker:  see Downtowner Motel.



In the 1920s, Dayton's Tearoom had a three-piece band led by Dick Long.


From 1962 to 1966, Dayton's Department Store in downtown Minneapolis sponsored a teen dance in their 1,500-seat 8th Floor auditorium, emceed by WDGY disc jockey Bill Diehl.  T.J. Skinner attended every Saturday, and said it was extremely popular because it featured live bands instead of records.  Billboard Magazine announced that the 1964 shows would be simulcast on WDGY starting on April 4 as “Dayton’s Top 10 Club.” Bands may have played at Dayton's fashion shows on the 5th floor as well.  Dayton's also sponsored "Youthquake" series of concerts in 1966 that featured national and local talent.



Del Otero Hotel, Spring Lake Park, Lake Minnetonka


Del's Orchid Club:  see Dreamland.


The Delmonico Nite Club was located on New Brighton Road and County Road E in July-December 1943.  Open Saturdays and Sundays. 


Denny and Don's Saloon, University Ave.  Started featuring rock on Mondays and Tuesdays in 1973.  Same as Denny's Loft, on University across from the Prom?


Denny's was at 33 1/2 South 7th Street in Minneapolis, across from the Forum Cafeteria.  It opened and closed in 1934 but during its short life it featured floor shows and dancing, and Joe Jung playing jazz violin.


The former Greyhound Bus Station was built in 1936 at 29 North 7th Street, downtown Minneapolis.  It stood empty for several years, owned by Ted Mann who considered turning it into a theater.  In 1970 it was purchased by Danny Stevens of Danny's Reasons, who had a liquor license from the Hotel Hastings, and Elizabeth Heffelfinger, who had to drop out because of illness.  Allan Fingerhut (pictured at right, from the Insider) then stepped in with the financing, and Abby Rosenthal was formerly the manager of George's in the Park.  Danny's brother Mickey and Skip Goucher were creative partners. Another name mentioned in the Insider as an owner was Clearance (sic) Kramer.


An article in the February 24, 1970, Minneapolis Star hinted at some very ambitious plans:

  • Four bars (there were eventually at least five)
  • Record Shop
  • Two mod clothing shops, I.Ross and East-West Ltd.
  • Fast food

On April 3 and 4, 1970, it opened as the Depot, a new rock venue. See 1970 above for an account of this unforgettable event, featuring Joe Cocker and the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour.


Both the "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" and "Purple Rain" movies were filmed in the facility.  Perhaps the Depot was a little too popular, and got a reputation of being kind of rough.  Management also complained that people were coming to see name bands but not drinking enough to pay the bills.  In late 1970 the Insider reported that Allen Fingerhut was running the club almost on his own, as Danny Stevens, who was president, wasn't around much, Abby was listed as the "former manager," and Skip Goucher the "former talent booker."  An article in the St. Louis Park Sun reported that Stevens tried to get a liquor license and buy Bunny's, but was denied citing "press clippings from the early '70s in which Minneapolis city attorneys and municipal court judges complained about the large number of arrests and disturbances at the Depot overloading the court system.  In 1971, the Minneapolis Police Department barred off-duty officers from working at the Depot as bouncers."  (September 21, 1983)  The club closed in 1971.

1937 Postcard courtesy Hennepin County Library Special Collections.           Ad from Insider, April 1970

After being closed for over a year, the club opened again on July 1, 1972 when it was franchised out to the American Events Company (AEC) from Cincinnati, which opened another of its Uncle Sam’s chain of discos. The Insider reported that Danny Stevens and Allen Fingerhut were staying on as managers for the Ohio backers.  The enormous facility featured “famous movies and slides” for people to watch when the dancing got too dull. It had to be big to accommodate the newly-enfranchised 18-year old drinkers and the advent of Disco in 1976.  An article from November 1977 said that it was owned by the American Scene, a corporation that owns discos across the country.




In 1979 AEC returned the club to Fingerhut and Stevens.  Club Manager Steve McClellan started booking live acts in a smaller part of the building that used to be the bus station’s restaurant – this was known as Seventh Street Entry. In April 1980 Sundays at Uncle Sam's were opened to teens.   See a video of the band Mind and Matter made at Uncle Sam's Here.   By January 1981 it was just billed as Sam's (a Danceteria).  Sam's photo below from May 1981 by Trudy Cunningham.  Finally disco died, the live music moved to the big hall, and on New Year's Eve 1981 the club became First Avenue.  The venue became nationally famous as the central setting for Prince's 1984 film "Purple Rain." 




There was another Depot "across from Lake Johanna in suburban St. Paul."


Deutsche Haus, 444 Rice St., St. Paul.  Site of a dance and floor show on May 15, 1935.


Dew Drop Inn, Rondo and Western, April 1936.  Bessie Pierce, Proprietor.  In August 1937 the proprietor was listed as Bessie Massengale.

Diamond Jim's was at 801 Sibley Memorial Highway in St. Paul - listed by the Insider 1971-74.


Diamond Lil's:  724 Fourth Ave. So., Downtown Minneapolis.  Opened on July 11, 1966 with a theater restaurant seating 400 upstairs and Little Al's seating 300 downstairs.  1967:  Diamond Lil's Follies and dancing nightly presenting Julius LaRosa.  Gregory LaLonde says that the band The Blue Fox played there on election night, November 1968 and that it was "quite a place."  Jeanne Ray with the Village Knights for dancing in 1969.  See Times Square.

Dirty Flo's - 24 Hennepin Ave.  New in 1973 - country.


Doc Holliday's was in Shakopee in the '70s and was said to host the likes of Jerry Jeff Walker and the Amazing Rhythm Aces.  Tragedy struck on May 5, 1979, when Barb Smith, a 19-year-old from St. Paul, was fatally shot.  According to accounts on Facebook, Daisy Dillman had just finished "Southern Man" and was taking a break.  Larry Lyle Marquardt of Minneapolis and David Kraml of Bloomington had been thrown out for being drunk, and came back with a 308 caliber hunting rifle.  One of them shot into the second floor of the building.  Barb was wounded on her ankle, leaned over to look, and was shot again in the neck.  Another male customer was seriously wounded as well.  The club held 800 people and was packed. 

Wright Brothers Band, July 1977, at Doc Holiday's.  Photo by Craig Mickelson, Spearfish, South Dakota


Dome Club:  See Capp Towers



Dome Bar, 507 Hennepin.  This was a stage lounge that opened in 1947.  Before that it had been a series of liquor stores and restaurants, including Andy Leonard's Restaurant, going back to prohibition.  It featured mainly small, national jazz groups such as Henry "Red" Allen, Johnny "Scat" Davis, and Red Reynolds.  It became:

  • Vic's (Vic's Dome?), owned by Vic Levine, Sr.  Vic's opened in 1951 with Bob Davis's Trio appearing there for the next six years.  In October 1952 the ad featured six acts, performing four shows nightly.  "The best in the west!"  Vic's started advertising jazz performances in the Minneapolis Spokesman in April 1954, with Red Allen, "King of the Trumpet and his Royal Court of Jazz."  An ad from that July 1954 shows incoming acts such as Lester Young, Earl Bostic, Big Jay McNeely, and Illinois Jacquet.  Vic was famous for introducing cheesecake to our fair city, flying it in from Reuben's in New York daily.  Vic later became a salesman of the Whisp, which was a pressurized spray bottle full of Vermouth for the making of the perfect martini. 

In late October or early November 1954 Vic's was destroyed by fire, leaving Big Jay McNeely's band stranded and without instruments.  Local black businessman A.B. Cassius headed a committee that held a benefit dance for McNeely on November 7 at the Labor Temple "so that they can get back to their homes and maybe a down payment on some new instruments.'" reported the Minneapolis Spokesman.  "Hear the Twin Cities' Finest Musicians."

      A big ad in October 1955 announced that it had been remodeled and featured Lombardi's Italian food. 

  • By 1957 Vic's had become Osterberg's, a jazz venue.
  • In 1961 Osterberg's became the Jockey Club, owned by Dave Rackner.  The Jockey Club started out with jazz but soon boomed as a twist spot in 1962-63.
  • On May 1, 1964, the club became the Roaring Twenties with Doc Evans' Dixieland Band providing the music.  In 1969 the band was the Norm Berger Orchestra.



   Ashtray from the collection of Mark Youngblood                Photo above from 1971



    Photo from 1977


Next to/underneath was:

  • More Down Stairs was the showcase for Danny’s Reasons in 1968. It was an honest-to-goodness bar as opposed to the teen clubs a lot of the bands had been playing.  June 1969:  T.C. Atlantic and The Group.  In '69 owners Bobby Bell and Jerry Erickson hired strippers for the place. Ad below is from a 1968 Insider.


  • The 5 - Mentioned in the Insider's 1972 directory. 
  • The Cabaret Show Lounge was a gay bar from at least December 1974 until mid-1975. "It specialized in female impersonators lip-syncing and it was a blast until the owner, Jerry Collins, was killed in the men's room by Royal Hayes."
  • Blitz Bar - 1976


Don's Owl Club was in Hamel in 1955.

Donatelle's - 1 mile west of Twin Cities Arsenal on Highway 10.  Ken and Betty nightly in 1969.

The Down Beat Ballroom in Spring Park on Lake Minnetonka featured remote broadcasts of jazz on KQRS and KUXL.  In 1963 it was advertised as the Downbeat Club.


The Downbeat Club opened in Spring Park on Lake Minnetonka in 1956.  It competed with neighboring Lakeview, which opened the same year.  The Downbeat featured George Myers' Band since 1958, and occasionally a name band like Kai Winding and Woody Herman.  Still there in 1963.



Downtowner Motel:  400 So. 7th Street, Minneapolis.  In 1963 this was owned by Marshall Sloane.  There were a variety of clubs: 

  • Eddie's Lounge, which featured local jazz musician Hank Hazlett and top name entertainers such as Dizzy Gillespie
  • Davy Jones Locker, which opened in July 1961 and featured a lingerie show which curiously no women went to. Apparently from Davy Jones Locker one could see into the pool, and in 1963 Sloan tried to hire girls to don bikinis and frolic for the businessmen, but Minnesota girls proved too modest.  One could, however, ask for one's favorite Pirate Girl for their Shipwreck Specials.
  • The Sultan's Harem Club, where, in 1967, you could see belly dancers.
  • The Captain's Galley, where Terry and the Pirates provided music for a Go Go in 1967.


Downtowner Motel, 1966.  Photo Minnesota Historical Society


The Drake Hotel was at 416 So. 10th Street in Minneapolis as a luxury hotel in 1926.   At the Rathskeller in 1967 there was dancing nightly to the Bradfords, making their premiere US appearance (they were from England).  They instituted a new rock policy in August 1969; just before that were the Four Kaye Brothers.


The building was badly run down and used as a homeless shelter.  It is apparently still there.




The Dreamland Cafe was located at 3755 Fourth Ave. So. in the heart of the black community.  It opened on December 15, 1939 and was owned by A. Brutus Cassius and Thel Collins.  Current addresses are 3759 (built in 1900) or 3753 (built in 1920).  In 1941 is was evidently primarily a cafe, serving only beer and soft drinks and not mentioning entertainment in the ad.  In December 1946 the Cassisues invited patrons to enjoy the newly decorated music room.  In 1950 Mr. and Mrs. Howard Hudson became the new managers. 


In May 1955 the building became  Del's Orchid Club, O'Dell Livingston, proprietor.  The Orchid Club was in trouble in 1957 for playing live music after 11 p.m.  There had been numerous complaints about the place and a local minister called it a neighborhood nuisance. 


It later became Briggs' Cafe, owned by Taylor Briggs.  The change to Briggs' was announced in February 1958, but the Grand Opening was announced from July 18-19, 1958.  Inez Clark was the new manager and the entertainment was Maurice Turner and Orchestra. 


NOTE:  There was apparently a Dreamland Dancing Pavilion at 315 Fifth Street South in Minneapolis at the turn of the last century but that was altogether different. 

Dreamland building in 2013


Drum Bar




Duff's was at 21 So. 8th Street in Minneapolis.  An ad in the Tribune dated May 13, 1963, says "Door to Delightful Dining... in one of the newest and nicest places in town!  The Charming Gay Nineties decor... the personal attention by Joe and Ray Duffy, your hosts... the perfect touch with a prepared beverage...the delicious food at down-to-earth prices... the live entertainment and dancing... at this adds up to a delightful dining experience."  Dinner was $1.75!  In 1965 they danced in the Blarney Room.  The Titans were their house band in 1967-69.  Ralph Hitchens was the manager in 1972.  Owner Joe Duffy retired in 1977 to become the general manager of the Olympic Hills Golf Club and the club was bought by Bob McNamara.  The building burned down on Christmas Eve 1977.  McNamara moved it to 9th and Marquette (See Black Sheep Club.).  The original building belonged to the Jesus People Church when it burned. 



Duff's in the Park, 4700 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 1974-76.  Click on the link for the story of this and the other clubs at this location. 



Duffy's Bar, at 2601 - 26th Ave. So.,  was at the notorious "Hub of Hell" at 26th and 26th in Minneapolis.  It had previously been Heinie's Tavern.  It opened as (Ray) Duffy's in 1953 and featured quality jazz orchestras, notably Ray Komischke.  In the early 1960s the open courtyard that had been Heinie's beer garden was closed in with a "Satellite Dome."  The bandstand, now in the center of the dance floor because of the conversion of the beer garden, was made to revolve to accommodate the dancers on all sides.  In 1963 Terry and the Pirates was the house band in the Satellite Room, but Stebbins in 1964 reported that Duffy's was still one of Minneapolis' more consistent jazz clubs. That year it advertised as the home of the "Unforgettable Sandwich."  In 1967 it featured M.G. Ruppert and the Firebirds.  In the July 11, 1979 Minnesota Daily it announced that it was trashing its disco records and going Rock 'N Roll.  Although it had been around for ages, it was advertised as "Twin Cities Newest Club." 


