Tag Archives: Music et al

1955 Juvenile Delinquency Crime Commission

1955 Juvenile Delinquency Crime Commission

Houston, TX

Fear of Rock

The Fear of Rock and Roll · Propeller
1955 Juvenile Delinquency Crime Commission

August 21, 1955

Some have argued that rock and roll did as much to integrate the United States as legislation or demonstrations. It is difficult to quantify the contribution of any one civil rights strategy, but it is interesting to think that rock and roll music did not start out as a way to bring races together.

1955 Juvenile Delinquency Crime Commission

International fear

The fear of rock music was not limited to the United States. On May 8, 1954 the UK’s BBC radio banned Johnnie Ray’s song “Such A Night” after some listeners complained about its ‘suggestiveness.’ Ray was famous for his emotional stage act, which included beating up his piano and writhing on the floor.

1955 Juvenile Delinquency Crime Commission

Billboard’s Fear

Later that year, on September 24, 1954, a Billboard magazine editorial entitled “Control the Dimwits” called for removing rhythm and blues records with sexual double entendres from jukeboxes.

The Songwriters Protective Association (today the Songwriters Guild of America ) endorsed the editorial. Police in Memphis, Tennessee, and Long Beach, California, confiscated jukeboxes with the offending records. The largest jukebox operator in the New York City area offered to remove any records that Billboard listed.

1955 Juvenile Delinquency Crime Commission

Variety’s Fear

The following year, on February 23, 1955, Variety magazine wrote “A Warning to the Music Business,. Music ‘leer-ics’ are touching new lows and …policing, if you will, [has] to come from more responsible sources. Meaning the . . . record manufacturers and their network daddies. . . . It won’t wash for them to . . . justify their ‘leer-ic’ garbage by declaring ‘that’s what kids want’ or ‘that’s the only thing that sells today.”

1955 Juvenile Delinquency Crime Commission

Institutional Fear

Again that year, on May 17, 1955,  Princeton University students played the Bill Haley hit record Rock Around the Clock simultaneously from their dorm rooms. University administrators suspended four students.

1955 Juvenile Delinquency Crime Commission

Municipal Fear

Some US cities began to ban concerts by certain rock and roll artists…mainly black like Fats Domino.

1955 Juvenile Delinquency Crime Commission

Juvenile Delinquency and Crime Commission

Finally on August 21, 1955, the Juvenile Delinquency and Crime Commission in Houston, Texas, claimed success  in its anti-rock and roll crusade. The effort involved pressuring radio stations not to play recordings with “lewd or suggestive” lyrics. All nine Houston radio stations had cooperated.

The Commission had prepared a list of objectionable records. “Wash-Out-The Air,” a subcommittee of the Commission, looked for records that were supposedly suggestive, obscene, or had lewd intonations. The list contained twenty-six records and almost all by black artists, including:

  • Ray Charles “I Got a Woman”
  • Clyde McPhatter “Whatcha’ Gonna Do Now”
  • Hank Ballard and the Midnighters “Annie Had a Baby”
  • Dominoes “Sixty Minute Man”
  • Drifters “Honey Love”
  • Roy Brown “Good Rockin’ Tonight”

The Commission told radio station owners that the Commission would complain to the Federal Communications Commission if the stations did not cooperate.

For more about Houston in particular and the fear of rock in general, see the book, Anti-rock: The Opposition to Rock ‘n’ Roll by Linda Martin and Kerry Segrave.

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Beatles Play Cow Palace 1964

Beatles Play Cow Palace 1964

August 19, 1964

Beatles Play Cow Palace

February prelude

The Beatles triumphant and record-breaking performance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964 was simply a prelude to what would happen six months later in San Francisco.

That same February, the band had played three indoor concerts: Carnegie Hall, Miami, and Washington, DC, but their return for an official tour in August was the start of maximum-Beatlemania.

Beatles Play Cow Palace 1964

Back in the USA, via Canada

On August 18, the Beatles had flown from London Airport to San Francisco International, to begin their 25-date first American Tour.

They stopped briefly in Winnipeg, Canada…

…and in Los Angeles. Both stops had fans screaming to see the band. Media interviews also. They arrived in San Francisco to a similar scene of hysterics from around 9,000 fans.

