- World Series of Rock
The World Series of Rock was a recurring, day-long and usually multi-act summer
rock concertheld outdoors at Cleveland Stadiumin Cleveland, Ohiofrom 1974 through 1980. [cite book|last=Toman|first=James A.|title=Cleveland Stadium: The Last Chapter|year=1997|publisher=Cleveland Landmarks Press, Inc.|location=Cleveland, OH|isbn=0936760109|pages=64-65] Belkin Productions staged these events, attracting popular hard rockbands and as many as 88,000 fans. FMrock radio station WMMSsponsored the concerts. [cite book|last=Gorman, John, with Feran, Tom|title=The Buzzard: Inside the Glory Days of WMMS and Cleveland Rock Radio|year=2007|publisher=Gray & Company| location=Cleveland, Ohio|isbn 13:978-1-886228-47-4|pages=72-79] Attendance was by general admission.
The album-oriented rock bands performing included
The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, the Beach Boys, Chicago, REO Speedwagon, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Fleetwood Mac, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, The Band, Santana, The Faces, Uriah Heep, Aerosmith, Blue Öyster Cult, Yes, Ted Nugent, Journey, ELO, Foreigner, Kansas, Peter Tosh, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Scorpions, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Eddie Money, Def Leppardand the J. Geils Band.
The World Series of Rock was known not only for its
arena rockspectacle, but was also notorious for the rowdiness, rampant drug useand drunkennessof the crowd. [Kinney, Brian, "Some fans got off on music, others high on marijuana," Cleveland Press, September 2, 1974, p. A-4. Hitchcock, Craig and Chace, Susan, “Crowd control is questioned,” The Cleveland Press, July 30, 1979, p. A-1.] As a result, concertgoers occasionally fell--or jumped--off the steep stadium upper deck onto the concrete seating area far below, causing serious injury. [ Bornino, Bruno, “88,000 rock fans win Modell’s praise,” Cleveland Press, September 2, 1974, p. A-1 (concertgoer jumped or fell through net behind home plate). Bornino, Bruno, “Rainy Sunday,” Cleveland Press, June 6, 1977, p. C-1 (concertgoer leapt from upper deck). The Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Fleetwood Mac show crowd praised as best behaved,” August 27, 1978 (man hanging from rafters lost grip and fell from upper deck). The Cleveland Press, “Fleetwood Mac concertgoers are rob victims,” August 28, 1978, p. A-12 (man fell trying to climb screen behind home plate).] The Cleveland Free Clinicstaffed aid stations in the stadium with physicians, nurses and other volunteers, and through 1977, made its treatment statistics public. However, beginning in 1978, Belkin Productions conditioned its funding of the Free Clinic on the Clinic's nondisclosure of the number of Clinic staff on duty at the concerts, the nature of conditions treated, and quantity of patients treated. [Holden, Robert H., “It’s a gas, gas, gas [,] Roisterous [sic] crowd greets Rolling Stones,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 2, 1978, p. A-1.]
Cleveland Stadium was the home field of the
Cleveland Indians American League baseballclub, which played out of town at the time of the concerts. Stadium officials allowed fans to congregate near the stage on the playing field, which required fixing the turf before the Indians returned home. After the 1975 football season, the field was completely re-surfaced and a drainage system was installed due to damage from the rock concerts. The first concert of the 1976 season featuring Aerosmith, Todd Rundgren's Utopia, Jeff Beck (with the Jan Hammer Group) and Derringer scheduled for July 11th was cancelled due to concerns about damage to the new turf. The concert was re-scheduled for the Coliseum at Richfieldon July 28th with Aerosmith, Derringer and Stu Daye on the bill. [Scott, Jane. "The Happening" "The Plain Dealer" July 2, 1976: Friday p.30] No concerts were held in 1976 but the series resumed in 1977 after a field covering system was employed.
On July 28, 1979, World Series of Rock was marred by violence in the early morning hours before the concert and outside the stadium. Thousands of fans camped around the stadium to position themselves for the best seats when the gates opened. Five shootings (including one fatality), eight robberies and numerous incidents of theft, vandalism and street violence involving roving gangs were reported. A City Council safety committee inquiry appears to have contributed to the cancellation of a show planned for August 19, 1979. [ Hitchcock, Craig and Chace, Susan, “Crowd control is questioned,” The Cleveland Press, July 30, 1979, p. A-1.] The last World Series of Rock concert took place on July 19, 1980.