Duffy's and Mr. Nib's, 1965.  Photo courtesy Minnesota Historical Society




     Turns out this is a souvenir tape measure!                           Ashtray from the collection of Mark Youngblood.


At some point it was painted pink (from its traditional green) and dubbed Norma Jean's, but closed in 1991 after gunfire left a man dead.  It was demolished on November 3, 1997 and was rebuilt as the New French Bakery. 




The Dug Out was at 206 So. Third St., 1953. 


Dulono's was at 607 W. Lake Street, Minneapolis, 1967-74.  1969 had the Wayfarers.



Dyckman Hotel, 6th and Hennepin.  Entertainer Auzie Dial performed in the Robin Hood Room in 1946.  The Chateau de Paris hosted barrelhouse piano player Meade Lux Lewis  in 1963.  The Fox and Hounds Lounge featured nightly entertainment in 1969.  The hotel was demolished in November 1979.  Click on the link above for James Lileks' site with history and photos.



The Eagan Safari Club (not to be confused with the Safari Club in Mendota Heights) was located at 2705 Highway 55 in Eagan Township.  A March 20, 1966 article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press said that it could hold as many as 600 teenagers, according to Robert Cargill, a member of the Franchise Investment Corp.  "We hope to expand with another club but we're waiting for the right place to come along."

Eagle Lake Resort:  Maple Grove

Eagles Ball Room, Summit and Wabasha, St. Paul, 1935.

Eagle's Hall:  117 South 4th Street, Minneapolis.  In 1947 it became the Labor Temple (see below).

Eaton's Dude Ranch:  Cedar Ave., 4 miles south of the Minnesota River in Rosemount.   Arthur J. Eaton was the owner of the Roller Garden in St. Louis Park from 1939 to 1957. 

Ebony Hall/Ballroom:  See Kistler Building.

Ebony Lounge:  799 University Ave., St. Paul.  Owned by Chet Oden, who had also owned the Key Club and Road Buddy's.  Oden drowned while duck hunting in October 1966.  In 1965 radio station KUXL took over this jazz venue, turned it into an R&B disco with 14 Go Go Foxes.


Eddie Webster's


Edgewater Inn - on the Mississippi at Lowry and Marshall NE.  1969:  Edgewater Eight did a show; dance music by Frank Oliver and his Orchestra; Jimmy Bowman Duo in the cocktail lounge.


El Grotto:  See Howard's Steak House



The building at 5916 Excelsior Blvd. in St. Louis Park, now known as Bunny's, has a long musical history.  Tax records show that it was built in 1920, the first year of Prohibition.  Although information on the early days is scarce, it first made its mark as the El Patio (pronounced el PAY-sho) Cafe and Dance Hall.  At the time it was out in the middle of nowhere - Highway 7 wasn't built until 1934 and Highway 100 in 1939.  During Prohibition it was probably a setup joint, where you brought your own liquor, although one long-ago waitress remembers serving "cold coffee."  One of the classiest establishments on the Boulevard, in the early days it catered to the Country Club and University crowds. In 1934, with the end of Prohibition, it became known as the Cotton Club, with those words written prominently on the roof.  It was owned by a group of Greek immigrants collectively known as "the Greeks."

The Cotton Club was run by Pete Koralis. In 1934 he brought in Boyd Atkins from Chicago to lead the band of local musicians he then presented at the Cotton Club. Among the local players were trumpeter Rook Ganz and tenor saxophonist Harry Pettiford. In 1934 Ganz also appeared at other venues as Rook Ganz and his Radio Broadcasting Cotton Club Orchestra - at the Cotton Club the band was broadcast over WTCN radio.  Atkins was a composer/arranger of some stature who also played reeds and piano. In 1935 Karalis brought in Lester Young to replace Pettiford. An article in the Minneapolis Spokesman indicates that Rook Ganz was the original leader of the orchestra, and Boyd Atkins took over the job on April 1, 1936.  Young was with the Atkins band at the Cotton Club in 1936 when he received a telegram from Count Basie asking him to join his band back in Kansas City. Young made his seminal recordings with Basie that same year. The club was known for featuring black musicians who had a hard time getting jobs in in Minneapolis. Atkins led the Cotton Club band until 1940, when he moved on to lead a band at a club in Peoria, Illinois.


A line in a 1938 ad in the Minneapolis Spokesman indicates that the El Patio was whites-only.  Boyd Atkins had played for a dance at the Minnesota-Iowa Club in South Minneapolis' black community on December 26, 1938, and was scheduled to repeat the performance on January 2, 1939.  "Because Cotton Club band, admittedly one of the country's best bands, plays nightly at the El Patio Club, it is seldom that colored dancegoers get an opportunity to hear and dance to their music."


Rook Ganz                                         Boyd Atkins, 1941.  What is she wearing?


In 1939 an article described how the proprietors were fined $25 for staying open too late. The same article said that the "roadhouse was a favorite spot for jitterbugs and high school youths." In a Village council hearing about the matter, the indignant crowd and even the Mayor himself mentioned rumors about the place; one citizen was quote thusly: “It is a known fact that they have been catering to high school kids for years, serving near beer to be spiked.”  It was known as the El Patio-Cotton Club until at least 1944.

The club became the home of a progression of different restaurants through the years, including Culbertson's (1947-68), George Faust's (1968-71), the Anchor Inn (1971-81), Bongiorno (1981-83), Duggan's (1983-1998), before becoming the "new Bunny's" in 1998.  For more information, see the web site of the St. Louis Park Historical Society and the book Joined at the Hip:  A History of Jazz in the Twin Cities by Jay Goetting.



Ames Lodge, Number 106 of the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks of the World was formed in 1906.  This was a black organization based on but completely separate from the BPOE. This North Side Lodge had been in three places as of 1964:

  • It started on the third floor of the Kistler Building.  There are photos of an Elks Lodge on the Minnesota Historical Society web site dated 1910, but they don't indicate the address or which lodge it is. 
  • In 1922 it moved to a large old house at 148 Highland Ave., just off Olson Memorial Highway and Lyndale.  It was a black music venue from at least 1934 to the late 1940s.  Dances were held every Saturday night. Between bands Mrs. Meade would play piano. Also known as the Black Elks Club and the Elks' Rest. In 1937 Ernest Saunders was the proprietor of the Elks Cafe in the building. An April 1937 article in the Spokesman said that J.W. Hutchcraft was the manager, replacing Edward L. Boyd.  The article noted, "Hutchcraft is unusual in that it is impossible to tell whether he is Caucasian or Negro."  The Highland building was torn down in 1956 as part of the Glenwood Redevelopment Project. 
  • It relocated to another old house at 1215 Aldrich Ave. No.  That building must have also been removed as all of the buildings at that intersection now were built in the 1980s.
  • By 1975 it was located on Plymouth Ave., as indicated by the photo below from the Minnesota Historical Society.


From the Elks' web site it appears that this Lodge no longer exists.




Elsen's Inn was at the corner of Bass Lake Road and Jefferson Highway from 1940-44 and was advertised in the Polish American and the Republican Register.  "A Good Place to Eat and Be Merry," "Dance Floor in Connection."


Embassy, 35 W. 122nd Street, Burnsville.  Dancing to the Bobby Bird Trio, 1969.


Emporium of Jazz, Mendota


Esquire Bar, 823 University Ave., St. Paul - Country bar in 1973.


The Establishment - See Foshay Tower. 


f. david's:  see Scotch Mist. 

The Factory on University Ave. across from the Prom Ballroom in St. Paul, 1968-69.

Feifarek Nite Club, run by Harry Feifarek, was in Red Rock from at least April 1943 to February 1944.  Where was Red Rock?  A tiny township in Mower County?  Advertised in the Republican Register.


Ferraras Cafe, 501 E. Hennepin.  1969:  Manny De Silva in the piano lounge, John Skelly, organist in the dining room.

Fiesta Ballroom, Montevideo, Minnesota

In the liner notes of the Soma anthology, Ira Heilicher recalls hanging out at the 15 Club in St. Louis Park, but as far as anyone can tell, it was not a place but a group of people (men?) who got together, usually at Mr. Q's on Excelsior Blvd.  It's now Zip Printing.

Fifth Dimension:  Mankato

Filling Station:  1401 Hennepin, Minneapolis.  Opened in March 1968.  1969:  dancing to the Sas-Shades; Judy Happe in the piano bar.  Still open in 1974.



The 5:  See Dome Bar.


The Fire Barn was on 38th St. just west of Minnehaha Ave. in Minneapolis.  Billy Hallquist tells this story:  "Winter of '65/'66. Bitter cold. The Transgressors are playing at The Fire Barn. One of the evening's highlights will be our debut performance of 'Play with Fire' by The Rolling Stones. Al Sterner is going to go beyond his rhythm guitar duties and play the song's introduction. He looks forward to bathing in the spotlight that all of us 'lead' guitarists experience every gig. We inform Al that his moment will lead off the second set. We all stand back allowing Al to stand front and center. Al turns up his Fender Jazzmaster to maximum volume and history is made. Ooops. Did I forget to mention that while we were on break, Leon, Bob or I had secretly turned the tuning pegs on his guitar in random and opposing directions. Al, being quite nervous about his moment in the sun, plays practically the entire intro before realizing something is dreadfully wrong."  


Five O'Clock Club - 34 So. 5th Street.  Became Jay's Longhorn, then Zoogie's.  But see Foshay Tower below.



The 5 - See Roaring '20s.  




This is the story of two different buildings on the east side of Nicollet Ave., on either side of 16th Street E.  It's complicated but here goes:


1523 Nicollet was built in 1937, owned by and brothers Abe and Ray Percansky (who also went by Perkins).  Abe owned it continuously until it closed.


The Ramona Bar and Cafe opened on December 21, 1938. 


The bar was soon renamed the Happy Hour Bar in 1943, a happy hangout of Kid Cann.  Stebbins says that jazz first took hold at the Happy Hour around 1943.  A number of name bands appeared at the Happy Hour, including Fats Waller and Jay McShann's Band, which included Charlie "Yardbird" Parker.  But there was much trouble:

  • In 1940 a "skylight" bandit waylaid an employee at 2 am and made off with about $3,000.
  • On November 23, 1942, one serviceman shot another in the jaw in the men's room.  The victim recovered, but "his assailant.. failed to recover from hanging at Fort Sill, Okla., where he was court-martialed for desertion and murder elsewhere."
  • In an undated memo (probably from the mid-to-late 1940s), it was reported that the deed was held and recorded in the name of the Loring Realty, which was unlisted in the phone book.  There was a mortgage of $30,000 held by Morris Grossman.
  • On November 5, 1947, a fire in a false ceiling killed a Minneapolis fireman.




Club Carnival Night Club opened on April 8, 1948 under new management.   Frankie Carle and his band were the first to entertain.  Ted Cook was the manager at opening.  [His probation officer said that Yiddy Bloom was manager from 1948 to 1950.]  The club hosted incredibly big-name acts during the 40s and 50s with Percy Hughes' house band for six years (Jewel Box Revue).  The bandstand had hydraulics to lift the dance floor.


1949 photo from Minnesota Historical Society.  The folder at right came with a picture of Cab Calloway.


In 1951 the license of the Flame Club, which was previously located across 16th Street on the same side of Nicollet (see below), was transferred to 1623 Nicollet. 


In January 1952 the Minneapolis Flame began to program jazz on Sunday nights, a show called "Jazz Carousel" produced by bandleader Bruce Dybvig.  Both Dixieland (Harry Blons) and modern (Percy Hughes) jazz was presented.  In October 1952 the Four Notes were ongoing entertainers.



In October 1952 an article on liquor licenses indicates that Mrs. Freda Swartz, 2716 Drew Ave., was the former operator of the Flame at 1523 Nicollet. 




The Flame had featured Country/Western acts in the smaller front bar since the early '50s, but in on February 1, 1956, the management hired Johnny T. and his Tennesseeans for the bigger back room and the entire place went C&W.  "The Flame has become House of Western Swing - Newest Musical Fad!"  Square dance groups were invited to come in for dancing and bring their own callers.  In mid-1956 the regulars in the front bar were Ardis Wells and the Rhythm Ranch Girls, with Jimmy Wells and the Dakota Roundup in the back room.  In the mid '60s the club hosted some big names like Stonewall Jackson and Porter Waggoner.  By 1973 the main ballroom was back to rock, with country relegated to the bar, no doubt bowing to the pressures of the newly-emancipated 18-year-old drinkers.  Photo below is from 1961.



Under the gun from police for being the scene of prostitution and assaults, the city closed the club down in September 1978.  At the time of closing, the sign promised Hard & Soft Rock, Old & New Blues, Snacks, Dancing, and Giant Drinks.  On the Marquee it simply said Disco Soul.  At age 76, Abe Percansky still hoped to regain his liquor license, but he filed his appeal a day too late.  It is now the home of Greatapes Multimedia Company, which still displays photos of performers who have appeared at the old Flame.



               Hard to read but the artist's name appears to be Claudia Stack.


1605-07 Nicollet


Meanwhile, on the other side of 16th Street, was 1605-07 Nicollet.  Originally the Gladstone Gardens Restaurant, it became the Flame in 1942.  The Flame featured jazz and other types of music.  An unsigned and undated memo (probably from the mid-to-late 1940s) indicates that the deed was held by one Michael Crakes but that the quite claim deed could be held by Tommy Banks.