Beatles Play Cow Palace 1964

Beatles Bible

Many thanks to the site Beatles Bible for much of this information:

Beatles manager Brian Espstein  wanted to be sure that the concert venues would sell out and chose those that were not overly big. He needn’t have worried. All 17,130 Cow Palace tickets sold out.

The other acts on the bill, and throughout the tour, were The Bill Black Combo, The Exciters, The Righteous Brothers and Jackie DeShannon. Showtime was 8 pm, and The Beatles took to the stage at 9:20 pm.

This tour’s performance typically consisted of 12 songs: Twist And Shout, You Can’t Do That, All My Loving, She Loves You, Till There Was You, Roll Over Beethoven, Can’t Buy Me Love, If I Fell, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Boys, A Hard Day’s Night and Long Tall Sally.

The performance lasted just 29 minutes and because threw jelly beans organizers stopped the concert twice.

At the end of the show The Beatles dropped their instruments, ran for their limousine. It was surrounded by fans, so organizers put the boys in an ambulance. They returned to their hotel, but left soon after to fly to Las Vegas for the next day’s show.

Beatles Play Cow Palace 1964

Lennon looked back

In The Beatles Anthology (2000) John Lennon said, People think fame and money bring freedom, but they don’t. We’re more conscious now of the limitations it places on us rather than the freedom. We still eat the same kind of food as we did before, and have the same friends. You don’t change things like that overnight. We can’t even spend the allowance we get, because there’s nothing to spend it on. What can you spend on in a room?

There were 22 more tours to go before the last one on this tour at the Paramount in NYC on September 20.

Beatles Play Cow Palace 1964
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Big Brother Holding Company Album

Big Brother Holding Company album

“Call On Me” by Big Brother  The Holding Company
Their first album released on August 12, 1967

Monterey International Pop Music Festival

Big Brother Holding Company Janis Joplin

The audiences’ applause to their performance at the Monterey International Pop Festival still echoed when Mainstream Records released Big Brother’s eponymous Big Brother and the Holding Company album.

DA Pennebaker and the festival’s organizers had to convince the band to perform twice, after it had refused to let Pennebaker’s team film their first performance.

In the end, it was Janis Joplin that Leacock-Pennebaker, the film company, put on their movie’s poster.

Big Brother Holding Company album

Big Brother and the Holding Company

The personnel on their first album was not to be the same group that played at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair two years later. By then, Joplin’s musical journey had brought her to other places with other musicians.


This album’s band was:

  • Janis Joplin – vocals
  • Peter Albin – bass guitar
  • Sam Andrew – guitar, vocals
  • David Getz – drums
  • James Gurley – guitar, vocals
Track listing

And the songs were:

Side One

  • Bye, Bye Baby
  • Easy Rider
  • Intruder
  • Light is Faster Than Sound
  • Call On Me
Side Two

  • Women is Losers
  • Blindman
  • Down on Me
  • Catepillar
  • All is Lonliness

Band members wrote all but three of the songs which they recorded in December 1966–before Monterey Pop. The songs are AM-radio length, that is, all are under three minutes, one, Blindman, less than two minutes. A far cry from what Big Brother and most other so-called underground bands evolved into.

Big Brother Holding Company album

Future Joplin

It would be the Cheap Thrills album with its iconic R Crumb cover that put Big Brother on the musical map in terms of recordings.

If people didn’t already know of the band’s power through the Monterey film, the cover alone enticed them to purchase the album. An album with each song over four minutes, one over five, and and famous “Ball and Chain” coming in at 9:02.

Ironically, three years later to the day was Janis Joplin’s last concert performance. You will often see it listed as taking place in Boston, but it was actually in Cambridge in Harvard Stadium.

From the Boston.com siteScheafer Beer co-sponsored a summer concert series at Harvard Stadium along with the city of Boston’s “Summerthing’’ arts initiative, a program launched in 1968 to help “cool off’’ the city in the heat of the summer. The stadium could fit more than 35,000 attendees, but these events were limited to 10,000 and a $2 ticket fee per person. By 1970, the lineup was nothing to sneeze at: Highlights included The Grateful Dead, Miles Davis, Ike and Tina Turner, Van Morrison, B.B. King, and The Supremes.

The show was delayed because equipment was stolen, but to their credit, Bill Hanley and his crew regrouped and replaced and the show went on.

Big Brother Holding Company album
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