Monthly Archives: July 2012

Psychedelic Motown

The Temptations were kings of the pop charts all over the world throughout the ’60s along with many others on the Motown label. When the ’70s arrived, the group was diving into new directions in attempts to keep a fresh sound. As the group hit Youngstown for two shows on February 10, 1970 at Stambaugh Auditorium, the single “Psychedelic Shack” was establishing The Temptations firmly into the genre of psychedelic soul. It was a break from the smooth R&B romance tracks of the middle ’60s, but it was still something off the Hitsville USA pipeline in Detroit. The Temptations would start fracturing a bit within the year as mainstays Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams would give way to a rotating lineup of any number of names which continues to this day.

Tagged , , , ,

Dave Clark Five … direct from England

Youngstown wasn’t really a big stop for the major players in the British Invasion in the early ’60s. The explosive impact of the major players like the Beatles and Rolling Stones wasn’t meant for a mid-size Midwestern city since there really was no where big enough to hold the hordes of screaming teenage girls. The Dave Clark Five was not chopped liver though and it managed to play a couple of shows on June 3, 1964 at Stambaugh Auditorium. The band was riding incredible chart success when it hit Youngstown as it had three top 10 Billboard singles to propel a sellout tour of the United States. The band peaked a little more than a year later with the No. 1 hit “Over and Over.”

Tagged , , ,

Earth, Wind and Fire at South High

The South High School Fieldhouse was not a regularly used concert venue by any stretch of the imagination, but it did manage to snag a show by Earth, Wind and Fire on July 10, 1975. At this point in the band’s career they were quickly approaching the peak of their powers as the No. 1 single “Shining Star” vaulted them into orbit. Later that year, the band would release That’s The Way Of The World which would eventually reach No. 1 on the pop album charts.
WHAT THE SHOW SOUNDED LIKE: Here’s the band from a 1975 TV appearance.

Tagged , , , , ,

The King of the blues

B.B. King might be associated primarily with the blues, but he was an integral part of the shaping of rock ‘n’ roll’s feel and sound. On March 23, 1975, the 49-year-old King showed up with Lucille to play a gig at Stambaugh Auditorium. I’m fairly certain it wasn’t his first in Youngstown and it was definitely not his last. After all, the man has played more than 50,000 concerts the world over.

Tagged , , ,

A new era dawns

Rock ‘n’ roll music in America was undergoing a significant change as the ’60s dawned. The original rock stars were in taters. Chuck Berry was battling underage sex charges in relation to the Mann Act. Jerry Lee Lewis was dealing with the fallout from marrying his teenage cousin. Elvis Presley was just finishing up a stint in the military and Little Richard turned his eye to preaching. Those that may have ignited the next wave of American rock music – notably Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens – perished in a plane crash in early 1959. In the radio realm, a huge payola scandal ended the career of pioneering DJ Alan Freed.

So what did American teens turn to? Vocal groups, teen idols, doo-wopers and instrumentals. All of that was evident when Frankie Avalon headlined a pair of shows on January 29, 1960 at the Stambaugh Auditorium. Also filling out the roster were Clyde McPhatter, Bobby Rydell, Johnny and the Hurricanes, The Crests, Freddy Cannon, Sammy Turner, The Isley Brothers, Linda Laurie, The Clovers and Cliff Richard.

Note: A reader named David sent me a color copy of the poster earlier in July. Sorry for the delay in posting it, but it looks good!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The ill-fated State Theater and Civic Center

Above is a picture that appeared in the Vindicator of people waiting to get into a Donnie Iris show on May 20, 1983 at the State Theatre and Civic Center (formerly the Agora and Tomorrow Club). It was the first show for the newly renamed venue which jettisoned its links to the night club days in a return to a style closer to that of when it was a movie house. Nick Behanna, a Warren businessman, leased the theater at the time and had plans to bring it back to its former grandeur. There was even a mention of refurbishing the projectors and showing classic movies.