In 1951 the Flame's license was transferred to 1523 Nicollet (above).  The old Flame became a 3.2 beer tavern called the Hoop-D-Doo Bar and Cafe, site of '50s jazz jam sessions.  Stebbins:  "This place quickly became a congregating point for jazz musicians both local and out of town, and it was not uncommon to have national stars sitting in with  the [Bob Davis house] band."  In October 1955 it advertised four shows a night with dancing before, after, and between shows.  "It's the Liveliest Spot in Town"  The place burned down in 1957.  That site is now vacant land or a parking lot.




The Flame Jazz Club at 8th and Wabasha in St. Paul hosted many big name jazz acts in the early 1950s.  See a collage of ads on Robb Henry's blog.  In a January 17, 1952 Minnesota Daily article, jazz columnist Tom Snell notes, "The flame that once kindled jazz in St. Paul is out....  With the arrival of Frankie Yankovic and a young woman who will take off her clothes in time to music at the St. Paul Flame, the Twin Cities lost another of their traditional jazz spots.  What exactly happened to the once-bright Flame is not known, but the results are self-evident - no more name talent from the outer reaches of jazz."  Performers that fall of 1952 included Herbie Fields and Lou Levy.



Flamingo Club:  2417 W. 7th Street, St. Paul.  Go-go- girls in cages in 1965.

The Foo Chu Cafe was on Excelsior Blvd. in St. Louis Park.  In February 1963 owner Jimmy Wong added a new piano room featuring veteran blues-and-bordello style pianist Frank E. Hines.  Hines wrote "Physical Therapy Blues" at the Veterans Hospital after undergoing a double leg amputation. 

Ford Parkway/Union Hall:  see Union Hall below

The Forsthaus, 1539 South Robert St., St. Paul.  1974:  Featuring the Northwest's Finest & Award Winning Entertainment!  Upstairs in the main dining room:  Vintage.  Downstairs at the Bottom Half:  Sue Drude.


The 4-M Club was advertised in the Minneapolis Spokesman as a "Twin City New Dance Hall" in May 1952.  It was located at 150 West 4th Street, across from the St. Paul Auditorium.  It was never mentioned again in the Spokesman.




Several clubs have taken a shot at the space in the basement of this iconic Minneapolis building at 114 So. 9th Street:

  • Five O'Clock Club, owned by Manny De Silva.  In October 1963 Manny was billed as a popular romantic singing idol.
  • King Solomon's Mines opened in April 1966.  Owner Dean Constantine, a dance instructor, brought in Connie Hechter's Afro-Cuban Sextet, tried a rock format, and then began booking  R&B acts, making it the only venue for black music downtown.  In 1967 the band was the Fabulous Amazers, bringing the "Latest and Greatest in rhythm & blues, including SKATE and BOO GA LOO," went an ad in the Spokesman.  Other groups in rotation in '67 were Dave Brady and the Stars and the Sages.  Photo below by Mike Zerby from 1967 courtesy Minnesota Historical Society.



 In a column dated July 31, 1967 (right after the North Side riots), Will Jones remarked:

Despite all the lip service given to integration, and all the laws designed to bring it about, there's precious little of it in the Twin Cities saloon scene, and in the heart of downtown Minneapolis it's almost unheard of.  That's why it's so heartening to see the development at King Solomon's Mines ...  The crowds that have been gathering there in recent weeks are as nearly cosmopolitan in their makeup as we're likely to find in these parts, with a range of ages as well as colors among the clientele.  What's bringing all the people together is a rhythm-and-blues group called The Amazers, who produce a sound to match their name.  It's a beautiful, swinging scene.  So beautiful that operator Dean Constantine says his landlords have been making nervous noises about it.  This is, however, a small sample of where it's all at for the future, and should be now.  It's a time for nervous landlords to take a few tranquilizers and allow themselves to be amazed not only by the Amazers but by the amazing young among their following, who already have the whole thing straightened out neatly in their heads."

On August 16, 1968, the club was raided for underage drinking and serving drinks after closing time and the club had its license suspended for a time.  It was in trouble again that November, when police license inspector Harvey Everson described it as "the worst run place in the city," saying the police were called numerous times to check on assault cases.  See the story in full in Twin Cities Funk & Soul, page 29.  Constantine became the manager of the Friar's Club. 


  • His and Hers, 1969.  In June 1969 featured Danny's Reason's (Mondays); Mystics (Tuesdays); Del Counts (Wednesdays); Sages (Thursdays-Saturdays).  Also City Limits.  In September 1969 owner Bill Roslansky sold it and replaced the band with a juke box, reported the Insider.
  • The Establishment, 1969-72.  The Establishment  was a disco that was opened in late 1969 by Burt Grossman.  It featured a stainless steel dance floor and had a predominantly black clientele.  Grossman went on to own the Hippogriff and the Little Prince.


14th Circle - folk venue at Hamline University

The Fox and Hounds was on Freeway 35 E at Larpenteur.  In 1973 you could get a gourmet meal for two of flaming duck for $15 or shell peanuts in the Fox Hole.  There was a Judy Pfaff style show every day at happy hour, and downstairs the Del Counts were playing rock 'n' roll.


Frank Seifert's - See Key Club below.



Freddie's Cafe:  605 Second Ave. So. (Lewis Building).  Freddie's opened in 1934 and in the '30s and '40s it hosted Ella Fitzgerald, George Shearing, and Count Basie. 


In 1959 Pete Karalis bought it and moved it around the corner to 211 So. Sixth St.  There appeared big name jazz performers such as Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Gene Krupa, and Ahmad Jamal.  Was it the same Freddie's that was a downtown folk venue in 1962-63?  In February 1963 Karalis still owned it but it was going broke. In 1964 Stebbins noted "This night club has since abandoned all musical entertainment."



Freddy King's Tavern was at 501 University Ave. and offered dancing every evening.  Despite being in the Republican Register (September 1943), it claimed to be 100% Union. 


French Press, downtown St. Paul


Frenchman's Nite Club was at 1400 E. 66th Street and in July 1943 advertised Soft Drinks - Dancing - Refreshments.  Guess the Frenchman didn't have a liquor license.


Friar's Dinner Theater, 724 - 4th Ave. So.  Formerly Times Square, owned by Danny Stevens.  In 1971 it was owned by Bill Roslansky and brought in soul acts such as the Chi-Lites and Barbara Acklin.  On January 29, 1974 it became the Friars Minan Music Hall Dinner Theater, Ray Carlson, Manager.  It had a capacity of 500.

Fridley Armory

Al. Friendlund's Cafe and Bar was on Plymouth and Washington Ave. No. in September 1936.  It offered foods, wines, choice liquors and entertainment.


The Friendship Club at 2935 Nicollet had dancing Friday and Saturday nights starting March 1960, with dance lessons by Tony Demarko.



Frolics Stage Bar was first at 516 Hennepin.  There is an ad for the Frolics in the Republican Register in December 1944 promising Continuous Entertainment from 2 to Closing.  Stebbins says that it featured out of town acts.  An undated and unsigned memo (probably from the mid 1940s) says that the owner of record was Walter Benz but suspects that Tommy Banks may have held the deed.  There was a fire at the Frolics on December 14, 1943, as shown below courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.























March 1944 ad from Our Town, courtesy Alan Freed


In 1957 the Frolics moved to 314 Hennepin and began to feature strip acts accompanied by jazz groups.  A 1963 article cited Nick Colich Jr. as the license holder and noted that the bar would be torn down that February as part of the Gateway redevelopment project.  Although the Housing Authority bought the building in March 1960, it continued to operate until December 31, 1962.  The Frolics was on the police's list of the city's six most troublesome night clubs, based on arrest reports covering a five year period, primarily involving morals violations.


Frontier Club, 7365 Old Central NE in Fridley (early '70s).  Jim Froelich says "This location is now Marino's but at the time it hosted national country a rockabilly acts, including Gene Vincent several times.  It was owned by the Povliskis who went on to run several NE bars, including Pov's in Spring Lake Park."  See ad for Junior Samples show in 1974 above.


Front Page:  417 So. 6th Street, Minneapolis.  Owners were Victor Levine and Daniel La Barre.  In June 1966 the bar was  bankrupt, but the bar was sold to David Y. Morris, former part owner of the Chalet in Crystal.  1969:  Jack Seel and Dick Macko.   It was still in business 1971-73.  It burned (down?) on April 26, 1973.

The Gables was located at Franklyn and Lyndale.  In 1969 it featured the band XL5.   Became the House of Gables in 1970, owned by Jim Boosalis. 


Gallery, 8th and Hennepin, featured Art Goldberg on piano.  He later became known as Hollywood writer Arthur Morton.


Gannon's Restaurant, 2728 W. 7th Blvd. in St. Paul, had a new piano lounge in May 1963 - Sing along with Mike!


Garden Lounge:  See Curtis Hotel.



The Gaslight was at 1420 Washington Ave. So. at Seven Corners, from at least 1960 to 1967.  William Bloedow writes:  "Some memories of the Gaslight - from so many. Seven Corners glittered at night. The restaurant was in an old theatre (now the Southern) and only took up a portion of the space. The original stage and arch were in the back, used for storage. The business was owned by the Bonander family, with Lillian always at the door with a cigarette in hand - daughter Gloria and some Leonard with often at her side. Many of my favorite evenings included noted chanteuse Auzie Dial at the piano in the bar. She could do a mean 'Satin Doll!' It was a popular spot for the dinner crowd after U of M football games."  An ad from 1967 says that Doc Evans played nightly, and the club had "authentic grand decor typical of the 1890 era."




Gay Nineties:  See Casablanca.


Gay Paree, Mendota

George Faust's was located at 5916 Excelsior Blvd. in St. Louis Park from October 1968 to 1971.  It was one of many descendants of the El Patio/Cotton Club, which is described at the very top of this page.  It was preceded by Culbertson's.

George's Ballroom in New Ulm was owned by George Neuwerth.  Images from Garage Hangover.



George's in the Park,  4700 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 1967-74.  Click on the link for the story of this and the other clubs at this location. 

Gibbon Ballroom

Gin Mill, Lyndale Place just north of Olson Memorial Highway.  Jazz venue owned by Ben Wilson (who left town in the late '40s).

Gladys Ballroom, Montevideo

Gleason's Inn was located 10 miles out Central Ave., NE on Highway 5 in 1932.  Ed Gates was the proprietor and their ad in Twin City Brevities invited us to Dine and Dance!


The Golden Fox was at 7300 Brooklyn Blvd.  1969:  Jimmy Bowmon Duo in the piano bar.  In 1973 it featured David Carroll and the Magic Touch with his Tribute to Elvis.


The Golden Pheasant was a Chinese restaurant at 52-56 So. 7th Street just south of Hennepin Ave. in Minneapolis.  In 1925 the house band was Emmet Long's Golden Pheasant Orchestra.  In 1927 Walter Anderson and His Golden Pheasant Hoodlums made a recording at the Lowry Hotel in St. Paul.  Later Wally Logason's Orchestra was the house band.


Golden Steer, 1010 So. Concord Street, South St. Paul.  1969:  Ralph Primm in the Jack London Bar.  Also Cornbread Harris

Golliwog Lounge:  See the Sheraton-Ritz Hotel, below. 

The Good Times Ballroom was in Dodge Center, Minn.


Goofy's:  See Herb's, below.


Gopher Grill:  See St. Paul Hotel


Gordon's Supper Club, 7725 Zane Ave. No, Brooklyn Park.  1969:  Jim Feeney Trio featuring Ear Pritchard, dancing nightly.


Great Lakes Bar:  "New Fun House - Enjoy a Sensational Evening's Entertainment"  101 Nicollet Ave. across from the Great Northern Depot.  Ad in the Minn Daily October 1953.

The Green Door was described as a Lake Conference Teenage Nite Club in 1960.  Located on Excelsior Blvd. and Blake Road in Hopkins, it hosted the Bops and the Diablos, among other bands.


Green Gables was on Rice Street, Four miles north of Larpenteur.  In 1932 you could Dine and Dance to Radio Sally and the Merry Melody Makers.

Green's Nite Club (Green's Place) opened on November 26, 1952, at Western and Como in St. Paul.  Performing that night was "King" Larry Jazz Combo, "the Northwest's most danceable unit."  It was only mentioned this one time in the Minneapolis Spokesman.

The Grotto Ballroom was located in Winona. Was this the Ghora Kahn Grotto?


Grove Night Club, Inver Grove Heights.  Site of a live broadcast

The Guthrie Theater opened May 7, 1963. Its first production was "Hamlet," directed by Sir Tyrone Guthrie. Guthrie and friends Oliver Rea and Peter Zeisler had been disenchanted with Broadway, and wanted to create a theater with a repertory company that would present the classics. The repertory company included George Grizzard, Hume Cronin and Jessica Tandy. The group advertised in the New York Times, soliciting cities that would be interested in sponsoring such a theater. Of the seven cities that responded, the founders were impressed with the demographics but mostly the enthusiasm of the Twin Cities for the project. The first musical performance in the new venue was held on May 27, 1963 by the Modern Jazz Quartet.  A new multistage theater center on the banks of the Mississippi River opened June 25, 2006.

Guthrie Theater


Guzzo's, 992 Arcade Street, St. Paul.  Sam "Gus" Guzzo bought the place in 1954.  He died in 1958 and his wife Alvina ran it until she sold it in 1963.  Dancing on Friday and Saturday nights.  Photo below from 1957-58 posted on Facebook by Connie Guzzo Winterhalter.



