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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

American History 101: America's First Rock 'N' Roll Riot- Sixty Years Ago

Many think that the rock era began in 1955 with Bill Haley and The Comet's hit 'Rock Around The Clock' but- according to this story from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)- rock 'n' roll's "first" concert ended in a riot.


It was Friday- March 21- 1952 (your 'Captain' was still in production!) in Cleveland- Ohio and the show was MCed by legendary rock radio DJ Alan Freed.


Freed had a wildly-popular nighttime radio show on Cleveland AM radio station WJW-AM 850 where he played rhythm and blues (R&B) records to a passionate- mostly-young radio audience.


The concert was coined the "Moondog Coronation Ball" and featured R & B acts promoted and played by Freed.


A "small printing error" on the tickets brought an estimated 20000 people to the Cleveland Arena- a building that only could safety hold half that number- according to the BBC story.


Thousands who showed up found the arena filled and the doors locked- and that began rock 'n' roll's first concert riot as told in the story by the BBC writer Jude Sheerin.

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