Cleveland Stadium was demolished in 1996, and replaced with
Cleveland Browns Stadiumbuilt on the same site. County Stadium in Milwaukee, Wisconsinstaged its own series of rock festivals, also called the World Series of Rock, in the early 1980s. Since then, "World Series of Rock" has become a generic term for multi-act concerts.
June 23, 1974 [The Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Bases loaded,” June 24, 1974 (photo caption);The Cleveland Press, “It’s a hit, all bases are covered,” June 24, 1974 (photo caption).]
Joe Walshand Barnstorm
August 4, 1974 [The Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Rock music pulls 40,000 to Stadium, August 5, 1974, p. 6-C.]
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Climax Blues Band
May 31, 1975 [Bornino, Bruno, “Surf is up for the Beach Boys, Chicago brings windy sound,” Cleveland Press, June 2, 1975, p. D-9.]
June 14, 1975 [Bornino, Bruno, “Mick Mecca,” The Cleveland Press, June 16, 1975, p. B-8.]
The Rolling Stones
Tower of Power
J. Geils Band
*Joe Vitale's Madmen
June 25, 1977 [Bornino, Bruno, “Stadium rocks inside and out,” Cleveland Press, June 27, 1977, p. B-2. “Rock concert goers litter downtown,” Cleveland Press, June 27, 1977, p. A-4. ]
July 1, 1978 [Bornino, Bruno and Banks, Sandy, “City becomes Rocktown as 86,000 fans roll in,” The Cleveland Press, July 1, 1978, p. 1. Scott, Jane, “83,000 rock and roll with Jagger,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 2, 1978, p. 1-1.]
The Rolling Stones
July 15, 1978 [Bornino, Bruno, “62,000 see ELO’s UFO,” The Cleveland Press, July 17, 1978. Scott, Jane, “The happening,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 14, 1978.]
Electric Light Orchestra
August 26, 1978 [Bornino, Bruno, “Fans ‘get religion’ at Stadium concert,” The Cleveland Press, August 28, 1978, p. B-6. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Fleetwood Mac show crowd praised as best behaved,” August 27, 1978. The Cleveland Press, “Fleetwood Mac concertgoers are rob victims,” August 28, 1978, p. A-12.]
Todd Rundgren& Utopia
July 28, 1979 [Bornino, Bruno, “‘Series’ was loud as concerts go,” Cleveland Press, July 30, 1979, p. A-8. Hitchcock, Craig and Chace, Susan, “Crowd control is questioned,” The Cleveland Press, July 30, 1979, p. A-1.]
July 19, 1980 [Bornino, Bruno, “Stadium shakes at World Series of Rock,” The Cleveland Press, July 21, 1980, p. B-5.]
Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
J. Geils Band
*Wolff, Carlo, "Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories: True and Tall Tales of the Glory Days, Told By Musicians, DJs, Promoters & Fans Who Made the Scene in the '60s, '70s, and '80s," Gray & Company, Publishers (2006), ISBN-13: 978-1-886228-99-3.
*Hanson, Debbie, "Jules Belkin - Making Cleveland Rock" (2004). [http://www.clevelandseniors.com/people/belkin.htm]
*Eriksson, Christoffer (editor), Rock This Way-The Swedish Aerosmith Fan Site. [http://www.rockthisway.de/news/news_july03.htm]
*Sparling, Scott (editor), The Seger File-An unofficial web site about the music of Bob Seger. [http://www.segerfile.com/emailnov.html]
*Whipple, Pete (editor), Forgotten Yesterdays-A Comprehensive Guide to Yes Shows (1996). [http://www.forgottenyesterdays.com/date.asp?s=5&tname=7&tdate=542&navb=10]
Murray Saul and Shelly Stile of WMMS open a World Series of Rock show in 1975 [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtkPIG3xP7Q] , retrieved from www.youtube.com on August 10, 2008.
AC/DC perform "The Jack" at World Series of Rock concert of July 28, 1979 [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml_LygR_saU&feature=related] , retrieved from www.youtube.com on August 10, 2008.
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