Hafners Lord Aldon Inn, 1560 White Bear Ave.  1974:  Always the finest in dining and entertainment.  Jim Harvey at the organ.  Now playing in the Lord Aldon Inn:  Skyline.  In the Rumpus Room:  Ken Nelson


Halfway Club:  See Kistler Building

Hall of Fame - 1548 University Ave., St. Paul, in the Midway Shopping Center, 1963-74.  The Four Belmonts, with Shari Farris and Dick Hale, gave two floor shows nightly in May 1963.  Augie Garcia played there in January 1964.  Jerry Cole was the owner in 1964.  "Password for Fun: 'Have a Ball at the Hall'"


Hall Brothers Emporium of Jazz, Mendota:  1966 - 1991.  In March 1968 it was only open on the weekends and served beer, setups, and pizza.


The Hallie Q. Brown Community House was established in 1929 in St. Paul.  It was named after the African American educator, elocutionist, women’s suffrage leader, and author Hallie Quinn Brown. Soon after it was established it moved to the Masonic Hall at 553 Aurora Ave. In 1972 it moved to its current home at the Martin Luther King Center at 270 No. Kent.


Hank's Horseshoe Bar, 574 Rice Street, St. Paul - country bar in 1973.


Hanson House


Happ's Nite Club/Auditorium, on Highway 169 in Shakopee.  Is this the Happ Auditorium described as in Chaska in 1928?  Adam J. Happ, proprietor.  That September the auditorium had been newly decorated after being closed all summer.  There was also a cafe.  Ads started showing up for dances here in the Minneapolis Spokesman in July 1936. 


Happy Hollow Cafe, 1691 Rice Street, St. Paul.  Lester Young once played here.  Also Rook Ganz during the late 1930s, before he went to El Patio.  In November 1945 Proprietor Robert Wesley was arrested for selling liquor without a license.  He pleaded guilty to two charges and was find $100 and court costs.  He was also fined $50 for selling cigarettes without a license.  At the time of the raid (2 am) there were 35 patrons in the place. 


Happy Hour:  Bar next to the Gay Nineties owned by Richard Gold in 1975.  "The Happy Hour attracts primarily gay persons," reported the Minneapolis Star on August 11, 1975.


Happy Hour Bar:  See Flame, Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis


Harlem Breakfast Club:  See Musicians' Rest.


Harlem Club, 1311 Washington Ave. So.  In November 1939, Jessie Scott, Entertainer-DeLuxe Appeared Nightly.


Harry's Cafe was at 74 S. 11th Street.  In 1939 it was described in the Spokesman as "swank."  Photo below is from 1948 - Minnesota Historical Society.




The Hastings Hotel, 32 North 12th Street, in Minneapolis.  Featured the Blossom Room in 1950.  The Mar-Key Club was also here, and in 1969 Phillip LaMont performed in the Alley (?).




Jimmy Hegg's Starlight Club:  See Curley's


Heinie's:  University and Virginia in St. Paul.  Became Alary's.





In 1940, 324 Marquette was the site of the Persian Bar (not the Persian Palms), owned by Charles A. McCutchan.  That March it was under indictment for maintaining gambling devices. 


Herb's opened here in 1946, and Stebbins described it as "Another night club in Minneapolis which became the principal rallying point for modern jazz musicians in the late 1950s." Skeets Reiman played Hammond organ and piano here in 1954. Stebbins noted that "it was almost ten years before anything of significance for jazz was to be found.  Herb Pilhofer, a native German who had arrived in Minneapolis around 1954, led a trio here, off and on, from 1955 to 1961, when the place was torn down..."  Herb's preserved a nice balance of local and out of town talent.  Twin Cities jazz musicians crowded around to hear Barney Kessel, the Tree Sounds, Red Garland's Trio, Herbie Mann, and others.  Often Pilhofer's trio served as the house band on these occasions. 


In 1963 Herb's reopened at a new location at 654 Second Ave. No.  In November 1963 it was owned by Herb Klein, who had sung with Abe Lyman's band.  In November 1963 the entertainment was the Herb Pilhofer Duo, with Ted Hughart on bass.  In 1964 the club featured Jim Marentic's Quartet, a modern jazz band.  In 1967 a band was Gary Neilson and the Nite-Caps.



       Ashtray from the collection of Mark Youngblood

  • In October 1969 the site was Sweet Georgia Brown's, a jazz venue. 
  • Jetaway Lounge.  When Dick Campbell bought the place in 1972 it had a predominately black clientele.  Campbell had been the manager since 1970, and at that time he enlarged the club for dancing, but in 1972 he discontinued having live bands on week days, as it didn't pay.  He said that all the clubs downtown were "switching over to tapes."
  • Goofy's.  In 1974 it was described as "attracting a large young-and-old crowd after dark with a nutty policy of juke-box dancing and pool-table Foosball and pinball action.  Especially popular is a back-of-the-room alcove with bean-bag seating that is separated from the dance floor by a curtain of clear plastic dangles."  A kind of hang-down hang-out" read one news item. Folks remember the time clock on the wall - whoever put in the most time at Goofy's got a free pizza on Friday.  It was owned by Joe Houle, who also owned Joe Houle's Bar on Franklin and Lyndale.  Goofy's was demolished to make way for the Target Center - its last day was February 29, 1988.


Goofy's, just before demolition, 1988.  Photo by Barb Economon.


Herman's Bar and Restaurant had the Artists and Models Room, where, in 1963, you could be entertained by Rusty "Oh-Those-Lyrics" Nielsen, apparently a Scandinavian knockoff of Rusty Warren.   32 South Sixth Street.


The Here:  Folk club, 1963.


Hideaway:  See Chicago City Community Center.  Bruce Glewwe remembers going to the Hideaway "and it was probably the High Spirits playing. The band put lighter fluid on the drums and lit them on fire with black lights and a strobe light flashing. WOW!"

Highland Recreation, 1209 W. 7th Street, St. Paul.  Is this 7th Street Rec?  Ad for Harry Blons, vocalist Joann Dale on November 20, 1953.  Host Bill Larson, Jr.


Highlander, 136th and Nicollet in Burnsville.  Opened in August 1963 with a 30 piece bagpipe band.

His and Hers - See Foshay Tower. 

Holiday Inn Central, 1313 Nicollet Ave.  Apparently this was the place celebrities stayed.  In 1968 there was the "Never on Friday" Club, which apparently was always on Friday.  Here you could join other single swingers, age 21 to 35 for dancing and a professional dance instructor to teach you the Funky Broadway.  The Club had over 12,000 members and hosted weekly parties, local and world travel, singles apartments and clubhouses.


Also at the Holiday Inn Central in 1968 was Pierre's, featuring the Riverboat Ramblers with Jane Riley and Pierre's girls.


June 1969:  Something about Holiday in Haight Ashbury - featuring songs from Hair.



The Home Saloon was at 1933 Lyndale Ave. at Franklin.  It was formerly the Gables/House of Gables.  In 1970 it was owned by Jim Boosalis.  In May 1971 Frank Marino was the new owner and Jason Kennedy, manager.  Became Rudolph's.


                     Insider ad, 1970/71


Homewood Lounge:  This was a north Minneapolis club that opened and closed within two weeks.  Pianist Peter Nero had been signed to perform there in 1962, and as a result of the club's closure he only got partial payment.  Claiming he was owed $1,237, the Minneapolis Musicians Local 73 sought payment by ordering its members not to play at the Gay Nineties, which was owned by Richard Gold, a member of the board of directors of the company that hired Nero.  The dispute was settled out of court for "less than $1,237."  (Tribune 12/10/63)


Hook 'em Cow - 150 No. Concord, So. St. Paul.  Country bar in 1973.

Hoop-D-Doo Bar and Cafe:  See the end of the entry for the Flame. 

The Hopkins House featured live music at 1501 Highway 7 from at least 1963-74.  The restaurant opened in 1948 and the Motor Hotel opened in 1963.  Venues at the hotel in 1963 were a fancy dining room called the Madiera Room, a less fancy Eye of the Rib restaurant, a Black Pearl cocktail room, and a piano loft tucked up into the rafters of the A-frame building, according to Will Jones.  In 1967-69 there was the Velvet Garter.  In 1973 the entertainment was billed simply as the Italian Show Band.


House of Gables - new name of the Gables at Franklin and Lyndale, 1970, owned by Jim Boosalis.  Became the Home Saloon.


House of Kronfeld, 308 - 310 1/2 Marquette Ave., Minneapolis.  Again, not sure if there was music, but here's a very cool ashtray from the collection of Mark Youngblood:





Howard's Steak House:  715-723 Olson Memorial Highway.  Jazz venue, home of after-hours jam sessions with Lester Young, the Pettifords, Duke Ellington, and Eli Rice.  The name of this club kind of went back and forth:

  • In 1952 it was also known as Howard's Club Jazz.  Performers that year included the Eddie Williams Combo, Stan Williams, and Mr. "X"
  • The El Grotto was another name along the way.
  • Jim's Cafe Society opened in September 1953 at 717 Olson Memorial Highway
  • On December 31, 1953, it reopened under new management as Howard's Club Jazz.
  • In January 1954 we see Jim Baker's Black and Tan Club, 715 Olson Memorial Highway
  • In June 1954 it was back to Howard's Steak House, with the Five Cats playing nightly. 
  • It closed in 1955.


Howard's Steak House.  Photo by Minneapolis Star Journal Tribune via Minnesota Historical Society


Hub Cafe:  See Wonder Vue.   There was another Hub Bar at 224 Hennepin in 1943.

The Huddle was at 101 E. Hennepin.  




The Huddle became Arturo's, mentioned in the Insider 1971-74.


The Hullabaloo Teen Scene in St. Louis Park was the place to go in 1967.  There was also one in Fridley.  This is so big, let's go to a separate page

Ichabod's was a downtown Minneapolis folk venue in 1973.


Infinity, 4700 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 1976-79.  Click on the link for the story of this and the other clubs at this location. 


Inn-Tuition:  Frank Seifert of WTCN-TV opened this club at 7 Corners in October 1961, featuring a comic and a jazz trio.  See Key Club below.

Interlaken Ballroom, Farimount


Iron Horse


Jack's Place had a rather strange ad in the Republican Register from July 1943 to August 1944.  It was only identified as being in Bloomington, offered Refreshments - Music- Dancing, and promised to be "A Clean Place to Go."  Must have been a speakeasy!

Jazz Spot, owned by Steve Kimmell, opened July 6, 1973

Jazzmines, Minneapolis


Jerry's Nite Club, 449 N. Snelling in St. Paul, offered dancing in 1943.


Jetaway (Dick's Jet-Away Lounge):   See Herbs, above.

Jewett's Point Ballroom in Faribault was owned by St. Louis Park dentist Irving Posnick.

Jim Baker's Black and Tan Club:  See Howard's

Jim's Cafe Society:  See Howard's. 

Jimmy Hegg's Starlight Club:  See Curley's.


Jimmy's on the Levee was beneath the Wabasha Bridge on Navy Island.  Became the River Serpent.  Loved the River Serpent!


JJ's Heidelberg was at 66th and Lyndale.  In 1973, dance to Frank Wagamon.

Jockey Club - See the Dome Bar.

Jockey Lounge, St. Paul 1971-74


Johnny's New Cocktail Lounge, 2251 University Ave., St. Paul.  No information whatsoever, but Mark Youngblood has this ashtray so it has to be a swanky place.


The Joint:  913 Cedar Ave. on the West Bank, opened in mid-1971. 


Jolly Note Piano Bar, at the Lilac Lane Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge, Highway 100 and Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park.  1963 entertainers were Susan Aldrich and Keith Gamm.

Jordan Teen Town, Jordan, Minn.

The Junior Pioneer Hall was built in 1909 and was (and is) located at 192 West 9th Street in St. Paul.  Judy Perkins (Percy Hughes's wife) and her Combo performed at a golf tournament dance there on July 28, 1951, and Little Richard appeared there in 1956.  From 1963 to 1973, the building served as the University of Minnesota's St. Paul General Extension Center. It is now occupied by Reigstad & Associates, who turned the gym into offices.  They don't allow tours.


Junior Pioneer Hall, 2013.  From the side (right) you can see what might have been the gymnasium where Little Richard played!

Kashmiri Room:  see Ambassador Motor Hotel, above. 

The Kasota Legion Hall in Kasota was listed as a venue by the Insider 1971-74.

The Kato Ballroom was a traditional Midwestern ballroom, located in Mankato.


Kelly's:  2221 Ford Parkway across from the Ford Plant.  Country bar in 1973.  Associated with (same owner as? the Manor.


