On Friday, September 24, 2010, J&M Studios was officially designated as a rock and roll landmark by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, kicking off the annual Ponderosa Stomp and starting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2010 American Music Masters Series honoring Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew (November 8-13 in Cleveland).
From 1947-1956, J&M Studios (838-840 N. Rampart), owned and operated by Cosimo Matassa, produced the records that helped give birth to rock and roll. Along with producer and arranger Dave Bartholomew, Matassa recorded sessions by pioneers Fats Domino, Little Richard, Bartholomew, Professor Longhair, Smiley Lewis, Lloyd Price, Roy Brown, and Shirley and Lee, among many others.
The Rock Hall’s Landmark Series designates historic rock and roll landmarks around the United States. There are currently 11 selected sites that have been integral in telling the story of rock and roll’s formative moments. Sites across the country include KLRU-TV, the home of Austin City Limits; The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa where Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens played their final gig; Whisky-a-Go-Go in Los Angeles where the Doors were resident performers; King Records in Cincinnati, a prominent American record label started in the 40s and The Crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Five sites are located in the Cleveland area and include Brooklyn High School, the location Elvis played his first concert north of the Mason-Dixon line and WJW Radio, home to Deejay Alan Freed who popularized the term “rock and roll.”