I’m not sure how many events actually went off at the venue because the advertising was spotty to non-existent. Here’s a few I stumbled across:

  • May 20, Donnie Iris, Sojourn
  • May 27, Unknown Stranger, Prinzor, Poltergeist
  • May 28, Temptations Reunion Tour
  • May 29, Boxing matches
  • June 3, Modern English, Norm Nardi and The Tigers
  • June 11, Human Beinz, Poltergeist
  • July 14, Todd Rundgren, Utopia
  • July 23, Ramones (not sure if it happened)

On June 29, a boxing show was scheduled to be held at the venue, but it was abruptly canceled right before showtime in embarrassing fashion. It would seem sometime in mid-July the State Theatre and Civic Center experiment was over.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Fats Domino and a hit parade of stars

Fats Domino was a pretty big star already by the time he arrived for a pair of shows on February 17, 1957 at the Stambaugh Auditorium. The future Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Famer had a mess of hits from the R&B and pop charts to draw from including “Blueberry Hill”, “Ain’t That A Shame” and “I’m Walkin'”. He also had performed in such films as Shake, Rattle and Rock and The Girl Can’t Help It. Bill Doggett was second on the bill and he was famous at the time for his hit “Honky Tonk” which reached No. 2 on the pop charts in 1956. Clyde McPhatter, also a future Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Famer, was seemingly a regular on these sorts of shows in the late ’50s. LaVern Baker, the second female inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame, was coming off a huge hit in “Jim Dandy” in 1956. It’s hard to believe that Chuck Berry would get booted down the list so far, but in Feb. of 1957 he still only had one huge pop chart topper to his name in “Maybellene”. Berry’s “School Day” released the next month was a bigger single on the pop charts and would propel him into a really strong year or two into the end of the decade.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Guess Who was here

Canadian hit machine The Guess Who made their Youngstown debut on November 10, 1974 at the Beeghly Center. It was some four years after the band peaked commercially with hits such as “American Woman”, “No Sugar Tonite” and “These Eyes.” It was not the group’s first gig in the area though. The band did play a May date in 1970 specifically for the benefit of Youngstown State University students, but that show was at the Struthers Fieldhouse just outside of town.

WHAT THE SHOW SOUNDED LIKE: Here’s a clip of the band on The Midnight Special from early 1974.

Tagged , , , , ,

Ramones at the Youngstown Agora

The first song on the Ramones’ 1981 release Pleasant Dreams ironoically is “We Want The Airwaves”. When the band arrived for its October 4, 1981 show at the Youngstown Agora, it wasn’t getting much air play and the strain between Joey and Johnny Ramone was increasing over girl issues. Despite not getting along for pretty much the rest of their career (this includes all band members), the Ramones found a way to make a go of it on stage and in the studio in the 1980s and 90s. They just never achieved the pop chart stardom they craved as kids from Queens eating refried beans and gulpin’ down thorazines.

I had previously posted that this was the last Ramones show in Youngstown. That might not be correct. There is evidence of a show taking place on July 23, 1983 at the State Theater. The State Theater was not running ads in the Vindicator at that time, but there is a mention of the show in The Jambar from that time frame. Ramones gigographies online do not list that show as happening, but there is a mention of “Hicksville, Ohio” on July 22 in the Wikipedia entry regarding Ramones concert tours. There is also a possibility that it was canceled or the State Theater had already closed. Anyone in the know feel free to leave a comment.

Tagged , , ,

A hardcore show at Stambaugh … wait, what?

Corrosion of Conformity garnered mainstream hard rock/metal success in the mid’ 90s with albums such as Deliverance and Wiseblood, but well before that happened COC was a sought after hardcore band with a pretty cool logo hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina. On August 12, 1987, COC along with local hardcore legends Sacred Hate and a few others played a benefit “concert” for the Youngstown Peace Council in the ballroom of the Stambaugh Auditorium building. Yeah, that’s right… they played in a room essentially made for hosting upscale weddings.

Tagged , , , , , ,