The South of the Border Bar was located at 1327 Washington Ave., opening date unknown.  On December 19, 1951, The Key Club opened next door at 1325 Washington Ave. So.  Both establishments were owned by Henry Sabes.  The first act at the Key Club was the Four Blazes.  The club became a main venue for jazz and rhythm & blues in the 1950s, as advertised in the Minneapolis Spokesman.  1955 acts included

Boyd Moore Combo featuring Eva Gee, blues and torch singer, fresh from extensive eastern tour, "Nature Boy" Brown sax and his Harlem Playboys, direct from Chicago, Horace Henderson, brother of Fletcher Henderson, played at the Key Club off an on from 1956 to 1960.  Trouble plagued the place, however:

  • In 1951 Sabes was said to be a partner in the American Sales Service Co., which sold vending and slot machines, the latter of which were illegal in Minnesota.
  • In February 1957 a fight led to Sabes shooting and killing musician Charles M. Talley.  It was deemed self-defense.  At the time Sabes had 33 employees.
  • At one point Sabes was accused of hiring someone to burn down a church that was a block away but nothing came of it.
  • On April 14, 1961, Sabes shot two patrons, one on purpose and one by accident.  Both survived.  Richard Hackett was thrown out of the bar and came back with a gun, threatening to kill the bouncer.  Hackett's gun was rigged so that it could shoot all seven bullets at once.  Sabes shot Hackett and wounded a bystander, and no charges were filed.  At the time the police called the place "a hangout for prostitutes and narcotics peddlers." 
  • In September 1962 the bar was investigated for prostitution and drug addicts as a result of three white slave trails in which prostitutes named the bar as a pick-up place.  South of the Border was deemed the "most troublesome bar in Minneapolis."
  • By November 1962 Sabes offered to close the bar if he could keep the Key Club open.  Sabes found support in Cecil E. Newman, editor of the Minneapolis Spokesman, who pointed out that the Key Club was one of only a few establishments that hired black musicians, bartenders, waitresses, floormen, and maintenance people.  Newman called it "The first night club in Minneapolis to break the color bar against Negro artists in night clubs."  Plus it was one of the few places black patrons could go and feel welcome.  Despite the arguments, Sabes lost his license and although he took it to court, the club closed in March 1963.  On March 13, 1963, Will Jones commented that the club's "showmanly gambit of booking jazz names in the face of its legal troubles is paying of.  Dakota Staton has brought some life back to the club, once thought dead."
  • Frank Seifert took over the location, opening August 9, 1963.  His plan was to hire two full-time house bands, one for "the standard type of dancing including Latin rhythms" and the other for "rock 'n' roll, twist and surfing rhythms," according to Will Jones.  The large dance room, to be called Frank Seifert's, was open to the public for an admission charge.  The former South of the Border bar was for members of the Inn-Tuition club who held keys (a club for single Men and Girls).  Dudley Riggs was to operate the food concession, serving steak and eggs, fish and chips, small steaks, marinated bourbonburgers, and a salad cart.  Riggs also operated Cafe Espresso, which offered fancy coffees and pastries.  Ad above is from September 5, 1963.

Keystone Bar, 644 Sixth Ave. No.  In 1934 H. Holliday was the proprietor.  "Good Chili - Best in Two Towns."  On May 18, 1935, the Minneapolis Spokesman carried an ad announcing the opening of the bar's "Swanky New Cocktail Room (For Ladies and Gentlemen) (No stags admitted to Cocktail Room)  Under the Direction of Mr. Duffy Ampey.  Drink, dine in the exclusive manner.  Keystone Bar Cafe under the management of James Wicks.  Liquors, Wines, and 6% beer.  Grand opening May 22.  In June the cocktail room had been named the Mystic Cavern.


Keystone Hotel, 379 Carroll Ave., St. Paul, 1935.  Dine and Dance Once Again at the Autumn Leaf Dining Room.  Dancing every night, Special Cabaret Nights.  C.F. Williams, Proprietor


The King Kong Club, on the 700 block of No. Lyndale was a converted store.  It had a five piece band led by Johnny Wheeler on trumpet.


King of Diamonds:  Small club in Inver Grove/St. Paul, early 1970.

King Solomon's Mines  - See Foshay Tower. 

King's Bar and Lounge, 717 Hennepin Ave., had a talent contest every Tuesday night in 1952, if that counts.

On June 4, 1949, the Minneapolis Spokesman advertised the opening of King's Valley, reached by taking US Highway 169 and County Road 1.  Patrons could take one of 12 limousines leaving from two locations including Annie's Barbeque.  "Truly the Valley of the Kings."  Opening would be King Larry, His Saxophone and Quintette, with emcee E. Harry Jones.

KIRCH & GILLIS/TURF CLUB, 1601 University Ave., St. Paul


Kirch & Gillis Night Club


Pool hall owners Kirch and Gillis took over this spot, formerly a Hove's Grocery Store, when Prohibition ended in about 1933-34 and converted it into a bar bearing their names.  A fire in November 1942 proved difficult to extinguish due to exploding liquor bottles.  By 1944 it reopened as Kirch & Gillis Beverages, and soon new owners renamed it Kirch & Gillis Cafe, serving lunch and dinner with entertainment and dancing.  (Preservation Journal of St. Paul, Spring 2008, article by Aleah Vinick)


Aftermath of 1942 fire; photo courtesy Minnesota Historical Society



Turf Club


In 1950 it became the Turf Club. In late 2013 First Avenue purchased the Turf Club. On its web site it says, "Opening in the '40s as a two-steppin' country bar, mellowing a bit through the folk artsy '60s, morphing with the dance wave of the '70s, then embracing the grunge of the '80s, the club is like a treatise on Minnesota music. And this brings us to the other part of the club's success: its consistent dedication to local and independent music, something this town of ten thousand musicians definitely recognizes and even appreciates enough to maintain loyalty in the face of an adverse location. So much so that the adversity becomes even more reason to frequent the damn place."  An early feature was the Clown Lounge.





THE KISTLER BUILDING -  Follow the link to read about this hub of great jazz clubs on the North Side.


Kitty Kat Club:  Sixth Ave. No. between Highland and Aldrich:  Jazz venue.


Klondike:  see Chuck's Skol Club.

Knickerbocker Hall, 905 - 4th Ave. So.  That address is the Gethsemane Church today and may have been St. Thomas Church in the 1930s, as it was the site of the St. Thomas dance and style show.


The Kobbersted dining room and lounge was in the Holiday Inn and Solar Dome at 694 and 100 in Brooklyn Center.


Krueger's Haymow was the site of some dances in 1952-53, featuring Percy Hughes and His Orchestra.  Take South Robert past the Corral Drive-In on Highway 100. 


La Bongo Club:  see Road Buddy's


La Cantina was described as being behind Howard Johnson's and the Camelot in 1974.

La Casa Coronado, 1113 Washington Ave. So., was probably the Cities' first Mexican restaurant, site of many Spanish class field trips.  In May 1963 there was a new "La Terraza," the new terrace room, that featured authentic Mexican music, cocktails, and dancing to real Latin American rhythms.  La Casa Coronado apparently moved to 23 No. 6th Street, and closed in 1981.



Contrary to urban myth and confusion, 117 Fourth Street SE, Minneapolis is NOT the building presently on the corner of Central and 4th Street SE, which was built in 1925 as a Masonic Temple and is now the home of the Aveda Institute.  The Labor Temple was torn down - the date of demolition is unknown but the permit was issued on December 30, 1974.  The property was sold to the owner of Avenda by Campus Church Assoc. on February 1, 1986 for $107,476 and is now the Aveda parking lot.


City records show that the building at 111-117 Fourth Street received a building permit for an 88 x 166 sq. ft. lodge building in 1923, which was very close to when the Masonic Temple next door was built.  In 1929 it was referred to on the permit card as an "R.C. Lodge," with club rooms, a store, and a hall.  In 1930 there was an entry for an undertaker (as there was in the Masonic Building next door), and was possibly a dwelling in 1936.


By 1942 it was known as the Eagles Building.  On April 8, 1942, the Labor Temple Association, as appointed by the Trades and Labor Assembly of Minneapolis and Hennepin County, purchased the building from the Eagles.  Hubert Humphrey attended the mortgage burning ceremony in 1944.  In 1947 ads for rhythm & blues shows in the Minneapolis Spokesman, the city's black newspaper were referring to it as the Labor Temple, formerly Eagles Hall.  The large hall on the third floor was the site of many dances held by and for the black community in the late 1940s through the 1950s.  From November 1950 to 1953, promoters Rufus Webster and D. P. Black (and from 1953 through 1956 just Black) brought major national rhythm & blues acts to Minneapolis, almost exclusively to the Labor Temple.  See the event chronology above and a collage of ads on Robb Henry's blog.


In about 1968 there was a 25th Anniversary booklet put out calling it the "Floyd B. Olson Memorial Labor Temple."  It revealed that one of the large halls was called Cramer Hall, named after Robley Cramer, "editor of the Minneapolis Labor Review and one of the most militant and fearless labor leaders that the movement ever produced."  The other hall was named after Richard Wiggin, former city attorney of Minneapolis.  At the time the building housed 21 Union offices and hosted 60 local union meetings each month in addition to renting the large halls.


In 1969 David Anthony, in conjunction with Community News, started booking national psychedelic acts, some of which were not all that well known yet and couldn't fill one of the bigger halls. The first such concert was the Grateful Dead on February 2, 1969.  (See 1969 above for more information about Community News and the 1969 concerts.)  Concerts were presented on Sunday nights on the third floor of the hall. Concert-goers sat on the floor or on chairs in the balcony. Anthony based his ticket prices on a capacity of about 3,000 people and lost a great deal of money when the fire marshal cut that capacity in half after he had booked the bands.   He also said that the union  members who had offices in the building would try to get in for free.  After this financial setback, Anthony stopped booking shows, and 17-year-old Dana Marver booked some big names at the end of 1970.  It became the Fillmore or the Whisky a-go-go of the Midwest, while maintaining a good relationship with the police and taking care of the customers by keeping staff of the YES drug counseling organization on hand.  Fire code issues forced it to stop hosting concerts at the end of 1970. 

Labor Temple, 1940.  Minnesota Historical Society



For comparison's sake, the photo on the left is the Masonic Temple on the corner of Central and 4th St. SE, 1950.  You can just see the edge of the Labor Temple on the right.  The photo on the right is the Masonic Temple (Aveda) from 2013.


This great photo shows the two buildings side by side - taken some time before 1954. 



Laidlaw VFW, Minneapolis - early Mike Waggoner and the Bops venue

Lake Street Auditorium - See Mr. Lucky's


Lake Street Coliseum - See Coliseum Ballroom

The Lakeview was on Lake Minnetonka in Spring Park and operated only in the summer months.  It opened in 1956 and featured big name groups and personalities managed by Dick and Don Maw.  In 1965 you could dance to Bobby Burak, the 14-year-old son of the owner, and the Psychotics.  Next door was the Downbeat.


Lamb's Supper Club, St. Paul, went from country/western to rock in 1972.


The Lamplighter was a sleazy strip joint in St. Paul.  Must have had music for the girls...




Launching Pad:  Highway 10 north of 35W in New Brighton/Moundsview.  In 1973 it went from all country to half country, half rock.

Le Zoo was a coffeehouse with entertainment by folk singers in the fall of 1962. Possibly "across from Abdallah's on Lake Street."  Very popular with St. Louis Park teens, despite the 75 cent cover charge.  An article about folk venues in Life Magazine's December 14, 1962 issue noted that Le Zoo was famous for its sing-alongs.  In March 1963 owners were Paul Hewitt and Willie Somdahl.  Still there in January 1964.



The main Leamington Hotel, located at 10th Street and 3rd Ave., was built in 1912.  Its restaurants were:

  • The Imperial Garden
  • The Norse Room and Norse Terrace:  Music by the Gulbransen Theater Organ
  • The Kaffee Klatsch
  • The Crown Room
  • The Rendez Vous Piano Bar
  • Carnival Room - Kay Nygaard and the Sound Effect in 1969



The Leamington Motor Lodge was at 400-410 So. 10th Street.  It was built in 1962 and hosted the Beatles in 1965.  In 1967 the cocktail lounge at the motor lounge featured Sonny Brown's cool vocal styling with the beat of the jazz organ. It was demolished in February 2008.




Lee and Eddie's

The Left Guard Supper Club in Bloomington catered to celebrities and football stars in 1973.



Lefty's Tavern at 22nd and Riverside offered entertainment by the "Tennessee Sweetheart" and "Manville, Pop-Eye Boy" on New Year's Eve, 1941-42.



Lindy's was a "stage bar" at 424 Hennepin Ave. that opened in 1936 in the former location of the Minnesota Meat Company.  Stebbins:  "Some time between 1936 and 1939, when it became Crombie's Bar, Howard 'Chief' McElroy had a band there which he believes was the first Dixieland band in town."


Crombie's Bar and Lounge opened in 1939, replacing Lindy's.  It was advertised up until at least September 1943.


Augie's Theater Lounge and Bar opened in or before November 1943, owned by Augie Ratner until 1964.  The Republican Register of December 1943 actually ran an article about the new bar, calling it "one of the city's most popular fun spots."  It revealed that Augie was a native of Minneapolis, widely known as a professional boxer from 1920-1930.  After that he worked at a service station, then served in the Army before entering the night club business.  When he took over Crombie's, it was entirely redecorated by Joe Palen.  The article concludes "..Ratner employs only veteran concocters of fancy drinks and only the highest quality beverages are dispensed." 


The first performers at Augie's were Leon Abbey's Entertaining Boys (his four piece orchestra) and singer Jeanne Bargy, daughter of orchestra leader Roy Bargy.  In addition, Dorothy Berry will sing your favorite request.  Another early band was Howard Brown's Rhythm Kings. An undated and unsigned memo (probably from the mid 1940s) says that Elaine Realty Inc. bought it from United Properties Inc. on October 26, 1946, but suspects that Tommy Banks may have held the deed.  In 1955-56 the bar featured Wild Bill Boone.  For a good read, see Augie's Secrets:  The Minneapolis Mob and the King of the Hennepin Strip by Neal Karlen (MHS Press, 2013).









Lindy's Bar and Lounge, 320 Cedar Ave. "just across the bridge."  This dates back to at least November 1952, when you could dine and dance to the Collegians, as advertised in the Minnesota Daily. October 1953:  "Winnie will sing your favorite tune - come in and sing."   But it must have changed owners, as it was billed as "Eddie's Newest Nightmare" on March 11, 1954, with music by Jimarlen Trio of KSTP Channel 5.  Fizz - Fun - Frivolity - Refreshments.  There was another Lindy's that became Augie's (see above). 

