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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories: True and Tall Tales of the Glory Days, Told by Musicians, DJs, Promoters, and Fans Who Made the Scene in the '60s, '70s, and '80s

Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories: True and Tall Tales of the Glory Days, Told by Musicians, DJs, Promoters, and Fans Who Made the Scene in the '60s, '70s, and '80s

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Carlo Wolff

Music fans who grew up with Rock and Roll in Cleveland remember a golden age. We were young, so was the music, and the sense of freedom and excitement the Rock and Roll scene delivered was electric. There were so many great clubs, like the Agora, where … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Carlo Wolff
Publisher: Gray & Co., Publishers
1 review about Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories: True and...

Great Cleveland Rock Memories

  • May 13, 2009
  • by
There are several books on the market in Cleveland that trace the city's roots in rock. There is even one that deals strictly with WMMS, the once high flying Buzzard and the onetime king of the airwaves. This book, Cleveland Rock and Roll Memories, by Carlo Wolff, is the latest in a line. I will say that some of you probably won't care one bit about this very specific book. However, if you are a fan of rock, you may find it interesting.

Chapter List:
1. Making Waves - Radio
2. Shakin' All Over - The British Invade Cleveland
3. Passing Through, Plugging In - National Acts
4. So You Wanna Be A Rock and Roll Star - Local Acts
5. In the Trenches - Other Local Acts
6. Hangouts & Hotspots - Clubs
7. Fanning the Flames - Music and the Media
8. Selling Sounds and Styles - Retail

Back before radio went corporate and bands made many stops across this great land, Cleveland was king (after all, that is one of the reasons why the Rock Hall is here). Detroit is only a couple of hours away, so after bands released new singles in Motown, they headed to Cleveland to promote them. The airwaves were ruled by aggressive and unique voices, Larry Morrow, Alan Freed, Kid Leo, Matt "The Cat," Billy Bass, Lynn Tolliver, Bill Randle, and many others. These pioneers were always looking at the music scene, and they brought new voices to town, Elvis, Bruce Springsteen, Roxy Music, David Bowie, among others. And it wasn't just radio. Television played a big part in putting the Cleveland music scene on the map. From 1964 to 1971, a television show called Upbeat showcased new and old talent. And before the days of syndication and satellite, tapes of the show would be sent to other markets, increasing the reach of these bands. I haven't even touched on the number of clubs and record stores in the area.

So why is this book unique? Wolff lets the people that were there to tell the stories. Every chapter has a theme, and he lets the voices speak. There is very little editorial content, it is all the musicians, DJs, fans, and promoters. Really, he interviews people that were there when Elvis and Beatles came to town. When Pink Floyd played the Stadium. When Bruce Springsteen rocked the Agora. He talks to the DJs, and they tell you how they found the artists and promoted them. Fans talking about hanging out with the bands. He dedicates a lot of space to Jane Scott, the nations' premier music reviewer (she wasn't really a critic) who was the oldest person in attendance at the concerts - she is a local legend and very well known to the bands that passed through Cleveland. Wolff includes some great memorabilia in the margins, like concert tickets (David Bowie for $4.50, Rolling Stones for $5.50, The Eagles for $3.50, and Pink Floyd for $3.00), the best concerts, record stores through the decades, groundbreaking Cleveland concerts, and newspaper ads for the shows/clubs. They all add to the stories that are told.

If you are from the Cleveland area, this is a must read. Especially if you are/were really into the music. For those of you outside the area, this will give you a real flavor of why Cleveland is "The Rock and Roll Capital of the World." As I was talking to others about this book, everyone told me about the first concert they attended, the most amazing acts that they witnessed, or some other rock anecdote. It is a conversation starter. And it takes you to the events, as if you were there. It is a quick, enjoyable, and highly entertaining read. And you might learn something, too.

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May 14, 2009
This sounds like a book that I would love to read despite the fact that I am not from Cleveland. I grew up in Rhode Island and recall much of what is discussed in this book. It was a great time to be a teen. If you enjoyed this book I think you would like a book called "Something In The Air" which I have reviewed on Lunch. Check it out!
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