Rock 'N Roll and Cleveland
Officially coined over the radio airwaves of the city by Cleveland's DJ Alan Freed, Rock 'N Roll is intertwined with the city. Cleveland was the site of the first Rock concert and is the hometown of many famous Rock 'N Roll musicians.
Design/Illustration: Terrell Publishing
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The First Rock Concert:
The Moondog Coronation Ball was a concert held at the Cleveland Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on March 21, 1952. It is generally accepted as the first major rock and roll concert.
The concert was organized by Alan Freed (a disc jockey considered to have coined the term "Rock and Roll" at WJW-Radio), along with Lew Platt, a local concert promoter, and Freed's sponsors, including Leo Mintz, owner of the Record Rendezvous store. More tickets were printed than the arena's actual capacity, in part due to counterfeiting. With an estimated 20,000 individuals trying to crowd into an arena that held slightly more than half that - and worries that a riot might break out as people tried to crowd in - the fire authorities shut down the concert after the first song by opening act Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams ended.
Today, the Moondog is a more controlled concert, but still evokes the spirit of the 1950s. Half a dozen vintage rock and roll performers entertain concert-goers and many of the attendees dress in classic 1950s-style. WMJI radio has sponsored the event in mid-March at the Quicken Loans Arena for several years.