The Lion's Den,  1160 Frost Ave. in Maplewood by Lake Phalen.  In 1966 the owners were Joe Chenoweth, Tom Smith, Jack Tucci, and Peter Pahlin; all but Smith were under 21.   It was one of three teen clubs in 1966.  Bands that played there included the Deacons, the Lancers, and the High Sprits, who were featured in a spread in the March 20, 1966, St. Paul Sunday Pioneeer Press.

Little Al's, 724 - 4th Ave. So.  1969:  Dave Rooney Trio


Little Nashville Club, 412 Hennepin Ave.  1969:  Johnnie White

Log Cabin, Spring Park.  In 1950 Ernie Lager provided Scandinavian food and entertainment.

The LoKates teen club at 3060 DeMontville Road in North St. Paul was run by Lowell Reiks.  It was described as a new modernistic structure when it opened in 1968.  In 1970 when the teen market fell off it closed on Fridays, along with the Barn and Magoos.  High School dances were too much competition.

Longhorn, Minneapolis


The Loon Club:  See Mr. Lucky's below.


Louvey's was at 5001 W. 78th Street - the Bloomington strip


Lower Levee Lounge, St. Paul


Lowry Hotel, St. Paul:  Terrace Cafe.  Ben Pollack's band made a lengthy appearance in the late 1920s.

The Lyceum Theater, 85 South 11th Street in Minneapolis, was home to traveling jazz shows and rock shows.  It is now the site of Orchestra Hall.


Lyceum Theater, 1945.  Photo from Minnesota Historical Society

McCarthy's Cafe


McGuire's Restaurant and Lounge:  1201 W. County Road E, Arden Hills, three miles north of Highway 36 on US 10 between Lexington and Snelling.  Normally a more sophisticated place, but bowed to the folksinging craze in 1963.  1969:  Lamplighters sextet, The Royale.  In 1973 a notable act was the Kirby Stone Company, featuring the leader of the Kirby Stone Four.





Magic Bar:  2609 - 26th Ave. So.  In an undated, unsigned memo the owner is identified as Minnie Ryan, but it is suspected that the deed was held by gangster Tommy Banks.



The Magic Bar became Mr. Nibs. The blog of Hennepin County Library Special Collections talks about the "Hub of Hell," (26th and 26th):  See more in a City Pages article from 1997.  On August 1, 1963, a large ad in the Tribune announced the "Big All New One in the Twin Cities, a wonderful new world of pleasure."  It was newly remodeled and renovated, with air conditioning.  Entertainers in the ad were Patti Sherwood, Fraser & Nevers (making faces - probably comedians), and Jerry Vaughn.  In 1967 a band was Dave Major and the Minors.  1969:  Parafunalia, the Swinging Ambassadors.  Photo below courtesy Hennepin County Library Special Collections.





Mr. Nibs became:

  • A country bar, featured Sherwin Linton.   
  • The building burned down on February 27, 1989.  At the time it was owned by Gary and Darlene Stark. 
  • It was rebuilt as the Mirage.


Magoo’s Pizza:  2933 Nicollet Ave.  Magoo's opened in about September 1965 in the other half of an old dance hall that also housed Mr. Lucky's. (See history of building under Mr. Lucky's, below.)  Teens were allowed in the front part, while those over 21 could buy beer in the back.  At first the music was all jazz, provided by KQRS program director Herb Schoenbohm's Trio and the Mike Elliott Trio.  Soon the teen side switched to local rock bands.  In 1965-66 it was owned by Bob Roosen and managed by Brian Lawson.  In 1967 it was owned and/or managed by Gary Jorgensen, who announced that June that the dance floor had been expanded.  Jerry Lenz of the Nickel Revolution remembered that "Magoo’s had a different feel. While [Mr. Lucky's\]New City Opera House was a rock club, Magoo’s was more laid back and the music wasn’t as loud. They served pizza and beer and had plenty of seating for the audience."  A 1967 listing showed it open to teens every night.  Faced with the declining teen market, Magoo's closed on Fridays in mid-1970 and that year became the Cafe Extraordinaire (see above).




This photo from the January 11-18, 1969 Insider, identifies it as Zarathustra at Magoo's on New Year's Eve.  But it also says that the band was at Dania Hall that night.  Please Clarify!   Photo courtesy Mike Barich.


Photo courtesy Susan Shallman Anderson


Majestic Ballroom:  Cottage Grove

Mancini's, St. Paul:  jazz venue


The Mandalay Club, 347 E. 38th Street, Minneapolis.  This was where Irving Williams and his Rhythmaires, formerly the Wold-Chamberlain Navy Band, made their debut on February 2, 1946.  The Club was apparently a restaurant, and the band performed in the Azure Room.  The address is just across the street diagonally from Dreamland.

The Manor was at 2550 W. 7th St. in St. Paul, 1967-74.  Jimmie Rodgers had an extended stay there in 1967.  1969:  Norse Room.  In August 1974, Bea-Bea Benson was appearing at the Manor's Rumpus Room.  Associated with Kelly's - same owner?


The Mantiki East was on University near Snelling in January 1964, as reported by Will Jones.  House band was a bluegrass group called the Country Briars.  Jones:  "The decor of the Mantiki East is what might be called 3.2 Polynesian.  There's a suggestion of grass huts, low tables, and a section where customers sit on the floor at low Japanese-like tables.  On the night I went there, the room was packed, and everybody was reverently digging the authentic Kentucky-Tennessee-West Virginia sounds of the Country Briars, and their funny-hat routines as well.  The room is a fairly exact copy, I am told, of a room in San Diego, Calif., the Mantiki West, where the same formula has been successful:  bluegrass music among brown grass huts."


Maple Lake Pavillion was across from Maple Lake on Hwy 55 in Maple Lake, Minn. Owned and operated by Kay Schue.  It's now Maple Lake Antiques.

Maple Leaf Club, 128 Highland Ave. No.  One of the hot clubs near Olson Memorial Highway.  In 1937, Phil Ware was the manager.  Became:

  • A restaurant
  • Club De Luxe, opened January 1941
  • The New Palms Cafe, opened January 1943 - "music and entertainment"
  • The Rhumboogie Cafe, opened June 15, 1943 - "You'll Enjoy Yourself."  The name apparently originated in a song that the Andrews Sisters performed in their screen debut in "Argentine Nights" (1940).  The Rhumboogie Club in Chicago was located at 343 East 55th Street, opening in April 1942 and partly owned by boxing champion Joe Louis. The club closed as the result of a fire on December 31, 1945. Reopening in June 1946, it never regained its old form, and closed for good in May 1947.  There was also a Rhum Boogie Club in Harlem in 1943.  Unless there was something in between, the Minneapolis Rhumboogie lasted from June 1943 to 1945.
  • Cara Okara Cafe, opened November 29, 1945.  Reese L. Martin, proprietor. 
  • The Johnny Baker Post 291 of the American Legion in 1947 or '48

Maple Leaf Bar and Lounge, White Bear Ave. and Larpenteur, Maplewood.  Not sure if this had music, but Mark Youngblood has this cool ashtray.  Formerly Garrity's.



Mar-Key Club - See Hotel Hastings

The Marian Ballroom was at 79th Street and Dupont in Bloomington.  In 1963 Willie Peterson had the house band, but the venue later showcased the High Spirits, Chancellors, Underbeats, Accents, and Gregory Dee and the Avanties, among others.



The Marigold Ballroom was at 1336 Nicollet Ave. at Grant Street. Lost Twin Cities says that it was built in 1919 as Marigold Gardens.  The New Orleans' Rhythm Kings appeared in the late 1920s, as well as local groups like Eddie Corlew's and Steamboat Smith's bands.  The Marigold Entertainers were featured until about 1929.  In the 1940s there was a famous sign, "Never Grow Old Dancing at the Marigold."  Minneapolis's famous Grain Belt Beer sign was originally on top of the Marigold, from 1941-1950.  In 1956 Woody Herman's Third Herd played at the venue to celebrate its 40th anniversary; it was the first name band to play there since Paul Whiteman in 1930.  1962 ad:  "The New Marigold Ballroom - Minneapolis's Smartest and Largest."  In August 1963 the ballroom was air conditioned; at that time it was only featuring old time bands.  1963 ads specified different age limitations for different nights; some were over 21, some over 25, some over 28.  1965 ad:  "Hey! It's Upbeat!  Dance every Friday nite at the Marigold Ballroom to top local and national groups."  The Marigold Ballroom was the site of many acts that R&B station KUXL brought in.  The venue held up to 5,000 people.  In 1971 it was owned and/or managed by Ed Larson.  It closed in May 1975 - its last owners were Vivian and Elmer Larson.  A Hyatt Regency sits at the spot today.  Photo below from February 1950 from the Minnesota Historical Society.







Marquas Club, 724 So. 4th Street.  1969:  Bill Robertson, guitarist.  This is the same address as Little Al's, on the same June 1969 list



Maryland Hotel - venue in 1957.



Matt Weber's:  See Miller's Club

Mattie’s Barbecue was located at 2934 Nicollet Ave., near Mr. Lucky's and Magoo's.  Started as a jazz venue but changed to Rhythm & Blues.  Mojo Buford played there in 1962.  The Little Sandy Review reported that there were folk sessions on Friday nights in January 1962.  In May 1963 Mattie Johnson stared a "3.2 circuit Blue Monday session featuring Blue Boy Buford and his rhythm-and-blues harmonica" that started at 11 am and lasted to 3 or 4 pm.  In 1963 there was information in the Trib that "Mattie is Back at the Old House, 1925 Fifth Ave. So. off Franklin.  In 1964 the city building inspector had turned down Mrs. Mattie Johnson's request for a license to allow dancing because the building code didn't allow dancing in a two-story frame building.  The city council overrode the denial, saying that the code was meant for large dance halls, not small operations like Mattie's.  Customers had already been dancing to live music.


The Matthews Tavern, 1706 Fourth Ave. So., was the site of the "Town Talk Dance" that took place from 3am to 7am Christmas morning.  The ad said it had the best dance floor, and that it (the venue? the dance?) was "Something New and Entirely Different."


Mauer's, St. Paul - jazz venue


The Meadow Inn was "Straight Out Cedar Avenue South to Minnesota River Bottoms."  An ad dated July 1943 promised picnic grounds and dancing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

The Meadowbrook Roadhouse was in New Brighton.


Meadowmoor Supper Club - 1 mile north of Soderville on Highway 65.  June, 1969 lineup:

  • Wayne Reinhart & the New Custom Five
  • Don Phillips Band
  • Gene Fournier Band
  • Tony Jambor Orchestra
  • Polka Debonaires
  • Dave Lory, country western impersonator

The Medina Ballroom was built in 1956 by brothers Bob, Cliff, and Joe Raskob (along with friend Norm Vansion) near their home. The Raskobs saw a need for a place to dance in Western Hennepin County. The entertainment complex also included a bowling alley. In 1959 it was advertised as the “new Medina Ballroom” featuring a Teen Age Dance. Also playing was Whoopie John. In 1961, the Rock-o-Tones played at the Teen Age Dance. A 1967 ad indicates that it was heavy on the polka music.  On June 17, 1974, the facility burned to the ground, killing two including the daughter of an owner. It was rebuilt, and remains in the family to this day.



Mermaid Lounge - Highway 10 and 35W.  1969:  Country & Western music featuring Roger Mews and the Country Good Guys.


Metropolitan Sports Center (Met Center):  The Metropolitan Sports Center was built for the new National Hockey League expansion team, the Minnesota North Stars.  Construction took a year, from October 1966 to 1967, at a cost $7 million.  On October 21, 1967, the North Stars played their first home game against the California Seals. Spectator seats were in the process of being installed as fans arrived at the arena for the first time. The facility seated 15,000. It was home to the North Stars from 1967-1993 and ABA's Minnesota Muskies.  The Met Center was considered to be one of the finest arenas in the NHL for many years, both for its sightlines and its ice surface. Among NHL players, the Met was known for fast ice, the best lighting, great locker rooms and training facilities.  It was disassembled in 1994 in a series of three controlled implosions of the building and using the usual heavy equipment. Prior to the demolition, the Met Center scoreboard was sold and moved to the Xcel Center, where it still is in use today. 



Ticket Image courtesy Josh McKeown                                 Photo copyright Bloomington Historical Society

Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington hosted many concerts, the most memorable being the Beatles in August 1965 (see separate page).  It was torn down in 1985 to make way for the Mall of America. 


Melody Ballroom, Forest Lake - 1952-55.  Probably open summers only


Michael's was in Golden Valley and had very distinctive decor. Became Kozlak's.  Ashtray from the collection of Mark Youngblood.






Midway Stadium was torn down and replaced in 1981/82.  Below is a photo from 1967.



Miller's Club, downtown St. Paul.  Wally Olson's band played for more than a decade.  Became:

  • Colony Club
  • Matt Weber's

Is this the same as Miller's Coaches, 289 Como Ave.?  Two 1887 Pullman coaches that once graced Northern Pacific's Chicago-to-Seattle line were transformed into a tavern. Wheels and other gear were removed, so the cars would stay put. Photos from 1937 show them being constructed and the name of the place as the Zephyr Cafe - "No Dancing."  Railroad and steelworkers flocked to Millers’ Coaches for a drink after work.  Apparently there they played old time music and polkas.



