Hello and welcome to Twin Cities Music Highlights! This is my effort to gather information about live music in Minneapolis and St. Paul from the beginning of the jazz age to 1974, with an emphasis on connections to St. Louis Park, my home town. I invite all additions, corrections, and especially personal stories, so feel free to contact me!
This site has recently been converted to WordPress, and unfortunately a lot was lost in translation. I think I have fixed most of the links, but I lost a LOT of photos. Please bear with me as I work to gradually restore them. Most of the photos on this site have been taken from the Internet and I have made every effort to give the source. If I have swiped your photo without permission or attribution, please let me know.
Please note that I do not list local bands because there are just hundreds of them. The best source on local bands is minniepaulmusic.com, which has loads of info, pictures, posters, and interviews. Another web site is Garage Hangover (14 Minnesota bands).
Most are not posted yet, but how can I thank Mike Barich, the official photographer of ’60s Twin Cities Rock ‘n’ Roll, for allowing me to scan some of his thousands of negatives?! My focus is on national acts and venues; the guys at minniepaulmusic.com will be looking at Mike’s photos of local musicians. This is incredibly generous of Mike! These photos will be posted at 72 dpi; if you see one you like and want at a higher resolution, I’ll get you in touch with Mike.
Pam Albinson, Queen of the Lakes of 1962, is the Keeper of the Flame of the Aquatennial, in conjunction with the Hennepin History Museum. In addition to the information I found in her book, Seventy-Five Years of the Minneapolis Aquatennial, she sent me a list of national entertainers who came to town for the summer festival. For fun I posted all of them, not just musical acts. How fun to know that David Cassidy was Grand Marshall of the 1972 Grande Day Parade!
A big Thanks to Mark Karnowski, who sent a list of State Fair Grandstand shows.
The list of Met Center shows comes from Lou Nanne’s book on the history of the Northstars.
Guthrie shows were generously sent to me by James D. Scott, General Manager of the Guthrie. Also see an array of pamphlets on their blog.
Many of the events from March 1969 to June 1974 were taken from upcoming events calendars and ads in the Insider. I also have a smattering of other local teen music magazines (see Publications) with some information.
My friend Ellen Lewis made the great suggestion that I read through back issues of the Minneapolis Spokesman, the newspaper of the city’s African-American community since 1934. I started at 1947 and found some phenomenal rhythm & blues shows, mostly taking place at the Labor Temple.
Will Jones’ column in the Minneapolis Tribune was usually very entertaining and had great info and background.
Interviews with some of the old DJs and radio people brought some fascinating stories about how things came to pass. I was able to interview Herb Oscar Anderson, Dick Driscoll, Bill Diehl, Sam Sherwood, John Evans, Bill Armstrong, and Vic Tedesco, and others. I got most of the contact information from the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting. Love ya, Pop!
The Minnesota Daily has most of their issues on line. I started looking through them in 1952 but I have a long way to go!
For a teen perspective there are references to the St. Louis Park High School Echo newspaper.
My buddy Wayne Elliot Klayman just happened to have a stack of ads for concerts from 1969 to 1972, saving me a ton of time, effort, and quarters!
Almost all of these photos were stolen from the Internet, attributed as much as possible. The Old Minneapolis Facebook page has been a huge source of photos and information. I gave up asking for permission to quote people, so I’ve just put quotes around their comments without their names. If you see your quote and would allow me to use your name, please let me know.
In May 1964 U of M graduate student Robert A. Stebbins completed his Ph.D. thesis, The Jazz Community: The Sociology of a Musical Sub-Culture. Chapter 4 is a history of jazz in Minneapolis, the first compiled from the music form’s inception until the late 1930s. Stebbins noted that contemporary histories of jazz have bypassed the Twin Cities. He also provided an incredibly detailed list and description of the various jazz venues – using sources such as telephone books he researched when various venues existed, and in many cases noted house bands and traveling bands that came through. Most of this information is documented in the Venues section.
Much of the information on jazz venues comes from Joined at the Hip: A History of Jazz in the Twin Cities by Jay Goetting, MHS Press (2011). A must read.
The Minnesota Historical Society has copies of an apparently short-lived newspaper called the Republican Register, dedicated to electing Dewey for President. The copies run from 1941-1944 and for some reason included ads by just about every bar in the Twin Cities and surrounding area. No explanation for this, but it is a treasure trove of information for venues with live entertainment.
In 1984 Richard Raichelson put out an album called “Twin Cities Shuffle – 1927 To 1930,” with some amazing early local recordings, many made at the Lowry Hotel in St. Paul. Mr. Raichelson was graciously allowed me to quote from the album notes.
For a rural perspective, the Hennepin County Enterprise, highlighting events in and around Hopkins, was consulted for entertainment in the hinterlands in the teens and 1920s.
And last but maybe most importantly, Timothy D. Kehr gave me so much help, support, contacts, and encouragement over the years.