Ask any Clevelander who heard Smokey Robinson perform here early on in his career, and they’ll likely tell you about Leo’s Casino.
Leo’s Casino, designated a historic rock and roll landmark by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, stood at 7500 Euclid Avenue on Cleveland’s east side. From the time it opened in 1963, Leo’s featured Motown artists on a regular basis. “It was a very important club to us,” Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr., told The Plain Dealer. The Supremes, the Four Tops, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and – of course – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were among the acts that played there, often using the 700-seat, racially integrated venue to hone their acts.
Throughout the 1960s, the Miracles returned to Leo’s Casino at least once a year for a four-evening stint, performing as many as three shows each night. One of these performances was even filmed in 1966 for a nationally televised documentary on the Miracles. In addition to playing Leo’s traditional “Sweater Night” Thursdays, men’s nights and ladies’ nights, the Miracles – described as “a handsome young group of vocalists” by Cleveland’s Call and Post in 1965 ...
"It took an iconic radio station, WHK, and an anglophile disc jockey, Ron Britton, to bring what is arguably the most popular British rock group ever, the Beatles, to Cleveland, Ohio, the 'Home of Rock and Roll,'" says Lynn Jones, who was a young boy when the Fab Four made their concert debut in Cleveland. "On September 15, 1964, the Cleveland rock and roll world exploded, first on Public Square when thousands gathered to wave up to the Beatles and Ron Britton as they waved back from open windows… and then, 'The Concert.'"
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr stayed at the Sheraton-Cleveland, which was surrounded by a police cordon given the fan fervor. Cunning Cleveland police used a riot van traveling between the concert venue, Cleveland's Public Hall, as a decoy. Adoring Beatles fans eventually caught on to the fact that the Fab Four were not in the van, but the group still managed to escape undetected from inside the hotel not long before showtime.
"Sitting with the WHK station managers, Ron’s wife Peach, my wife Ann, and sister Kathy," remembers Jones, "we watched from 40 feet away as screaming girls and women rushed ...
On August 15, 1965, the Beatles performed before a crowd of more than 55,000 ecstatic fans in New York City’s Shea Stadium. That’s a lot of screaming.
The legendary performance was the first ever in a major U.S. stadium, and is known as perhaps the most famous Beatles’ concert – well, maybe that infamously cut short rooftop gig ranks higher.
The 1964 Ludwig drum kit played by Ringo Starr during that Shea Stadium gig was also used on six Beatles’ albums, as well as during their last official concert appearance in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in 1966. Can you think of a more iconic drum set?
John Lennon’s 1964 Rickenbacker electric guitar used during the performance was one of two guitars made especially for Lennon while visiting America for the first time in 1964, and used on the Beatles second-ever Ed Sullivan appearance. It soon became his primary instrument, and still has the set list from Shea Stadium taped to the side.
Hard to believe that 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of that Beatles’ milestone – and that Beatlemania would still be alive and well! Both the Ringo Starr Ludwig drumkit and the John Lennon Rickenbacker ...
During a recent tour stop in Cleveland, Ohio, we caught up with 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee, much-lauded solo artist, E Street Band guitarist and incredible storyteller Nils Lofgren who shared how he first became interested in playing the guitar, a faithful night seeing both the Who and Jimi Hendrix in concert, the influence of Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones, the Beatles; and the "god awful" music he and Bruce Springsteen made while backing Chuck Berry in Cleveland at the Rock Hall's opening concert.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Your first instrument as a child was the classical accordion. How did that come about?
Nils Lofgren: Well, I spent eight years on the South Side of Chicago, where I was born. When I was five, every kid played accordion. I asked to take lessons, and I did. After the waltzes and polkas, you move in to classical or jazz. My teacher sent me in to classical accordion. It was an enormous musical study and backdrop, and, as a young teenager, I fell in love with the Beatles and Stones. Through them, I discovered the British invasion, the American counterpart of great rock bands in the 60s; Stax ...
For over three years, the Milwaukee quartet Vinyl Theatre have been growing a loyal fan base with frenetic live shows driven by the group's imminently danceable rock. With clear reverence for post-punk sounds of the 80s and earning comparisons to such contemporaries as the Killers and Death Cab for Cutie, Vinyl Theatre released their debut full-length Electrogram on Fueled by Raman in 2014.
The Rock Hall caught up with Vinyl Theatre drummer Nick Cesarz on the eve of his group's live Sonic Sessions concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on July 21, 2014.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Can you describe the moment you knew you wanted to make music or play in a band?
Nick Cesarz: I was very young, maybe 8, and I saw the Blue Man Group for the first time. I even got to meet them. After seeing the show, I wanted to try playing drums. When I reached the 5th grade, my name was picked of a hat to play percussion in the school band. I had some good luck that week!
RRHOF: What was the first album you bought with your own money?
NC: Led Zeppelin ...
When Alternative Press was founded in 1985, mainstream music publications just didn't cover music on the fringes – punk, new wave, hardcore. That music had yet to be labeled "alternative," and its fans had few sources for information. Alternative Press set out to change that.
Truly a magazine written by and for diehard music fans, Alternative Press celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2015. The Rock Hall caught up with Alternative Press founder Mike Shea to talk about why he was angry about the Smiths, the earliest days of AP, punk rock clubs, an offer from Madonna and finally saying "screw it."
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Why did you start Alternative Press?
Mike Shea: I started AP because two things: I was bored, and also, I was angry. I was really mad because the Smiths, in 1985, were not coming to Cleveland. They were touring the U.S., and they didn’t have a Cleveland gig, and I was upset about that and I wanted to know why. So, the short of it is… I ...
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Sir Paul McCartney surprised Beatles fans by sharing exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage from the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, where he inducted longtime friend and bandmate Ringo Starr.
The four-minute video, which was shared on McCartney's YouTube channel, begins with McCartney arriving at Cleveland’s Public Hall, later delivering a rousing: “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, baby. Cleveland. Oh yea!”
Several inductees are featured in the video, including Stevie Wonder, who embraces McCartney and congratulates Starr. The two Beatles joke with Wonder, saying: “We’re reforming the group, man. You want to join?” We're sure the world would love to see that happen.
After a quick photo-op with 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, McCartney joins nearly all of the 2015 inductees, performers and presenters onstage to rehearse the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends,” from their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Then, McCartney, Ringo and Hall of Fame Inductee Joe Walsh run through Starr’s 1971 single, “It Don’t Come Easy.”
After a clip of McCartney and Walsh reliving their glory ...
Since its early days as a pasted-up fanzine in the mid-’80s, Alternative Press has been revered as one of the largest music magazines in the world, all while being independently owned and operated. Renowned internationally as the publication that ultimately broke groups such as Nirvana, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Fall Out Boy, Nine Inch Nails, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson and others, it’s no surprise that Alternative Press Magazine is recognized as the #1 youth music magazine in the world.
This month, Alternative Press Magazine celebrates 30 years of bringing fans the hottest artists and cultural trends upfront with their the announcement of a special dedicated exhibit within the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, saluting the incredible story of this wonderful, independently published music magazine.
Alternative Press founder and CEO Mike Shea offers his thoughts on this history of his magazine that he started in his childhood bedroom, and its transition into the great entertainment periodical it has become. “In May of 1985, I had asked a couple of skater kids and a few music fans to whip together a bunch of reviews of new and classic punk records along with a few sentences ...