Minneapolis Arena, 2900 Dupont Ave. So.  In 1928 this was a roller skating arena, with band music every evening and Sunday afternoon.

The Minneapolis Armory is at 500-530 So. 6th Street.  From the Historyapolis Facebook Page:

Minneapolis Armory, a structure in downtown Minneapolis that is a relic from a forgotten age. This concrete fortress on the corner of 5th Street and 5th Avenue, on the eastern edge of downtown, is a monument to the city's past troubles. Constructed in 1935, it was planted in downtown as a bulwark against revolution, a legacy of the civil war that was fought on the streets of downtown Minneapolis in the summer of 1934. That year battle lines were drawn between the Citizens' Alliance--an employers' organization--and a group of radical labor organizers, determined to win a greater voice for workers in a city known for its hostility to unions. Organizing first a union and then a strike the Teamsters prevailed, but only after Governor Floyd Olson called in the National Guard to keep the peace. Troops under the command of Adjutant General Allard A. Walsh made the city into an armed encampment, setting up machine gun installations and military roadblocks around the downtown. In the aftermath of the Truckers' Strike, leaders of the National Guard decided to build their new military installation downtown, ignoring the protests of some city residents. There is "no reason why we should throw away more tax money in this smoky, semislum section of the city," H.M Orfield argued in a letter to the editor penned in 1934. "It will always be a rendezvous for transient laborers and homeless, hungry men seeking city aid." The National Guard remained steadfast, arguing that events of the previous summer had demonstrated the importance of having a military installation at the center of the city. Hoping that the construction would bring jobs and economic development to a deteriorating part of the city, community leaders embraced this effort, lending their support to the largest WPA project in Minnesota. Eighty years after the downtown insurrection, the Armory stands almost abandoned, its original purpose forgotten.

The building was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.  It was saved from the wrecking ball by court order and as of 2006 was used as a parking structure.  Plans to renovate the structure have been floating around for years.  Here's one from June 2012.  A great video is on Youtube.




The first iteration of the Minneapolis Auditorium was built in 1905 at 11th and Nicollet.  That building became the Lyceum Theater. 


The second (pictured below) was built in 1927 at 1301 Second Ave. So. [1403 Stevens] for $3.15 million.  It had a 10,000 pipe tubular pneumatic action Kimball organ, said to be the fourth largest in the world, "the voice of Minneapolis."  It is now in storage in the convention center.  The Auditorium opened on June 4, 1928.  The Minneapolis Auditorium was home to the Minneapolis Lakers, the state's first professional sports team, from 1947 to 1960.  In August 1964, the space was renamed the Minneapolis Auditorium and Convention Center when a Convention Hall addition was built. In 1972, the auditorium manager began refusing to hold concerts by some hard-rock groups, such as Alice Cooper and Jefferson Airplane, after an incident at the St. Paul Civic Center where windows were smashed after a Black Sabbath concert. The auditorium was demolished in 1989.

Minneapolis Auditorium

Minnehaha Hall, 160 W. 9th Street, 1955


The Minnesota Candy Kitchen was at 221 Cedar, as advertised in the South Side News in October 1934.  They probably hadn't gotten around to changing their name after Prohibition made whatever they had been doing under the guise of being a candy shop legal.  Anyway, their ad touts wines, liquors, 6% beer, Fried Chicken and Steak.  Dine and Dance!


Minnesota Terrace:  See Nicollet Hotel.


Minnesota(n) Hotel  - See the Ritz. 


Minnesota-Iowa Club:  341-343 E. 38th Street, Minneapolis.  A September 1938 ad promised food, beverages, and entertainment, with club rooms available to organizations and clubs for meetings or entertainments.  This is now a church, built in 1922.


Minnetonka Mist - I don't know where this is, but Dale Thomton played there in 1973-74


Mr. C's


Mr. Joe's Supper Club, 1964 University Ave., St. Paul.  Quoting James Lilecs:  "Mr. Joe's was a supper club at the old Midway Motor Lodge. The Midway was across from the Twins, another motel – sorry, motor lodge. For some reason the presence of two huge motels at the same intersection gave the corner some importance and permanence. The Twins was demolished a few years ago, the space turned into an enormous hardware store. The Midway survives [as a Days Inn]. It's been remodeled from its original appearance, of course; who wants classic 60s motel styling when you can have late-80s / early 90s oversized cartoony Mansard roofs besides EVERYONE WITH A SENSE OF STYLE  Sorry, didn't meant to shout."  Ashtray below from the collection of Mark Youngblood.  Joe was Joe Kozlak.







Mr. Lucky's: 2935 Nicollet at Lake.  From Hennepin County Library Special Collections: 

  • In 1919 a brick and concrete garage was built at that address.
  • It spent some time in the early 1930s as an indoor golf course
  • By 1933 it was converted into a dance hall.  This may be the Lake Street Auditorium, described at Nicollet and Lake St. (5 East Lake) in a 1937 dance ad in the Minneapolis Spokesman.
  • For decades it was the Friendship Club -a dance club with over 10,000 members by 1951. It was open three nights a week: Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. It did not serve liquor, it served coffee, cookies and 3.2 beer. You also had to be 28 years old or older to be admitted. It was best known for its “Get Acquainted” dances:  “There are two of them during the evening. The dance lasts for about 20 minute, and starts out with a march which is followed by a waltz, a circle two-step and a Paul Jones. You start out with your own partner, Bob blows a whistle. That means all dancing stops for a second or two. The couples promenade in twos, fours, or sixes and then girls step back one partner. The new partners, greet each other, shake hands makes themselves acquainted and the dancing is resumed.” - Cedric Adams, Minneapolis Tribune, October 22, 1939.  The Friendship Club closed in 1961.
  • From about 1960 to 1961 at least the 2935 portion of the building was the Loon Club, which hosted teen dances with big names.  In 1964 Stebbins reported that Sunday afternoon jazz sessions ended when its management got into a hassle with the musicians' union over unpaid wages and could no longer offer music. 
  • Mr. Lucky's opened in December 1962 as the only local night club devoted exclusively to teenagers. In 1965 it was expanded, and open Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. 
  • The other half of the building became Magoo's Pizza Parlor in 1965.  In 1966 it and neighboring Magoo’s Pizza were owned by Bob Roosen and Mr. Lucky's was managed by Bryan Lawson.  Magoo’s served beer, so kids had to be carded to get in.

    The ad directly below is from 1964.

















1965 - what band is this?




  • Mr. Lucky's was renamed The New City Opera House by Zippy Caplan in about 1967.   In 1968, New City was advertised as “The Upper Midwest’s only Psychedelic House of Rock!” and “Minnesota’s Own Electric Circus.” See 1968 above for a memorable appearance by Cream, who were apparently expecting a real Opera House.  Here's a look inside, New Year's Eve 1968-69, featuring Stillroven.  Photo from Insider by Mike Barich.



In January 1971 the Insider reported that manager Gary Jorgensen quit because the club was no longer profitable, so owner Bob Roosen turned it over to the Mystics to run, but that didn't work out either.  The building was torn down in 1977 for a K-Mart parking lot.


Mr. Nibs:  See Magic Bar. 


Mr. Pedros:  788 Grand, 5 blocks east of Lexington, St. Paul.  In 1970 they featured the Roustabouts.


Mitch's was located just outside the town of Mendota at the junction of Highways 100 and 55.  (At the time many roads were cobbled together to form a "belt line" around the Twin Cities and renamed Highway 100.)  Formerly a gambling spot called the Hollywood, Mitch's opened in 1939 as a 3.2 beer tavern owned by Herman Mitch.  Set-ups were also bootlegged from the kitchen.  Mitch had either owned or managed the Silver Strip on University Ave. in St. Paul and had featured William "Red" Dougherty on the piano there.  When he bought Mitch's in Mendota he brought Red with him, and Red's was the first Dixieland band of its kind in the area.  Every Sunday Red's group played for an hour from Mitch's over the radio with Leigh Kamman as emcee.  The group also performed over the air for fifteen minutes each evening.  Mitch's was also a spot for after-hours jam sessions, and at times would host Hoagy Carmichael, Jack Teagarden, members of Red Nichols' and Woody Herman's bands, Ray McKinley, Gene Krupa, and others.  Dougherty left for the Casablanca in late 1942 or early '43 and soon after Mitch's went out of business and the building was torn down.  (Stebbins)




Moby Dick's, 620 Hennepin Ave.  Formerly the 620 Club, where you could find gangsters and turkey sandwiches. 



Moby Dick's was one of the places that made Hennepin Ave. so... colorful.  In 1972 part-owner Kip Canton admitted that the place "attracts a lot of hustlers, a lot of pimps, not just Mr. Nice Guys." 


Photo by Dan Shattuck




More Down Stairs - See Dome Bar.


Monte Carlo Bar and Cafe, 219 Third Ave. No., Minneapolis.  In March 1968 there was entertainment on the weekends - dance to Ted Pelletier and Don Phillips, and the Tune Twisters.  The ad called it Critelli's Monte Carlo. 


The Monterey Ballroom in Owatonna was owned by St. Louis Park dentist Irving Posnick.


The Monterey Ballroom in Faribault was owned by Nate Erlich.  Can both of these be right?

More Downstairs - See the Dome.


Murray's Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge, 26 So. Sixth Street, Minneapolis.  Arthur and Marie opened the Red Feather Cafe (see below) in 1935 in North Minneapolis.  In 1939 they moved it to the Russell Hotel, calling it Murray's Red Feather Bar and Cafe.  In 1945 they purchased the building here on Sixth Street and Opened Murray's.  For a comprehensive history, click Here.  1969:  Don Lee on organ, Rob Treber in piano lounge.



The Music Box, 2446 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis (next to the Nicollet Hotel).  Stebbins:  "During most of its existence from 1943 or 1944 to some time in the late 1940s it featured the same trio, the Mel Arvin band.  In 1944 the Art Van Damme Trio also worked there.  The place burned down, after which the location was made into the Nicollet Hotel parking lot."  An undated and unsigned memo (probably from the mid 1940s) says that the owner of record was the Nicollet Hotel but suspects that Tommy Banks may have held the deed.


The Music Bar, 406 Cedar Ave., was advertised in the Minnesota Daily in 1952 (King Larry and His Jazz Combo) and 1954 ("Billy Miske's" - Excellent Band.) 


The Musicians' Club of the Minneapolis Musicians Association, Local 73 of the American Federation of Musicians was on South 5th Street, and moved to 32 Glenwood Ave. (then Western Ave.) by 1923.  In the late 1920s and early '30s it was the scene of after hours jam sesssions.


The Musicians' Rest was in an old, large house at 141 Highland Ave., just off Sixth Ave. No. and Lyndale.  Became the Harlem Breakfast Club, a black and tan rib place, 1934-36.

Myrt’s Café opened at 6325 Minnetonka Blvd. at Dakota in St. Louis Park in 1957, catering to the teen-age trade. It was run by Mr. and Mrs. Truman Hedwall. It created some controversy as to whether the police were enforcing the law (re: drinking, smoking, curfew) evenhandedly.  Myrt's didn't last long, and Beek's Pizza opened in the building in May 1958.

Mystic Cavern - See Keystone Bar


Nacirema Club (American spelled backwards):  3949 Fourth Ave. So., Minneapolis.  Jazz venue 1964.  In 1967 it had 600 members, with A.B. Cassius as president.  Building is now a church.


Nacirema Club, 1975.  Photo Minnesota Historical Society


Nando's Hideaway



The Nankin first opened in 1919 at 15-17 Seventh Street South in Minneapolis.  In 1999, when announcing the closing of the restaurant, the StarTribune reported that it was founded by Walter James. In 1949 James sold the Nankin to the Golden and Chalfen families, which also had interests in Holiday on Ice and the Minneapolis Lakers basketball team.  The Nankin moved across the street to 20 S. 7th St. in late 1958. In 1981 it relocated once again to City Center. US Restaurants, the company behind the Green Mill chain, were co-owners briefly in the late 1980s. The Wu family, founders of the Szechuan Star Restaurant in Edina, owned the Nankin from 1989 to 1999.  "The Nankin weathered some hard times in the past decade. Its traditional Chinese-American menu fell out of favor. A strike in late 1988 led to a five-month shutdown. A drug raid by Minneapolis police in early April 1997, in which 19 customers were arrested, didn't help the restaurant's fading reputation. A few weeks later, the Wu family filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, claiming a rent dispute."


Dick Long led the house orchestra from at least 1924, which broadcast over WCCO radio in the 1940s.  There was a hall on the floor above where the Wolverine Club would hold dances; see Olson Memorial Highway.


Minnesota Historical Society photos:  above, 1925



The original location, closed in 1958


Nashville North in Zimmerman, Minn. attracted some big names in country music.


The Nest:  731 Sixth Ave. No.;  jazz venue.


Never on Friday Club - See Holiday Inn Central

New City Opera House - see Mr. Lucky's  


The New Holland Bar (formerly Lindy's) was at 320 Cedar in February 1963.  Bill "Boss" Gordon and His LaBombas played Caribbean and Latin music:  "Come see and learn the new dance craze - Limbo." 

The New Munich Ballroom was one of many small town venues, this one located 30 miles north of St. Cloud.

New Palms Cafe - See Maple Leaf


New Peking Cafe, 5th and Hennepin.  Dancing and entertainment, 1922.

New Riverside Cafe:  West Bank Co-op at 1900 Riverside, featuring folk, blues, and bluegrass.  In 1971 Hundred Flowers reported that it was owned by the U of M, which was going to demolish it for a parking garage.

