Cleveland Rocks! New book celebrates city's musical heyday

{Editor?s Note: The following text and photos are excerpted from the book Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories ? 2006 by Carlo Wolff. As the cover of the book suggests, the project is a high-spirited, very conversational compilation of ?true and tall tales of the glory days? of the Cleveland music scene, as told through the eyes of musicians, DJs, promoters and fans. All photos are courtesy of the book?s author and publisher, Gray & Co.}Clevelandbook.jpg

Cleveland earned a reputation for breaking rock bands and artists. David Bowie went nationwide on the strength of his initial Cleveland shows, and Bruce Springsteen became the Boss on the basis of constant Ohio dates in the 1970s. Elvis Presley played his first concerts north of the Mason-Dixon Line here in 1955, when WERE-AM DJs Bill Randle and Tommy Edwards presented the Hillbilly Cat at the Circle Theater and Brooklyn High School. Many others made their mark here, too.

The Blues Project was huge at La Cave, but local acts did well, too, headlining clubs and opening for national bands. Richie Green reminisces about Bocky and the Visions, before he formed Richie and the Fortunes:

?We opened for the Rolling Stones first time they were here in town, 1964, Music Hall. [It was November 3.] I?m a kid just out of high school opening for the Rolling Stones. It kind of came pretty quick. We didn?t meet the Rolling Stones, they weren?t real friendly. They had a separate dressing room and didn?t want to fraternize, which was kind of disappointing. We were their throwaway warm-up band, which was great for us. But there were other people who we opened for who were just super to us, like the Young Rascals, Lonnie Mack. This was the beginning of the British Invasion. The most notable thing I remember about that concert is that people were throwing soap and deodorant at the Rolling Stones. I guess they had some strange reputation. It was packed. They were immediately popular.? ?Richard Green, musician

Young music fan Norm Isaac got an unexpected up-close and personal look at Jimmy Page during a Yardbirds show.

?I got to be thinking, could it be around ?66? Jeff Beck was the lead guitarist. I had read in Tiger Beat magazine this guy Jimmy Page was the new bass player in the Yardbirds, so on that show I expected to see Jimmy Page playing bass. However, there was no Beck; when they took the stage, Page comes out with a Telecaster, and Chris Dreja, the rhythm guitar player, is playing bass. So it was the Little Games format: Keith Relf, lead singer and harmonica player; Chris Dreja, bass; Jim McCarty, drums; Page on guitar. It?s in the cafeteria at Baldwin-Wallace, and the stage was these little one-foot assembly risers, like if you had a glee club concert. It was pretty full; it couldn?t have been more than five bucks, otherwise I couldn?t have afforded to go.
I?m going to get chips and a Pepsi, I notice to my right Jimmy Page standing in the doorway smoking a cigarette. I was about fifteen and still very shy. What struck me was he had the whitest skin I?d ever seen. He was like a china doll, he was that pale. And of course, though he was very clean-shaven, he had this green five o?clock shadow and very big mutton chops. He was wearing a navy pea coat and striped pants. I?m freezing and I?m saying, do I just continue to get my Pepsi and chips or do I try to talk to Jimmy Page? I decided I am going to talk to him, and I would say, ?Excuse me, are you Jimmy Page?? He isn?t even noticing me, I?m getting the nerve and I?m starting to move toward him, he finishes the cigarette and just walks away.
There are no seats, so I snag a place on the floor right in front of the risers. To my amazement, I?m sitting right in front of them. I?m close enough to see the sweat rolling down his

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