Newport Teen Center


Nib's (not to be confused with Mr. Nibs), 35th and Cedar.  This might just be a bar, not a music venue.  But here's a picture from 1953.




Nick's Cafe was at 1501 So. Street from 1936-42 and advertized in the Minneapolis Bowling News.  "Come and Enjoy Yourself With Music and Dance."  "Free Prizes to Bowlers Only."  "Where Old Friends Meet." 


Nicky's, Minneapolis


Nicollet Cafe was a 3.2 beer tavern on Nicollet Ave. just north of 26th Street; briefly a jazz venue in the late 1950s.  It had a large audience from the nearby Minneapolis Art School, but was unable to continue Sunday jazz.



The Nicollet Hotel was located on Washington at the confluence of Hennepin and Nicollet in Minneapolis.  It was built in 1924.  In 1937 the Minnesota Terrace was opened and local bands such as Glad Olinger's played there.  Stebbins:  "Once during the 1940s, when Fats Waller's band was playing along with the all-Negro Naval Dance Band, a jam session par excellence developed.  The Minnesota Terrace lasted through 1952.  It was Minneapolis' major ballroom, where one could hear a 'name' dance band.  The Marigold was a runner-up with an occasional name band."  An act in 1952 at the Terrace was Dorothy Lewis and her Mexican Fiesta on Ice.  1969:  Phil Velasco Trio.



Neil Messick of the Nicollet Hotel created the Waikiki Room at the Nicollet Hotel after thinking it about it for eight years.  Postcard below from 1953.






The hotel was sold to Soul's Harbor in the 1970s and basically became a homeless shelter.  It was vacated in 1984 and demolished in 1991. 


The Nifty Cafe was in St. Paul in 1941 - Artie E. Boyd, proprietor.  Not sure if they had music, but in October of that year they opened the Blue Room, "a cozy upstairs addition over the main cafe," reported the Spokesman.  "The Blue Room is suitable for small gatherings such as card parties and meetings."  It just sounds like it should have music.



19 Bar, 19 West 15th Street, Minneapolis:  Not sure of the date, but here is an ad:





No Exit - folk venue at Macalester College


Norma Jean's:  See Duffy's


Normandy Hotel, Minneapolis


Normandy Village, 8th Street and 4th Ave. So.  1969:  Jerry Vaughan at the piano.


North Barn:  See the Barn


Northern Bar featured jazz during at least 1961-64


Northrop Auditorium is at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Campus. 


Northrop Auditorium - photo from Minnesota Historical Society

Norway Hall, 2902 Chicago Ave. So. in Minneapolis, was used for dances by the black community since at least the mid 1930s.  A 1936 ad in the Minneapolis Spokesman said, "Norway Hall.. is one of the nicest halls in Minneapolis.  It is centrally located, Selby-Lake street cars run within one block of the hall, making it convenient for St. Paul patrons who want to use the street cars.  Chicago-Penn and Chicago-Fremont cars run right to the door."  Chuck Berry played there in April 1956.  A note from a 1967 issue of the Spokesman says that it became Gopher Pup Tent?  The building there now was built in 1995.

#1 Groveland was at 19th and Nicollet under the Plymouth Church Tower.  In November 1970 an ad indicated concerts by Cottonwood, the Paisleys, Thundertree, and others, but with no firm dates.  The ad also said that brown rice was served and that it was open weekends and days. 


Nye's, at 112 E. Hennepin Ave. in Minneapolis, began as a bar called Hefron's.  Al Nye bought the bar in the late 1940s, and in 1964 he bought the place next door and opened the Polonaise Room Restaurant.  Nye's featured polka music in the bar and a piano bar in the front of the restaurant.  1969:  The Nightcaps with go-go girls.




Oak Knoll Barn, Superior Blvd. (I-394), Hopkins, 1928.


The Oak Ridge Resort was on Crooked Lake in Anoka.  Percy Hughes played there in 1952.

Oasis in Lino Lakes ('70s)



The Office Lounge at 217 South 6th St. in Minneapolis opened in August 1962. It featured Gary Nielsen and the Night-Caps in 1965. It was a 21 or older venue.  It was plagued by fires, one in 1965 and two within two days in January 1966.  The owners were George Schaumberg and George Flynn, and the manager was George Pappas.  The building had been the Business branch of the Minneapolis Public Library.  In the summer of 1963 the basement was opened as the Conference Room.  Operated by John Anzevino and Frank Yarnusso.  Here's a glimpse of it from an episode of Route 66 shot in Minneapolis (see 1963 above).




The Office became the Red Baron in 1967.  June 1969:  Zaraathustra and Blue Fox.  Had a fire in October 1969 and the Paisleys lost all of their equipment.


The Old Depot Nightclub in Roseville was being turned into a teen club by owner John Gospeter in July 1956.  Tommy Dooher's rock 'n' roll band would perform.



Old Southern Barbeque:  610 Lyndale (1937), 700 No. Lyndale.  Jazz venue run by "Ma and Pa Pettiford" and members of the multi-talented Pettiford family made up the house band.  It endured longer than any of the clubs in the Olson Highway district.  It had been a storefront church, a restaurant since 1939, and was renamed the Old Southern Barbeque in 1949 or '50.  In 1943 there was a memorable jam session one Saturday night with members of Cab Calloway's, Duke Ellington's, and Woody Herman's bands.  "The session lasted until 8:00 the next morning, when the police broke it up." 


In February 1963 an article cited Cicero Flood as the owner and reported that the City was trying to crack down on prostitution at the club.  By 1964 it still existed as a restaurant but no longer offered live music or after-hours sessions.

The Pettiford family came to Minneapolis from Oklahoma in 1929. 

  • Harry "Doc" Pettiford was born in Ohio in 1888.  He had been a veterinarian played drums.  He died in about 1942.
  • Leontine Pettiford was born in 1892, reportedly of Choctaw extraction.  She played piano. 

Their children were:

  • Lenontine, born 1911
  • Harry, Jr., born 1912 - sax
  • Cecelia, born 1914
  • Ira, born 1916 - trumpet and later bass
  • Marjorie, born 1917
  • Alonzo F., born 1920 - banjo, trumpet.  Alonzo died on May 20, 1947 at age 26
  • Oscar, born 1922 - violin, piano and later bass.  Oscar left Minneapolis in 1942 when Charlie Barnet hired him to play bass duets with his bass player, Chubby Jackson.  In 1947 he was with Duke Ellington.
  • Rosa/Rose Mae, born 1925
  • Ellen/Helen, born 1927
  • Alice, born 1932

The sisters played either sax or clarinet.


Ole's Momart:  mentioned in a Will Jones column in May 1963; apparently packed on Sunday nights with mostly a listening crowd.


Olson's Hall, Hopkins.  Site of dances in the late 1920s.  No idea where.


Orchid Cafe, 1500 Fourth Ave. So.  In 1937, the Northwest's Finest Night Club - dine and dance.

Orchid Club:  See Dreamland. 



The Orpheum was the place in the 1940s for big name bands. Kenneth Stuart:  "The format was to show a movie and then the band would come out for a 15 minute session and then back to the movie. This went on all day and was one hell of a treat to pay a quarter to get in and be treated to all this tremendous (a 1940s term) big-band music. Big bands that appeared were Horace Heidt and his Musical Knights with the Triple-tonguing Trumpeters; Artie Shaw with 'Little Jazz;' Roy Eldridge, fresh out of the Army, wearing high-water trousers; Sammy Kaye and his 'So You Want To Lead A Band?' show.  I led the band and did well but lost out to a pretty, hip-swinging chick, in a white summer dress, in front of a room filled with sailors from the Wold-Chamberlain Naval Station. I got to keep the autographed baton as a souvenir, however, which I promptly lost the first move I made after that. The best show I saw back then was the Gene Krupa Orchestra. The huge drape curtains would close immediately after the movie in preparation for the entrance of the orchestra. First, there was a double-paradiddle and then their theme song “Starburst” started playing as the curtain opened and the band rose from below stage level, facing backwards and then turning to present itself to the audience. Everything was in slow motion except the theme song. I’ve seen big bands all over the place including in, at least, three countries and that first showing by the Gene Krupa big band was the greatest musical thrill of my life."


The building opened on October 16, 1921, originally named the Hennepin Theater. The theater actually consists of two separate structures: a long, fingerlike lobby that extends back from a narrow facade along Hennepin Avenue, and the auditorium, which is set back and parallels Hawthorne Avenue. The restored lobby includes six terra cotta bas relief sculptures. The auditorium is intricately plastered, with a number of garlands, swags, medallions, and other decorations. The ceiling has a dome with 30,000 squares of aluminum leaf.  The building seats 1500 on the main floor and 1100 on the three level balcony.  In 1988 the Orpheum was bought by the City of Minneapolis; it was renovated and reopened in 1993.  From its reopening until 1996 the theater was operated by the Ordway Music Theatre. Since then it has been operated by the Historic Theatre Group. In 2005 the city transferred ownership of its theaters to the Hennepin Theatre Trust.  Historic Theatre Group's original partner was Jujamcyn Productions. SFX (now Live Nation) bought Jujamcyn Productions in 2000.  Live Nation sold most of its theatrical properties, including its Minneapolis operations, to Key Brand Entertainment in 2008.


Feature image 

Interior photo:  Hennepin County Library.  External photo, 1925:  Minnesota Historical Society


Osterberg's:  See the Dome Bar.

Oxford Ballroom, Selby Ave., St. Paul - jazz venue


(Freddie's) Padded Cell was located at 925 W. Lake Street at Colfax Ave. Opened in 1953 [1957] by Paul Fink. Previously Harold's Club, in 1957 it featured a Dixieland band and that summer it even had a float in the Aquatennial parade.  The format then switched to modern jazz, featuring local and out of town groups, including Kai Winding's Sextet, Pat Moran's group, the Marion McPartland Trio, Jack Teagarden, Peter Nero, and Charlie Ventura.  Next door was a Charburger where musicians from all over town would congregate when their jobs were over.  Paul Fink left town and the format turned to folk music.  The club hosted such major acts as Peter, Paul, and Mary - "For a couple of dollars and a pitcher of beer we saw loads of talent!"  The folk trio the Journeymen recorded their "Coming Attractions-Live!" album at the Cell in 1962.  The cover described it as an "on-the-spot recording of an actual performance in Minneapolis's famed Padded Cell."  An article about folk venues in Life Magazine's December 14, 1962 issue noted that the Padded Cell served "near beer."  In May 1963 there was a note that owner Fred Cole promised to get the place "back in gear this summer," offering jazz, comedy, dancing girls, calypso, and folk, particularly the Contemporary Folk Group.  In 1964 the club featured Epic Recording Artists Jerry Goodge and the Gold Briars and the Berkely Squires.



    If you've got $250 you can buy this SOMA LP on ebay!

Pal's Greenwich Village, 830 Hennepin.  New in October 1955, with Dewey Harris at the piano.  In 1967 it was advertised in the Local 1145 Honeywell News as Pal's Variety Bar and Pal's Country Kitchen, owned by Sterling Robson.


Palms Ballroom in Renville.  1967 poster below courtesy www.minniepaulmusic.com




Panama Cafe, 718 Sixth Ave. No., 1928.  Presenting Warren & Ellison, direct from Plantation Cafe, Chicago.  Best Music in Town.


Papa Joe's Northern A-Go-Go was at 323 West Broadway in Minneapolis in 1966-67.  It's now an on-ramp to 35E.  Photos below from Joe Daszkiewicz.  Supper Club in 1969.





Parade Stadium was located in a Minneapolis City Park called the Parade.  The name dated back to 1904 when some of the land was next to the National Guard Armory (demolished in 1934) and was used as a parade ground by the guard.  Its current location is listed as Hennepin Ave. to I-394 between Vineland Ave. and Wayzata Blvd. and is 45.77 acres, including 2.32 acres of water.  This is 21 acres less than the original park, due to land lost to the construction of I-94 and I-394.  The stadium itself was planned as a 17,000 football stadium with 600 parking spaces; there was also a 4,000-seat baseball stadium.  Construction began in 1950 despite objections from homeowners on Lowry Hill.  It was temporarily halted due to a Korean War construction moratorium but the city got an exemption and the stadium opened in the fall of 1951. 


Parade Stadium was the site of many outdoor concerts and festivals in the '60s and '70s; 30,000 people came to a Melissa Manchester concert in June 1979, and the gates were crashed and the goal post bent during a near-riot at a Fleetwood Mac concert.  The last major concert there featured Simon and Garfunkel in July 1983. 


An ice arena and Sculpture Garden were built in 1988, and the changes edged out the aging stadium.  Parade Stadium was demolished in 1990.  For a very detailed history of the park, click here and go to pages 191-198.  Also see the entry on Minnopedia - both are by Minneapolis Park Historian David C. Smith.


The Parade complex, 1952, courtesy Minnesota Historical Society


Post-event photo from 1977, courtesy Alan Freed


The Paradise, 414 1/2 Hennepin Ave., opened in 1936 and was a place where jazz musicians would play (and gamble) after hours.  In March 1939 all licenses were revoked from owner Alvin Theis after it was charged that entertainer and "purported" manager Red Stendal and waitress Helen Dillon were found guilty of selling hard liquor on a Sunday.  "Revoked were liquor, beer, restaurant, soft drink, cigaret, dance hall and tavern licenses.  the Paradise has figured in several liquor law flareups.  Morals squad investigators raided the place.. after making the liquor purchases.  Judge Paul W. Guilford declared the sales were made in an 'open and notorious' manner."  (Minneapolis Journal, March 31, 1939). 


The Paragon in Coon Rapids was an over-21 club opened by musician Ceed